Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dory Fishing Christmas Cards

Last week at the market, a customer who was interested in my print of dory lobster fishing, asked me if I could make her some Christmas cards from the print.  After deciding on the layout and the choice of lettering style, I spent some time experimenting with the colour of the Christmas greeting, until I ended up with a colour a little redder and darker than the dory, but not a bright red.  For me, it works quite nicely.

Well satisfied with how the new cards turned out, I decided to make some more in case others might like these very nautical cards of Christmas greeting.

If these appeal to you, I can provide a pack of 12 cards, with envelopes, for $20, plus $4.00 for shipping (unless you happen to live on Grand Manan and want to drop by to pick some up).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Market Day Picks

Over the last few days, leading up to Grand Manan Christmas Market, which will be open at the Grand Manan Community Centre today from 10 until 4, I have covered the various series of prints of my marine paintings; today I will provide a pick from each series.  It might be a personal favorite, a popular one, an interesting one.

From the Lighthouse series, because I like the sea and the mood in the painting, I am picking "Gannet Rock Afternoon":

From the Age of Sail series,for the muted tones and mood, "Fog":

From Steam and Diesel, the ship fondly regarded for bailing out our Island community when other vessels let us down, and retiring from service finally this year, "Grand Manan":

Among the paintings of Fundy natural living things, the whimsical "Lumpfish":

Shipwrecks tell us that the sea is a whole lot more powerful than we humans; I like the way the awe and power of the sea in "Perseverance":

And for good measure, my newest print of a recent painting, "Dory Lobster Fishing":

Even though I cannot have a print of everything in every size, I will have on hand an illustrated list of prints, in case there is one you would like to order.  I have prints and frames on hand and can make up the order very quickly.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fundy Shipwrecks

Rounding out the selection of prints of my paintings are a half dozen shipwreck paintings.  Now this might seem an odd choice to feature at the Grand Manan Christmas Market (day after tomorrow), but they certainly do convey the sense of the power of the sea, and people do find that fascinating.  And I admit a bias toward the subject of shipwrecks, having visited and studied them under water when I was much younger.

The first shipwreck (the earliest one) is a schooner that was capsized in a terrific Bay of Fundy gale on New Year's Eve in 1819.  The masts broke off and the hull came back upright again.  All the crew were lost but the Captain, who managed to rig a makeshift sail on the stump of the foremast and reach the Nova Scotia shore, demonstrating an enormous amount of the quality for which the schooner was named - "Perseverance":

At the northern end of Grand Manan Island is a rugged cliff where a dramatic shipwreck story unfolded in a January snowstorm in January, 1857.  Twenty-one men perished, but eight survived the ordeal.  The headland was since named for the barque that was wrecked there - "Lord Ashburton":

Schooners were the tractor-trailers of a hundred years ago, carrying freight of all kinds back and forth along our coasts.  Inevitably, in fact almost weekly, some were blown ashore - "Stranded":

Gypsum mined in the Windsor area of Nova Scotia was transported in barges to New York to make plaster for house construction in the eastern US.  One of the ocean goin tugs built in New York to tow these gypsum barges wound up stranded on the St. Mary Ledge, the outermost of the Murr Ledges, off Grand Manan, under curious circumstances in January 1906; the tug "Gypsum King":

In October, 1909, a cargo steamer coming across the Atlantic to Saint John piled up one stormy night on the treacherous Old Proprietor Ledge, off Grand Manan.  35 lives were lost; six of the crew stayed with the ship and were later rescued by life savers from Seal Cove.  The painting depicts the rescue of the remnants of the crew of the "Hestia":

A Norwegian owned steamer got off course in a December storm in 1936 and ran ashore on the rocky coast below Lorneville [west of Saint John].  A heroic young Norwegian seaman swam a heavy hawser ashore through raging surf and scrambled up the cliff and secured it to a rock.  The others on the ship tightened the rope and all were able to make it to shore.  The painting depicts what I think the ship might have looked like sunk on bottom there the next day; the "Kings County":

The prints of these paintings are available in three different sizes and with three different frame styles, as noted with complete information at

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Living Things of Fundy

Most of my paintings are of man-made things of various kinds, lighthouses, sailing ships, engine powered ships, boats, even lobster buoys.  But I have overlooked a great variety of beauty in the living things we find in our Bay of Fundy.  So I started to fix that by painting some of these living things this year.  And I have prints of these paintings for sale, and will have some of these at the Grand Manan Christmas Market this Saturday.  And if I don't have the exact one you are looking for, I will be pleased to try to fill your request with just what you need.

