Brighton View Landscape in Stages

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Here, in different stages, is the Brighton View Landscape painting I created for the Garden Home.

I made this rough sketch at the park before starting out. I was standing at the farther end of the enclosure of the Fort, so the view is more frontal than aerial, but when I did the painting, I shifted it so that the view would be more aerial.

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When I started out, I figured I’d make the cannons a central image, and based it on a photo I had taken with the cannons close up and forward.

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I should have gone with the preliminary sketch, which the clients really liked better, so I cleared out the large cannons and pulled out to get more of a bird’s eye view.

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The first detail I completed was Beaconsfield House in the upper right hand corner.

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Then, I did

the Lieutenant Governer’s Residence, Fanningbank,

which is visible between the trees from the park.

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Next, I worked on the rocks around the shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Bay that leads to the Charlottetown Harbour, also visible from the park. I added the lamps and detailed them.

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Then, I worked on the flower boxes and the planters. Each lamp had flowers at the base. I decided not to include the planters that were used during summer to divide the left lane in two so that there would be a bicycle lane, because it would make the road too crowded and the lanes too narrow.

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Then I started on the new cannons, much smaller and placed in the bottom third of the painting, instead of in the bottom half.

       2014-10-19 00.20.19I changed the proportions a bit, so they look longer and thinner up close, but fit nicely in the bottom; I also changed some of the proportions of the fence so I could fit the cannons into the bottom third, so you get more of a view from up looking down.

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After the cannons, I added more details to the boardwalk–worked on the park benches and a seated woman. Then, when my friends Veronika and her daughter Viola were with me painting as well, I added a jogger so Viola would have her mom in the painting!

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The first time I did the lettering for Victoria Park in flowers, it was too upright, so I re-did that.

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Then, I did the viewing platform, added plants and flowers to the lamp post bases…

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This is the blurry shot of the viewing platform in the making, but clearer than the first one I took…

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This is the clearest shot of the three I took of the viewing platform in progress…

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Added plants and flowers to the bases of the lamp posts…

And one day, it was just done. I roughed up the water a little, broke up some of the rocks, then let it sit for a couple of days before spraying a finishing coat.

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I let it sit again for a couple of days before I decided how to do the lettering in parchment with gold outlining.

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Tried to get a diagonal shot to get the whole painting into my phone view with the biggest possible shot.

 

The whole painting is too large to take a close-up of, so I had to pull back halfway across the living room to take a full-width view. The actual shape is elliptical…

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Not enough back-up room. Hehe. It gets cropped on one side.

… and this is what it would look like if it were cropped into a perfect oval shape (which just didn’t happen when Peter was cutting it up with his jigsaw. If the clients want to trim the corners, that’s perfectly all right with me, but I deliberately made a wider ellipse to get as much painting surface as possible.

Brighton View

The Brighton View Landscape can be viewed at the Garden Home, North River Road, Charlottetown, along with my mural of the old farmhouse. I need to take a photo of this with a real camera with proper lighting.

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12 Cards for 12 Occasions: A Big L.E.A.P. for Garden Home Seniors

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Festive display of greeting cards made by senior participants in the Garden Home’s 2014 L.E.A.P. (Learning Elders Art Program) under the auspices of the PEI Senior Citizens’ Federation through funding from the PEI Department of Tourism and Culture, in cooperation with the PEI Council of the Arts.

The participants (14 regular) attended 12 weekly sessions to create 12 cards for 12 occasions.

The cards were displayed at an Open House Exhibit, where MLA Kathleen Casey handed out Certificates of Completion to the participants. Also in attendance was PEI Senior Citizens’ Federation Director Bill Oulton.

The experience was thoroughly enjoyable for the participants, as well as for myself! I would do participate in the LEAP program over and over again!

(The Garden Home is located on North River Road in Charlottetown)

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Project Garden Home: Day 1

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Started a mural painting project for the Garden Home, with outlining for a couple of hours after my last Card-Making workshop with the residents, and close to 6 hours of painting on Saturday. Art is such gratifying work!

Here is what I’ve completed so far:

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A Celebration of Women’s Art

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Viewers joined artists to fill The Gallery@The Guild on the evening of March 7 to celebrate the launch of the second International Women’s Day Art Exhibit in PEI. Curated by Sandy Kowalik, the exhibit showcased the works of 53 women artists, the majority of which were paintings. Styles ranged from minimalist to modern, covering a gamut of subjects, including a bronze-cast peanut butter sandwich.

