Making Happy Rooms

As you know I’ve been working on the many steps to upgrade a 1970’s living room into a comfortable modern young woman’s house. Yesterday I experienced a new take on an old object that might now have a new place in my living room.

To explain this thoroughly, you need to know that a few years back I travelled across Newfoundland and explored many of the nooks and crannies of bays and outposts, and upon my return home was gifted a beautiful painting of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. Petty Harbour is located near the “big” city of St, John’s just south of Cape Spear (which happens to be the most easterly point in North America – I love the little bits of trivia you can pick up in travels!) I had this painting in the living room of a former home, but after breaking up with the gift giver, it seemed a weird reminder to hang on such a prominent wall.

painting of Petty Harbour NfldThis painting of Petty Harbour Stages is by Tish Holland is relevant to Alan Doyle (lead singer of Great Big Sea, who I’m a big fan of) as it’s the town he grew up in, and the subject of his new book Where I Belong: Small Town to Great Big Sea. The painting he discusses below is a different one, but this is my connection.

My video was sized to large to be imbedded in this post (and I probably don’t have copyright to it), so instead please see the text below of Alan Doyle at Ottawa Writers Festival, Thursday October 23rd, on meeting an artist on one of his early summers in Petty Harbour. This story follows an explanation describing the small town with a river dividing his Catholic neighborhood from the Protestant community across the bridge.

I went over and said: “What are ya doing?” He said, “I’m painting.” He had a French accent too, which I won’t do in Ottawa. I said, “What are you painting?” ‘cause painting to me meant painting the side of a house and he said “I’m painting the water ‘cause it’s shining in the sun.” I said “why?” He said “‘cause I think it’ll make a beautiful painting.” I thought for a minute and asked… “what for, what’s the painting for?” He said “Well, it’ll probably make someone’s room happier!” (Audience sighs and claps)

I said “What do you mean?” and he said “Well come see.” And I came around and looked at it and I’d never seen anything like it in my life to this point. The water was bluer than it is, the sky was whiter than it is; the church… the Protestant church… didn’t look very scary! (Audience chuckles) 

Alan Doyle reads

I’m appreciative to CBC for my free night out, meet and greet with the honoured guest, and to Alan Doyle for suggesting that my Petty Bay picture will simply make my living room happier!

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