Letter to Jim MacDonald, April 12, 1917

Mowat P.O. Ontario April 12, 1917

Dear Jim,

I’ve been here at the P.O. for almost two weeks now. It’s been a pretty cold spring and there’s still lots of snow in the bush. I’ve made an arrangement with the Frasers that I’ll be able to stay here on account until July at least. I’ll be doing odd jobs to keep the expenses as low as I can.

The sketching is going well. I’ve been out every day. I don’t venture too far out, which I hope to do when the ice is out most likely in May. There’s more snow than I bargained for, so I’ve been using quite a bit of White. I’ll add a list to the end of this letter of things I’m hoping you can send up.

Mowat is getting busier each day. Shannon seems to have done a good job of convincing the consumptives to come in springtime. He’s quite the publicist – ‘Enjoy the Vista View While Recuperating In Comfort’ was his latest ad in the newspapers. As for us, Artists, we apparently enjoy the ‘Rustic Charm’, which means the rooms with the least heat.

I plan to keep the sketches here at the lodge. I am going to have a show here on Victoria day and should have about 60 or so by then. After, I’ll have them sent down, and put in the shack.

Please give my regards to Mrs. MacDonald and Thoreau.

Affectionately,

Tom

P.S.

I need a few more paints and Lawren said I could put in on his account at the store. As for shipping, please ask Dr. MacCallum, as he may have some proceeds from some sales.

– White – I’ll need several tubes. I used a lot painting the snow
– Red, Orange, Vermilion, Yellow, Alazarin
– Green – emerald, veridian
– Blue, it’s expensive so just one tube

Also, I forgot to pack my flyhooks. You’ll find about a dozen in the side shed, top drawer in the cabinet. Can you send those along too?

April 2,1917 Letter to Winnie Trainor

April 2, 1917
Mowat P.O.

Dear Winnie,

I had meant to write you when I was back in Toronto but my time was taken up finishing my paintings and getting ready to go North. This is my very first letter from up North and I hope this makes it up for you.

I’ve been up here for over a week now and I’m still getting settled in with the Frasers. As of a few days ago, we’re six guests at the lodge. There was only two when I arrived but three more came in a couple of days ago. They came from Ottawa on doctor’s orders. The Highland Inn’s not taking consumptives so Shannon’s making good business by saying his lodge was a former hospital and ready for the ill. Mowat Lodge is for the sickly and the poor artists. I told Shannon that he should add that line to his Mowat P.O. letterhead.

As for my plans, I’ll be staying at the P.O. until the ice goes out and camping afterwards. Judging by the ice, that will be until early May. I’m also thinking about applying for a Guide’s license, so that means I’ll be staying close to the lodge when business comes up. Shannon’s got a good fleet of boats now, and he’ll be ready to hire them out. I’ll be the guide for the parties.

A few days ago I did a good sketch just in front of your cottage. You’ve got a good view from there. I’d say it’s a better view than what you have in the summertime. I checked around the place and it doesn’t look like any animals got in, so you shouldn’t have any nasty surprises when you open up the cottage.

I doubt I’ll make it to Huntsville this spring. But I am hoping you’ll be able to make it up in early May. You should try to make it as early as possible in the month to get some good time in before the bugs get really bad.

Please give my regards to your parents and to your sister. Tell them I enjoyed my visit last Thanksgiving and your family’s hospitality was appreciated. My regrets I can’t make it for Easter, but you’ll be here soon enough and I think you’ll be pleased at the amount of painting I’ve done. It’s hard work each day, but when I see the sketches altogether it’s pretty rewarding.

I’ll post this letter myself at the train station tomorrow. Mowat P.O. has curious and sometime unreliable postmasters.

Yours truly,

Tom

Letter to Lismer, June 29, 1917

Dear Arthur,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I have done no sketching since the flies started. I have been doing some guiding but not as much as I would like. I had some Americans a couple of weeks ago and I have had some political men from Ottawa. There’s word that the Province might allow deer hunting to feed the troops at the front. There’s lots of deer, some are calling it an infestation, like the wolves, better to be eliminated for good of mankind, they say. I’m not sure of that. I get along with the wildlife quite well. Continue reading “Letter to Lismer, June 29, 1917”

Letter to Winnie Trainor

Mowat P.O.  Algonquin Park
May 27, 1917

Dear Winnie,

I am sorry I did not give you a proper goodbye on Friday morning. Your train had left before I was up. I know that you were angry for all of the time I was spending with Dr MacCallum. I am sorry. We had planned a canoe trip and camping but with weather being so miserable he decided to stay at Mowat Lodge instead. The Dr and his son Arthur only stayed for four days instead of the two weeks so you can see why I spent all of my time with them.

You are back in Huntsville now. I don’t know when you’ll be back at the Manse. Your father will be down here for work but I don’t reckon I’ll speak to him, or give him letters to bring back. I hope this letter gets to you through the post. I left my sketches on the porch of your cottage late Thursday night. No one was up, so I left them on the porch in a potato sack that Shannon gave me. Did you take some back with you?  I don’t remember how many I gave away but there should be forty at least. I think my exhibition went well, but many of the guests were too dazed with the war news in the papers from Toronto. I’ll check if they are still there and put them inside with my other gear. Shannon wants to charge me for storing extra stuff at the Lodge. Says he needs the room for his guests. I’ll keep my canoe off to the one side and out of the way.

Shannon does still owe me money. But he will be good for it. He says he needs to account some for room and board and I don’t have much choice but to stay at Mowat Lodge. The weather is poor and I need to stay close in case I get guiding work. A fair deal in some ways because business is bad all around for everyone. Shannon and Annie need some help putting in the garden and can be of some use being the gardener. I suppose you heard that Charlie Scrim isn’t doing well. Some days are better than others. I promised to spend time with him to help lift his spirits.

I doubt I’ll be doing any more sketching in the next while. Summer doesn’t have the colours I’m looking for and there’s little mood for art when the war is going so badly. The word around is that a conscription bill might go through. Up to 45 years in age. They need more artists fighting the Hun. Jackson’s still in England. I may see him there after all.

Well I’d better get this finished. It’s still early and I might have a guiding job today. Give my regards to your mother and sister. I may see your father here on occasion.

Aff.

Tom

Letter to Winnie Trainor

March 2, 1917
Studio Building ,
Severn  St.
Toronto

Dear Winnie

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 is 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.

Affectionately yours,

Tom