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(Museum is closed for private events Saturday May 6 and Saturday May 13)
Many of Watson’s works of art seems to be a response to the ever changing seasons. Homer enjoyed capturing nature in all her moods and spring supplied a variety of subjects to paint: lush woods, flooded fields, angry streams and stormy skies interspersed with small cottages and blooms of fruit trees. To Homer, Canada was young and in its beginnings: “I think Europe’s a delightful place to paint. In fact I should have stayed there, but I am sure I couldn’t paint Canadian pictures in Europe….Coming back to Canada, I realized there was no particular road. So, I had to dig in and help make a road.” Homer reflected, “One feels in Europe everything has been done, while here everything is yet to be done. So, on the whole, I’m glad I came back”. Explore a few of these spring treasures now on exhibit in his studio.
Not a lot is known about Phoebe Watson (1858-1947), the younger sister of Homer Watson; her diaries remain at large. But what we do know is that Phoebe was a caregiver, business women, gardener, landowner, community worker, traveler, lover and friend. She threw parties that everyone wanted to attend. In the height of the depression, she invited guests to a “backward” party and asked them to dress in old forgotten clothes. She opened the door for guests, and holding a lighted candle, dressed in her mother’s old fashioned nightgown, welcomed her guests with a “Good Bye” in true backward greeting. Among all her traits this woman of mystery was most celebrated as both a feminist (before there was such a word), and artist for which she received great accolades and awards previously reserved for men. Phoebe wrote: “Women’s influence on the world at large is always felt, how can it be otherwise?” Phoebe’s hand painted china became admired and collected on a national level. Among her paintings on display at the gallery you will find a tall black vase skilfully painted in art-deco flavour with scenes of glowing colours of the famous sunrises and moonlit nights on Lake Huron. You will also find lush red roses, painted in free falling wisps on a small bowl and be drawn to the subtle flowers outlining a women’s vanity set. Drop by the gallery to find out more about Phoebe and see her work.