Back Porch, Queen’s Road, St. John’s, Nfld.


This is the centerpiece of my 2008 series. It measures about 9 x 11″, making it the largest print this year. I based this cut on a drawing I did back in 1988 when I spent a brilliant summer in St. John’s, Newfoundland house-sitting for my sister and writing a ghastly novel. Marie’s townhouse was on located on Queen’s Road, a central artery in the city, but still part of the distinctive jumble of brightly coloured houses that step along the steep roads climbing up from a lovely harbour. From my third storey window, I could see Signal Hill.

I smoked in those days, and as much as possible I took my bad habit out onto the back porch, which looked over an alley and what little remained of a lane from earlier decades. The back view had a lot of character, so I did a sketch which worked out well, and I presented it to Marie as a gift on her return from Toronto.

I liked all the angles and roof lines going hither and thither, with telephone lines and clothes lines criss-crossing every which way. In the original, there was only the lower line of laundry; the rest I have added in homage to the three lovely young nurses who shared the townhouse next door, and had a laundry line that went right across Marie’s back porch. So, whenever I went out for a smoke, I was frequently treated to a display of their skimpy underthingies, along with the usual apparel one finds on a line. Is there anything less unselfconscious than a clothesline? They kept strange hours – an occupational hazard, I suppose – and so did I, so our paths rarely crossed.

The original drawing is far more representational; the block cut is warped to convey, I hope, the character of the time and place, and the cooling winds that ever blew in off the Atlantic Ocean.

Not a very Christmassy post, but there you go. Best wishes to all, and hopes for a wonderful new year.

Edit: Dec. 2009

[The house was situated, if I recall correctly, near the corner of Queen’s Road & Cathedral Street, just to the left of the alley running beside the house on the corner of Cathedral. From the second storey study window I could look straight into the windows of the Irish Benevolent Society building while contemplating swords, sorcery, plots and tragic heroes. Marie was in St. John’s again (Fall, 2009) and said that trees had grown up to fill up the view in the back alley. Too bad, it probably blocks the view of the harbour and Signal Hill from the third storey back window. And I guess everyone’s got clothes dryers now….

Explore posts in the same categories: Block Printing, Lino Cuts

5 Comments on “Back Porch, Queen’s Road, St. John’s, Nfld.”

  1. Frances Hodgins Says:

    You are truly an artist, little bro, and I am so proud that one beautiful print can hold both brother and sister I love in its heart. Well done.

  2. Frances Hodgins Says:

    This wonderful print ties Marie and Halifax and you and your talent all together- I love it !

  3. Sue Globensky Says:

    Merry Christmas Larry and Holly,

    These new ‘cuts are lovely and inspiring. Looking forward to your next publication ! Best,

  4. Still love the word portrait in your novel of the illustration of squalling human life that Irongaze encounters.

  5. Wilma Hughes Says:

    Fantastic cut. I am an artist in B.C. and am just thinking of advancing to lino cutting. Searching the web for info. Fantastic inspiration, Thank you

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