Community and the Restoration of 174-Year Old St. Croix Cove Church

Personal confession:  I fit most comfortably in the “spiritual but not religious” persuasion, and especially value the sense of human connectedness and community that touches all of us, which spiritual and religious traditions tend to foster.  With that in mind, I thought this post would be fitting for a Sunday.

About a year ago I posted some photos I snapped one late-Spring afternoon of a well-weathered but cozy church picturesquely situated on the Bay of Fundy in the rural community of St. Croix Cove, N.S.   As a modest amateur photographer I was happy to see the photos used a few months later to promote a chapel choir concert by Acadia University.  Now these images have been put to an even more appropriate use to assist with a just-launched GoFundMe campaign to restore this almost 175-year old structure.

Darla Mitchell, who grew up in the St. Croix Cove area and is one of the organizers of the restoration effort, notes on the GoFundMe site:

“Many people have come to love this little church and the surrounding communities. Countless photographers have admired its simple sturdy lines, people share memories of first communions and every Christmas multiple generations return to fill the church to sing carols, hear the Christmas story and continue the traditions of our grandparents and great grandparents. Most importantly, gathering in fellowship with each other. “
I love how this project and this enduring church represent so much about the best aspects of community connections.  Other interesting historical and architectural details about this lovely church and the restoration campaign can be found on the GoFundMe site here.

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The historic St. Croix Cove Church

 

Artist to Appreciate: Steven Rhude

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Steven Rhude, “On the Edge”

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Nova Scotia artist Steven Rhude is most often characterized as a realist painter, akin to Alex Colville and Christopher Pratt (both also from the Maritimes).  However, Rhude’s representational style is decidedly more nuanced.  A close examination of his works reveals an underlying splatter technique that is almost pointillist (and adds wonderful texture) as well as distinct aspects of whimsy and irony, all of which might be more appropriately regarded as a kind of magical realism.  His paintings prominently feature icons of the Atlantic provinces — dories, lighthouses, fishing sheds and buoys, among others — as signifiers of place, identity, memory and loss amidst ongoing changes affecting that region of the country, particularly since the early 1990s ban on cod fishing altered a centuries-old economic equilibrium for coastal communities where living has never been especially easy.

In discussing his early artistic training, Rhude has noted that while studying at the Ontario College of Art & Design one of his instructors urged him to first equip himself with a notepad and hiking boots and get out of the studio so as to write and interview people and thereby find authentic stories and experiences upon which to ground his art.   Reading Rhude’s humane and thoughtful ruminations about art and society on the blog associated with his professional website is a great pleasure and it’s obvious from his splendid writing that he took his instructor’s advice very much to heart.  Because of his skillful artistry, Rhude’s paintings of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and other places are visually enjoyable and can be appreciated for that alone.  Even more special is that his beautiful images also convey important social commentary and add another layer of appreciation for his wonderful paintings.

You can see more of Steven Rhude’s excellent work and read some of his insightful writings on his website and blog and the related links to the galleries that represent his art.  Rhude’s book “A Place Called Away: Living and Painting in Nova Scotia” also showcases many of his paintings.

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Steven Rhude, “Towards Sibley’s Cove”

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Steven Rhude, “After the Storm”

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Steven Rhude, “Judy Takes Her Lighthouse For A Walk”

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Steven Rhude, “Expulsion,  The Final Cut”

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Steven Rhude, “Equilibrium # 3”

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Steven Rhude, “Finding Brigus Light”

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Steven Rhude, “Up On the Roof”

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Steven Rhude, “The Home Coming”

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Steven Rhude, “Lunenburg Shed in Guggenheim”

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(Image Credits: Steven Rhude)

Similar Posts on O’Canada:

David Pirrie: Mapping Western Terrains and Our Sense of Place

Artist to Appreciate:  Katharine Burns

Artist to Appreciate:  Christopher Pratt

Quiet Autumn Sunset, New Brunswick

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Near Sunset, Looking Across the Lubec Narrows, Campobello Island, New Brunswick

“The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.”

                                                                                              ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Gentle Waves Near Capstick, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

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“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.”

