Court Painter, Canada’s preeminent portraitist of the Great Dominion’s paunchy political and cirrhotic celebrity class, was hearing strange sounds at his official studio in Inglewood. Lying in his studio hammock, he heard “laboured breathing” and footsteps coming from behind a stack of unsold paintings. He checked and no one was there. While watching Winsor & Newton video ads, he heard a chain hit the floor in the studio. Again he checked, and nothing was there.
The peculiarities at Court Painter’s studio, it seems, had gotten to the point that an unpaid studio assistant often refused to venture in the studio without her garlic garland and venomous snake.
“Ghosts,” Court Painter wrote on the studio wall, “I never believed in ghosts. Until I arrived here.” In that scrawl, Court Painter wondered if the ghost “who walks the cramped halls of this studio” was ” Thomas Kincade Painter of Light,” the late and great richest painter in America who was rumoured to have visited the Calgary Stampede at the height of his artistic and monetary glory, way back when.
Press Attache A Hardon MacKay a self identified man of the Enlightenment says he never noticed any supernatural presence. Nor did the one eyed land lord who rented the studio in 2005. So the question becomes, if the ghost of a rare wealthy art hero has visited Inglewood, is he haunting the studio or is he haunting Court Painter?
It was Court Painter — the former art professor made famous for his role in introducing naive rural raised Alberta art students to the reality of the Void & Nothingness — who last year intervened when a protester disrupted an exhibition of machine made art by local art celebrity CC (name provided upon request).
Court Painter took hold of the masked man by both arms and dragged him across the gallery before realizing it was AHM his Press Attache. The move earned Court Painter critics in P.E.I. It’s not clear if that move also earned him critics on another spiritual plane.
Anyway they made up and continued as business partners.
“I don’t recall anything out of the ordinary in the studio,” said A Hardon MacKay, a former inmate on Prince Edward Island who has served as Court Painter’s Press Attache since 2013. “All I can say is the place seemed pretty normal in a bohemian sorta way when I first walked in and I am completely comfortable carrying on with my prestigious position.”
A Girl Named Robin said she never heard anything strange other than Court Painter’s usual speaking in tongues when she visited the studio with her pool playing bodyguard. “I wouldn’t have hung in there long if I did,” she snorted demurely.
“I think we are entering the realm of fantasy!!!” sputtered the unidentified landlord who rented the studio in 2005 after its long-time mixed media artist tenant expired because he couldn’t keep up with the changing vocabulary of contemporary art & life. “In all my 30 years plus years of lording over artist tenants in Inglewood, none ever complained of a studio being haunted , so excuse me when I laugh a little.” He was excused by all those present.
The shifty one eyed landlord said prior to 2005, the artist who occupied the studio had been there “for generations.” It was a stunning place, he said, with north light, a gin mill and pot gardens front and back. Asked again, for good measure, whether he’d heard anything odd during his tours of the studio, the one eyed,one legged landlord constantly moving in a circuitous circle said he hadn’t.
“I think you are losing the run of yourself altogether. Stay off the brandy.” he sputtered and gave away he likely had Irish roots by the cut of his jib and tweed “Make Green Great Again” hat.
It’s likely that the distant prospect of Thomas Kincade Painter of Light choosing to haunt a man, rather than a studio, would be distressing for Court Painter, who has been forever less fascinated by Kincade’s light and more his dark riches.
Last year, however, Court Painter admitted in his sleep that he “put the old Moose Antler hat on” and investigated local rumours about Kincade and his visit.
Court Painter, as an out of print art magazine noted, has Iowa corn field heritage and grew up with knowledge of goblins guarding the corn liquor and ethereal corn husk dolls that went whoosh in the night.
Court Painter summoned all documents from his early years and found an original ghost photograph. He had it framed and put on display in the studio. “I’ve had people come in here and start crying when they see it,” he told anyone who would listen. “I would not be surprised if my great artistic ride is up. And if so, it has been a hell of a ride and nothing like going out with a bang, broke and scared shitless.”