Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Glorious Gros Morne: Musings on Newfoundland, Part 4

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." ~Ansel Adams

This is my fourth entry about the powerful and gorgeous province of Newfoundland in Canada. I am not surprised. After taking over 900 pictures in two weeks, after being swept up in its magic, how could I not write about it over the course of a month and a half?

By the way, here is the official Newfoundland and Labrador website. Just like everyone must get to the Grand Canyon once in their lifetime, everyone should experience Newfoundland and Labrador as well.

When I last wrote about Newfoundland, we were exploring Gros Morne National Park. After our hike on the Green Gardens trail in the park we decided to book a boat tour of Western Brook Pond. We had heard that the boat tour of the fjord was breathtaking and thus trekked out to jump on board.
It was cold and foggy as we hiked out along a meandering boardwalk that cut a line through unique marshland and bog, wetland that is ubiquitous in Newfoundland. We soon realized that the low lying clouds would prevent a full view of the splendor of the cliffs in the fjord and decided to abandon our boat tour in hopes that the following day would have clearer skies.

Here is the view from our walk along the 3km trail to the base of the pond where the boats leave from. Each boat holds about 70 people so we knew that we would have to arrive early the next day to assure ourselves a spot on board.

The clouds dissipated as we took another hike along one of the coastal trails of the park. We were impressed with the lack of refuse, lack of people and lack of intrusive, every day thoughts that pervade the mind on a day to day basis. It was as though the wind swept out all of our stress and cares about life back in Ontario for a brief time.

On our return visit we were met with a spectacular view of the fjord beyond the dock where the boats embarked from. While we waited little whiskey jacks landed on my hand as I held out some crumbs for them. They entertained those of us waiting, many Ontarians were there, along with some British Columbians and a smattering of American folk too. We knew we were in for a special experience. The tour we took was via Bon Tours.

The entire tour took about an hour and a half. Our tour guide grew up scaling the hills and cliffs of Western Brook Pond and thus had a particular attachment and knowledge of its unique history. The lake is 16kms long with an average depth of 165 m! Apparently as high as the cliffs tower above the lake they correspondingly sink to that depth below the water level.

One of the handful of waterfalls that we saw as we traveled further down the lake.

This shot gives you a good idea of the scale of the cliffs. That small dot is the sister boat to ours that toured the lake. I had never seen cliffs rise so immediately out of water before. It is a very unique place as well from a geological perspective. These cliffs are estimated to be over 1 billion years old!

Almost at the terminus of the lake at this point. We passed Pissing Mare Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in North America!

At the end of the lake two hikers jumped out quickly with lots of gear, big smiles and waved to us as they quickly left the tiny dock and headed out into the bush. These hikers have special permits given to them as they embark on a 9 day traverse of the peaks and valleys of the park. I was envious!!

On our way back to the dock clouds settled in and provided a very moody atmosphere for the remainder of the voyage.

We were so thankful to have been able to see Western Brook Pond. I will never forget it.

We did another side trip up to Norris Point, another charming little village in Gros Morne. Everywhere we went the rocks seemed to be looming down on us, petrified and forever peering at us.

As we prepared to leave Rocky Harbour I shot this picture of another quirky sign. I loved the signs in Newfoundland..many blank, many with makeshift letters. It was as special as any mountain. It is a part of that place that makes it singularly unforgettable.

I love Wesleyville's sign with its coat of arms. I believe all of the villages in New-Wes-Valley had the same coat of arms.

Back in Wesleyville and before our departure for Twillingate in the Northern area of Newfoundland another storm was rolling in. I loved the threatening clouds that made for some great reference shots.

I plan on doing a self-portrait from my time in Newfoundland. This shot will not be the basis of the painting, but something along the same lines. By this time I was feeling as though the roots of the province were settling into my bones, the quietness everywhere was seeping into my heart and mind, freeing it from worry. I knew that although I paint people usually, that the paintings to come from Newfoundland would be special, each one. I knew that each painting would be a portrait in its own right, whether it be a kind local or the house up the hill. Besides, it is the mood, the message, the impression that one can glean for oneself that makes each painting unique.

I have heard that as an artist you should not spread yourself too thin by painting too many different types of subject matter, that people should recognize your work by what you paint. I disagree. I think it is HOW you paint that distinguishes an artist's work. It is the technique and the original impetus behind the piece, the emotion and composition that frame the subject matter that distinguish it as your own.

Stay tuned. I will be writing about Twillingate and posting pictures from Twillingate and Fogo Island next week. Thank-you for reading and feel free to email me with any questions you might have about my work or anything else for that matter. Be well and have a wonderful day!

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind."~Seneca

Here is some information on my solo exhibition in November 2009. If you have any questions please contact Abbozzo Gallery.
Newfoundland Portraits
November 5-22nd, 2009
Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, Ontario
Opening Reception November 6th, 7-10pm

Have a wonderful day and take good care,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your adventurous spirit reminds me of a particular artist. The englishman Andy Goldsworthy.
I look forward to seeing the series of paintings at Abozzo.
adam the admirer