You can’t just go there and make one round of the exhibit, since there is so much to take in. I must have gone around three times, taking the works in first, from a distance, then up close to see the titles and names of artists, as well as details of each work, then from a distance again, to experience the effect each piece has on you. The pieces were grouped more or less according to style, subject, or medium, creating a kaleidoscope of colours that jumped out at you from the walls. In between the groups were sculptures in bronze, paverpol, and cornhusk, as well as a cushion, jewelry, a woven table runner, and a photo slideshow in a digital frame.

The variety of subjects, materials, styles, and colours are a testament to the diversity of the women artists who participated, indeed, a microcosm of PEI. Much more than just the artwork on exhibit, was the opportunity to meet several artists, make new friends, and participate in several interesting and stimulating discussions.

As ever, art is an expression of the artist’s being–thoughts, feelings, beliefs–past and present; it is an interpretation of life and the world as the artist sees it; it is the stimulus to creation, inasmuch as it is the creation resulting from inspiration. This exhibit is a testament to women’s art that is both inspired and inspiring. I sincerely hope that it will be something that can be done more than just once every 3 years.

*All works are on sale at $150 or less and will be on exhibit until March 15.

Evangeline: The World Premiere of a World-Class Musical

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                  I was in 5th grade when I first encountered the poem Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was already one of my favourite poets, because of another popular poem he had written, “The Song of Hiawatha.” Back then, I thought nothing of the significance of the poem, living on the other side of the world where anything about the West was almost a fairy tale. When I learned that the poem had been turned into a musical play, I just knew I had to see it and, in the meantime, refreshed my memory by digging up an old copy of the poem. Ted Dykstra did not disappoint with his well-woven script and amazing songs and music that ranged from spine-tingling spiritual choruses and deeply moving duets for Evangeline and Gabriel, to lively and rousing chorus numbers that had the house tapping and bobbing their heads in accompaniment. Under the masterful direction of Anne Allan, Dykstra’s script was transformed into a powerful performance that deserves Dora Mavor Moore Awards across several categories.

 

The musical Evangeline closely follows the story of Longfellow’s poem with a few artistic liberties, mainly the addition of the antagonist Captain Hampson, played by Rejean Cournoyer, a re-ordering of Evangeline’s stay with the Quakers, and letting Baptiste Leblanc, played by David Cotton, accompany Evangeline on her search for Gabriel, rather than his father, Basil, played by Tim Koetting, who did not remarry either in the poem. The character of Albert Arsenault’s Rene Leblanc in the musical is a merging of the poem’s notary public and story-teller, and the town fiddler, Michael. Evangeline’s encounter with the Creoles in Atchafalaya was represented by the character of Claiborne, played by the marvelous voiced Marcus Nance.  Nonetheless, the changes created the perfect mix for the musical by enhancing the roles of the supporting characters in the poem.

 

The title role of Evangeline Bellefontaine was beautifully executed with passion and strength by Chilina Kennedy, while Adam Brazier as Gabriel Lajeunesse, complemented her with his character’s devotion and undying love for Evangeline. Sandy Winsby played Evangeline’s devoted father Benedict Bellefontaine, while Olivier Leblanc, played as a boy by Nathaniel Ing and as a young man by Louie Rossetti, is an invented character who plays a foil for Gabriel and does what Gabriel’s more reserved and restrained character cannot do. The full cast and crew have been assembled from all over Canada, with several well-known names from around PEI. The choreography was simple and appropriate, although one of the female dancers lost her stride and danced to a different beat in the opening scene. The audio was extremely well-balanced, except for a few times speaking or singing volumes rose suddenly because of character proximity, but the balance was quickly and masterfully restored.

 

The meticulous detail with which costumes and sets have been designed by Patrick Clark is highly commendable as was the execution of the remarkably flexible sets. One thing that makes this production still more astounding is Jamie Nesbitt’s cycloramic video backdrop, which executes a panoramic view that translates Longfellow’s descriptions of the landscape and events into graphic depictions that emphasize the milieu of this story of a woman’s undying love and her strength, courage and determination to overcome all odds to be reunited with her husband.

 

Without doubt, this brand new musical that depicts the resilient spirit of Canadians in general, and Acadians and women in particular, will be welcomed with much applause wherever it is performed in Canada and around the world.

 

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 *This review is also available on ONRPEI.ca

**Evangeline formally opened at the Confederation Centre of the Arts Homburg Theatre, Charlottetown, PE on July 6, 2013 as part of the Charlottetown Festival 2013.