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Fortunate Isles

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                            The Fortunate Isles (Two Boats, Salmon Cove), oil on canvas, 38.5" x 58", Steven Rhude Fool: Where are we now? Jester: As usual, you're on the edge - this time gazing towards the Fortunate Isles.  Fool: Oh Christ, and what are they prey tell? Jester: Hey, you apprenticed and took the job... after four hundred years, I'm just fixing on retirement. So, if you wish to know, you are standing on the margin between the known world and the under world. It's the last car to Elysian Fields [1] my dear fool, as Mr. James Lee Burke once wrote -  but for you it may be thought to be a utopia, somewhere in the Atlantic ocean . Fool: So who gets in? Jester: Well, the odd mortal is allowed in, but that is up to the heroic and the righteous. Depends on what they see.  Fool: So you're talking about the after life. Jester: Yes, to the Greeks it was a concern. But for you it must be a a modern principle... something linked to literature, music, film, a

Tiverton, Shed Doorway

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                                           Tiverton Shed Doorway, oil on canvas, 18" x 18", Steven Rhude It's human nature to pry, to mentally open a door, and to want to see behind what has become a secret society.  Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Out Port Girls (Girls in Service)

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                                            Out Port Girls (Bonavista Light), oil on canvas, 24" x 36', Steven Rhude    'I can't think of anything the [maids] didn't do They got the coal, cleaned and washed and got the big copper pot boiling to wash the sheets with lye . . . . They had a regular routine for the housekeeping and cooking . . . . I was 5, 6, 7, 8; they were probably 17, 18, 19 but they seemed adult. They stayed for years, some of them, and usually left to get married.” So recalled Janet Story, a St. John’s nurse and nursing archivist, of her childhood years during the interwar era. Janet Kelly, a prominent city businesswoman, remembered that “almost everybody had maids. We did when I was a young kid. My father worked in St. Mary’s Bay, so we had a source, people who knew the family and would trust us with a young girl coming to St. John’s. It was not just the well-off had maids,” Kelly continued. “The middle class, if they could manage it at all, had

Oxymoron

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                                                 Cape Spear (Still Life), oil on canvas, 24" x 36", Steven Rhude You're not one to take a building at face value, that's why you always go around back just to see what's lurking there. So you try to evoke the atmosphere or emotional resonance of it's location by stepping inside the mind of 'the building' and the mind of 'the place', and by extension, yourself the painter. There is nothing really still about the life at Cape Spear. Even though the day is idyllic and nature has called a ceasefire for now, you know when the wind whips, and the gales come with unimaginable force - alone, you would probably cower like a spooked dog. So the title of this work is definitely a bit of an oxymoron. However, you put the day in your pocket and take it home. Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS   
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                                                       Brigus Rock (The Stoic), oil on canvas, 36"  x48", Steven Rhude Being  stoic  is being calm and almost without any emotion. When you're  stoic , you don't show what you're feeling and you also accept whatever is happening. The noun  stoic  is a person who's not very emotional. The adjective  stoic  describes any person, action, or thing that seems emotionless and almost blank. Mr. Spock, from the oldest  Star Trek  show, was a great example of a stoic person: he tried to never show his feelings. Someone yelling, crying, laughing, or glaring is not stoic. Stoic people calmly go with the flow and don't appear to be shook up by much .  The hike to Brigus Light is arduous and not for the faint of heart. In unusually hot weather, and poorly equipped, I seriously underestimated the longevity of the hike ( I was told it was about forty minutes each way). On the way back, I encountered a large rock. Thinking o

Battery Sheds and Battery Wharf

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                                                        Battery Sheds, oil on canvas, 24" x 24", Steven Rhude At the entrance to St. John's harbor, on the slopes of Signal hill, a neighborhood called the 'Battery' is located. Reminiscent of a pell-mell kind of out port, fishermen sheds and houses clung to the slopes like sea birds in all sorts of weather. A google aerial view will now show that gentrification has transformed it since the days when it was home to 'chain rock', a chain that connected it to Fort Amherst, in order to prevent the entry of enemy ships into St. John's harbor. Later it was replaced by an anti-submarine net as warfare was modernized with WW2.                                      Battery Wharf, oil on canvas, 24" x 24", Steven Rhude I still marvel at the Battery, knowing full well it will never be entirely gentrified. It's a time out of mind place where one can easily get lost. Thankfully there will always be some

Two Innocents (Cape Spear Barrens)

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                             Two Innocents (Cape Spear Barrens), oil on canvas, 36" x 48", Steven Rhude I've always believed it is important to lack the ability to make the distinction between history and the present. One informs the other in painting, so the distinction needs to be suppressed at times. This work started out as an appreciation of the Cape Spear Barrens in all its moodiness. I gestured some figures in with the intent that their ambiguous forms could easily be painted out, and the work would go safely back to a more or less factual account of a hike I took along this melancholic barren place of natural wonder.  To be uneducated and "innocent" of worldly things today is a risky proposition. However, to have acquired knowledge of the natural world as it can be passed down through a generation or two can amount to survival if you originate from an out port in Newfoundland. The painting's title comes from a novel by Michael Crummy. He can leave yo