Sunday, August 16, 2009

10 More reasons to be happy

The schoolhouse -- a perfect house shape

Okay! I've been thinking about the schoolhouse and trying
to figure out why I love it. It is really the simplest
of structures -- a child's drawing of a house in shape --
as so many houses in our area of Nova Scotia are. But
if you drive across the distance between Toronto
and Nova Scotia, to the Pugwash area, you'll realize
that many neighbourhoods along the way attempt
this shape, but in Nova Scotia they succeed. The box
part of the house, and the roof peak have to be in perfect
proportion, and that's something the fine wood builders
of the province understand and have since the
wooden ship days when they created some of the most
beautiful sailing ships in the world.

Now our schoolhouse is 100 years old. Yes. This year
she's 100. So she has seen some history. The couple
who owned it before us put on a second floor. They had a young
child, and limited time and funds, so it is just a sub
floor really. But I love the smell of the pine they used,
and the wide planks. I love looking out the thin
windows they put in the upper level and seeing the
poplars they planted as tiny saplings, fully grown trees
flickering their leaves in the salt wind. Downstairs is a wide airy
space, with a crude kitchen set up at one end, and tall
windows that let in as much light as a painter would
ever want. She is set on an acre of land, rimmed by
pine and spruce trees, some of which have crashed and
died since we've owned the place. But Steven and I planted
small trees to replace them in among the wild roses and apple
trees, that also sit on the circumference, and they are growing

We have very little furniture, the couch is an old wicker thing
that's seen better days. We plan to toss the orange leatherette
chair which is excruciatingly ugly, but haven't yet because
it's comfortable. The blackboard has notes and drawings on it
from every summer we've been there.

So that's a little bit of why I love the place.

Did I get to 10? You count for me. I can easily keep going.

Have a loving-the-place-you-live-in day.


julie davis said...

Oh Barbara, this is a scene I'd love to paint. I've "off the blogging grid" lately and have just caught up on your trip--sounds like a perfectly idyllic spot--don't we all just need to slow down?! I'm in Oregon now, and even with the show have done the same--gorgeous scenery to paint and plenty of rest and conversation--it feeds the soul! Love your photographs.

Liza Hirst said...

Barbara, this is wonderful! It does sound like the perfect place to spend a summer vacation! And how right you are about the proportions of the house having to be just perfect - I agree! Actually that's why I chose one barn out of four to build my studio in - it has precisely this shape of a simple house with perfect proportions!

Karen Bruson said...

Barbara, Beautiful landscape. I love how your eye is pulled right in to the school house.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Julie,

Thanks so much. Feel free to paint it. I've painted it several times.

I'm off the blogging grid right now too because I'm on vacation, but I am so looking forward to catching up with you! A holiday absolutely feeds your soul, and this one has been magnificent.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

I'm glad you know what I mean. Yes right now it's good for a short vacation. After about two weeks you really miss running water, and are tired of the Degas bathing experience.

I do love it though.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Karen,

Yes the schoolhouse is at a T in the road. If we get there in July, early enough, we can pick wild lupins at the roadside. And the strawberries in the province are exceptional. Ah well. Home again, home again.

Take care,


Portrait Artist

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