'Boots' is an old painting that showed up as I was digging through a box and it reminded me of a magical day. We (family and some other painters) were on a week long plein air trip aboard an old wooden boat (the Hyak) going around the Queen Charlotte islands. We were headed to visit Boots later in the day. A friend of Cathe Gill, Boots lived with her dog in an inlet only serviced by boat or float plane somewhere across from Ketchikan.
On the way to her house the skipper anchored by an abandoned seldom visited Haida village. The totems were on the ground, the roofs were off the long houses and the moss was taking over, but the paths were still there as were the shucked shells and other signs of long habitation. The skipper said you could sometimes find small Venetian glass beads brought by the Spanish explorers by sorting through the beach sand.....so of course I did and found four. It was like reaching back three hundred years to another time. I imagined all the hands, from Venice to these Northwest islands, that had touched such small gems and felt the depth of time and change that has occurred. What must it have been like to live there?
With rain approaching we hopped back aboard the Hyak and continued on to see Boots and to spend an hour painting in her kitchen, out of the rain and cold. She is no longer with us but her independent spirit, as well as all the other spirits I felt around me that day, are not forgotten.