research notes: continued from JMD's Nootka Diary, 1935-36.
As a whole, there is not much in these journals about his art, or his thinking on art. These journals are documents of the Macdonald family's daily survival, which was clearly a struggle. Between October 1st and December 31st, 1935, he made many works of art simply because he was so unbelievably broke and trying to make money to buy food. It was clearly an art of absolute desperation. He managed to sell some of these so they didn't starve or go further into debt. Life was very hard for the Macdonald family while in Nootka. I have no life experience to compare to this.
Pg 155, June 15th, 1936 - "My wish would be to travel over the country - especially B.C. and paint continually for the remainder of my days, but alas it seems only possible to obtain a teaching post + paint intermittently. SUch is the life for artists in Canada.
Pg 155, July 4th, 1936: "I rowed away from the lighthouse to cast the ashes of the late Mr. Fish upon the open sea. Mrs. Fish asked me to cast the ashes. It made a strange impression to be standing in the bow of the boat, slowly letting those white powdered bones sprinkle below the waves while Mrs. Fish offered a prayer..."