COTTAGE COUNTRY, 30X40 INCHES ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, every summer family rented a cottage on a lake all the relatives showed up card games baseball fishing with Grandpa listened to his stories of winter holiday in Arizona, years later i purchased a depressed property in Johnsons Ranch did a lot of oil paintings hot dry unlike the rainy westcoast.




The high point of the summer as a kid was the cottage.  Only my Uncle was rich enough to buy I cottage we rented.  The advantage to renting was we were in a different cottage every summer.   Lake Nippising,  Carrying Place where the fur trading canoes did the portage,  Beaverton on Lake Simcoe, and many others until following my mother’s programming I purchased a half acre on Hornby Island.  With a lot of sweat equity and help from friends built my hippy shack which is what older  brother called it.  My mother called it Panima Beach where her family had their cottage on Lake Winnipeg.    My hippy shack is on the Hornby Island architectural tour as a unique example of  local building.  My older brother’s house, a conventional boring structure is not.    Ronnie Larson, a Norwegian was the builder.  We hauled  boulders off the beach to anchor the foundations in the mud.  The siding was Red Cedar Alaska milled.   The windows were  recycled Neo Classical,  from Victoria.    I taught art classes in trade to carpenters wives and children, traded my motorcyle for carpentry.   By September it was finished enough to rent out to pay the mortgage on the $10,000 loan.    20 years later I sold it for $152,000!  I always tell the kids buy the dirt or stocks and bonds everything else goes down in value.

Once  the main cottage was finished the next summer we built Grams and Grampa’s one room cottage.   It was across the street from Grandma’s beach where her ashes years later fed the clams. 

 They were golden years until the world discovered this is the number two place on the planet after Switzerland to live.  This is especially true of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.  I talked a friend into buying in  Cumberland, the old mining town, house was $27,000 its now worth partly because it has acreage for $1.3 million!   She is not happy her taxes are so high she can’t afford to retire but being old doesn’t want to move.  Her kids, two boys are waiting for their horse to come in and her ashes go to Grandma’s Beach. 

I do a lot of house portraits.   One  family had lived in a 400 year old stone building near Brussels as the father was military attache for the Canadian embassy.  The also wanted a painting done of the family cottage on Georgian Bay.  A.Y. Jackson had stayed there and he had written a letter thanking them for their hospitality.   I write the history of the building.  When it was built how long had the family stayed there.   This goes on the back of the painting so that fifty years from now the next generation can read about family folk lore.   I also do an edition of prints for each family member so the kids as adults will look at the print, miss Mom and come for a visit.  With a cottage that is usually not difficult.  

The extreme heat in the Okanogan was the reason for the family  gratefully came to the cottage in the Gulf Islands.  The  cool breeze off the ocean makes for pleasant summers.   We had many family dinners and many friends showed up.  When the mother and father passed away that is all gone.  There is very little contact and the nuclear family is no more as the new reality has taken over.    Only the rich elite can afford cottage.  We started out with a surplus army bell tent.  It was amazing how my father could pack all the camping gear in a small Austen Flying Standard, with suicide doors.   He was not happy when at 85 he lost his license  stating he had driven the Autobahn in Germany and survived driving in England on the left side of the road.   If he had done yoga and had the flexibilty he could have kept driving.  Yoga was a foreign language.