Play on the Bay

Takes My Breath Away

The Bay of Fundy shore has been our home now for the past six years. While I don’t do a lot of paintings of the Bay itself it inspires much of my work. Living here, I often feel the call of something wilder than everyday life. The beauty and power of this place takes my breath away. It’s in the sky and water, the salt in the air, seabirds calling and the spray carried by the wind brushing my face.

Those moments touch something deep, primal and creative in my soul. They are a gift to me both as an artist and as a human being.

A Blue Day

We lived by a small lake in Ontario for many years and a water view was non-negotiable when we first looked into moving to Nova Scotia. This was the second house we looked at and that day, large windows framed what I now call a “Blue Day”. It’s when the sky and the water and the clouds and even the air itself turns a gorgeous cobalt blue. 

That, as they say, was that. We didn’t even consider any other houses. 

A Blue Day

So I was a little surprised during those first weeks in our new home that it seemed I had just moved to a bigger lake. It was so calm and quiet that I wondered. “Heck, where’s the ocean? The waves? The sound of surf?” 

Then along came winter with her winds and the Bay of Fundy displayed another facet of her personality.

Since that first year I’ve seen a number of her faces. It’s endlessly fascinating. 

The Tides of Fundy

First, let’s talk about the tides on the Bay of Fundy. For those of you who don’t know, we experience the highest tides in the world. The photo below shows my husband standing at the end of the village wharf at low tide. About 6 hours later, the camera is pointed at the end of the same wharf, just above where he stood earlier. That spot is now 30 ft underwater.

It’s all part of the show the Bay puts on everyday.

Downs and Ups

People who don’t know the ocean are often surprised to learn the tide comes in and out quickly, like sloshing water in a bathtub but it’s approximately 6 hours from high to low tide. It only seems to be a slow process and can catch people unawares. 

I once stood about 2 feet back from the water and timed how long it took the water to reach my feet. In less than 10 minutes it was lapping at my boots. If you’re hiking on a shallow beach or shingle, you can get yourself into trouble here. Big time. We’ve learned to respect those tides. We have apps on our phones to check tide times before walking on a beach.

The Shoreline

The beaches are usually rugged shorelines of rocks and cobble. I can’t help but be awestruck by the power they represent.  The Bay of Fundy is the northernmost part of the Appalachian Mountain chain and it apparently used to be volcanic. So we see a lot of that in the sense of flow.

Volcanic rock is everywhere and quite interesting. It reminds me that nature is constantly changing and I’m experiencing just a small moment in that story.

The foggy bits

Fog here can be quite impressive. We often see it standing offshore until it blows in. And then out again. I don’t have a picture of a full-blown fog because there’s not much to see in those moments but gray. But I do love to watch as the fog curls up over the cliffs visible from my studio. It looks very much like a Stephen King movie as fingers of mist roll across the bay and up over the cliffs, crawling inland, obscuring everything in its path.

The fog rolls in

After the storm…rainbows

As I discovered that first winter, storms here are impressive and we have even experienced two hurricanes. Our old home was built in the 1890s by a shipbuilder and it doesn’t even creak in the high winds. It’s a safe haven when storm winds blow so we can sit in the living room and watch the waves crash over the wharf and climb the lighthouse.

Storm Day

Of course, where there’s moisture in the air, rainbows can often be found. So we have our rainbow days, fog days and lots of rain days, punctuated by those gorgeous Blue Days.


Finally I have to mention the unbelievably gorgeous sunrises and sunsets over the Bay. I don’t know why they are so spectacular. Perhaps it’s that moisture-laden air but they are incredible examples of nature’s art. It would take a much more talented painter than me to render them on a canvas.

I know we don’t all have access to the big wonders of the natural world but there can still be moments that take our breath away. Nature is the antidote to the hustle and noise of busy lives.

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