As a young city girl living in the midst of noise, I became aware of something very special—in the stillness, there exists a voice that cuts through the darkness and touches the soul. Maybe it tells a story of the places we live, why we’re there, why it feels like home, and what we’re meant to do.
At the family cottage, or visiting family in the East Coast, the sun, the moon, the stars, the land; the rivers and creeks I walked and listened to, the lakes and oceans I would swim in or watch the ripples and tides, the trees and leaves that whispered in their steadfast existence… everything would connect and fill me somehow with God’s presence.
In this Canada Legacy Series, I’m using both imagination, real life experience, and prayers to tap into the beauty of the land and peoples to paint and write the impressions that come. To simply be an interpreter… bringing forth the beauty, power, wisdom, love and grace of the LAND-SEA-SKY and the ever-present, ever-loving Creator of all.
Over the Causeway (NS)—an abstract representation of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, surrounded by its rugged coastline, alive with a unique culture where ancestry is treasured along with fiddle music, both thriving deeply in communities. Canada’s 18th largest island, Cape Breton’s majestic beauty is composed of the Acadian Highlands, the famous Cabot Trail rising from the sea clinging to mountains, meandering down to peaceful fishing villages. Oh too the rocky shores, glacial valleys, farmlands, mountains, woods and lighthouses also enchant the senses and capture the heart.
Cape Breton holds a special place in my heart and though I have not been back there since I was a young teen it runs somehow in my blood. My father was born in a tiny seaside village known as West Arichat on the Isle of Madame. It sounds romantic perhaps, but life was very hard there for my dad back in the day. One of fifteen siblings, he had to quit school in grade two to work to help support the family. The life of miners, fisherman and even bootleggers should take you back to another time, of simple but hard living.
When I visited Halifax this past summer for a 20th year church planting celebration, we toured some nearby villages and ocean side towns, and I found myself very disoriented with the quaintness of restoration and thriving tourist areas. This was not anything like the Nova Scotia I knew.
I felt nostalgic for some remembrance of the simpleness and ruggedness that had infiltrated my inner world and captivated my heart as a young girl.
We ventured outside these touristy areas and I began to relax in my body and breath. Here, yes, this I knew. The feeling I remembered. The living I remembered. The quiet. The rugged. The Atlantic.
Nova Scotia, one of eastern Canada’s Maritime provinces on the Atlantic, is a peninsula with offshore islands, home to puffins and seals, and whale watching in the Bay of Fundy. Mountain ranges and fertile valleys, high tides, lobster and fish, and blueberries. Oh I do remember the blueberries!
For me, it’s always going to be Cape Breton though. Without realizing what I had painted, I could see it when I stood back, somehow I encapsulated both Cape Breton and Isle Madame. You might recognize the foundation of it, the rugged coastline, and Lake Bras D’Or or Grand Lake just off centre.
Over the Causeway… several layers of acrylic paint, a special card gifted to me for my birthday and embellished with soft pastels make up this painting that I hope conveys the aliveness of these Atlantic islands.