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.