Saturday, 5 September 2020

        Love and Landscape: Upcoming show at Harvest Gallery, Wolfville, NS in November, 2020 


Steven Rhude, Wolfville, Nova Scotia          

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Greenwich Woman

Greenwich is a Canadian rural community located in eastern Kings County, Nova Scotia. It was previously known as Noggins Corner, as travelers could procure a noggin of rum at a local public house.

The community is bordered to the south by the Wolfville Ridge, immediately west of the town of Wolfville and east of the village of New Minas. It is also bordered on the north by the south bank of the Cornwallis River (also known as Chijekwtook), opposite the village of Port Williams.

Greenwich Woman, oil on masonite, 16" x 20", Steven Rhude

Monday, 1 June 2020

Through Betty Davis eyes

“Basically, I believe the world is a jungle, and if it's not a bit of a jungle in the home, a child cannot possibly be fit to enter the outside world.”
Bette Davis

                                        Blue Beach, oil on masonite, 12" x 14", Steven Rhude

                                                             Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Monday, 18 May 2020

Ochre Pit Couple

Ochre Pit Couple, oil on masonite, 12" x 12", Steven Rhude

 He first became acquainted with that rebel place through an invitation. Like a potent drug it only took one hit and his addiction was complete. It appeared in his dreams, sometimes while listening to the car radio, or watching the telly, in distracting conversations, or in a glance from one of his children, and it appeared in strange and tangential ways, through his paintings created for the most part, far away from their inspirational origins. He came to believe that the real artist was memory itself; that the recollection of his time there was in and of itself a work of art... albeit an unfaithful record.

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS 

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Acis and Galatea (Minas Basin Lovers)

Acis and Galatea (Minas Basin Lovers), oil on masonite, 24" x 36", Steven Rhude
The perils of loving an immortal; here's a version of the myth of Acis and Galatea.

 Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Once upon a time, long ago, on the rocky coast of Sicily lived a Cyclops named Polyphemus. Son of the sea god Poseidon, he was a monstrous creature. In the center of his giant forehead was one great eye, but that was not the worst of his traits. He was a hairy brute, and his manner was even rougher than his looks. No men and no gods chose to keep his company, and so his loneliness and fury increased.
He wandered the cliffs along the sea, leading his flocks of sheep and goats, and became the terror of the shores. No stranger could escape his harm. He attacked every ship that passed those shores.
And then one day something astonishing happened. Polyphemus caught sight of the lovely sea nymph Galatea, and the moment he saw her, he fell madly in love. His love was as passionate and huge as was his fury and beastliness. From that day on, he became consumed with seeking the love of the nymph.
But Galatea's heart belonged to another, a handsome young shepherd called Acis, son of Pan. He was a sweet and humble young man, loved by his father and mother, by his flocks and by all who knew him. But no one loved him as deeply as did Galatea. And as much as Galatea loved this youth, she hated the Cyclops, Polyphemus.
But Polyphemus was determined to win Galatea's love, and to this end, he forgot all his hatred and hunger for blood. He ignored his flocks and paid little attention to the caverns he had for so long haunted. He disdained the great hunks of cheese and vats of milk he once had hoarded. He began, for the first time in his life, to attend to his looks. With a rake, he combed his coarse hair, and he cut his beard with a sickle. Then he looked at his reflection in the sea and studied his features. He smiled. "I am not so horrible," he said.
Now the coast of Sicily was different, for no longer did the Cyclops attack every ship that dared to land. Polyphemus did not dream of plunder and blood, but only of his beloved. His one eye glazed over and looked dreamy as he wandered the shore, leaving gigantic footprints in the sand.
One day he climbed a high promontory that jutted out into the sea. Gazing out to sea, he laid down the staff he carried, a staff that once had been the mast of a giant sailing ship. His sheep and goats wandered the hillsides, no longer subject to his guidance. He stared dreamily for a long while, and then he began to play upon his pipes, which he had made out of a hundred reeds.
The music echoed off the cliffs surrounding him and off the surface of the placid sea. Everywhere people heard the mournful sound of those pipes. Everyone heard, including Galatea and Acis, who sat together hidden in a shallow cave.
When Galatea heard the sound, she froze. "It is the giant. He will never give up," she said to her sweet Acis.
And then, a moment later, it was her name she heard echoing everywhere.
"Galatea," the Cyclops called to the great emptiness stretching before him, "you are lovelier than any flower that blooms in this whole land. You are as smooth as the seashells polished by ocean waves. Galatea, you are as bright and gentle as the moon, as warm as the sunshine that bears down on the world. You are sweeter than grapes, softer than the fleece of my lambs. I love you, Galatea, and for you I will do anything, just to see your face, fresh as the autumn apples."
Galatea hid her face against her beloved's neck. And Acis held her close and said, "The giant has become a poet."
She shook her head as the voice carried on. "Galatea, listen to me. You are as stubborn as my goats. You are tougher than the oaks that rise in our forests. You, my beloved, are sharper than the sickle I carry. You must not run from me, no matter how hard and cruel you may be. Come to me, and I will make you happy. I will keep you in my caves, protected from any harm. There you will feast upon any delicacy you wish, and everyone will bow down to you, for I will make you queen of the world."
Then Polyphemus stood, and as he did, the surrounding cliffs shuddered under his mighty weight, and the mountain known as Aetna began to tremble.
"Galatea," he cried, and every leaf fluttered in the violent wind of his breath. "My heart will burst wide open if you do not come to me!"
Angry at the silence that answered his words, and furious that his beloved hid from him, he wandered along the shore. And then he spotted them.
"You!" he roared, and the earth shook, and the waves at sea rose to great heights.
Terrified, Galatea dived into the sea, and Acis turned to run away, but the Cyclops ripped off a piece of the mountainside and hurled it at the fleeing shepherd. Part of the rock caught the young man. He fell, and as he did, the rock buried him.
Galatea watched from a distance, her heart broken. "No," she cried as she watched blood rise up from the earth that had buried her love. And with all her strength and will, she called on the power of the gods to bless that spot.
Immediately the liquid that rose from the earth turned the color of tea, the color of a stream. Moments later, a tall, green reed appeared through a crack in the earth, and next, through this crack, a stream of water shot up. While Polyphemus watched, stunned by the sight, a river gushed from that crack and began to flow toward the sea.
Forever afterward Galatea mourned her love, and always she told the tale of the giant who would later be blinded.
And as for Acis, he became the river that flowed from the foot of Aetna to the sea, in tribute to the power of love.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Blomidom Lovers

