March 7, 1917
The asking prices of seven of my artist colleagues for their works in the upcoming 45th OSA Spring Exhibition opening two days from now, on March 9, 1917
My paintings are still in the Shack with no asking price. That’s fine by me but I do find it rather brazen to ask a half year’s wages for a painting during wartime.
34. Sunlight $600
Lawren Harris (Camp Borden)
58. Decorative Landscape $600
AY Jackson (Overseas)
60. The Cedar Swamp $300
69. Spring Song in the North $600
Arthur Lismer (Halifax)
84. Georgian Bay, Spring $500
88. Wilds Ducks $600
128. Squally Weather, Georgian Bay $500
ONTARIO SOCIETY OF ARTISTS
Annual Meeting to be held on Tuesday March 13th, 1917
6:30pm at the Toronto Art Gallery,
Public Reference Library, College St.
The following members are seeking election as officers:
President – C. W. Jefferys.
Vice-President and Treasurer -J . E. H. MacDonald.
Secretary – R. F. Gagen.
Auditors – James Smith and R. J. Dilworth.
Executive Council – F. M. Bell-Smith, T. W. Mitchell, G. A. Reid, E. Wyly Grier, Herbert S. Palmer, Mary E. Wrinch, F. Horsman Varley,
The following are new member candidates – Frank Carmichael, Francis H. Johnston and Miss. Florence MacGillivray.
YOUR ATTENDANCE AS A VOTING MEMBER IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
March 2, 1917
Studio Building ,
I hope this letter finds you well. I’m sorry I haven’t written you sooner but I have been busy painting these past few weeks. I have got quite a bit done. Toronto is pretty wrapped up in the War so I try to avoid the crowds in case I meet up with unfriendly folk that want to make a show of someone that should be fighting instead of being at home. I’ll be quite happy to leave and am planning to go up in the spring as soon as possible.
I received your letter a few weeks ago. Thank you for the socks. As for Joyce, I read some his stories in the magazines. I should read his book. Can you bring it with you to Canoe Lake this spring? I can check on your cabin when I get there and will write you if there is any problem. This War is pretty rotten and it’s having a big toll on Jim MacDonald. His wife is sick and Jim looks like a shadow of himself. Jim tried to convince me to submit to the OSA Spring Exhibition but I refused because I couldn’t give the critics the satisfaction. A review like last year would make it near impossible to sell my paintings. Dr. MacCallum tried to convince me too, but in the end thought it wiser to skip because it would be easier to sell my paintings without the controversy.
The snow has been heavy this year. It’s been cold too. The coal shortage has forced many to scavenge for firewood in the ravine and there’s been many fires. A whole family died in a fire in Kensington and the City wants to tear down the shacks but it will make the problem worse.
With all the snow and cold I doubt the ice won’t be out until May and you probably won’t make it to the cabin until Victoria Day. I’ll write you when I arrive a Canoe Lake.
March 1, 1917
Florence came in by train from Whitby yesterday afternoon. She came from the station to my place. I had made a supper of boiled potatoes and ham. She hadn’t eaten yet, so I warmed it up on the stove. It wasn’t until after she had supper that she told me that she didn’t have a place to stay so she stayed with me last night. I gave her my bunk above and I set out my blankets and slept on the floor below. It was a bit awkward, I’m glad that that the boys at the Studio didn’t know she stayed over otherwise I’d never hear the end of it.
Both Jim MacDonald and Dr. MacCallum visited me today. Despite the deadline being passed for the Spring Exhibition, they were both still trying to convince me to exhibit. I told them both a flat ‘No!’. Florence witnessed their pleas, and I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were perplexed by her unexpected (and unwelcome) presence. But no questions were asked. Both Jim and the Doc both know when not to ask questions about women- that’s why we’ve remained on good terms. Unlike Fred Varley who tried to set me up with his wife’s sister, Dora. Fred and I have never been on the same terms, ever since his meddling.
Florence and I are very good friends. But I had to tell her once again, in politest way I could, that I wasn’t fit for a girl to marry. I was about to tell her that ‘the wilderness was my woman’ but I stopped it at my tongue’s tip, because it seemed like such a horribly trite thing to say. Instead, I told her that with the War, it’s hard to make any commitments, especially when you have that feeling that you are ultimately destined for the trenches.
She saw my letters on the table. She saw the letter and card from Winnie and asked about her.She knows about Winnie, I’ve told her about her. She knows that Winnie is younger than me (but still old for someone not yet married). She asked some questions about Winnie and I mumbled in return. I forget what I said, but the message was clear, “I don’t want to talk about her.”
After Jim and Doc left, we spent time going through my canvases and sketches. She said my work was fabulous and hoped I would not regret not putting anything in the Exhibition. She’s put in two pieces for the Exhibition.
Today, we went out for dinner at the Busy Bee and then I walked with her to where was staying tonight with friends near Bloor and St. George. Florence did lift my spirits. I was in a pretty bad mood these past few days. I’m glad she did visit, because if she didn’t, I would have probably destroyed the canvas I’m working on. She gave me some good ideas to work with and I feel better about it now.