First, I had fun painting this cute little fellow.  I enjoyed running into these little fish when diving,  Normally a greyish colour, the males turn bright orange in breeding season.  (Now someone might think of some smart comment about that, but I'm not going to touch it!)  Anyway, here is a fish common to Bay of Fundy waters, who goes by the unflattering name "Lumpfish":

Perhaps the most commonly seen bird around our shores in the seagull, herring gulls, to be precise.  Powerful and graceful in flight, social but highly competitive, I had fun painting "Gulls on the Open Sea":

Ducks frequent our sheltered Fundy shores, laying their eggs and raising their young.  Mergansers are common visitors to Our Cove, and I have depicted this Merganser mom showing her little ducklings how to forage for food in the tidal shallows,"Merganser & Ducklings":

We have lots of shore birds visiting our Fundy shores during their migrations north in the spring and back south in late summer and fall.  I painted this little fellow on a rock in the early morning waiting for the tide to go down a little more to expose some interesting breakfast in the tidal rockweed.  In real life, he probably wouldn't be that patient, but would be busy actually wading in the shallows.  But, hey, I can take artistic licence to create a mood with early morning light!  "Yellowlegs":

Hope you enjoy the living things of Fundy.  I have framed prints in three different sizes and in three different frame styles.  Details on frames are found in

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fundy Steam & Diesel

As the Age of Sail waned, the clouds of canvas were replaced by clouds of smoke and steam belched out by steam powered ships plying the Bay of Fundy.  While sailing ships had a certain grace to the masts and sails straining in the wind, the ships propelled by steam engines and later diesel engines had a different, more solid, functional grace to their design.

I enjoy painting engine powered vessels just as much as sailing ships, even though they are very different in form and grace.  I have prints of four of these paintings, most of which will be on display at the Grand Manan Christmas Market this Saturday.  If there is one that interests you that you don't see at the market, I would be pleased to fill your order.

The first little steamship is the earliest ferry to serve Grand Manan on a regular basis.  In 1884, a group of Grand Manan businessmen went down to Flushing, New York, and bought a steamship to place in service as a ferry to the Island.  The was the steamer "Flushing":

The second steamer in this series didn't serve Grand Manan, but plied on the Saint John River.  Built in Toronto in 1899, she ran up and down the Saint John River from 1902 until she was retired in 1942, being one of the last steamers in regular service on the River; the "Majestic":

Starting out life as a graceful, sleek hull, diesel yacht, she was pressed into service during World War II as the minesweeper "Elk".  When the War ended, she was purchased from War Assets, to be put into service until she was replaced in 1965.  Most noted for having to hoist cars on deck with a derrick, she carried nine cars and no trucks.  But many older Islanders fondly remember the "Grand Manan III":

Rounding out this series at this time is a print of my painting of the diesel ship that was built in Saint John and placed into service in 1965, to be retired earlier this year.  Having served the Island faithfully for 46 years, many Islanders have been purchasing a print of this painting of the "Grand Manan":

I hope you have enjoyed this brief glance at some of these ships of steam and diesel that have been so much a part of our Bay of Fundy heritage.  Prints of these paintings are available in three sizes and with three frame styles.  The details are all there in

Monday, November 21, 2011

Age of Sail Nostalgia

Does the Age of Sail interest you?  Do you muse about the old sailing ships, with their spars creaking and sails snapping in a stiff breeze?  Do you imagine clouds of canvas on your Bay of Fundy horizon? Prints of Age of Sail paintings might be just what you would like to satisfy your Age of Sail nostalgia.

I will have a good selection of "Age of Sail" prints at the Grand Manan Christmas Market on Saturday, November 26.  But if one of these prints is what you want and you do not find it there, I will be pleased to fill your request.

The most famous New Brunswick windjammer was hailed as the fastest ship in the world, the clipper ship "Marco Polo":

Nova Scotia would not be quite the same without her sailing ship icon, the Grand Banks schooner "Bluenose":

All sailing ships in the North Atlantic had to contend with a weather condition we are quite familier with in the Bay of Fundy: "Fog":

A hundred years ago large schooners were built to carry bulk cargoes.  Even though they could hold huge cargoes, they were still at the mercy of wind to reach destinations; "Outward Bound":

A unique Nova Scotia fishery required skill and stealth, as little sloops powered by wind silently glided up on swordfish near the surface, to be harpooned with deadly aim; "The Swordfishers":

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, inshore fishermen used sail to take their dories to fishing ground for setting out their trawl lines; "Fishing Sloop"

A far cry from today's diesel and hydraulic powered lobster boats, early Fundy fishermen made their living fishing traps in a dory; "Dory Lobster Fishing"

All this prints are available in three different sizes and three different frame styles, all fully described at

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How about a Bay of Fundy Lighthouse?

