Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nova Scotia Painting Retreat, Part 2

On Wednesday, after breakfast and sharing our paintings from the day before, we continued our explorations of Nova Scotia's Annapolis Basin by heading down to Digby.  According to its tourism website, Digby is home to "the world's largest inshore scallop fleet along the eastern seaboard."  It sounds like marketing hype, but we were amazed at the scores of scallop boats when we visited the harbour.  I've never taken a good, close look at a scallop dragger, and I was overwhelmed by the complicated array of winches, hydraulics and other gear outfitting each boat.  They look a lot more difficult to operate than lobster boats.

We thought about painting on the wharf, but it was a busy one with pickup trucks coming and going.  Although all the boats seemed to be "in," many were being worked on.  Hulls repaired, innards being welded, and the occasional fisherman taking a break on deck to check text messages.  Wharves with truck traffic don't make for relaxing painting.  So instead, we took a few thousand reference photos and moved on to lunch.  We found a little restaurant near the wharf that offered take-out and ate our meal in the little picnic grounds nearby.

Next, we headed down to the Point Prim lighthouse.  The lighthouse itself isn't much to look at – it's a short, stubby, square thing – but the outgoing tide exposed some very paintable basaltic shelf and cliffs.  (Update: I am told by a reader that this is an "iconic Canadian salt-shaker lighthouse.") It was also a lot more peaceful than the wharf.  The wind was getting up, so we set up to paint on the lee side of the point.  The shadows on the cliffs were perfect, and I enjoyed painting them.  I also had a nice view of the Princess of Acadia, the ferry that runs between Digby and Saint John, New Brunswick, as it returned to port.

Point Prim Cliffs, 9x12 oil
Afterward, Trina and I set out to scope out the next day's painting spots.  We'd heard about Bear River, a little arts community in a river valley not too far from Annapolis Royal, so we checked it out.  It calls itself the "tidal town" because it sits hunkered down over the tidal river and several of the buildings are on stilts to stay above high tide.  It's a possibility for later this week, but we will keep our options open.  Maybe I'll even feel up to painting boats!

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