                                                                                       ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Fort Amherst and The Narrows, St. John’s, Newfoundland

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“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in,

where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” 

                                                                                          ~ John Muir

Dockside in the Maritimes

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Brightly Colored Colorful Dories, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

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Atlantic Canada’s many docks in all shapes and sizes connect its people to the sea for work and recreation.  There’s also lots of stuff to see while sitting for a spell alongside these bustling docks, a small sense of which can be gleaned in these photos from several relaxing trips to Nova Scotia.

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Lobster Crates, Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

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Artist to Appreciate: Christopher Pratt

C. Pratt, Placentia Bay in Winter (1995)

Christopher Pratt, Placentia Bay Boat in Winter (1995)

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Christopher Pratt is justly considered one of Canada’s most significant living artists.  His realistic art focuses on Atlantic Canada, particularly his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Pratt’s compositions are usually quite spare and many convey a notable sense of melancholy and reflective quietude, whether of outport cottages and other simple structures with strong architectural lines or his sweeping coastal landscapes. While his style is distinctively his own, the subdued moodiness of Pratt’s work brings to mind that of Edward Hopper and the realist paintings of Alex Colville, another Canadian master who taught at New Brunswick’s Mount Allison University at a time when Pratt was a student there.   Mount Allison is also where Pratt met his now former wife, Mary West Pratt, an equally noteworthy Canadian painter in her own right.

In 2013, the always brilliant Canadian publisher, Firefly Books, released Christopher Pratt: Six Decades, which provides a comprehensive overview of this artist’s work.  (Coincidentally, in 2013 another excellent Canadian publisher, Goose Lane Editions, went to press with Mary Pratt, a beautiful retrospective of Mary Pratt’s amazing artistry.)

C. Pratt, Blue Iron Door (2013)

Christopher Pratt, Blue Iron Door (2013)

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C. Pratt, Woman at Dresser (1964)

Christopher Pratt, Woman at Dresser (1964)

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C. Pratt, House in August (1968)

Christopher Pratt, House in August (1968)

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C. Pratt, Ingornachoix Bay -- Long Shed (2007)

Christopher Pratt, Ingornachoix Bay — Long Shed (2007)

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C. Pratt, Spring Coming Over Trout River (2009)

Christopher Pratt, Spring Coming Over Trout River (2009)

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Similar posts on O’Canada:

•  Artist to Appreciate:  Mary Pratt

•  In Memory of Alex Colville

•  Artist to Appreciate:  Michael E. Glover

Colorful Coastal Collections

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Whimsical Tractor Seat Display (along the road to New Brunswick)

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Brightly colored fishing buoys and other items with vivid hues dot the coastal landscape.  These photos highlight a few collections of such items spied not long ago around Canada’s Atlantic coast.

Buoy Display, Campobello Island, N.B.

Buoy-Adorned Cottage, Campobello Island, N.B.

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Buoys and Floats, Delaps Cove, N.S.

Pink and Orange Floats, Delaps Cove, N.S.

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Cozy Chairs, St. Andrew's By the Sea, N.B.

Cozy Lounging Chairs, St. Andrew’s By the Sea, N.B.

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Buoy Signpost, Neils Harbor, Cape Breton, N.S.

Buoy Signpost, Neils Harbor, Cape Breton, N.S.

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Buoy Display, Shelburne, N.S.

Buoy Wall Display, Shelburne, N.S.

Barns and Cottages of the Maritimes — Part 2

Rusted Roof Barn, Evangeline Beach, N.S.

Rusted Roof Barn, Evangeline Beach, N.S.

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Following Part 1 on this subject, here are some more scenic views of barns, cottages and sheds of the Maritimes. (Click image to enlarge.)

