Over this past year, we have all had a lot of time for contemplation.Originally we had considered having the Celebration of Life for Michael in 2020 – hindsight being 2020, as the old saying goes.
As it is, things have worked out for the best. Our show at the Kent Farndale Gallery in March 2019 brought its first international sales and established the fair and correct market evaluations of the collection. The gallery itself showed the paintings in their best light and it was the perfect place to debut Michael’s 1950’s works.
The Lake Scugog Studio Tour in May was everything we had hoped it would be. The newly renovated cottage and restored grounds were open for the weekend. The artists’ preview on the Friday gave participating artists a chance to see the other venues, and it was the spark that lit the candle as many sent messages to family and friends saying ” you must come and see Persephone’s Eden – it is so beautiful and this is the only year it will be on the tour”.
About 175 people visited throughout the weekend, some who came on the Saturday returned on Sunday with friends and family. One lovely lady came back with her mother to show her the seas of scillas and hosts of daffodils around the house and ponds. The Vista with the woodland point across the lake as the focal point framed the view like a Tom Thompson or Lawren Harris painting, just as we hoped that it would.
This summer we added an Autumn Blaze Maple to the view – just like the one Norma painted in 2010 – it is a perfect splash of red in the foreground of fall colours.
In Spring, the Scugog Council of the Arts looked for sponsors to support “Art you can sit in”. Ten Muskoka chairs were painted by members of the SCA for people to sit beside the gallery in the mews and many people found they had the luxury of time to reflect.
Shelley Martin painted the perfect chair for us to sponsor in memory of Michael and our accomplishments in 2019 – the bullrushes on the legs, forget-me-nots and a ladybug on the armrests with a view so similar to our Vista on the backrest was the perfect place to muse on the memories created last year.
Each of the chairs was given a name and the one we sponsored was dubbed ‘The Big Hug’. Sitting in the chair for a moment one really feels part of the landscape. That moment of realisation has been the highlight of this summer, a summer so different from any other we have ever known.
In June 1919 there was the book launch and show at Latitude 44 Gallery in Toronto with a second show in September that ran in parallel to the SCA Gallery show and the Local Option Arts Awards. 16 businesses along Queen St in Port Perry hosted 16 artists and the winners, who had been chosen by the public, were announced at the end of Culture Days, the final day of our show. Michael would have loved it.
We feel blessed to have had such tremendous help in making our 2019 Retrospective such a success in so many ways: old friends reconnected and more memories came to the surface. Norma enjoyed the process of putting the book together as well as choosing which paintings went into the gallery shows. Now she is reaping the benefits of renewed friendships and fond memories as are we all.
And we are also looking forward to 2021 and the new opportunities it will bring. So this moment reminds us of Janus, the god of gates and doors, who is synonymous with looking forwards and back. Janus is part of the mythology Michael adored so much and took as great inspiration for his work. A perfect note to end this reflection and enter the Age of Aquarius with all the new possibilities that it holds.