The Wonder of Nova Scotia: Inspired by Place

Stuff your eyes with wonder

Stuff your eyes with wonder. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. — Ray Bradbury

Baby eyes

Babies intrigue me…and it’s not just because they are so blinkin’ cute.

I love the way they observe the world around them, soaking it all in without judgment. Their eyes are so bright and clear. I especially love how they stare back without self-consciousness. It’s their wide-open curiosity I find so appealing.

It’s no wonder kids are so creative. They haven’t built up filters and preconceived notions about how things should be. Everything is a miracle to them. They’re still asking questions.

Here in Nova Scotia I find myself having a similar experience. This new-to-me place re-awakened my curiosity and filled my creative well in a way I thought was long gone. Thank heavens I was wrong!

Curiosity and wonder hold the seeds of creativity

The Tide Pool Wonder

Being by the Bay of Fundy is key for me. Large bodies of water stoke my own sense of wonder.

Every morning I walk the dog down to the shoreline  where we wander among the rock formations and check out tide pools. Now that the warm days are here, I usually perch somewhere and spend a few quiet moments gazing over the water, listening to the waves washing in and out.

(There’s even a word for that whispery sound. Did you know that? Susurration. Isn’t that perfect?)

I love the far horizon and the smell of salt in the air. Seated there, I take deep breaths in and breathe out gratitude and feel real peace again.

waves and wonder

When I was a kid, I looked forward to summer visits with my aunt and cousins on Narragansett Bay. Those were the days before cars were air-conditioned so I would sit by the car window and try to pinpoint the first whiff of salt as we got closer.

Happiness still smells like salt air to me.

rock formations and wonder

The rocks on “my” beach are old volcanic formations, sculpted by the awesome Fundy tides and storms. They remind me of pieces of modern art. I love walking among them, making up names for some of the formations. They’re becoming familiar friends but I wonder if I’ll recognize them after next winter’s storms.

There is almost always a breeze against my skin, ruffling my hair but it’s the clarity of the air that especially delights me as an artist. I’ve had visitors comment on how different the colours are here. (And the stars!). Everything seems more vivid.

Except, of course, when the fog rolls in and sound is muted and everything takes on a dreamy quality. (Or eerie if you’re a Stephen King fan.)

All in all, it’s the perfect environment for this artist and writer. Definitely feels like home.

Definitely feeds my creative heart.

See with fresh eyes

While you may not want to move across the country to a completely new environment, you can still feed your own sense of wonder right where you are. You just need to see with fresh eyes.

Break out of familiar habits and routines. Strike out in a different direction. Choose a new route to work. Turn left instead of right. You don’t even need to leave your neighbourhood. Just getting out of the car and walking your own street lets you experience the familiar in a fresh way.

When was the last time you ‘stuffed your eyes with wonder?”

Join us in the Creative Fire Café


Whale art: Create to make a difference

whale mandala

The news reports this past summer about the plight of the right whale touched my heart.

The gist of the story is, they have been dying in large numbers relative to a population size of less than 500.  These are magnificent, intelligent creatures and I want to do something to help. I hate to think of a world without them in it.

A little soul

Stand up and show your soulI could probably write a post about using our gifts as artists and being generous with our talents but I hate being preached to and I’ll bet you do, too. I get it that what touches me, doesn’t necessarily move you as an artist or a viewer of art. Also, what we get up to should fall under the heading of “Want To” rather than “Have To.” (There’s enough of those already in my life.)

That’s when I found the quote by Clarissa Pinkola Estes and that proverbial light bulb went off.  What I wanted to do was to show you my soul.

Why the whale?

The plight of the whales touched me because I care deeply about animals. I’ve learned to be careful about reading news articles about abused pets and such because their stories haunt me. It’s not that I don’t want to be informed but it also breaks my heart and, as they say, once you know a thing, you can’t un-know it.

I believe whales to be sentient creatures who are as curious about us as we are about them. When we encounter them in the open ocean they are usually quite gentle. The declining numbers, however, are due to humanity’s less-than-gentle interactions with them.

I asked “How can my art help?”whale mandala

I did a few sketches but nothing seemed quite right until I combined one of those sketches with a mandala, something I played a lot with this past summer.

“Mandala” is a sanskrit word that means “circle” or “center”. I understand it to be sacred space because it represents the circle of life. So when I drew a mandala around my sketch of a whale diving, I knew I had it.

This is my art wish for the whale signifying safe space, a prayer for sacred protection and practical help to maintain their place in the circle of life

I’m offering prints in my Etsy shop for $35 plus shipping. For each print sold, I will donate $10 to the Canadian Whale Institute to help them continue their work. Part of the important work they do at the Institute is untangling the whales from fishing gear.

In addition, the 9×12 pen and ink original is still available. If you’re interested in purchasing it, contact me. I will donate 25% of the proceeds to the Institute as well.