THE TEA ROOM

Sorting through years of drawings is like reading an an oversize diary. Associations and memories abound. I've found assignments done early on during my art studies.

When I first arrived in Montreal, I went to live in a residence for young women run by nuns known as The Sisters of Service Residential Club. This is what it looked like when I lived there.

My first home in the big city was what is now known as the Canadian Centre for Architecture. I shared the Shaughnessy House Tea Room with another resident. We felt lucky to sleep in the most lavish bedroom in the building (the round bit). We didn't have fancy chairs like the ones that appear in the web link below, instead we had two rather austere looking single beds. I hung an orange and black toy tarantula from my reading lamp to stake out my territory.  

An accidental "faux pas" led to my departure from this exotic, elegant space. I was studying at Sir George Williams School of Art, which was located in the same building as the university.  A group of us played cards with Armenian engineering students at lunch time who were involved in the planning of Engineering Week.  They asked me to make posters for the event and I said "Sure!".

Although I was careful, I inadvertently got some gouache on the floor. I wasn't too worried because it was common knowledge that water based paint couldn't possibly stain anything. 

WRONG! 

I knew the nuns would not be happy with this sudden burst of colour on the evenly stained surface so I rushed and got some clean water to wash it off. Unfortunately the wood was strangely porous, absorbed the paint, and turned an area of the floor a soft shade of dusty pink.  I was in big trouble.

Needless to add, management was not happy  and hastily escorted me to the second floor where I was assigned a much plainer, smaller and nondescript room with an ugly linoleum floor. Bummer!  I missed the warm wood walls and fancy windows.  The nuns had the Tea Room floor re-sanded and varnished and I avoided the holy Sisters in their short gray habits for a while.In contrast to The Tea Room, the dining hall at Shaughnessy House was sterile and boring.  

The focal point of the decor (and I use that word loosely) was a reproduction of da Vinci's Last Supper hung high on a wall. The painting had a major impact on my appetite. I remember staring at the painting, then at my plate, and thinking that this might be my final meal. It certainly tasted deathly.

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