Our painting displays were set up in order to sell paintings. We didn’t actively “sell” paintings, but we were there if someone wanted to buy one. We never “pushed” a sale. The price was on the painting. It worked well for us.
Guildford was one of our favourite places for these displays, and we were there a lot. Phil Ashton, the manager at the time, said we were good for business. One time, during Western Days, our paintings were set up in the lower mall, just outside of Woodward’s store, and we were in costume.
We usually had a painting or two of Indians, and that gave us a chance to talk about a misunderstood group of people. This time it was a painting of August Jack Hautsilano. Kitsilano Beach was named after him.
We had met him, but he was quite old, and we didn’t have a good photo for my husband to work from, so we went to see Major Matthews at the Vancouver City Archives. He was quite the character! He finally let Mickey have some pictures of August, but only with the promise that the painting would be shown to him when it was finished, and he would have to approve of it, or it would be destroyed. Apparently some “artist” had painted his friend, and he said it was an insult and a disgrace. He did not want that to happen again.
Mickey agreed to his conditions.
When we went back with the finished painting, Major Matthews approved. He had to turn away from us to hide his tears.
Back to Guildford! One day my son was with me. Mickey stayed home to get some painting done. When you are dealing with the general public, some weird things can happen.
This couple came to look at the paintings, and stopped and looked at August Jack. He said, “My God! Three Hundred Dollars!” Then he walked over to Ra and said, “What’s the title of that painting?”
Ra went closer to the painting so he could read the title, turned to the man and said, “My God! Three Hundred Dollars!”
The couple that bought that painting also bought two others of horse heads, and had us come out to their ranch to photograph their daughter’s horse in order to paint it.
And that’s another story… it was on my birthday. They said they wanted August Jack, and then I thought they were trying to make up their minds which of the two horses they wanted… and they took both of them.
My father-in-law was visiting us while this was going on, and he kept saying, fairly loudly, that I should not take a cheque! I wanted to tell him where to go, but I didn’t, and I took the cheque. I worked in a bank before I was married, and had a pretty good “feeling” about cheques. I never took one that bounced.
There, you have three stories in one, all for three hundred dollars!