Do you like lighthouses?  What about that special someone you want to surprise in just over a month? Would a nice framed print of one my paintings of some of our Bay of Fundy lighthouses be just the right gift?  I will have a good selection at the Grand Manan Christmas market on November 26, but if what you are looking for is not there, I will be pleased to fill your order.

I have six different Bay of Fundy lighthouse prints available in three different sizes and three different frame styles.  Swallowtail Light, at the north end of Grand Manan, is depicted in three different moods; Gannet Rock shows its rugged independence far out at sea, Head Harbour Light on Campobello Island shows why it is a Maritime icon, and rounding out the six, we have the lighthouse on West Quoddy Head, the eastern most point of the United States.

As we head into winter, it is fitting to lead off with the wintery "Swallowtail Snow":

Then there is the consistent favourite choice of those who buy my prints, the lighthouse with crashing surf in the foreground "Swallowtail Surf":

Rounding out the moods of Swallowtail, is "Swallowtail Welcome", showing the lighthouse as a visitor sees it coming to the Island on a calm summer day, along with the welcoming committee of a couple of gulls:

My personal favorite of my lighthouse paintings is "Gannet Rock Afternoon".  Gannet Rock is far out at sea, and the painting depicts the lighthouse on its lonely rock in an afternoon sou'wester.  I painted it to look like it did when it was still manned and well cared for:

If you were to choose a Bay of Fundy lighthouse that might be a Maritime icon, it would have to be Head Harbour Light at the northern end of Campobello Island.  I depicted the lighthouse as seen from the sea, with the morning light glowing in the rugged rocky shore there, and I called it "Head Harbour Morning":

The only American lighthouse in the six is our neighbour at West Quoddy Head, Maine; the easternmost point in the United States.  I have depicted the lighthouse in winter, and took the scene back a hundred years with a schooner beating up by, and I call it "West Quoddy Winter":

Incidentally, "West Quoddy Winter" illustrates why North America's North Atlantic lighthouses often had red markings:  our mariner forefathers could not as readily see an all white lighthouse against a backdrop of snow, but a lighthouse with bright red colouring stood out against the snowy hilside behind it.

The prints are all framed and ready to hang.  The frame size for a print 11" x 14" is 17.5" x 20.5"; the frame for a print 8" x 10" is 14.5" x 16.5"; and the frame for a 5" x 7" print is 11.5" x 13.5".  More complete information on the frames can be found at

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Swallowtail's Blanket of Snow

We have had an unseasonably warm fall here at Our Cove, but one of these days old man winter will catch up with us and we will be shovelling snow and blowing on cold fingers.  In spite of our complaining about the cold, a blanket of snow peacefully covering the frozen land can be beautiful.  Add to the mix a lighthouse and the rocky Grand Manan coast and you have "Swallowtail Snow"

As we approach the colder weather, somehow a print of a snowscape seems more appropriate, so I added a print to my Etsy shop, as we start to think snow and Christmas and winter thoughts.

I sold a few similar "Swallowtail Snow"prints at the market this summer.  But the market clientele are often summer visitors.  And even regular summer visitors who come back year after year don't get to see Swallowtail under a blanket of snow, so they thought it quite a novelty.  How many times did I answer the question "does it really get covered with snow like that?"  Well, yes it does, though in truth the snow often blows off the exposed rocky promontory.  But I took some artistic licence to keep the snow in place as a nice white blanket.

So, enjoy the winter.  Might as well, it will happen anyway.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Bay of Fundy Sunrise

Featuring this print "Sunrise on the Bay" today seemed somehow appropriate for a couple of reasons.  First of all, we seem to be more conscious of sunrises and sunsets when the time changes in spring and fall.  And, in case you had forgotten, sime changes tonight!  So we get to see our sunrise an hour sooner tomorrow morning.

Sunrise on the Bay of Fundy is often crisp, clear and inspiring, and the water is almost never completely still; there is nearly always at least a little chop, certainly some movement in response to a fresh breeze.

