OTR Wk 3: Boston to Halifax

Cogitation 42/219 Saturday 19 October 2019 Art aptly captures the human spirit. That’s a topic I touch on in photos in this week’s “On The Road” account.

The major pleasure of this road trip has been time spent with relatives and friends. That’s a highlight, a profound privilege, deeply anchored in communicating face-to-face. There’ll be more connecting with family and friends as our trip continues.

The change this week, though, has been a visit to Acadia National Park in Maine and travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The main part of our visit to Nova Scotia has been to bone up on folk artist Maud Lewis at the Nova Scotia Gallery of Art in Halifax. .

Let the photographs tell the tale.

‘Till next time

Our great-niece Jenny and her husband Rory were super brave and totally hospitable hosts in providing for us royally in a week-long stay in their home in greater Boston. Jenny’s mom and her husband also joined us for most of the week. Jan served as our guide to Boston since she had visited often before. Jenny and Rory filled in the rest of the time for color and seaside village tours. tours, Such good times are to be lived–they can not be canned. Rory’s mother is a folk artist and we saw and learned more about her intriguing work of people, landscape and animals..
An art piece by Rory’s mother, Anna, on wood and raised-metal.

Maine calling

How sweet it was to be free of crowded freeways as we traveled north and east to Canada.
Cruise ship in harbor at Bar Harbor, Maine..
Our two-hour walk around Jordan Pond on Mount Desert Island (Acadia National Park) proved a highlight in terms of views, weather, variations on the path., and the gloriously evocative call of loons. We visited here years ago and first heard the loons then. This is only the second time we’ve heard them , as though they’re calling out, “Where have you been so long?”
The rocky section surprised us after covering more than half the distance on the flat, but we were rewarded with a lengthy boardwalk as we neared the the end of the 3.5 mile trail.

Blueberry field in Maine

Maine is the world capital for blueberries, a farmer told us at a lunch stop. I’m glad, because my single pancake was packed with berries. The bushes are kept low to facilitate machine harvesting.
On the road in Maine to cross to Canada in New Brunswick.

Saint John, New Brunswick

Overnight in Saint John, New Brunswick. More cruise ships.
New Brunswick also claims to be a bountiful cranberry producing province. Saint John has created a wonderfully convenient cranberry-coloured footpath to the old city, a half hour walk from our commodious Homeport Historic B&B, built in 1858 by a ship building family.
Our travel to Halifax on Thursday was almost all in driving rain. Marty drove and I navigated and snapped pictures.

Maud Lewis, beloved Nova Scotian folk artist

In 2017 the feature film, Maudie, was released. It centers on the story of Maud and her husband Everett Lewis, less on Maud’s art. The docu-drama is one of four that will be shown in the Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County in November. On November 12, at Greencroft Goshen, I’m responsible to introduce the movie and lead the discussion after the showing.

The legacy of Maud Lewis is preserved in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. Despite a hardship-ridden life, Maud found joyous expression in painting. She always had a smile on her face, our guide said.
Maud and her husband Everett lived in this tiny house in Marshalltown, a rural area west of Digby in south western Nova Scotia. Everett, a fish paddler, was not inclined to install electricity or running water. Maud painted every surface she could in the home and painted the world she saw and imagined from her post by the window.
Maud completed one painting per day. See her story online, or in the movie, Maudie. She was born in 1903 and died in 1970. Maud’s paintings sold for $2-3, later for $10 after she was featured in a national weekly magazine and on TV. Commissions brought in more money, though the couple lived without electricity or plumbing their entire lives. Everett was not the kindest or model husband, quite the contrary, through Maud made the most of her independence, happy disposition and creative vision. US Vice President Richard Nixon’s office commissioned two paintings and Maud agreed to do them, provided she was paid up front. One of her paintings was donated to the New Hamburg (Ontario) Thrift Store. It sold online to an anonymous buyer for $45,000. Maude is quoted: “I ain’t much for travelling . . . as long as I have a brush in my hand and a window in front of me, I’m all right.”
The house door, painted on both sides.

Autism Arts

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia sponsors art classes for children and youth ages 6-22 on the autism spectrum. Here are some samples of the children and youth’s work, underscoring that the key to expression is art.

Smile. Be happy.

-John

2 thoughts on “OTR Wk 3: Boston to Halifax

  1. What fun, John, to follow along with you and Marty on your Northeast adventure. Nova Scotia was one of our favorite holiday destinations — I hope every moment will be special for you as well. Would love to be along for the Maud Lewis exploration.

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    1. It’s an adventure, indeed. Visited the Maritime Museum today (along with people from a cruise ship) and the Museum of Natural History where we learned about Gus, the 97-year-old turtle whose appetite these days runs to lettuce and bananas. He goes for a walk with a staffer at 3pm every day, following his standard route through the museum. Enjoying it all.

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