As you may know from reading my blog for the past month or so, I visited Nova Scotia for a week during the February half-term. While of course the cold was biting and almost unbearable at times due to wind chill, very low temperatures (on one day it was minus 14 degrees Celsius!) and near-constant snowfall, which thankfully began to melt away towards the end of the week (although since I’ve left there have been a few more heavy snowstorms), it was my ultimate dream come true to finally visit Canada (or more specifically, my favourite part of Canada) after many years of dreaming about it. (My next big dream is to see Canada in the summer, so I can enjoy it even more than in winter.)
One day towards the end of my holiday in Nova Scotia, I travelled outside of Halifax (the provincial capital, where I was staying) on the way to Peggy’s Cove, a small fishing village on the Atlantic coast. The village’s lighthouse is possibly the most well-known in Canada, and it is the subject of numerous photographs of lighthouses across the globe. Naturally, I took some of my own shots of the lighthouse too, though the fog sort of got in the way.
Since my first time in Nova Scotia (and Canada as a whole) has left such a huge impression on me, it is right that some of my future artworks will obviously be inspired by the memories I’ve made. So here’s my first artwork inspired by my first visit to Nova Scotia!
Or more specifically, my visit to the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse. You might be wondering why the woman in the picture looks almost exactly like the lighthouse. Well, that’s because she’s Peggy’s Cove (double apostrophes?) from Canadian Boys – or to be more precise, a show-within-a-show in Canadian Boys called A Nova Scotian Way of Life. Think Jersey Shore, any of the Real Housewives series, The Only Way Is Essex (in England) or Made In Chelsea (also in England)… but set in Nova Scotia. Put simply, ANSWOL (as it’s popularly abbreviated within the Canadian Boys universe) is a scripted-reality show-within-a-show following a troupe of fun-loving Nova Scotians on an ongoing quest to become the “funnest people in Canada”. (I’m not actually sure if there’s a scripted-reality show on Canadian TV in real life that’s set in Nova Scotia, though there is the fan-made Real Housewives of Pictou County. That’s as close as it gets, as far as I know.)
Obviously, Peggy’s Cove (the character, not the village) has great civic pride, so much so that every day she dresses up as the eponymous lighthouse her hometown (or technically, village) has become so well-known for. Her lighthouse costume includes an actual Fresnel lens just like those used in real lighthouses, connected to a small switch on the side of the ‘roof’ (sort of like a hat) that can be pressed whenever she enters a dark, foggy area or goes underwater to search for crabs and lobsters. (Because Nova Scotians eat lobsters, you know…)
You may have seen Peggy’s Cove (again, I’m referring to the character, not the village) in some of my previous drawings, such as the doodle of her and New Glasgow (who is also from A Nova Scotian Way of Life) which I drew for my Valentine’s Day exhibition this year, and another ANSWOL-themed drawing I’ve yet to exhibit on this blog. (If you want to see it before then though, you can see it on the 2012 page of my portfolio.)
However, in this drawing (which I’ve titled Peggy of the Cove), Peggy’s Cove has more of a protagonist role than in the others, where she is merely just a supporting character. I chose that particular title as the village of Peggy’s Cove (now I’m making a clearer distinction here) is apparently named after the sole survivor of a nearby shipwreck – a woman named Margaret, or Peggy for the nickname. (There’s even a museum and gift shop called Peggy of the Cove near to the village, presumably dedicated in her memory, while also being an obvious spot for catching up on the history of the village and the lighthouse.) Since Peggy is a proper name in addition to being in the name of the village, I decided to associate Peggy’s Cove with the name of Peggy (as though she’s the one being referred to in the title, rather than the real-life Peggy), and have her stand out to sea with her light flashing in synchronization with the actual lighthouse’s light.
The sea and waves are rough and the sky is cloudy grey and black, though a little bit of blue can be seen peeking through the overcast cover. I based this on the weather when I visited Peggy’s Cove in real life – foggy, overcast (though there was no rain or snow) but later becoming sunny, with roaring seas due to a prior Atlantic storm, which threatened to throw us off the battered rocks and drown us under the raging waves. (Some people have sadly lost their lives trying to capture the awe-inspiring nature of the lighthouse and the ocean.) With all the wild weather going on, Peggy’s Cove is standing surprisingly tall on top of the rocks, bravely enduring the rough seas to send out a beacon of comfort and hope to any fishermen or sailors who are unlucky enough to be stuck out in the storm.
This won’t be my last drawing that’ll be based on my experiences in Nova Scotia; in fact, it’s only the first one. As I recall all my memories of Nova Scotia (by calling on my emotions to bring them back from the memory bank and project them onto the big screen, like in Inside Out), more inspiring ideas featuring Canadian Boys/A Nova Scotian Way of Life characters on landscapes (or seascapes) akin to those I encountered during my trip will come to me, as will any future expeditions I make to Canada in the (hopefully near) future.