During the Italian Renaissance painters who were fortunate enough to become wealthy through the patronage of the Medici, or others of that ilk, followed this pattern setting aside a studiolo from the communal workshop where the master and his apprentices co-operated in making works of High Art.
This version of the studiolo was not so much a place of refuge, although the master might plan designs there. It was essentially a well appointed sales room.



We have previously dealt with the history of  European studios in the following centuries. Studios of the academic Victorian painters were massive statements of success through connections as well as talent and industry. Studios of the avant garde were usually modest before they became accepted as leaders of the pack. In his years of fame, Sir Francis Grant (above) did not need a sales room.



The Golden Age of Illustration was a period of unprecedented excellence in book and magazine illustration. It developed from advances in technology permitting accurate and inexpensive reproduction of art, combined with a voracious public demand for new graphic art. Walter Crane's, Neptune's Horses is an early example of illustrative work of this "age" which lasted for three decades beginning in  Victorian times.



"In Europe, Golden Age artists were influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and by such design-oriented movements as the Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau, and Les Nabis. Leading artists included Walter Crane, Edmund Dulac, Aubrey Beardsley, Arthur Rackham )above illustration) and Kay Nielsen."



"American illustration of this period was anchored by the Brandywine Valley tradition, begun by Howard Pyle and carried on by his students, who included N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Frank Schoonover and Edwin Austin Abbey."



These people were not usually creating paintings for palaces. and their book and magazine work demanded small images for reproduction.  Studios were therefore smaller, modest. They were arranged for efficiency rather than effect since they were not sales rooms per se. When these "artisans" painted murals they rented large open spaces, where teams of masters and students sometimes worked together.




Here we have Frank Schoonover (centre) as an art teacher. quite early on when shepherd's smocks were "the rage" as well as a shields against oil paint stains. A youthful pupil, Howard Pyle, stands at left. These lads had picked a great vocation.




Art Encyclopedia, which we have quoted does not list the entire talent pool, and not all of them ended up in New York and Chicago. Will Pogani was based in New York but like many illustrators would undertake work whenever and wherever it called. From 1917 until 1921 he was a set and costume designer for the Metropolitan Opera. Don't be deluded into thinking that they always worked from life. Photography was well developed by the twentieth century. Numerous publicity photographs showing these fellows working from models added to their mystique. All good things have had their endings and the Great Depression constrained the cash flow needed to sustain high quality coloured printed products.




The stars of illustration later in that century mastered black and white imagery using pen and ink, until it was supplanted by computer generated images. The use of colour in advertising and political caricature was  restricted during World War II and was several decades on recovery. Ronald Searle was born just as the Golden Age ended and only began cartooning as that war commenced. He survived Japanese incarceration and went on to become a well regarded illustrator. These folk  produced images smaller than those needed for process colour back in the good old days and posted their stuff to buyers.  Thus, they had no need to make a show of any kind.  With exceptions their studios were (and are) a bit of a jungle, but not a problem for the artisan as long as he knows where the wild things are.



Andrew Wyeth's studio has probably been tidied up since his death.  It is now a museum, but he was not everybody's pal when he used this workspace. Some have denigrated him as a local illustrator but that's sour grapes.  Searle, in spite of his friendly smile was even more of a private person, and it surprising that he consented to the video from which the above clip is taken.  His workspace was probably more crowded before the cameraman arrived. Both men did have a surround of real friends but were obsessive when it came to drawing and painting.




One should not base generalizations on example from the dead side. Steve Bell is an English political cartoonist, whose work appears in The Guardian and other publications. He is known for his left-wing views, but then the right-wing is an easy target. He did try teach art for one year. In my case it was one lesson with one pupil,  which lasted one hour.  My workspace used to look like this before all my photos and clip art got transferred to an Apple back in 1995.




Alexander Colville was my art teacher for one year back in the 1950s. He appeared to have been a neat freak, but the smock he wore in life classes was khaki coloured and his additions to student work were minor, and his attic workspace at Sackville was always tidy when visitors were at hand. His studio furniture was all hand-made (possibly by Job Sears the carpenter at the gallery, who manufactured frames for students at $5 each, one size). These primitive structures were sturdy and went with him to his last studio in Wolfville. Notice the paint daubs on the easel, a technique for clearing brushes I  learned from him.




My furniture, excepting the easel was acquired at yard sales. When we rented here at Mahone Bay for a couple of years at the end of the last decade, I was quite productive and found the painting/studio space to be the best ever. It never felt crowded, and the condo had a storage room for larger blank canvases and completed work. Studio spaces after that were cramped.




