Summer of 2023
An era has come to an end with the final sale of the 1,500 copies of Interpreter of Old Ontario. There will not be a second printing. You may still obtain a book from the John M. Parrott Art Gallery in Belleville with the donation of a Manly MacDonald painting. A tax receipt will be supplied. For more information contact https://bellevillelibrary.ca. Another project has ended with my fulfillment of the John M Parrott Gallery Reappraisal Report, which began last year and was completed this June. When asked to accept this contract, I notified the Board that I had moved to Victoria. They wondered if I could accept the commission virtually. With the help of Acting Curator Wendy Rayson-Kerr and the files and images from my appraisals of the collection in 2008, the paintings and other pieces have been updated for insurance purposes.
Update 2023: Connections & Compliments
Happy New Year 2023! Last fall, I undertook Phase One of the reappraisal plan of the Manly MacDonald Collection for the John M. Parrott Art Gallery. This has now been completed with the remaining reappraisals scheduled for 2023. For those who haven't been, the gallery's enhanced collection that is exhibited through the four seasons provides a free opportunity to view this great Canadian artist's breadth of talent. I encourage you to take a trip to the third floor of the Belleville Public Library on Pinnacle Street.
The few remaining books I have continue to sell primarily in Ontario. When they are gone, the Parrott Gallery will still have some that can be bought through them. I often receive nice compliments about the book and Manly MacDonald's art. Recently, a man purchased a book from me for his wife who also happens to be an Ontario artist. Following are both their replies:
Husband of Artist:" I'm looking forward to reading your book - it's actually a gift to my wife, but I'll probably read it before giving it to her. We have eight MacDonald paintings hanging in our living room. They came from my wife's parents. Her father tutored MacDonald's son (Duncan) in French and was paid with some of the paintings. My wife's parents bought the others."
Artist Wife: "My husband recently bought me your book on Manly MacDonald, which I had discovered at the Huntsville Public Library. I am delighted now to have my own copy that I can peruse at my leisure. A resident of rural Ontario and a landscape painter, I am inspired by this book. Looking at Manly's paintings helps me see my own rural landscapes in new ways. I have been examining his fluid brush strokes and lively colours. Thank you for this beautiful book. I keep it in a large ziploc bag and it comes with me whenever I go out en plein air painting (which is every day), just in case I need to consult an expert on how to paint snow or weathered barns or tree trunks. I am now looking forward to reading the rest of it. MacDonald seems like such a kind and humble artist, despite his remarkable talent. I do not understand why Manly is not better known to Canadians. Unfortunately, we seem to be mired in the Group of Seven, ignoring other painters who were just as good, if not better. At least you have done something to bring Manly MacDonald to light. Thank you again for introducing me to his work and for creating this delightful book. Thank you too, for signing it."
Update Autumn 2022
September and October brought a flurry of requests for books from Ontario, and Belleville in particular. Friends and associates have often asked if a reprinting was ever in the works, and I have always said no. When it was decided to publish 1,500 copies in 2010, it was also resolved to keep to one printing only in order to make these books special. Let's not forget that publishing a book in Canada is tougher than it ever was, an even tougher undertaking for a Canadian art book, and even more so when it was considered pricey by some back in 2010. I've always stuck to that promise as the books continued to sell. There will still be books available at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery when those at Plumley Press are all gone.
As many people know, the Manly E. MacDonald Gallery is housed on the third floor of the Belleville Public Library, through the generous donation made by John & Bernice Parrott, who then also donated some 60 pieces of his work to the gallery. Interpreter of Old Ontario was launched there, and I worked with gallery staff to create and hold exhibitions of his paintings in that same gallery space over the years. Starting in 2008, as part of research for the book, I appraised the existing collection. This would dovetail with appraising the sizeable collection held at Loyalist College, also in Belleville. As well, curators at Parrott continued to send referrals to me about the artist, Manly MacDonald, which often resulted in more appraisals and further book sales. In 2021, in discussion with Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Pross, Acting Curator Wendy Rayson-Kerr, and the joint Board of the library and gallery, it was suggested that a reappraisal of the 2008 collection should be considered, including substantive additional pieces that had been acquired or donated since that time. This was necessary to update the collection for insurance purposes. Subsequently, the Board agreed to my proposal and that multi-year contract just began this past September. It's another enjoyable walk down memory lane for me amid the work of this great Canadian painter.
The previous months have flown by including a move back to the west coast in Victoria in May, 2022. Friends back east have been roasting me about the very cool belated spring here as they bask in summer-like temperatures. I have kept in regular touch with the staff at the John M. Parrott Gallery in Belleville with plans to reappraise their collection that was last done by me in 2008. Just this past week I had 3 requests from Belleville, Ontario - one for a book that's going back to that city, another for information about the sale of a MacDonald painting that was bought personally from Manly many years ago, and the third one involved asking my advice on a classic summer landscape that had just been bought by a city resident. It seems no matter how far away you move from the Quinte region, the Manly MacDonald aura happily follows. Please note my new contact information. Also note that we have no sets of Seasonal Card left for sale.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022
If previous moves weren't enough, it seemed another move was in store for me with my history as a nomad. In April of 2021, I moved back to Port Hope for the third time. I had previously moved from the lovely town of Cobourg with its beautiful beach to Bath, Ontario, on Lake Ontario. In many ways, this current move to Port Hope is like coming home - again and again.
I was born in Kingston, grew up in Napanee, and spent many years in that area. My maternal family were UEL Loyalists, settling in nearby at Adolphustown. In the early 1970s, I lived in Picton and travelled across the Glenora Ferry to Queen's University for my first degree. I would later move to Ottawa and finish the BA at Carleton; the B Ed at the University of Ottawa, and so on. Napanee is also where I met Manly MacDonald as a young boy.
This was a new website in 2008 and while it has been an exciting transition for a writer, it needs to be updated from time to time. In fact, it was almost lost by a host company this January, but luckily was retrieved by Tom Ashcroft, the original web designer at RevueDesign in Belleville and just restored in all its form. It generated early on and continues to assist with feedback for Manly Edward MacDonald - Interpreter of Old Ontario. It is perhaps the aftermath of its publication that has been as rewarding as the book itself. Since 2008 and continuing today, the book has sold over 1,300 copies. This I'm told is rare for a first publication and a book of its value. I added a PayPal account in 2015 and this has made buying the book sometimes easier. Connections continue with updates from people who have bought a Manly at auction and/or would like an appraisal for one. This feedback and support is humbling. A highlight of the general public's information about Manly MacDonald came about when a film vignette that was sponsored by the Belleville Public Library and the John M. Parrott Gallery was produced by Peter Lockyer of History Lives Here to be launch in the near future. And, of course, there's our free 'The Life & Times of Manly MacDonald' on Youtube. * See the Manly MacDonald page for a direct link.
This website has a continuing further aim. Since my retirement, or rather in the next phase of my working life, I have been writing and providing writing services. Beginning years ago, the writing bug metamorphosed into a freelance career for me in newspapers and magazines. The book developed partly out of that work and also from a boyhood experience having met Manly E. MacDonald, the painter. While living in Napanee, I wrote for both the Napanee Guide and then the esteemed Napanee Beaver. Since moving to Cobourg in 2014, I wrote a column, firstly for Northumberland News and Northumberland Today. Presently, I work with individuals seeking an appraisal of his paintings, and auction houses in Toronto.
Check out the site:
About will provide you with my educational and related experience and credentials
Services explains what my background and what I can offer you
- The Manly MacDonald page provides the background about this painter, his art, the book, and how to contact me.
Looking forward to hearing from you for any number of reasons...