Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Southwest Head Lighthouse

Southwest Head Lighthouse- Grand Manan, NB
orig. watercolor, 5x7in approx.
see it in person at Sunbury Shores Arts Center May 6-20, 2016
This little painting is based on my visit at the Grand Manan Island. I have blogged about it before, you can read about it here.
The cliffs are super steep and the foghorn is mega loud- it almost took me off my feet when I stepped out off my car! The region is quite foggy by nature, so be aware and enjoy it for the moody scenery- of course on a clear day enjoy the view (and if you're lucky enough you apparently can spot two other lighthouses in the distance!)
There are beautiful beaches close by, so pack a picnic and enjoy the day.
My time for the Show at Sunbury Shores is coming fast,                                                                  so I'll be heading out to paint hopefully tomorrow early for a couple of days on Campobello Island. I have packed my 'Little Wings Campie' already, just have to finish a few last details (like an extra heater as we are still around freezing point at night) and load the art supplies (which actually might fill that little one to the brim, ha ha). I'm so excited as a local couple have invited me to boon dock with my trailer at their home. They run a successful Campobello Island Tour Company and are advocates in camping adventure travel. You can read more about Peter and his wife Beatrix on their busy blog by clicking here. I'm looking forward to meeting them in person as Peter and I had nice chats so far on facebook- it feels like meeting a friend for the first time- crazy, ey?
More lighthouses to come- and I'll keep you posted once I return!
Thanks for stopping by, and see you soon again!             Simone

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Purple Tulips

Purple tulips Simone-Ritter-Art_2016_watercolour
Purple Tulips
orig. watercolour 14.5 x 7in approx. unframed 
more info and purchase: click here

People that know me, know that every spring I go crazy over tulips, it's kind of a love affair almost- heralding in the warmer weather. There is a tulip farm on Prince Edward Island called Vanco Farm and I absolutely adore their tulips. They are usually available at the local Superstores and every year I look out for them starting in February... how crazy is that?
With my lighthouses lately I haven't had the time to paint as much tulips as I wished, but when Markus bought for me those purple tulips darlings, I couldn't resist! I have been waiting patiently for them to open up, not pushing them with warm temperatures by the heater, but rather enjoying their gentle dance growing taller, opening up. 
I love how their slender stems keep climbing up towards the light, turning, stretching and nodding as the flower slowly opens up to reveal their precious petals, steamers and inside markings. It symbolizes new birth, new life to me. And just as life, it is not always easy but with the occasional growing pain and dangerously slippery road. In our lives, too, we have to walk out in faith our eyes focused, to embrace what every new day has to offer- whatever it might be. Life isn't for the faint of heart, really, when I think about it; but oh, so rewarding- look at those tulips!
Let's embrace this spring with a big hug, smile or gentle gesture to someone who might need it today! Just as those purple tulips have brought a smile to my heart!
See you soon and thanks for stopping by!                                              Simone

Monday, April 4, 2016

Swallowtail Lighthouse #2

Swallowtail #2 Lighthouse_Simone-Ritter-Art_watercolour-2016_21x29

Swallowtail Lighthouse #2

orig. watercolour 22x30in approx.
see it in person at Sunbury Shores Arts Center from May 6-20, 2016
This is another, big, full sheet 22x30in watercolour painting of my beloved Swallowtail Lighthouse on Grand Manan Island, I call it Swallowtail Lighthouse #2, here is my first painting of it from a few days ago. Have you booked your vacation there yet??? I am certainly thinking about it now after painting scenery from my last visit. My time seems to run for this upcoming show beginning of May and honestly, I'm getting somewhat in a frenzy of having all my ducks (aka: paintings) in a row. Too bad when one is loving to have events 'under control'- welcome to life, Simone, ha ha!
Markus, bless his heart, has been so great doing the schooling with the kids. It frees me to focus on the painting and organizing!
I took my Little Wings campie out a few days ago, cannot wait for warmer weather. I dragged Markus to hitch it up and do a photo shoot by Indian Point for my new designed website. Here is one of the photos, which I made now the header of my social sites and website. I'm planning a few outings soon to paint en plein air some more of the local lighthouses. I have more people now helping me find 'hidden treasures', not known to the regular tourist- wohoo- lighthouse scouting!

I'm still at Roos Schuring's marketing course which of course I'm limping behind, but I tell myself that: eating an elephant is done one bite at a time. So the remodel of this website will be an ongoing endeavour for a few more weeks (months?).
Today I got sad news that a friend had jumped off a bridge. He didn't see a way out of his depression. My heart is heavy now, hope to visit him soon this week. Often do we feel lonely and forget how much we are loved by others. God, please cradle him in your loving arms.
Thank you for stopping in, stay in touch and see you soon again!                     Simone

Friday, April 1, 2016

Swallowtail Lighthouse

swallowtail lighthouse - simone ritter art, 2016
Swallowtail Lighthouse, Grand Manan, NB
orig. watercolour, 5x13in approx.
see it at my show at Sunbury Shores Art from May 6-20, 2016
Here, another regional favourite, Swallowtail Lighthouse on Grand Manan Island.
I have written about my visits to Grand Manan in an earlier lighthouse-post where I featured the Long Eddy Light. You can read about it here.
This is the most iconic island lighthouse and the ferry runs right by it as it approaches the harbour behind its outcrop.