And the second reason this print seems appropriate just now is that lobster season in our part of the Bay of Fundy starts with the setting of lobster traps on Tuesday.  And this print is mostly sky and water, with just a lone trap buoy in it for interest.

So, don't forget your time change tonight; and for all who will be setting traps on Tuesday; I hope you all get your traps in the water safely and have a prosperous season, one and all.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Remembering the Hestia, October 25, 1909

At 1:10 am, on Monday, October 25, 1909, the old steamer Hestia struck the Old Proprietor Ledge, a lonely and treacherous reef off Grand Manan.  It was a nasty night with strong winds and rain, and the Captain decided to try to launch lifeboats.  Several lives were lost when one lifeboat dumped its occupants into the sea when one tackle came unhooked prematurely.  Two were rescued and hauled back aboard, but the cries and screams in the water below were gradually quenched as nine people were drowned right beside the ship.  Other boats were launched and most crowded into the remaining boats, but six of the crew opted to take their chances on the stranded steamer.  The life boats pulled away from the shipwreck and were blown by the wind across the Bay of Fundy to the Nova Scotia shore, but none survived the ordeal.

The six who stayed with the ship made the best of their precarious position until the weather cleared and the shipwreck was discovered, and a message was sent to the Life Saving Station at Seal Cove.  The painting depicts the stranded Hestia and the rescue of the remnants of crew by the Seal Cove men

Instead of using the lifeboat, Captain Frank L. Benson set out in his own sloop Dreadnought.  With him for crew were Guy Benson, Joseph Hatt, James Dalzell and George Russell.  And so I depicted a sloop in the painting, anchored off from the bow of the Hestia.

At the same time, Captain Loren Wilson set out from Seal Cove in his schooner Ethel, taking along with him his sons Arthur and John Wilson, Horace Schofield, Leonard Benson, Turner Ingalls, Ashton Guptill, Fletcher Harvey, Mabury Russell, George Stewart and Dr. B. F. Johnson..  And so I depicted a schooner drifting by the stern of the "Hestia"

The Ethel arrived at the Old Proprietor Ledge about one o'clock in the afternoon and laid by while Turner Ingalls and Leonard Benson took a dory alongside the Hestia, followed almost immediately by a dory from the Dreadnought.  The seas were still running high and the dorymen summoned all their skill and strength to stay in position alongside the wreck while holding lifelines to allow the shipwrecked men to come aboard. 

Dories are quite remarkable little craft in rough sea, particularly when expertly handled.  And so, while 35 lives were lost in the lifeboats, the six crewmen who stayed by the stranded ship were all saved from the shipwreck by the skilled seamen from Seal Cove.

Even 102 years later, as we contemplate fall storms with their gales force winds, we can be reminded of the loss of the Hestia and so many lives, and the heroic rescue by men of the sea from Grand Manan.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dory Lobster Fishing print

My feature in my Etsy shop this week is a print of my painting "Dory Lobster Fishing", an 11" x 14" print framed in a mahogany frame with white liner.  This seems fitting in the fall as we come up to lobster season, which has actually started further up the Bay of Fundy. 

But we won't find many people this lobster season fishing the wooden traps from a dory propelled by oars!

The dory is painted its traditional "dory buff" colour, which is reflected in the waves near the bow.

And the lobster buoy is painted the same colour, with distinctive black marking on it.

The fisherman is manoeuvering with his oars, pulling on one and pushing on the other to turn his dory.

This might be a romantic look at lobster fishing, but it would be a hard way to make a living!

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Age of Sail" Note Cards

This pack of twelve lovely and colourful 4.25” x 5.5” note cards is reproduced from six of my original paintings of ships in the Age of Sail. There are two cards of each painting.  They are all icons of our maritime heritage, icons of coastal living. The cards are blank inside but have brief description of the depicted sailing ship on the back. Hand cut and hand folded, the 12 cards come with 12 white envelopes, tied up with string.

The sailing ships are portrayed in different conditions of wind and sea, depicting a variety of sailing ships with distinct Maritime flavour: from Nova Scotia’s own sailing icon, the Grand Banks schooner Bluenose,

to New Brunswick’s age of sail icon, the clipper ship Marco Polo, once hailed “the fastest ship in the world! 

Included are a small fishing sloop:

and a large, 4-mast schooner:

a sword-fishing schooner on a bright sunny day:

 and a square rigger in the fog:

With the inside of the card blank, you can write your own personal message as you send out your “age of sail” greeting from the coast where you live, or the coast where you wish you could live!