March 2015


Dug-out canoes have been used for centuries and have enabled fishermen to provide sustenance for their families along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. In recent years, fleets of  trawlers from Europe and Asia have been operating in the Gulf, most often without permits, and have decimated the fishery. This in turn has caused hardship for fishing communities that have relied on the ocean to provide for them. This canoe was returning to its home base in Busua, Ghana.

12 x 16 acrylic on canvas

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In a previous post you saw one view of the village of La Celle sous Chantemerle. Here is another, looking over a wall, with the nearby forest in the background. The village name translates literally into English as “The Cellar below Chantemerle” and refers to the champagne cellars in this village with reference to the neighbouring village of Chantemerle which is located on a hill above.  The Chantemerle is a particular bird common to the area.

12 x 16 acrylic on canvas

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If you saw a previous post, you will already know that one of my passions is sailing, and that one of my favourite places to sail is Lake Diefenbaker. In 2013, my sailing buddy and his friend and I packed our camping gear onto WindRider trimarans and set out from Tuft’s Bay, near the village of Elbow, Saskatchewan. We pulled up on a beach next to Hitchcock Bay and chose that for the first campsite of the trip. It was near perfect, especially the next morning as the sun rose and from the hilltop behind our tents we could see the lake stretching out to the east and south. Check out  more about the week’s experience on this Youtube video.

12 x 16 acrylic on canvas

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The fishing village of Busua is nestled between two lagoons on the coast of Ghana. Those villagers who do not go to sea to fish tend their farms in the rolling hills that extend back from the ocean. The village is home to the Ahantehene, Nana Baidoo Bonso, the Paramount  Chief of the Ahanta people. Nana was a student in the Half Assini Secondary School when I taught there in the early 1970’s. This view is from the rooftop of the African Rainbow Resort in the village.

12 x 16 acrylic on canvas

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In October I was blessed with a wonderful reason to visit France – the arrival of a grandchild!! It was my first time to the country and I was not disappointed. Most of our two weeks were spent in a small village, La Celle sous Chantemerle, in the heart of champagne country, with several family champagne houses found down narrow lanes and vineyards extending in all directions. It was idyllic – the countryside had a feeling that it had not changed in centuries and it had a rural charm that took my mind back to a simpler time, a time of community and self-sufficiency when neighbours were important.

12 x 16 acrylic on canvas

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Well, I promised to post some of the paintings that I have done this winter and so here goes the first one. Inspired by a photo that I took in July, 2014 when on a sailing/camping trip on Lake Diefenbaker with my sailing buddy, Darryl. This was our favourite campsite for this trip, and one which we used a second time on the return leg of the trip. I posted a 20 minute video of the trip on Youtube. Lake Diefenbaker was created when two dams were constructed on the South Saskatchewan River in the late 50’s/early 60’s. It stretches out 140 miles from the Gardner Dam at the east end to Saskatchewan Landing in the west. Darryl and I outfitted our WindRider trimaran sailboats with camping gear for the 5 day/4night expedition. There are many excellent places to pull up on shore for camping or picnicking.

12 x 16 acrylics on canvas

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With the encouragement of several folks who are close to me, I am reawakening this long dormant blog and adding a new category to it – Painting. Last year I had the urge to try something that for far too long I had considered to be beyond my abilities – painting. It was something that I had not done since my days in the one room country school that I attended. In those days, for art class we shared a limited selection of watercolours that came in large round tins. I don’t recall any of our teachers being particularly talented artists and without anyone to inspire us, our efforts showed it!

When my own children were in high school they had different opportunities. My son took lessons in painting with watercolours and my youngest daughter followed suit. They each produced paintings that are still on display, and later their sister joined in, adding to the wall displays. I was rather proud of their artistic abilities, and even a bit envious because I did not think that I could do nearly as well.

Last year, that changed. I started off some acrylic craft paints and some cheap brushes, painting on sketch book paper. Although I didn’t think much of those first efforts, others (meaning my partner and my children – I was not quite ready to subject myself to any “real” criticism!!) were generous with their praise and encouragement, and over a period of a month or so, I had produced a dozen “paintings”!! I will share a few of last year’s efforts here, and then will follow up with some from this year:

First campsite, Lake Diefenbaker 2014

First campsite, Lake Diefenbaker 2014

Surfing at Cape Three Points

Surfing at Cape Three Points

Snow Route

Snow Route