Saturday, December 13, 2008

Musings from "The Rock": Exploring Newfoundland, Part 2


"O lands! O all so dear to me-what you are, I become part of that, whatever it is."
~Walt Whitman

On the first Sunday that we were in Newfoundland Robert and I decided to drive across the entire province to Gros Morne National Park. Initially it wasn't on our itinerary but we were compelled to go from what we had seen and heard about it. We knew that there was a remarkable tour of the fjord as well as hiking the many trails accessible within the park. We also planned to loop back along the northern coast of Newfoundland to visit Twillingate and Fogo Island as well.
Sunset over Wesleyville. Another day in paradise.

Newfoundland has hardly any police or traffic in general. We saw not one police cruiser checking for speeders or driving around IN TWO WEEKS. It was quite unbelievable. We did see one though so we knew that they were in the province somewhere! Plentiful was the wind, clean air and unspoiled views. 

Before we went to Gros Morne however we spent a few days exploring the nearby towns of Greenspond and Newtown. 

We saw many flag poles like this flapping furiously in the wind. This is at Greenspond

We took an amazing hike in Greenspond which has been hiked for over a century if memory serves. Greenspond takes its name from two of the original families to live in the area, the Greens and the Ponds. We took to its quaint charm immediately. Our hike took us over rocks to a boardwalk which petered out to a well trodden path that formed a big loop. Similar to Alaska, the lack of pollution provides a crisp view of what is on the horizon. Rob thought something was wrong with his eyes as he was not accustomed to seeing so far, so well.


I was struck with the beautiful colours in Newfoundland. Perhaps it was the light hitting or simply psychosomatic but whatever the reason I found the clarity and colours of everything around me richer, more acute, and this resonated deeply with me as an artist in particular. I kept a detailed list of potential paintings that I would do as we traveled; meticulously went through all of my photographs each night to determine potentially viable images and noted them accordingly. By the time we left I had about 27 ideas that I was satisfied with. From those I aim to do at least 15 good paintings. 


The beginning of the great walking/hiking trail in Greenspond

Our attention was captured just as much by the smallest beauty as any grand ocean swell.

It was lovely to look out and see simply beauty and no large buildings anywhere!

We saw many people picking berries to make cloudberry, partridgeberry, blueberry and marshberry jam. It was great to snack and hike at the same time!

The lighthouse which stands atop Bennett's High Island. We watched its beacon every evening from the studio across the bay.

Back in Wesleyville, Jim and Cyril, two of David's childhood friends gave us a tour of the small island that dot the bay around Wesleyville. I instantly adored these two guys. They were the salt of the earth and only too happy to show us around in Cyril's hardy Sea Runner. It was wonderful to see the studio and shoreline from the water and to amble around Bennett's High Island and Swain's Island nearby. 

Swain's Island. Once populated by 400 of the most resolute souls imaginable, now it is is quiet, with a small cemetery that documents the often too short lives of the people who once lived there. 




Worlds colliding: Cyril on his cellphone. 

As soon as I met Cyril I knew I had to paint him. That hat! You simply cannot meet someone with a great hat like that and not paint them. Cyril was benevolent, humble and so kind to us. Jim too was so thoughtful, informative about the local history and gave us the best jar of  homemade blueberry jam we had ever had! Look for portraits of these two extraordinary guys at my exhibition next autumn at Abbozzo Gallery.


Robert and I took a walk up through Wesleyville as the sun went down, always on the lookout for shots for paintings. Everywhere you turned there was a picture waiting to be taken. Above, the view towards one end of town across the cemetery. We were standing up near the large watertower in Wesleyville that can be seen from miles away.

The water tower in Wesleyville

New-Wes-Valley is a relatively recent name that encompasses about four small towns in this area of Newfoundland. I believe Brookfield, Greenspond, Wesleyville are among those considered a part of New-Wes-Valley.

I think that I will stretch my experience in Newfoundland into four posts so that I can share even more pictures with you. 

As the sun set on another beautiful day on The Rock we were excited to begin our journey to Gros Morne, all the while appreciating the unique character and geology of the little towns dotting the Northeastern side of the island. Wherever you are in Newfoundland, you are where you need to be, away from the hustle and bustle, re-examining your mind and motivations for why and how you live. I was at peace in Newfoundland, of that I am sure. At peace and motivated to recapture a bit of the magic that I felt there with my work. Stay tuned.


Sunset over Wesleyville after another idyllic day.

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks"
~John Muir

Here is some information on my solo exhibition in November 2009. If you have any questions please contact Abbozzo Gallery. You can read about some of the paintings I have created for this exhibition on my other blot, here

Newfoundland Portraits
November 5-22nd, 2009
Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, Ontario
Opening Reception November 6th, 7-10pm


Have a wonderful day and take good care,

Heather




1 comment:

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