Tidal Painting

Growing up in Ontario the largest body of water around is the Great Lakes. Many hours were spent along the shores of the lakes playing on the shores or in the water and waves but nothing the lakes could offer prepared me for the visual effect of the tides of the Bay of Fundy.

We were camping a few days at Fundy National Park in New Brunswick and went to the town of Alma to pick up groceries and do laundry. While waiting for the wash to finish we took a walk behind the building to the beach and watched the water recede. The sun was setting and the stars came out. the experience took on a magical quality, mystical in some sense. The effect is something that continues to amaze and stir the emotions.

Five Islands in Nova Scotia is another site on the opposite side of the same bay we became aware of to watch the twice daily phenomenon.

Bringing paint and canvas to the site is something that I would not have considered all those years ago but luckily my painting practice has grown to include working on site, in situ or as the french describe plein air painting.

Get to the Beach

With summer air all around us it really is time to get to the beach. A day of painting and watching the tide move makes the artist work at a sustained accelerated rate.  The kaleidoscope of colour revealed on the water is a seasonal pleasure that I would liken to eating fresh strawberries in a field. A little bit sand always seems to find its way into the work adding unplanned texture to the surface. The high contrast colours reflect an intensity of light not seen at other times of year and is oddly unfamiliar but welcome at the same time. Did I mention the water was warm?

Public Art

On Tuesday this week a bit time opened up to make a drawing in the downtown area. The old park had shade trees and a bit of a view so I sat on a bench and began to record to work. It wasn't long before passersby stopped to chat. This was an unexpected consequence but led to some interesting exchanges. My focus for the drawing was the intersection between the new construction represented by the large cranes looming over the pond and garden I sat in.

One visitor asked if I could identify the floating ship model in the pond. I suggested it was the Titanic based on the four smoke stacks.  Our conversation moved from ships to his tee shirt that had a drawing of the famous skates made by Star Manufacturing in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. When we first moved here in the 1970's our apartment was just down the road from the old factory so a bit of the history was known but I had never heard the story he told me next.

His story begins with the skate designer, a distant relative of his. Somehow during the mid 1800's an order for 500 pairs of these particular skates was made by the Czar of Russia. He noted that the intention was to provide skates for the staff at the winter palace in St Petersburg. I will have to do a bit of checking on this but it is totally amazing to think about with all eyes focused on trade these days.

Other conversations were polite and encouraging as passersby also noted the contrasts between the constructed and the natural. In general everyone was enjoying being outside on such a beautiful day.