Lovers, Blomidon, oil on masonite, 12" x 24", Steven Rhude

Lovers, Blomidon

Love. One word that describes so many complex emotions and states. Physical love, spiritual love, elicit love, brotherly and sisterly love, parental love, love of spouse, family, community, country, place. Love of town and city. Love of nature - land and sea. The list goes on and on. However, the overview of our lives as individuals usually is composed around the nature of

 Love suspends time, and thus how we arrange our insight into love is often revelatory.

When I gestured in this painting, the couple kissing were more visible. As the painting
progressed they became more enmeshed and tangled within the landscape - the warmth of
the landscape imbuing the couple’s love for each other.

Steven Rhude, NS

Monday, 23 March 2020

Seven Days in the Valley

The shape and symbol of a circle (Tondo meaning round in Italian) has fascinated painters for centuries. Most marvel at its unity and historic journey echoing our relationship with those matters of the spirit. And yet, a circle within a square conveys the spirit within the physical world - the four points of the square inferring the points of the compass. As an early Renaisance principle, western painters continue today to use the Tondo whether they're conscious of its origins or not; origins that go back thousands of years in the visual language of man.

The circle also conveys the concept of a cycle. The life cycle for instance, or something as evident as the cycle of a day, a week, or a year. Seven Days in the Valley is just that simple. The implications of selecting a single observation from a single day in the cycle of a week inspired these works. The inherent suggestion of the spirit in each work is yours to determine or reject. Things have all changed now as we become (hopefully not for long) more interiorized and less likely to venture out as we once freely did not so long ago. Hope you enjoy these works at least virtually. They will soon be at Secord Gallery in Halifax.

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Valley Drizzle (Tondo), oil on masonite attached to square masonite, 14" x 14"

Boy and Gold Fish Pond (Tondo), oil on masonite attached to square masonite, 14" x 14"

Woman and Church (Tondo), oil on masonite attached to square masonite, 14" x 14"

Boy with Truffala Tree (Tondo), oil on masonite attached to square masonite, 14" x 14"

Five Bales (Tondo), oil on masonite attached to square masonite, 14" x 14"

Black Shawl and Shed (Tondo), oil on masonite attached to square masonite, 14" x 14"

Boat with Black Tarp, (Tondo), oil on masonite attached to square masonite, 14" x 14"

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The Hobbiton

Portrait of Callum (The Hobbiton, New Zealand), o/c, 36" x 48" private collection

  Here's a recent commissioned oil portrait of an Acadia University student.

