1 House 100 Years

Preparing For The Centennial Of A Place That Matters

Month: January, 2014

Tom Thomson, An Artist With A Canoe


This weekend, I spent some time exploring the life and work of Canadian artist Tom Thomson. It is difficult to describe his work without pictures so I have provided some favorites here. He canoed, he fished, he painted. It would have been awesome to have seen him painting the wilderness.

Most of his paintings were done outdoors, surrounded by the Canadian landscape that he loved so much. The brush strokes are bold and sure. They convey the eye of a keen observer of nature, immersed in the landscape. How very different from paintings done from photographs in a studio space.

The sampling of paintings here may serve as an introduction to Tom Thomson’s paintings. The snow scenes show a strong complimentary color scheme in the blue shadows and orange-brown foliage. The cloudscape shows incredible brushwork and color sensitivity. Included is a painting of his canoe which he greatly enjoyed.

Tom Thomson died unexpectedly and rather mysteriously in 1917. His work was unknown to me until a recent desire to find answers to the question: “What art would possibly have been hanging in my home when it was built in 1920?” These paintings fit me and they fit my house.


Tom Thomson created hundreds of paintings in the few short years before his unexpected death. For additional artworks and to learn more about the artist, visit West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson. Another valuable resources (though from a different “history detective” perspective) is Death On A Painted Lake: The Tom Thomson Tragedy.


Old Sketchbooks From “The Turn Of The Century”


Home projects are going rather slowly, partly due to so much disorganization everywhere. This is to be expected, though after seven years, you would think I would be more accustomed to it. Moving as much out of the living and dining rooms makes things a bit more crowded everywhere else.

Serious floor analysis is now underway. There are only two major areas that must be replaced due to water damage and rot. Neither is in what would be considered frequent walking areas. Since I plan to use large rugs in both rooms, much of the floor would be covered anyway.

Reshuffling yet again boxes and books and stacks of just old “stuff” gave me a chance to look at some of my old sketchbooks from “the turn of the century.” These were started when access to the internet was still by something I think they called “dial up” back then.

These were a reminder to me that one reason I had wanted to own my own house was to have space to do creative projects like bringing in fresh things from the yard and garden to draw or to paint. You should never wait for “one day.” Delayed creativity withers.

This photograph was taken January 2014. The sketchbooks are arranged chronologically with oldest on the bottom (from last century) to newest on the top (this century). The figure drawing was done in a drawing class from life with a five minute time limit and my left hand (the one not usually used for drawing).

You Can Sometimes Learn As Much About Yourself As You Learn About Your Old House


While considering a choice between installing modern showroom type flooring that makes many people “ooh” and “aah” and holding onto the old floor that makes me comfortably at home in the early morning light, I am wondering, “How will 3/8 inch plywood and engineered floor boards make me feel?”

Here is a link to a post written by another blogger that describes and shows in great detail how they restored the floors of their Victorian home, one even older than mine. “How To Sand And Restore A Victorian Wooden Floor”

Here is a related link by the same blogger that tells more about the product that was used to give their floors an incredible finish. “And On The Eighth Day God Created Osmo Polyx Oil” Will need to research more about this product. The finished results look really good. I particularly like how it helps the replacement boards match the original boards so well.

This photograph was taken January 2014. It is an attempt to help answer the question, “How will my flooring decision make me feel?” Perhaps this dining room makes you feel differently than it does me, but I am having a hard time imagining this house still being called “home” without this floor to look at in the morning.

The comments below are helpful too, so if you are looking for information and support for a similar project of your own, be sure to read those as well. There are plenty of reasons to restore the old floors and not to replace or cover over them.