The alcove in the old Zwicker place on Main Street, where we were tenants for 13 rather terrible months, was no exception. I set up a workplace but never got to use it. Fortunately we were evicted by the end of May, 2017.




Back at "The Meadows" in September, 2017, we finally settled on  work stations in what had been a dining room we rarely used. This means that the sense of isolation while working is relieved. That double window catches what natural winter light is available. The art production area is now separated from the computer station. We purchased a third folding desk for $25 on Kiji. It matched the two we had bought new years ago, and will become a work table for priming canvases, framing and that sort of thing.



The paint mixing table is a cast off mobile kitchen butcher block, whose surface was warped and replaced with an unused frame that just happened to be a dimensional match for the empty space. Add a $3 ceramic tile and voila, a tabouret.  To save the agony of cleanup of that surface purchased a divided glass plate. I've used palettes but hate them. Everything is repositioned to catch the best light when in use.  I may have to move to the bay window at the north east when the sun changes course for the summer, tracking further north than at present. Hoping that will not be necessary.




Me worry about a new start? You bet! Still I have the canvas, the frame, paints and brushes from times well, at last, passed. Colouring is more fun than drawing? Motivation? I have promised Ruth a painting by Christmas.



Scots unfortunate enough to have been harried off the old sod by absentee landlords, sometimes sympathize with the former plight of Acadians. Unlike them, few have returned to Scotland, excepting folk like two of my brothers who went there as curious tourists. We have visited the south western remnants of Acadia within Nova Scotia more recently than those in the north east. Except for reconstructions not much remains of their historic architecture, but it deserves remembrance at the very least.



Let's just leave this as open to interpretation.
Although most  Acadians and Québécois are French speaking Canadians, Acadia was organized and governed as a distinctly separate colony of New France. They are different historically and culturally and speak a variant of French, which evolved independent of both France and Quebec. The settlers whose descendants became Acadians came from many areas in France, but especially regions such as Île-de-France, Normandy, Brittany, Poitou and Aquitaine.



LIke many Europeans some left behind homes that looked like this. This is une maison à colombages roughly the equivalent of "a half-timbered house," a type of dwelling dating to medieval times.  In context, the word colombage is along the lines of "studwood," the framework of the house actually seen projecting through a matrix of some sort of filler between them.




Some of the structures seen at the reconstruction of the fort at Port Royal in Annapolis County are en pile, based on rough timbers partially buried in the ground. After a brief spell they tended to succumb to weathering and erosion of the wood, but the intending settlement there in 1605 was destroyed by the English in 1612. The en colombage house pre-dated the piece sur piece version where rough logs were cross piled forming what the English call a "log cabin" or "log house." Those vertical studs were best placed on a rock wall, but early on, they were driven into the ground or buried Clapboards were usually a later addition to shield a home from wind.



Azor Vinneau's helpful painting of a pre-clearance house helps clarify construction. Land was cleared and brush burned. A rock foundation for the house and chimney was built. Logs were squared using axes which were flat on one side. Carpenters created mortise and tenon joints on the ground and then the end-pieces were raised manually. Women and children managed the food chain and brought drinking water to the men.




In France these houses require repair and some new ones are actually being built as they have stood the test of time, and that is why we have the method of construction available on the World Wide Web. The elements of structure have different names in English but are otherwise identical in construction and use.



Here is how things are framed up before adding roof timbers.  Trunnels trump mails and screws for making certain that there is coherent movement of the whole house when the wind blows.  Surplus wood is trimmed off.



Here is a Acadian home replica in need of a new roof.



This map explains why the English were fearful after defeating the French and occupying Acadia in the middle of this particular century. The Acadians and their Indian allies in what came to be called Nova Scotia vastly outnumbered the English who had created Halifax as a military base in 1749. That is without considering Quebecois and French nationals left at Fort Louisbourg after its fall, as ell as brethren in present-day New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. There was along history of animosity and warfare, and neither side was well intentioned. The expected disaster followed in deportation of the French Catholic population and replacement with Protestant Foreigners and Brits of various ethnic backgrounds and mixed loyalties.
 

In the end, after decades of push and pull, it was again shown that warfare never resolves anything.  Bad joss persists.




The Bellisle house mentioned above yielded rough measurements and a equally obtuse idea of what the house might have looked like. They did know what ceramics and glassware might go with the house, and what with this and that, a replica was planned.




