Sunday, July 31, 2016
Photos: July 30, 2016
It's a long drive from Caraquet to Baddeck. We made a stop in Bouctouche NB for lunch. This is still Acadian country, birthplace of Antonine Maillet, a celebrated Acadian author. Her play, La Sagouine portrays the life of an archetypal Acadian character.
The Farmer's Market was taking place when we stopped. Here is a taste of some Acadian music we heard there.
With the "Grand Dérangement" many Acadians were sent to Louisiana and spread the Acadian culture there.
After a lengthy drive we arrived in Baddeck on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Baddeck is on the Bras D'Or Lake - a very large body of water. There are many pleasure boats docked at Baddeck. If you haven't been to Cape Breton, think about coming - this time we are really just passing through, but I have spent time here before.
The sun slowly set over the Bras D'Or Lakes. A silent time.
Feel like reading? I'll recommend a couple of Cape Breton authors
Alistair MacLeod - his novel No Great Mischief is great. His short stories are to be savoured.
When I was here several years ago I heard Beatrice MacNeil read from her book, Butterflies Dance in the Dark. I bought it and loved it.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Photos July 29, 2016
We spent much of the day at the Acadian Village. Old buildings from different areas where the Acadians settled have been relocated here. Currently the oldest dates from 1770 (it was being installed) and the newest from the mid twentieth century. To quote the site, the Village is "A living museum portraying the daily lives of the Acadians from 1770 to 1949." There are people in costumes who go about life as it would have been led at the time of the buildings where they are located. They are not acting. You can have conversations with them. One in particular touched me - she was in the home of her great-grandfather. She spoke about how even the gardens at each household are planted only with the vegetables that would have been grown where those houses were originally located.
The people work at the gardens, saw wood, cook meals and eat them, make rope, care for animals etc.
One woman was working with wool - washing the freshly sheared wool. She explained the process she goes through from washing all the way to dying it. There was a pot ready dye some newly spun wool which was soaking - the better to absorb the dye, we were told. She uses the recipes that would have been used in the mid 1800s.
The women prepare meals, wash the dishes and do a variety of other chores.
There is livestock - each farm seemed to have its share of chickens!
In part of the village there were tradespeople - a tavern, grocery store, etc. This is the grist mill.
We walked through a covered bridge which then took us to the early twentieth century complete with a hotel and a gas station.
I found this an interesting concept - it was not a village frozen in time but rather slices of life from different areas and different eras.
The day ended with another concert at Église Ste-Cécile - I found the sober pictures of the priests along with these portrayals of the stations of the cross somewhat incongruous on the wildly painted walls. I guess it just adds to the hallucinatory effect of the place.
Friday, July 29, 2016
Photos: July 28, 2016
What a great way to start a day that combined nature and sublime music, sunshine and driving rain, a rustic restaurant and a church full of surprises.
We are staying in this hotel which dates from 1891. While it is well-appointed to modern standards, it retains much of the old charms.
A walk in the morning took us past a spot for resting, or so I thought. Each bench had a sign complete with QR code indicating what exercises you could be doing at each bench - a keep fit park!
Swaths of flowers fill the meadows and meet the coastline. These flowers are common in the Laurentians in Quebec, where I spent my summers for over 30 years. I always see them with some nostalgia.
Cormorants and seagulls like the rocks which peek out of the water. They come and go, jockeying for positions on their favourite perches.
The skies turned dark and the temperature plummeted. We stopped for supper on Île Miscou at this quirky place - not much more than a shack. The walls were covered with old photographs of local fishermen as well as writing from the many people who have passed through here. The specialty here is local seafood all of which is served on styrofoam plates (not too ecological).
Our evening's destination was Église Ste-Cécile, home of the Lameque Baroque Festival. This church is a perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. This traditional exterior hides a riot of colour.
One woman described it to me as "it looks like the gumdrop factory exploded in here." There is not a centimetre of white space. You can read about it here in French. This wild decor was the creation of Paul Gauvin under the auspices of the curé, Gérard D'Astous and was done in 1968.
Nothing can prepare you for this psychedelic church.
The purple tinge comes from the lights for the concert which was the reason for our visit there. It is always a joy to hear some of my favourite young musicians and to see them develop into very competent professionals. The concert was entitled: Stormy Winds (flute, recorder, oboe, bassoon with accompaniment on cello and harpsichord). While the drive home wasn't windy, it was certainly stormy! Perhaps a dark reprieve from the many colours of the evening.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Photos: July 27, 2016
I still remember my mother telling me that she learned of the St. Lawrence River in geography class as one of the great rivers of the world (this was in Russia in the 1920s). When you are this close to the mouth of the river it is incredible how expansive it is; it is easy to see its majesty and its beauty. The shoreline has stories to tell - time before our history, written in the boulders and rocky expanses, stories of the explorers who "discovered" this land that had been populated long before their arrival, tales of shipwrecks such as the Empress of Ireland which sits not far from here at the bottom of the river.
Sailors have long plied these waters fishing, transporting goods and bringing people to start new lives in North America.
Our road trip took us along the Matapédia River, one of the great salmon rivers in Quebec. This covered bridge was built in 1931
A walk through it is looking at geometry in action.
In New Brunswick we stopped at Petit-Rocher on the Baie des Chaleurs. This part of New Brunswick is the Acadian area. Many of the original Acadians had been expelled after the British conquest (some ended up in Louisiana - hence the Cajans); some returned while others managed to stay. The descendants of these original French settlers made lives here. The people in this area honour the Acadian culture.
You can often see blue, white and red objects celebrating the colours of the Acadian flag. We saw brightly painted fishing shacks, fences, and even chairs.
The pride in their background is obvious!
