December 8, 1916
I had another good day of painting. I started a new canvas of a sketch I did in October just after a wet and heavy snow. The snow sticking to the upper branches of birch saplings made quite a nice pattern. This canvas is a bit smaller – about 32 inches square. Since I’m not venturing out much, I’ll get this one done in a few days.
Jim MacDonald came by just before he went home. He invited me for dinner this Sunday. Jim lives up in Thornhill, it’s easy to get there with the TYRR (Toronto York and Radial Railway). I said I’d come up. I hadn’t seen Thoreau in a while and it would be nice to see him. Jim moved up to Thornhill with his family, but still kept space in the Studio here. But work is getting pretty meagre, and Dr. MacCallum convinced him to stay in the Studio (at a reduced rent). There’s not much appetite for art during the War so he’s having a tough time making ends meet. He got board money from the Lismers but they’ve moved to Halifax. He tried raising some crops in the summer, but that didn’t bring in much money either.
The last art job Jim got was painting a Mother Goose mural for the toy department at Simpsons. He finished it before the Christmas Parade on Saturday. For no charge, he’s doing the artwork for the Arts and Letters Club. That’s the deal he made with Dr. MacCallum – free artwork for reduced studio rent.
“Dr MacCallum or Dr Faustus?” We both laughed when the words popped out but we knew this was a joke not to be played with, so we kept on talking about other things. Mrs. MacDonald wants to move back downtown, she doesn’t like it up in Thornhill. Thoreau thinks it’s an adventure, he’s off exploring each day, worrying the Mrs., when he doesn’t come home right away.
Jim look through my canvases, and said they were good pieces, and I should start considering what to put in the Spring Exhibition. The exhibition is in early March and the hanging committee needs to finalize the list of art by the middle of February. I told him, I wasn’t sure I’d submit after the brouhaha last year, but I’d see how my canvases go before I make a decision.
I sent Jim off around 6. pm. I was thinking about going to an evening show at the Hippodrome (‘The Scoop’ was playing) but I decided to stay in and read instead. It’s risky going out, because if you’re alone people with start calling after you for your name to sign up. I saw the comic in the paper today – ‘Things to Worry About’ – I don’t need that worry tonight.
I haven’t yet checked for my mail. I may go up the Studio later tonight. I’ll have a drink with Bill and Curtis, if they’re still there. They’re always good for a few drinks and stories. I haven’t made my acquaintances with the new women tenants, so this evening may be the occasion to do so.
Tomorrow, I’ll make Thoreau a small gift. I’ll carve a minnow lure from wood. I have my fishing and carving gear with me. They’re always with me.