As I’ve mentioned in past Curator’s Blog viewing art is like proofreading: you think you’ve seen every detail but the more you look the more you realize how much you’ve missed. That’s why it’s imperative to get ongoing feedback from you, the readers.
On Saturday, January 30, 2016 I wrote a piece “Fences Make Good Neighbours” based on Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall”. I was so familiar with the phrase but inadvertently omitted the first word “Good”. Well, I stood to be corrected. Ann M. who reads the Clara site regularly picked up on this:
Here is a site with the Frost poem, Mending Wall. The line is indeed "Good fences make good neighbours."
Ann and her husband Wayne have spent many hours in the Ontario countryside and are familiar with so many locations. Clara’s painting, Stump Fence in Summer reminded them of a unique country fence:
"Wayne and I are researching to see which road in Erin the fine example of a tree root fence that I told you about sits on. A good photo of that would be an asset to the site as you said, as would a really good example of a rail fence in one of its various styles that were used. Those are more easily found and I will keep my eyes peeled in our travels. Especially when we are in 'Clara territory'."
After reading the Curator’s Highlight, “Framed”, Wednesday, January 27, 2016 Ann had more to contribute:
"I was thinking further of what I was trying to convey about the relationship between Clara's depiction of fences - always natural, wooden ones - and the frames on her paintings. We know that some of the frames she and/or Fred made, others she chose for her paintings. I guess the connection I was trying to make - and you know this, but I was thinking of the site readers - was that if a person owns a Clara painting, and it is framed, it is important that they keep that frame on the painting, as chances are, Clara herself either chose it, or had it made for that painting. Especially if there is a fence present in the painting, because then the idea of a boundary, or perimeter or 'protection' of the scene is present, just as the frame provides the same for the painting itself. That might be a bit of a stretch, but given that so many of her scenes are rural, to me there is a bit of a connection. Especially if the frame itself is made of wood, or has a rustic look. In any event, she'd have put thought into the frames she chose for her various paintings, so they should stay on the paintings as they are another personal expression of the artist's that connects to that particular painting. I know when my mother was painting, her choice of frame was always important to her in terms of being complementary to the painting. People who look at paintings are not always aware of how the frame choice is an extension of the painting, so to speak. Most people don't even notice the frame I don't think."
Bombproof Ruins, Louisburg, Nova Scotia, Morning, July 13, 1929
Oil on board 10 x 14"
Titled and dated by artist
Original brown frame
As you can see there’s a zig-zag fence etched on the bottom part of the frame. As Fred, Clara’s husband, stretched canvases for Clara he might have made this frame. But it is equally possible that Clara did the etching herself as she was adept at woodcarving. Her hand mirror is a possible example of her work:
Clara’s hand mirror carved in the Art Nouveau style has her maiden name initials CIP on the handle.