Friday, September 20, 2013

Nova Scotia Painting Retreat, Part 3

Old Post Office, 12x9 oil
Thursday dawned clear and cold with prospects for another gorgeous day in Nova Scotia.  This is welcome weather after a run of fog and rain on Campobello Island; and it is more typical, in my experience, of the Maritimes at this time of year.  Unless you have a hurricane blowing through, autumn is quite lovely with cool, dry, sunny weather.

After a quick breakfast and morning critiques, we headed back into Annapolis Royal to paint some of the historic buildings along St George Street.   Although the old woodframe buildings are nice to look at, one tall brick building caught my eye – the old post office and customs house.  Built around 1890, it replaced the gubernatorial residence of a Colonel Vetch, one of the British officers who took back the town from the French in 1710.  The early morning sun on the brick was a treat for the eye.  While I painted, a group of historical Acadian dancers performed in the square to the accompaniment of a concertina.  Although I was busy watching the building and not the dancers, it was nice to hear the music.

We watched a boat being hauled in for repair
Acadian dwelling replica
Trina and I took the afternoon off and visited the town's Historic Gardens.  This is a beautiful place with cool, shaded walks – just the perfect thing on a warm afternoon.  I enjoyed visiting the Acadian house, which is a replica of a pre-Deportation dwelling that was common up until 1755, the date the Acadians were expelled by the British.  The house had some old glass in the windows, and I discovered that a properly-aged sheet of glass could function as a tool for artists in helping to discern the "big shapes" in a landscape:

Not a painting!  Just looking through some old glass.
That evening, we enjoyed a nice meal at Restaurant Compose, which offered not just the usual seafood but also some Austrian dishes.

Jim painting beneath a big boat.
Friday morning, we headed down to Parkers Cove, where I wanted to try my hand at boats again.  The harbour was a delight – simple lobster boats rather than the complex scallop draggers we saw at Digby, and the tide was just starting to creep in, which gave us time to paint boats that weren't going to move on us.  (Boats are notorious for moving just when you get a painting started.)  I set up in front of the "Hazel G."  Shortly, a lady came over to visit, and she said that the boat had first been her father's and then her brother's and was now her cousin's.  Hazel had been her mother.  It's nice to make that kind of connection when you're out painting a picture of somebody's boat.

The "Hazel G" 9x12 oil
The house we've rented is on a beautiful 60 acres with trails that go down to the "dykelands" and the Annapolis River.  I was feeling guilty that we've been here all week but haven't painted on the property.  So, this afternoon, two of us took the opportunity to do just that.  The goldenrod is beautiful right now, and with the low light of very late summer, the meadow was gorgeous.  My last painting for the retreat was this 9x12 oil:

Tobey's Path, 9x12 oil 
Now it's time to head out.  We have a long drive ahead of us with a stop near Port Elgin, New Brunswick, before getting home on Sunday.  We're sad to leave – it's been a great week for all of us!

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