One of the few benefits we get from this COVID 19 pandemic is plenty of time for Zoom visits with family, friends and reminiscing. Forty years of working non-stop at being an artist, packs away a lot of memories - of workshops and shows and painting trips.
Thinking back on those times - painting in Old Quebec City, setting up along the Icefields Parkway in Banff - I periodically ask myself “What have I gained from those experiences besides good memories?” Certainly, I acquired a serious respect, for the limitless ways artists go about their life’s work, and many long-lasting friendships.
And a burning desire to discover better ways to express myself through my art. It’s what keeps me painting.
Recently I was pleased to be asked to be one of several jurors, for an art exhibition; to grade, all the entries without the benefit of interviewing the artists. I dutifully applied my experience and knowledge in making my judgements, but in each case,I could only guess at the artist’s intent. I find it difficult to separate the work from the artist. Similarly, when I am asked to critique someone’s work. I need some dialog with the artist so that my remarks can be both personal and thoughtful.
But I digress, memories and nostalgia are important to me. They give me a foundation on which to move forward. I am convinced that the work I am doing now is the best work I have ever done. It’s been a great road to travel with no end in sight.
One of Patricia and my special treats, before COVID-19 that is, was dinning at Cabotto’s Restaurant on Hazeldean Road in Stittsville. Not only is the food and presentation at this award-winning restaurant special but just walking through the front door of this 155-year-old stone Ontario Heritage building is a warm and welcoming experience. The restaurant offers six dining areas and two fireplaces surrounded by stained glass windows and white tablecloths.
The building itself has a lot of history, I discovered. Originally called Kemp’s Tavern, it was built in 1868 to serve as a respite for horse and buggy travelers. It survived the Great Carleton Fire in 1870 that ripped through 250,000 acres, from Ottawa to Smith Falls and Carleton Place two years later. With the advent of the CPR railroad in 1871, there was a reduction in traveling customers and the building was eventually sold. Following a series of owners, in 1982 it became Checquer’s restaurant.
In 2003 Mr. Vinncenzo Pucci purchased the property and relocated Cabotta’s Restaurant there. It remains owned and operated by the Pucci family.
May 1, 2021
The Art of Charles Spratt