It would have been an enormous expens and effort to recreate  something along the lines of this model in full scale. Land was available to recreate one home at Annapolis Royal near the site of the English Fort Anne, already a tourist draw. The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens is a 17 acre horticultural showcase themed to tell the story of Nova Scotia settlement from an agricultural and horticultural perspective. They say, "La Maison acadienne features the only archeologically authenticated replica of a pre-deportation Acadian dwelling in the Maritime region. The potager is based on original diary notes from the Acadian era, while the orchard and willow hedge are heritage cultivars from the 17th Century. La Maison acadienne is based on a 1671 time period when Port-Royal (later Annapolis Royal) was the centre of Acadie."




Here is how the Acadian House is represented in official photographs. Postcards are available at the gift shop. Unfortunately, reenact ors are only occasionally featured. The purple florets appear on edible chives. The lot where the house sits was once owned by Jacques, Marguerite and Anne La Tour, the heirs of Charles LaTour the Governor of Acadie. When Jacques died his share of the ownership was transferred to his widow Anne Melanson who then married Alexandre Robichaud. The Robichauds disputed the patent that local merchant John Adams received for this land in 1732. They lost.





La Maison acadienne is in position 8 on this new compass- challenged map of the Gardens.The Willows (A) is the name given a house built in the Bracketted style in 1863. "This building is located on the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens property and acts as the offices and gift shop for that organization as well as a residential rental property. The house sits well back from the street with a circular driveway and the Historic Garden's parking lot located in front... The property was purchased in 1980 by the Annapolis Royal Industrial Development Commission with the goal of designing a public garden. This project was part of a major effort to rejuvenate Annapolis Royal at this time." - historicalplaces.ca.  A gift shop (B) was added at the rear of the building.




La Maison acadienne
was built in 1982-1983. These are the eastern and northern faces of the building. The Canadian Register Of Historic Places claims that, " Using information discovered during the archaeological digs that took place at Belleisle, Nova Scotia in the 1980s, this house replicates the size, construction and decoration of a pre deportation Acadian dwelling.



Google "La Maison acadienne" and you will get quite a few images. shoeing how successful this place and the gardens have been in drawing tourists.




R&R used to do the paint-on-site shows, including the annual affair at Annapolis Royal. It was always a break-even affair and public exposure only once resulted in a peripheral sale of a painting at this two day affair.  Ruth's mum loved plein air exposure and always sold something, again enough to cover room and board.  Buying into that show and sale included a free pass to The Gardens and visiting painters were invited to paint flowers and this building.  A few did, but architecture is not everyone's cup of tea.  One's sense of perspective has to be fairly good when pretending to be a Fine Artist.  The weather was usually rotten and some point during five hours spent outdoors, and in case of rain...




Back then, one had to paint two pictures within five hours to cover all expenses. Three paintings were needed to take home a bit of profit, but that meant working quickly as it took time to move from one painting site to another. It is amazing how little one can accomplish in about an hour. It was sunny when I arrived and I was ahead of schedule,  having painted some nearby roses in bloom.  However, the wind died and the mosquitoes and black flies came out in response to an early morning rain. The last touches went on inside this lone sheiling in the midst of a thundershower. Thing is, Ruth wanted this sketch and it was already up for auction and brought a good price.




Over the years, I have taken more indoor photographs than shots of the exterior. But then I have only just begun to index in a way that a search engine might understand.



This southern exposure is not much in terms of interest or composition and the photo is contrasty.




That elderly photo with Mary, Mary removed and an Acadian woman substituted through the magic of Photoshop? Ruth wanted something more like the painting.




We were there late this year, and click, click. I was not thinking in terms of a painting.  But, let's fiddle with the contrast and send Ruth home?



Not perfect, but that's the advantage of creating a painting over taking a photograph; any outcome is possible, and hopefully better than this.  Ruth gave assent, so I only bumped the photo down to 12x14 inches, the size of the canvas and an easy fit on my computer monitor. The laser printer is off line just now, and I never look at photographs (unless trouble ensues) in any event. All I really want is a decent freehand drawing.



Painters have been squaring-off the view in dozens of way since before the Renaissance. This protects against drawing in lines which are in the wrong quarter.  If this was a big picture there would be more equal divisions of the reference photo. I've given Photoshop three commands: "Find Edges, Increase Saturation and Darken." The greens are plant life, the blues sky and the rest guesswork. Getting the house right is the primary objective, The natural world having few straight lines is alway less problem. Speaking of less being more...



This is, of course, recommended subject matter! Like prints, non-objective art is usually done fast and won't dirty your hands, nose or ears.



"By the time you're eighty years old you've learned everything. You only have to remember it." George Burns (1896-1996)

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