Last September I spent three weeks as the artist in residence in the amazing Historic Sherbrooke Village. I had been there many years ago with one of my daughters, and have a photograph of us taken in the Ambrotype glass photo studio. You can still get your photograph taken there. It was a wonderful experience to be away from daily responsibilities and able to concentrate on painting.
Sherbrooke was a thriving community in the 1860’s, in the days when timber was needed to build tall ships followed by a gold rush. More recently salmon fishing was common in fishing pools by the St Mary’s river. As these sources of income disappeared many of the buildings were abandoned, and in 1969 the Sherbrooke Village Restoration area was established to conserve some of the buildings. I had a bedroom above the weaver’s studio, where items were produced for use in the buildings and the gift shop. My studio was in another building in the village. It was an incredible experience when the gates closed in the morning, and I walked to my studio along a road with no cars, meeting interpreters in costume. I wore period costume for a couple of days, but found those long skirts difficult to handle!
Most of the smaller paintings are plein air studies done around the village. Each day I was visited by chickens from the farm in the village, and one painting is taken from a photograph I took of my visitors.
Two of the larger paintings were done on rainy days in my studio, working from photographs I took in the forge and along the St Mary’s River, which ran behind my studio. One is a plein air study of Spider Island, which is in a lake alongside a trail that leads from the Stamp Mill, used to crush gold-bearing rock.