The grass all around the cabin was nearly a foot tall but flattened from the winter’s snowfall. Deer droppings were seen everywhere. I could see the outhouse about 40 feet behind the cottage. When Mr. O’Reilly saw me looking right at the outhouse, he couldn’t help but let out a chuckle as he asked me if he had told me there was no indoor toilet. I told him that he had.
“Well, at least ya got an electric stove, water heater, shower and lights. The wood stove heats that cottage up plenty nice. The wood shed is on the other side of the building. Just be sure to pull the tarp back over the wood pile and put some wood on top of the tarp. It gets a might breezy when the winds come off the ocean. Once ya get back to town, just stop by the Safeway store down the street from the realty office and pick up all the food ya want.
Mrs. Jensen put in a nice refrigerator and it has a large icebox too. Let me show ya around the place before we take a look inside.” the man said. I followed behind him as we spent about 15 minutes walking around. What I liked the most about the view of the ocean was the huge rock hillside ending at the ocean with a smaller outcropping of rocks further from shore. As Mr. O’Reilly saw me eyeing the rocks he cleared his throat.
“Many a shipwreck has happened up and down the coasts of Oregon and Washington Raymond. The ocean isn’t very forgiving to captains who don’t pay head to their navigational charts or are pushed off course by storms.
Well, we’ve seen everything outside so let me get out the key and I’ll unlock the door and we can take a look inside.” he said. Upon entering I immediately smelled mustiness.
“That smell in the air will be gone once ya open the windows and door and get some fresh air inside. It probably wouldn’t hurt any to buy a couple air fresheners though.” he said in a friendly voice. The inside of the one room cottage was pretty simple. In one corner was a double bed with a dresser beside it. The bed wasn’t made but blankets, pillows and sheets sat on top of the mattress in a plastic bag.
The mattress had a plastic mattress cover on it. In the center of the room was a wood stove. The chrome pieces on it gave the stove a nice piece of class. In the left corner of the room was a simple table with four chairs. Near it was a nice refrigerator with the door and freezer door propped open.“Just plug it in and in a few hours everything will be cold or be frozen good by morning.” Mr. O’Reilly said.
I saw a door and he told me that was a fair sized closet. Beside the refrigerator was an older but nice white porcelain sink with a water faucet. He walked over to it and turned the water on and clean water flowed out. Then he walked over to a small breaker box and flipped the breakers on. He turned the ceiling light on, then the porch light, before he knelt down and plugged in the refrigerator.
I saw the inside light come on before he closed both doors. “Well, Raymond. There it is, just as I explained in my e-mails.” he said with a grin. Then he turned to his right and pulled back a vinyl shower curtain with sea shells and fish and seagulls. “Oh I almost forgot. This here is your shower. The water heater is out back in a shed. If ya don’t have any other questions I’ll take ya back to my office and let you fill out the rental application.
After you pay the deposit and two month’s rent you’ll be free to start moving your things in and getting ya some food.” he said in a friendly voice. When I saw the cordless phone on the nightstand I asked Mr. O’Reilly if he had turned on the phone as I had asked and he nodded. “I put it in my name so when the bill comes in I’ll give ya a call.” he said and I thanked him.
Then I saw him walk over to the phone and pick it up. “Yep, it’s got a dial tone and I added the internet to it just like ya asked.” he said as he shook my hand. By the time we made it back to his office, filled out the paperwork and paid the money Mrs. Jensen wanted, I was hungry. When he handed me the cottage’s front door key, he said, “Don’t lose that key Raymond. Mrs. Jensen didn’t give me a spare.” and I said, “Thanks.”
The first thing I did when I backed out of the parking lot was head over to Denny’s for something to eat. Then I stopped by the post office and gave the clerk a temporary change of address card. The man asked me to tape my name on the inside of the mailbox so the postal carrier knew someone was living at that address. I checked out my hotel room and headed out of town.
After I turned off the asphalt road I stopped my car and taped my name to the inside of the mailbox lid and headed slowly down the dirt road. I had no desire to hit a deer. When I made it down the hill I backed up to the cottage porch. I unlocked the front door and left it open. I unlocked the trunk and one box at a time I brought my things inside. Then I opened the back doors of my Mercedes and carefully carried all my clothes and then my easel, linen canvas boards, box of brushes and another box containing tubes of oil paint in many colors.
