Sheila came across a watercolour today called Ron’s New Balance & Sock she made back in 1995. Join me in my time machine and I’ll tell you about what we were doing when she painted it. The Ron in the title is our old friend and teacher, the late Ronald Langley Bloore. Back in the day, a group of us – most often me and Sheila, Ron, Tim Noonan and Ardis Breeze, would do what we called Sunday painting. We’d pack up some drawing and painting gear and a lunch, and Bloore would often have along a wee bit of Retsina just because. Off we’d go, driving somewhere away from here, looking for places we could walk and draw and paint and enjoy the day.
We would often look for broad vistas, only to watch Ron do beautiful pencil drawings depicting whatever he found on the ground by his feet. Most of the time we didn’t have a specific destination in mind, and that was part of the fun.
I loved those days we spent together Sunday painting. We did it for years on and off. Once we even rented cabins up north and spent a weekend at it.
Somehow, Bloore was the glue that kept the Sunday painting going. In my mind, Ron was not only an abstract painter, but perhaps the most committed abstract painter I knew. Known as “the simple painter”, he made painting with white on white a lifelong practice. I recall being so surprised at his enthusiasm to go out and sketch and later paint in nature.
Sheila recalls that she painted Ron’s shoe on one of the last painting trips we were able to take with him. He was experiencing neuropathy which made walking the woodland trails increasingly difficult. One day, instead of the desert boots he favoured, Bloore was sporting a pair of brand new New Balance shoes which offered him additional support.
We continued to draw and paint outdoors after Ron’s health made these trips too difficult for him, but it’s those days with Bloore I think of when I think of Sunday painting. I’ll leave you with one little anectdote. We were somewhere near Grimsby, Ontario and we had pulled over to the side of the road in an effort to draw some vineyards. Bloore had a little portable stool he carried in his painting kit. He was sitting on it, hunched over a pencil drawing. A car pulled up beside him, and the woman behind the wheel looked at Ron and asked if he needed any help. Without blinking, Ron said to her, “only if you can help me with this drawing”.
If you would like to see more pictures from those drawing and painting trips with Bloore, you see some here.