March 1, 1917
I’ve bought this journal to write in. I got the idea when I heard about the diaries given to the soldiers before they go overseas. I saw the journal when I bought more paints at the Art Supplies Store on King. I needed more paints and I was hoping the new tubes of colour will give me inspiration. It’s dark now. Past 10:30pm. Another day of frustration. I scraped off a week’s worth of effort. The background was all wrong and I redid the sky and worked on the pine in the foreground. I was making a fine mess of it and I decided enough was enough for the day. My inner voice is telling me, “Try something else, Tom.” I’ll do some writing instead.
So here I am writing at my table by kerosene lantern. The electrical’s gone out once again this week but with the lantern I have enough light to write. I can see around me barely. A dim glow is coming out through the cracks in the top of the wood stove and it’s near pitch black above, where my bunk is. The lantern is casting a sickly kerosene hue on my boards and canvases making them look anemic and pallid. A dozen of my boards lie on the floor. Hundreds more are stacked in piles against the other wall – SUMMER, WINTER, SPRING, FALL. Four years worth of boards and a winter’s worth of canvas, ready to be sold, given or tossed away.
The good chaps are gone. Alex Jackson is recuperating in England. Lawren Harris is in Barrie at Camp Borden. I am all alone.
March 1, 1917