"THIN ICE", OLD PERLICAN HARBOUR SERIES, 36"X48", GLAZE OIL ON CANVAS
2017 – it is an extraordinary year. Ice pans and icebergs litter the huge and small bays and harbours of Newfoundland and Labrador into the summer. The flotilla wanders day in, day out at the whims of the wind and currents. The harbour is completely packed one evening and empty the next. Icebergs the size of skyscrapers move at speeds of motorboats, or lodge on underwater ridges and stubbornly stay for months.
Mostly, the ice pans pack the bays. They pack enough and they are substantial enough to STOP the fishery entirely. The emergency rescue services simply cannot get to where they need to when fishermen come to peril in the mine fields of wandering ice.
It is a very mixed blessing to behold the breathtaking beauty of the ice pans as they circle Old Perlican Island, at the mouth of the harbour. How can a Newfoundlander deny this incomprehensible level beauty? How can a Newfoundlander deny the peril of both the moment and of the much larger issue of the future, as they witness global warming changing the face of the arctic, of Newfoundland and of the world. Everything is at stake.
"HEART OF PERLICAN", OLD PERLICAN SERIES, 24"X48". GLAZE OIL, FOR SALE
This is a part of Old Perlican Harbour where smaller local boats are tethered. The harbour road runs beside the docks, but the harbour is quieter here, away from the frantic hustle and bustle of forklifts by the main wharfs, near the fish plant entrances. Button’s Marine is here, providing for the hardware needs of the independent fishermen that run the boats. These docks are where smaller operations quietly and diligently execute the daily tasks of prepping and finishing their fishing excursions. Men gather to talk on the road of this area at the end of the day. I particularly love this part of the harbour.
"SLICK", OLD PERLICAN HARBOUR SERIES, 36"X48", GLAZE OIL ON CANVAS, FOR SALE
I just simply love the water and the colours. How many colours can be in water, reflecting beneath a white boat? And how beautiful, diverse can the colours be within the white hull of a boat?
This work-horse of a boat defies its humble stature, juxtaposed against the racy and slick ripples of water; it elegantly dances with light and colour by means of its radically modified hull. It might be practical to alter the form of the side of your boat to make hauling lobster pots easier, but who would guess you would be creating such beauty by doing it? And there is the paradox, right there.
"POWERS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH", HEAVENS SERIES, 24"X24", GLAZE OIL ON CANVAS PANEL, FOR SALE
I am mesmerized by the spectacle of nature. There are infinite details within details within details that pull me in and hold me in rapture. The design paths are endlessly detailed – like looking into a moving kaleidoscope. I can visually barely hang on - barely compute. This sublime experience of God’s world that occurs for me is what I try to speak of in my artwork. I am sharing what is most sacred to me – the humanly connective experiences to our Maker that are available for the taking, if I am open enough to them. The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory. These I encounter, revere and delight in whenever possible. They are incomprehensible in magnitude, and yet I can perceive them somewhat, in my most limited human way, if I make my heart and eyes and talents available to them. Human powers are very limited, but the resources of the Force who made us are infinite, nearby, available and will open up - like breaking clouds - to authentic human openness. This has been my most sacred experience.
"HARBOUR CHAT", OLD PERLICAN HARBOUR SERIES, 18"X24", GLAZE OIL ON CANVAS, FOR SALE
This harbour is full of relationships. Human relationships here are long and meaningful. Relationships between commerce, family, spouses, children, parents, neighbours and co-workers all intertwine in the harbour for the entire lifetime of residents here. A social phenomenon born of this lifelong, rich and integrated social environment that I find so compelling is that of extraordinarily sociable men. This is Gord Cram, delivering a quip, by the harbour.
"NIGHTFALL OVER THE HARBOUR", OLD PERLICAN SERIES, 26"X36", GLAZE OIL ON CANVAS
This painting shows a long-lingering sunset that hangs wonderfully over the harbour sky, well into the early night hours. Three barely audible lights populate the night-blackened coast, revealing the wildness of the land that the port is set into. The wharf in contrast is lit with the busyness of its business. In fishing season, the busyness actually never stops. Boats enter the harbour at all hours. The fish plant processes the fresh catch immediately. Evenings’ quiet is punctuated by the forklift beeping and the clanging and clanging of human industry that revolves around the bounty of the preceding day, brought in from fishing boats large and small, from very close or far and wide.
"THE FOOD FISHERY", OLD PERLICAN HARBOUR SERIES, 24"X36", GLAZE OIL ON CANVAS
" SANCTUARY BETWEEN", 24"X60" GLAZE OIL ON CANVAS
I am happy to enter the "Burlington: Urban and Rural Exhibit", at the Art Gallery of Burlington.
