I met A.J. Casson when I was about eight. I had all ready decided and had announced to my parents that I was going to be an artist when I grow up. Meeting Casson sealed it for me. He had asked permission from my Dad to go down to our beach area on the Oxtongue River to paint. My Dad told me he was an artist...well I tore off after him like a shot. WOW...A REAL ARTIST here painting "my backyard" how cool is THAT !!!! I approached this "old guy" with caution not knowing who he even was. I stood there waiting for a chance to speak. He had set up his paint box with all his goodies and was painting away. He finally turned around and looked at me. I asked if I could watch him paint. He eyeballed me up and down, and then made a "hummph" sound at my tenacity to stand there. "well I guess it's OK as long as you don't ask me any questions." OH..I didn't. I stood there in complete and utter awe of watching him paint.
That chance meeting so many years ago came flooding back when I looked at that little watercolour sketch. I was invited to go on that painting trip with my boss and two other men artists. I felt a little bit like Emily Carr being invited to go painting with "the boys" which were The Group of Seven. I guess they knew I could handle a paddle as well as a brush. Funny how I remember growing up and thinking about the fact that the Group of Seven had probably been painting on the Oxtongue River and also up at my favourite spot which is Ragged Falls. They certainly painted in Algonquin Park and whenever I paint there I think of what they must have experienced. To me THE PARK, as it is known by the locals, would have been a great escape and a place to try new things. "Storm Coming - Burnt Island Lake" is a reflection of my inspiration from A.J.Casson and the spirit of the land he captured so well on canvas. Thanks A.J.