Barns and Cottages of the Maritimes — Part 1

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Rustic Red Barn, Near St. Croix Cove, Nova Scotia

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Scenery does not get more picturesque than a rustic barn or cozy cottage situated against a body of moving water or a lush green field.  While hues of red seem to be the color of choice for barns and barn doors along the maritime coast and nearby farm fields, shades of grey, blue, yellow and a few other colors sometimes sneak in.  These barns, sheds and cottages from around Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are typical of the serene coastal and rural scenery throughout the region. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Scenes of Campobello Island

Toward Sundown, Campobello Island Lighthouse, New Brunswick

Toward Sundown, Campobello Island Lighthouse, New Brunswick

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Campobello Island is nestled in a scenic pocket of southeastern New Brunswick and is accessible on the U.S. side from the charming village of Lubec, Maine. The island’s Roosevelt Campobello International Park is jointly administered by both American and Canadian authorities, making it unusual for that reason among parks on either side of the shared border.  It’s quite a trek to get there but its tranquil scenery is well worth the effort.  These are from a recent brief visit.

Colorful Cottage, Campobello Island, N.B.

Colorful Cottage, Campobello Island, N.B.

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Fall Sunset, Campobello Island, N.B.

Fall Sunset, Campobello Island, N.B.

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Red Berries, Campobello Island, N.B.

Rose Hips, Campobello Island, N.B.

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Floating Cottages, Campobello Island, N.B.

Floating Cottages, Campobello Island, N.B.

Head in the Clouds in Nova Scotia

Clouds Near Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

Clouds Near Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

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While I love all manner of landscape photography, over and over I come back to clouds in all their variety — whether cirrus, cumulus, stratus or any of their many variations.  Clouds add drama and moodiness to an image and, for me, help balance a scene.  I always notice cloudy days and frame pictures with their billows and wispiness in mind.   During my last couple of visits to Nova Scotia, there were quite a few days when the clouds were exceptional and I’ve posted a handful of examples here.  I look forward to catching more special cloudy days across the great plains of Saskatchewan, against the reigning heights of Banff and beyond the soaring cliffs near St. John’s, Newfoundland, among many other places across Canada.

Sunset, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia

Sunset, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia

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Windswept Sky, Near Cheverie, Nova Scotia

Windswept Sky, Near Cheverie, Nova Scotia

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Boat Prow with Cloudy Backdrop, Lunenberg, Nova Scotia

Boat Prow with Cloudy Backdrop, Lunenberg, Nova Scotia

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Stratus and Cirrus Clouds, Near Aberdeen Beach, Nova Scotia

Stratus and Cirrus Clouds, Near Aberdeen Beach, Nova Scotia

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Art Doors, Near Evangeline Beach, Nova Scotia

Art Doors, Near Evangeline Beach, Nova Scotia

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Barn Scene, Near Grande Pre, Nova Scotia

Barn Scene, Near Grande Pre, Nova Scotia

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Dockside Scene, Chester, Nova Scotia

Dockside Scene, Chester, Nova Scotia

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Cloudy Day, Capstick, Nova Scotia

Cloudy Day, Capstick, Nova Scotia

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Cat Tails, North Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

Cat Tails, North Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

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Statue of Evangeline, Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

Statue of Evangeline, Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

Old Farm Tractor Along Charlevoix / St. Lawrence Shore

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Quebec Month / Installment 12

Driving a couple of hours north of Quebec City in the beautiful Charlevoix region, we came across this bright red tractor along a scenic stretch of the St. Lawrence coast. Farm tractors are rarely situated this close to a shore line, so its rustic charm beckoned the camera.

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Along the Ruggedly Beautiful Coast of Newfoundland

View From Signal Hill Near St. John's

View From Signal Hill Near St. John’s

I’ve been way up to the wonderful province of Newfoundland and Labrador twice and both times were amazing.  If you have the opportunity to visit this gorgeous rugged place populated with extremely hardy and friendly people, don’t hesitate –just go!  For myself, I look forward to my next trip there, exploring quaint outports and inhaling into my soul more if its innumerable beautiful vistas.  From my last trip, here are a few images that I took along the coast near St. John’s and about 200 miles further northeast on the Bonavista Peninsula around the picturesque villages of Trinity East and Port Rexton, both of which sit on Trinity Bay across from the Avalon Peninsula.

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A Fishing Stage on a Quiet Cove

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Boat Pulled Ashore, Port Rexton

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