My entry, "Sanctuary Between" speaks to a cultural phenomena that is integral to living in Burlington: access to rural sanctuary even though it is a very urban centre. We are so blessed to be able to go to quiet, unspoiled and magnificent places and be utterly alone in what feels like wilderness.
The place that I have painted is a view down a ravine, south of New Street. It is an inconspicuous wonderland, wedged right between two old subdivisions, and if you look hard, you can barely see a shed up at top of the hill that is in someone's backyard. Utterly alone and unseen, I stood at the creek bank looking into the wildly complex undergrowth, the backlit, stained glass autumn trees and into the mesmerizing lightning quick, morphing kaleidoscope of colours and shapes on the water. I felt the sacredness of this spot in its untouched glory. There was this feeling of enchantment - like I was the first to ever discover this magical world.
First to discover - hardly. But that is how a place in nature like this makes me feel. Like it is a tropical desert island. Like it is mine. The magical untouched whole earth is all mine and I am completely attached to every nuance of wonder in it. It is an exhilarating way to feel. In Burlington, the availability of such experience is ever at-hand. It happens by a quick dash to innumerable parks, or even by a turn of your head as you fleet by an open view of the lake on Lakeshore Road. It happens in the middle of well-planned subdivisions where the natural soil was respected and trees and were revered instead of plowed down and saplings sparsely replanted after the planting of houses.
Such experiences with nature add immensely to the quality of my life here. They are a spiritual replenishing for my soul and healing for any transgressions that happen within our urban, compacted and hurried society. This experience of solitary connection in nature seems to be held sacred for Canadians and for those living specifically in the community of Burlington. For me, this amazing "convenience" in Burlington is the best part of living here. It makes a profound difference to the quality of my life every single day - much greater than I ever would have imagined.
The "Burlington: Urban and Rural Exhibition" runs June 15 2016 to the beginning of September. Each artist has been selected for his or her unique interpretations of Burlington's urban and rural culture.
"HERBIE'S FISHING GROUND", 60"X72", GLAZE OIL
When I saw the magic of the water and the enchantment of the massive rock walls that hug the coast just north of Old Perlican Harbour, I was wonder-stuck. These micro-worlds of intense beauty were where my direct ancestors precariously and carefully gained their survival by fishing - in little boats - just like I was in, at that moment. Herbie Cooper, our friend and a fisherman, took us in his small boat to a little nook in the rock "around the corner" by sea from our ancestral land, where he traps lobster. It is so peaceful, when the weather is right. But these shores are entirely unprotected. The waters are open to the large expanses of Trinity Bay and all the hazards that can evolve instantly with a change of wind and weather. They are also ripe for human disasters by means of the sheer fiord cliffs, that rise hundreds of feet from the water. There is no refuge on these shores. Fair weather sightseeing is one thing. To comply to the urgency of livelihood and eating is quite another. I live in awe of the courage and tenacity of past and present fishermen and their families in Newfoundland and Labrador. I live in awe of the beauty that is part of what rivets them to this land and sea. God has carved-out and poured-on such visual wonder here that it goes beyond what a human can process. It is nothing short of spectacle. I try to process with my paint, to try to understand the magnitude of this creation. It is beautiful beyond belief.
"TUCKED IN AT DANIEL'S COVE", 30"X40", GLAZE OIL, FOR SALE
I was fortunate enough to have reason to go to Newfoundland this January, and experienced some winter in this beautiful harsh land. I was struck by how the house in this painting pulled me into this incredibly foreboding landscape. I am compelled by the paradoxal dance in Newfoundland of the relentless harshness of nature and the proportionally relentless human nurture. To me, this painting speaks to that. There this house sits, tucked into the shore, cozy and feeling safe against its wild, blustery and bone-chilling environment. It sits perilously on this hill, with only a single wire connecting it to the rest of civilization via wind-bent poles. Is the light on the porch lit by the sunset or by a light in the front of the house? The house pulls me in, either way. I am caught by its welcoming human spirit.
NEAPOLITAN, GULL RIVER SERIES, 30"X40" GLAZE OIL
GULL RIVER SERIES, “INTIMATE CANOPY”, 36”X36”, GLAZE OIL, FOR SALE "TUCKED IN AT DANIEL'S COVE", 30"X40", GLAZE OIL, FOR SALE
I am glad to say that I am finished painting, "Intimate Canopy, Gull River". This has been a wonderful challenge, and is the quintessential subject-matter for glaze oils. I was able to have a field day with the colour qualities that can be so wonderfully manipulated with glazing. Some colours called for a rich and glowing hardness and others ever so subtle echelons of diffused softness.
I find shards of light within water a transfixing thing to watch. I could sit by the water and watch them all day (and, actually, I have - many times). I love their lightning rhythm, dancing light and incredibly diverse and beautiful morphing shapes. They fill my heart with awe, delight and a profound peace. I have wanted all my life to "catch" them both with my eyes and with paint.