A Conversation with Percy Ritchie

Above St. Siméon

Petit Lac, La Malbaie

Ottawa Valley

White Pines

Fourteen Island Lake

Early Works

PR: Well, spring is around the corner and tomorrow is St. Patricks Day and Sara has asked me to talk about some of my early paintings. I have a few around me here, and the first one I’m looking at was painted in 1939, just before the war started and I painted it outside. It’s called St.Simeon—looking towards St. Simeon—and it’s a painting on top of another painting, because it is covered with crackle. I think I was still at art school when I painted this, and I’ve kept it all those years.

The next painting is one called Petit Lac Malbaie and I painted that around the same time—1939, and it is oil on board. The first one was oil on canvas, and this was board and I did it outside, sketched it outside. I was about 19 at the time. 

The next one I did quite a bit later on, in about 1941. It’s called Ottawa Valley and it is oil on hardboard. I sketched it out of a window of my mother and father’s house in the Ottawa Valley in a place called Montebello.

They are all memories really now, and places that I loved very much. There’s another painting behind me called White Pines, which I also did outside. It’s oil on hardboard, and I did it in 1951 just before my son was born. I was pregnant with my son and I remember paddling a canoe across the lake and hauling my paints and the board I was going to paint on up to the top of the hill and sitting down and painting across the lake and paddling back home again. So I always remember the date of that because my son was born soon after that.

SARA: And Fourteen Island Lake is also 1939

PR: Yes, I was engaged to Fred then, when I painted that. I painted it from a canoe on the lake at his parent’s cottage.

Canoeing with Fred Ritchie

House at Montebello

Percy Ritchie painting, 1939

With friends in Ottawa Valley

Cottage Fourteen Island Lake