“I come from under hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air, I am he that walks unseen…I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number…I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me…I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am barrel-rider.” - Bilbo the Brave

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Girl and Valley
Girl and Valley, oil on masonite, 34" x 48", Steven Rhude

We've all had that feeling more or less of returning home. There are signifiers for those who are familiar with, and travel the traditional routes... like in our case when a highway approach shifts under a diagonal bridge as Blomidon comes into view - it can still mesmerize as one kindles a cultural relevance from a distance, of a sliver of clay that has commanded so much from us.

However, there is also the idea of the valley as a new home to someone indescribable... she could be from Ethiopia for all we know, as she ponders what... a biennial which grows, in its second year, from a taproot (the carrot) to a height of two to four feet? It is by all means radical. Her language has been eclipsed, but not lost to her subconscious, that is a field with Queen Ann's lace and the articulation of a distant hillside. She has several siblings now and is comfortably at home. The other home is still there and far away, but now it is engaged in a discussion far from her place of origin.

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Friday, 31 January 2020

Doorway Woman and Cape Spear

Boat and Fence, Cape Spear, oil on canvas, 37" x 49",private collection

St. John's. Leaving the Air B&B in the morning - headed down King Street. A woman, blue house coat, goofy slippers, smoking a cigarette with her coffee, standing in a doorway. He nods good morning. Same day, evening, more walking, same woman, jeans, tan linen shirt, smoking a cigarette with her wine. Newly opened bottle by the door.

Woman: "Saw you go past here a few times now. You must walk a lot, you're wearin out my side walk."
 Nova Scotia: "Yes, touring the city and area."
 Woman: "Wheres you belong?"
Nova Scotia: "Sorry?"
Woman: "Where you from?" (emphasis on from)
 Nova Scotia: "Oh, Nova Scotia"
 Woman: "Ah... New Scotland, didn't like the old one?"
Nova Scotia: "Sorry?"
Woman: "You apologize a lot"
Nova Scotia: "Oh, I get it, ya sorry"
Woman: Well Nova Scotia, care for a glass of wine?"
Nova Scotia: Um... sure, thanks, why not. What do you do?"
Woman:"Work in a pub down on Duckworth. So what did you tour today?" (emphasis on tour)
Nova Scotia: "Walked the Battery, also drove out to Cape Spear for some elbow room."
Woman: "Elbow room... oh I see... like you mean room to breathe. And what do you do?"
Nova Scotia: "Ya. Oh, an... I'm a tradesman, restore wooden floors "
Woman: "No one lives there now, just hoards of tourists (pronounced like Taurus) and gulls, haven't been out there for years, creepy place really. Restore floors eh, sounds like honest work."
Nova Scotia: How so, can I have some more wine? It is."
Woman: "Sure. Don't go too close the edge there now, a woman went over last year." (pours wine)
Nova Scotia: "Thanks."
Woman: "Funny, and I don't mean the ha ha kind, but one minute she was lookin at eternity like, or as you says gettin some "elbow room", and then the next second - splat! Gull food."
Nova Scotia: "That's awful."
Woman: "I'd say, you want some more wine? Made the papers and all."
Nova Scotia: "Sure. Come to think of it, I recall something about that accident."
Woman: "Fishermen been warnin people about the erosion for years now. So where ya tourin tomorrow?"
Nova Scotia: "I'm going to an art opening."
Woman: "Ooh la la. Sounds fancy."
Nova Scotia: "How so?"
Woman: "Just does. You like art?"
Nova Scotia: "Ya, some - mostly paintings."
Woman: "Don't like the abstract stuff, you do any paintin ... yourself?"
Nova Scotia: "A little."
Woman: "You should do somethin of Cape Spear. Should we finish the wine? - bad luck to leave some in the bottle?"
Nova Scotia: "Absolutely."
Woman: "But make it real like - not like those abstract things, put some gulls in it, and no tourists, just the ocean, maybe the light house." 
Nova Scotia: "I'll think about it. Got to go now."
Woman: "Come back tomorrow Nova Scotia - give ya some more ideas for places to tour and paintins to make. (she waves)
Nova Scotia: Thanks, see you."

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS 

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Horse, Church, Cheverie, oil on canvas, 48" x 48", private collection

My first contact with the horse as a subject in painting was as a kid when I came across a George Stubbs reproduction of a lion attacking a horse; a viscous attack on the nature of spirit. Later, Da Vinci's Battle of Anghiari studies/drawings caught my attention in a monograph on his life's work. Subsequently, as an adult at art college, the riderless horse that made Kennedy's funeral at Arlington Cemetery so dramatic, was once discussed in class by John Gould - we were riveted by the historical account he proffered to us.
The church in Cheverie is in reality down the road from this location. The horse was a Grey Hanoverian that turned white as it aged. Cheverie speaks for itself.

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS.