Fundy Magic

While the big studio cleanup continues this mornings effort brought a great surprise.

 I will explain, you see the painting above was worked up from a sketch made from the top of Blomidon within the provincial park. The painting below was made from sketches made on Blue Beach. Now, the crazy part once I realized it is the fact that the upper painting looks across the Minas Basin directly at the Blue Beach area while the lower painting  looks back across the same Minas Basin directly at Blomidon in the distance. Two sides of the same view painted at opposite seasons of the same year, Spring and Fall. Great hiking any time of the year but be very careful of the tides. They are huge and move very quickly.

Spring Dance

The rush of spring is firmly upon us now. Days are warming and becoming longer as we approach the summer solstice. I have mentioned that each year ferns are one of the first plants to rise up out of the ground. They are drawn up by the heat of the sun and depending on the day the artist making the record may actually be able to detect movement in the plants. The movement over the time of drawing, traces a slow unfurling from a tight coil at the ground into a long graceful frond advancing into the atmosphere. Taking the opportunity to draw and paint the event somehow becomes more important as the woods seem smaller this year.

ipad Drawing

The idea of seeing two things at once is not new but the other day while walking in a garden we found a well fed garter snake laying in the sun. My son pointed out the snake had most likely found and eaten a fish that had washed up on the shore. It really looked that way. The image of the two existing together reminded me of the story The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery in which a snake is drawn after having a meal of an elephant. 
Later that evening making a sketch of the event on the ipad came to mind. I was reminded of the sketching tool  within note and set about making the sketch. So Maybe I am softening on the idea of sketching on a computer because the program however simple to the eye works very smoothly.

Art Loto

Being able to draw and paint on the harbour and in the woods within a few hours of each other is very exciting because it doesn't happen often. It is kind of like winning an art loto.

Things kicked off Friday morning while picking up around the yard.  Birds were calling from the trees and I noticed the ferns that I have worked with for years were popping out of the ground and unfurling towards the sky. I have learned that ferns do move fast so I returned to the studio and grabbed a canvas returning before even the black flies could find me. The ferns have grown over years and now make a very full display on the woods floor. I make a mental note that it will be a project to look at some of the work side by side.

Then early Saturday morning found me along the shore in Dartmouth looking for a site to make a drawing. You just never know what will turn up but the main thing is to show up and draw.

A beautiful spot allowed a view across the harbour to the container pier. As I began drawing a view across the stern of the Irving Acadian a schooner made its way into view moving out of the harbour under sail. The drawing became a contrast of forms in what was an amazing twenty four hours.

Oh, the View

It is spring in the Maritimes and the swallows have returned. Maple buds are turning the hills beautiful soft pinks and greens. It is a painting paradise with skies swirling and sun dancing over the land. We have a chance to return this weekend.

Sun Dog

Over the winter I had the opportunity to sketch many times around Halifax harbour and each occasion presented something different. On this very cold morning just before Christmas the sun was just rising over the clouds that came with our most recent storm. Off in the distance and cast in silhouette a large empty bulk carrier was moving into the harbour. The drawing continued and before long through the mist and ice crystals a sun dog appeared in the sky. 

I stopped drawing as the ship passed and made my way up through the city by car and stopped at another drawing site just in time to snap a picture as the ship was escorted under the bridge by harbour tugs.

Note: The actual event occurred so quickly on site that there was only a moment to record position without any colour notes. Working up the sketch in the studio later I mistakenly used a rainbow painting I had made as a reference. It turns out the actual colours of the sundog are exactly reversed. The whole phenomenon makes excellent reading.

Painting Game

O ur friend loves the woods and everything in them so I made a painting that was a game. Hidden in this painting is a deer with antlers. The simple game is to find the deer in the woods.

More Halifax Harbour Painting & Drawing

Jimy clicked a couple of shots while we worked. The piano and furniture seems to add something to the room and we have a hint of a tuxedo and tunes in the near future.


Collecting can create eye popping experiences. Drawing a briefcase that was carried back and forth to the city offered an opportunity to consider collected bits. The drawing shows all the sides at once but not the collection that may be inside. I am reminded of nights spent listening to a small radio in the dark and all the images created in my mind.

Halifax Harbour Painting & Drawing

The work of drawing and painting around Halifax Harbour began innocently enough. The opportunity of time was given and sketching began. At the first go approaching the waters edge was relatively easy, rain or shine the car studio could roll down to the waterfront and stop at spots of interest. Drawing and painting would begin.

Until we hung them on the wall the individual stories were silent in a pile. Each outing added to the work as new sites were discovered and of course the amazing objects were ready to draw.

One interesting observation to come out of the project is how the views are changing in a very short period of time. Unfortunately the great harbour is becoming a bit of a peep show visible by chance or by appointment. Now, some sites are not accessible at all and others are visible only between or over barriers and buildings. Post nine eleven security fencing now appears in most of the drawings.

Sailors Delight

The kaleidoscope of shape and form and colour that is the surface of Springfield Lake can be smooth or rough, frozen or fluid, light or dark with all parts in between. Springfield Lake sits at the top of the world and drains through a series of streams and lakes that find their way to the Bay of Fundy. We sit on the west side of the hill looking to the east which allows a full view of sunsets reflected on passing clouds. "Red sky at night, sailors delight. Some of my earliest memories are of clouds passing and I think that like snowflakes there are no two alike.