We passed many weather-beaten houses and barns. This one sported a modern accessory - a satellite dish - the old house embracing new technology. Our final destination - Caraquet.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
A day of driving, passing suburbs, industrial areas, long stretches of trees and farms. We drove through lots of farming country where once seigneuries stretched from the river and up - fields like bands of fabric on the landscape.
Today's destination was Rimouski, a city on the St. Lawrence River situated where the river starts to open up so the other side is not longer visible. Bands of light poured down on the river between the clouds. Endless horizon - it seemed to stretch forever.
The rocky shore shows evidence of long ago upheaval. The rock has been turned so the striations face up instead of out.
A walk, dinner and then another walk - a stroll along part of the city's boardwalk which stretches over 4 km. Lights dance on the water.
Monday, July 25, 2016
I've had this ceramic piece for a long time. One can see the artist got his inspiration from nature - the sun or a flower - in either case there is energy bursting forth. It, in turn, inspires me - the colour, the form and the asymmetry.
I've been immersed in #clmooc - making, reading, getting inspired by the creative people who have chosen to be part of this group. It is a bit like playing jazz where one member starts a melody; someone else catches it and riffs off it, remixes it and gives it a whole new slant.
Sometimes you have to zoom in close, pay attention to details to get the gist of an idea, to read and respect and retell - variations on a theme. It can get quite dense as the rhythm of a twitter chat can be fast and furious.
This coming week is a break week - a time for quieter colours and rounder lines. I'll be off on a trip getting inspired by the countryside, by music and by the many thoughts that are replaying from the encounters I have had via #clmooc.
Here's hoping for robust wifi!
Sunday, July 24, 2016
As we were walking we heard the sounds of a fiddle. By the time we traced the source, the musicians had changed to other instrumentation. The tin flute started a lovely melody. Our community hosts outdoor concerts each week in summer. There is something delightful of sitting out doors for a concert (though a little more shade would be nice!).
The tin flute was joined by a harp - a breeze of music rustling through the afternoon. Moments to stop, listen before we moved on.
Photos: July 23, 2016
As adults look on
More magical than
The sprinklers of my childhood
Arcs and arches
The water dances
I stop to share the delight
Of frolicking children
Oh to keep
That bubbling up joy
of a child's heart!
Oh to keep
That bubbling up joy
of a child's heart!
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Photos: July 22, 2016
I try to keep moving, going to the gym regularly, walking my 10,000 steps... I don't always manage. This is the new tool in my constant quest for fitness and good health. When I'm home I can work out at the gym. When I travel I tend to get lazy about exercise other than walking or hiking. These will be coming along with me in future - an opportunity to use those biceps, test those triceps - no excuses.
No fancy outfits required. Just determination.
Friday, July 22, 2016
Photos: July 21, 2016
My blog is morphing. I've been participating in CLMooc - a flurry of making, connecting, collaborating - with participation in a +Google Community, twitter chats, a Facebook group and even connecting in the real world through postcards. One can participate on any level from lurking to being very active. I love being part of this as it stirs up my thinking, has me reflecting and pushes me to try new things (apps, attempts at visual arts other than photography...). I've been reading more blogs and have been pondering many ideas. Some of my musings will inevitably burst out here.
One way of participating is via the Daily Connect - a suggestion / challenge of an activity to do which helps foster this community. Yesterday's was to send out your voice. It made me think of the whole idea of "voice". While I have not sent out my physical voice - I have been sharing my voice through this blog for years. It is a place where I express my ideas - Through My Eyes has been much more than my photographs.
It's a place where I capture moments of beauty, where I experiment with genre. It is a place where I have taken some risks with my sharing - going beyond my comfort zone.
It's a place where I nibble at the issues that bother me - where I voice my opinions.
It has opened my eyes to beauty in the strangest places and found stories - and a place to voice them. It has been a place where I have shared my passions.
As a teacher I always wanted to help students find their voice, be that through writing, the arts... We have so many possibilities - even more now as the ability to create through digital media is possible even for very young students. So here is my latest risk - a snippet of my voice for the #DailyConnect - a day late.
A couple of thoughts on/in my voice
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
I have featured this sculpture on my blog before, but today I was looking at it with new eyes. I have been involved in CLMOOC and read Karen LaBonte's thoughtful blog post Pondering Remix. It made me think about ownership, about using other people's work with respect and about when it is appropriate and when it is not . This sculpture is itself a remix - using an actual imprint of the newspaper of the day. If you go to the photo on Flickr you can zoom in and see it in more detail.
Here is a detail - showing the back of the newspaper. Is this an infringement of copyright? The sculpture is by John Seward Johnson and I discovered he has done a similar sculpture using a Philadelphia newspaper. We walk a fine line between what is acceptable and what is not and in this litigious society there seems to be a push to claim almost anything as something to patent or copyright. I was glad that the recent court case about Stairway to Heaven resolved that Led Zeppelin did not break copyright.
Here are some of the questions Karen brought up
I'll add some of my own -
- When is it honouring someone to do something "inspired by"?
- When is it just copying?
- In an era when it is so easy to take and remix, how do we teach students the importance of supporting artists (writers, musicians...) by paying for their work?
- I heard recently that the Eiffel Tower has a copyright on any photos taken at night. Photographers who post night time shots can be sued, especially if they charge for these shots - when is something in the public really private? (an article from my friend Barb: http://artlawjournal.com/night-photos-eiffel-tower-violate-copyright/
I am all for a the concept of sharing. In fact virtually all my photos on Flickr are there with a creative commons license (I would like credit for them, though). I do think when I photograph artwork as above - how will this image be used by someone else? Will they give the artist credit along with the photographer? I would love to hear your thoughts.