Below you can read more info from the  www.lighthousefriends.com website

Anyone who has ever traveled to Grand Manan has been welcomed to the island by the Swallowtail Lighthouse, which overlooks the entrance to North Head Harbour, but few today know the amazing history of this beacon or appreciate the hardships endured by its dedicated keepers.
Tragic Strikes:
The 1,009-ton three-masted Lord Ashburton, which had been built near St. Andrews, was en route from Toulon, France to Saint John when it foundered on the northern shore of Grand Manan during a gale at 1 a.m. on January 19, 1857. A member of the crew, James Lawson, climbed the rocky headland, now named Ashburton Head, near where the ship grounded, and stumbled a mile to Long Eddy, where he collapsed in a hay barn. His body was discovered later that morning, and a search launched that resulted in seven other members of the crew of twenty-nine being saved, though they were badly frozen. A memorial to the twenty-one seamen aboard the Lord Ashburton who drowned at Grand Manan can be seen in the cemetery at the Anglican Church in North Head. James Lawson, a Dane, had both his feet partially amputated, and after spending over five years recuperating at the marine hospital in Saint John, he returned to Grand Manan, married an islander, and worked as a shoemaker.
The Ashburton disaster punctuated the need for a navigational aid on the northern end of Grand Manan. The government authorized that steps be taken “to ascertain the propriety of establishing a Light House on the Northern Head of Grand Manan” and to pursue the construction of such a structure if advisable.
Plans and specifications for the proposed lighthouse were drawn up in 1859, and arranged to purchase up to four acres, at a cost of $25 per acre, from James Small, the owner of the property.
After the lantern was successfully installed atop the octagonal tower, the lighthouse had its inaugural lighting on July 7, 1860. The wooden tower stands forty-five feet high and is perched 103 feet above the water, giving it a focal plane of 148 feet. A bridge to connect the point on which the lighthouse stood to the headland was constructed in 1861.
Swallowtail with outbuildings in 1958
Photograph courtesy Canadian Coast Guard
Swallowtail Lighthouse was in first-rate order when the Saxby Gale struck on October 4, 1869. The hurricane, accompanied by an unusually high tide, created a two-metre surge that caused significant damage in the Bay of Fundy. The keeper’s dwelling was so shaken by the storm that two chains were strung over the roof and secured to the rock on each side to keep it in position. The foundation of the lighthouse was significantly damaged, necessitating the construction of a substantial stone wall, resting upon the underlying solid rock, beneath the tower. Keeper Jonathan Kent retired in 1873 and was replaced by his son, John W. Kent, who initially earned an annual salary of $400.
Keeper Kent regularly received praise in the annual reports of the Department of Marine. The following example is from 1877: “Everything at this Station is in first class condition, and Mr. Kent takes great pride in keeping this Station, and its appurtenances in good order. He is a man of good taste, and this Station is visited by great numbers of strangers and excursionists who come to the Island during the summer season. Mr. Kent had given the lighthouse a coat of paint, which had lightened it up and greatly improved its appearance. Altogether, this Station may be considered the model station of the Department.”

Tragedy struck Swallowtail Lighthouse in August of 1936 when Elodie Foster was tending the light while her husband was away at Southwest Head Lighthouse. Elodie accidentally overfilled the light’s alcohol burner, and when she attempted to ignite the fuel, her clothes caught on fire. She managed to make it down the tower’s stairs and outside the lighthouse where she soon received help from her son Leonard and two daughters. Leonard raced up the tower and managed to extinguish the flames in the lantern room before the fire spread to the tower. Sadly, Elodie passed away the next day from her burns.
After filming the horror film Hemoglobin at the lighthouse in 1996, the movie producers paid to have the keeper's dwelling restored. Soon thereafter, the dwelling opened as the Swallowtail Inn, a bed and breakfast run by islanders Catherine Neves and her sister Crystal Cook. After operating for nearly a decade, the inn was shuttered in 2004, and the dwelling now sits vacant.
In March of 2008, the village council announced that the keeper's dwelling would be sold as upkeep was proving to be too expensive. Repairs had cost the community $80,000 in recent years. A well-publicized meeting was held on April 4th to come up with ideas to save the dwelling and resulted in the creation of the Swallowtail Keepers Society whose mission is to rejuvenate Swallowtail Lighthouse and make it a symbol of civic pride for the island. The village council, a bit surprised by the islanders' feelings on the matter, rescinded the motion to sell the keeper's dwelling during their April 7th meeting.
During 2013, the society received over $200,000 from various sources, including the provincial and federal government, to improve the footbridge, construct a boardwalk, produce marketing materials, and cover administration costs. (info: Lighthousefriends.com)