All together I brought 36 linen canvas boards to paint the scenes I hoped would both memorable and profitable. After I had unloaded everything, I locked the door and headed back to town. Safeway was my destination and I also wanted to stop by Wal-Mart so I could pick up some pots and pans, plates, bowls, silverware and glasses. When I got back to the cottage I glanced out at the ocean and saw a passing freighter.
Hopefully I would see many more passing by as I saw on the front porch with my easel, brushes and paints. I unlocked the door and went back to the trunk to start bringing my groceries inside. But as soon as I entered the room I stopped dead in my tracks. Someone had been inside the cabin because most of my boxes or bags had been opened.
I quickly sat the box in my hands down on the table and checked the shower area and windows. I found all the windows locked but did I lock the front door in my hurry to head to town? I was sure I did but maybe I just thought I did. I went through all my things and didn’t find anything missing. I went back outside and looked in all directions but saw no one.
When I saw the 24 roll bag of toilet paper in the trunk I took two rolls out and took them down to the outhouse. There was an upside down plunger beside the seat and I slid both rolls down the pole. I brought everything inside and locked my car up before closing the door. It took me a while to get everything put away and things looked nice considering the smallness of the cottage.
I sat the radio by the counter and plugged it in so I could have some music playing. The last thing I had left to do was unpack my oil paints and brushes. I decided to take the rest of the day to relax rather than try to hurriedly get my first portrait painted. With the radio volume on low I could barely hear the waves crashing on the shore. It was a pleasant sound though. I turned the lights on when it started getting dark.
I liked the look of the room with the overhead light on. This cottage had a touch of hominess to it. I don’t think I’d care to live in the place year round, but for the next two months I think I could like it. As I held one of my many long handled Sabletek brushes I wondered when the last time someone had lived in the cottage. I wondered if they were relatives of Mrs. Jensen.
Perhaps they too had been an artist. If I were her, I’d sure invest in a classified ad in ‘The Artist’s Magazine’. I would make a point of asking Mr. O’Reilly for Mrs. Jensen’s phone number before I headed back to California to let her know that artists would pay a tidy sum to live in her cottage and be able to be inspired to do their painting. The magazine catered to many genres such as pen and ink, charcoal, watercolors, colored pencils, pastels, acrylics and of course oils.
I didn’t have much of knowledge about Gouache and Tempera though. But I did have a love for using oils to paint with. When I set down to paint a scene, I relied on a dozen ‘tried and true’ oil paint colors. alizarin crimson, blue black, brown madder, cadmium lemon, cadmium red deep, cerulean blue, cobalt chromite green, indian yellow, copper, flake white no. 1, ivory black, mauve blue shade, payne's grey, permanent rose and raw umber.
I sat one of the chairs out on the porch while I cooked supper. I ate each bite as I watched the waves hitting the shore in the last rays of light. The day had been overcast the entire day and I hoped in spite of the of the reputation for Washington State as being a rainy state that I would enjoy some clear days too. When I finished making my bed, turned off the lights and got under the covers I could hear each wave clearly and I felt myself smile.
But my sleep would be far from restful that night. Several times during the night it sounded like something was bumping into boxes or plastic bags on the floor. Each time I turned on the night lamp beside my bed I didn’t see anyone or anything. After I woke up and had breakfast my instincts told me there must be a hole in a wall and mice were scurrying around.
But I didn’t find any mouse droppings and a thorough search along all four walls turned up no holes. Perhaps it was just my subconscious knowing I was sleeping in a new place. After I washed up my plate, pan and glass I went out on the porch to find a beautiful blue sky day. I couldn’t wait to bring out a chair, set up my easel and paints and hold my paint brush.
I had an eagerness to paint a passing freighter, oil tanker or maybe even a large sailboat so I just sat there enjoying the warmth against my face. There was a slight breeze in the air and seagulls were flying overhead screeching. Within an hour I was lucky enough to see a freighter on my left headed for Canada I imagined. I fought the urge to grab my paint brush.
I passed up painting that ship because I needed to know approximately how long I would have from the time a ship came into view until it was out of sight. This would give me an idea of how long I would have to paint the ship I saw. I would have plenty of time to fill in the rest of the painting. By the time the day had ended, I had painted two oil paintings. I was quite pleased with what I had been able to capture on each canvas.
I slide both paintings back into the box of eighteen panels and took two more out. If I was lucky enough to use up all thirty-six panels, I would find out where the nearest arts and crafts store was and buy another case of eighteen panels.
When the day had ended I settled down to looking through a 1996 book titled, ‘The Best of Oil Painting’ by Tom Nicholas. It contained more than two hundred works of art painted in the medium of oil.