Back on the 24th of September in 2006, I did an oral history interview with Mr. Gerald Quinton at his home in Red Cliffe, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland, on the topic of red ochre paint and lime whitewash.
We sat at Mr Quinton’s kitchen table, overlooking the John Quinton Limited red store below by the water’s edge, which was designated as a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of NL in June 1994.
Mr. Quinton was full of information about the traditional methods of painting fisheries buildings, dwelling houses, and fences, and shared his recipe for making red ochre paint.
Gerald Quinton: You’d get some kind of container, hey? A big container, and twenty pounds of ochre to a gallon of seal oil. That’s the mixture. Twenty pounds of ochre to one gallon of seal oil. And you’d mix it one year and use it the next. You’d use, like, a wooden paddle for stirring it, every now and then, something wide like a paddle, wooden for stirring it. You’d keep stirring it every now and then, probably twice a month or something like that. And you’d use it the next year then. But if you found it too thick, then, you’d thin it down a little with a little seal oil, if you found it too heavy to put on with a brush. It’d give you a heavy coat, a good coat, then. You wouldn’t have to do it twice, just the one coat is sufficient. So, it’s a good coat. Not much smell from it, seal oil. No, not much smell at all. Just a little while you’re stirring is all. It’s a good coat, b’y. Yeah, that’s right.
Mr Quinton passed away in 2009, but you can listen to the audio of the interview on Soundcloud here:
Or you can download the full transcript of the interview in pdf.