Watson Museum | Winter Exhibition | 2017

January 1 – March 19, 2017

Interpretive Tour 519-748-4377 ext.233

Moonlight Majesty || Homer Ransford Watson

Many of Watson’s Works of art seem to be a meditative reflection of our country and our survival within it, both on primal level and a divine level.  For Homer Watson, the greatest value that a painting could express was the soulful harmony he found inherent in the natural world.  In Watson’s words:  “To me nature speaks of a mighty region outside man, a greex97_01at spirituality that vaguely flashes through space; and the wish to grasp this unfathomable mystery more firmly and have it repose on canvas became my greatest endeavour”.  It was on June 18th 1933, former Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, experienced this spiritual repose on canvas  when King was visiting Watson in his studio.  There King found the thick lush brush strokes of blues and reds intertwining to capture the wind swirling around the trees while the reflection of the moon on the water mirrored his own inner reflections.  King immediately acquired the painting for his home.  The painting remains on display in Ottawa to this day.  Homer Watson painted these mysterious and moonlit scenes after the death of his beloved wife Roxy.  It is his final series of paintings en plein air in which Watson believed that each painting captured moonlight as the moonbeam hit the wet paints and was forever solidified into the natural beauty of the scene.  Explore a few of these treasures now on exhibit in his studio.


 First Curator || Phoebe Amelia Watson

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, HWHG-Haunted-History-Phoebecommunity 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.