This early Homer Watson painting “The Old Mill” (1878) was painted when Watson was only 23 years old. Watson had just returned home from his brief artistic education, first at the Toronto Normal school and then in New York state where it is believed he trained with Hudson River School painter George Inness. “The Old Mill” is a romantic rendition of a mill and villagers in Doon. Mills were a favourite subject matter for Watson, unsurprisingly, as they were one of the main sources of employment in Doon. Watson’s Grandfather, James Watson, built and operated his own woolen mill. The mill remained in family operation until Homer’s mother, Susannah, had to sell it to pay off family debts. After establishing himself as an artist, Watson couldn’t help but come back to this subject matter.