Surfing the Sea

Since 1995

The Great Nova Scotian Barbecue (2018) — Aug 29, 2018

The Great Nova Scotian Barbecue (2018)

The Great Nova Scotian Barbecue

With summer beginning to fade away into the earthy tones and scents of autumn, there’s no better way to send it off than a big family barbecue party. No-one does family gatherings better than the inhabitants of Nova Scotia.

As well as the usual burgers, hotdogs and steaks, there’s a Maritime twist – barbecued lobsters with a butter baste are the order of the day. Even the tablecloth has a Nova Scotian tartan pattern, adding to the patriotism.

I used a silver glitter pen to create the plumes of whitish-grey smoke billowing from the barbecue as it sizzles and crackles away with glowing coals and embers, represented with orange and yellow glitter pens.

There’s also some fun and relaxation to be had – Truro shows off his shooting skills with some basketball in the courtyard to a cheering crowd, while Amherst, Springhill and Lunenburg sleep off all the calories with a good afternoon nap. One of my favourite plants is the lilac and lavender wisteria vine, which I added twining itself around the canopy of the swinging bench where Amherst and Springhill are snoozing. It’s a common vine of the suburbs, where large fenced back gardens are the norm, though not usually on the beachfront like here.


Enjoy the final days of summer while it lasts – soon you’ll be in for six months of winter. 😉

The Great Nova Scotia Parade (2018) — Aug 22, 2018

The Great Nova Scotia Parade (2018)

The Great Nova Scotia Parade

After taking a good break, I’m back with my usual schedule of programming! 😁

I’ve made several achievements this year in terms of my art, like diversifying skintones and mixing up coloured pencils and markers to create a comic book-like look. I’ve also tried out drawing on a range of paper sizes and colours.

With that said, this may possibly be the biggest thing I’ve ever drawn traditionally. Like this large banner, it also stars the cast of A Nova Scotian Way of Life, hosting a patriotic parade of Nova Scotian pride. Partially inspired by flag parades seen at the likes of the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, the large area of the A2 paper gave me an opportunity to draw a myriad of characters across a wide space, adding more colour and helping more people to recognize them on sight.

There’s a bit of a funny story with this drawing; due to its huge size, I had some difficulty finding a scanner which was big enough to scan the whole thing without having to scan each half separately and stitching them together in Photoshop. Many scanners – including my own – only go up to A3, which is a commoner size than A2. After much trawling about carrying the poster everywhere, I eventually found an A2 scanner at a stationery store in the centre of the city. Costing me £12, the poster was so big – both in physical size and file size (14 megabytes!) – that I had to reduce its size down to about A4. This brings it down to a more store-able one megabyte, while losing none of its high quality or vibrant colours. I also bought an A2 project folder to shield it from dust, water and other dirty things which can splash against it.

This has taught me an important lesson, however; next time I want to draw something big, I’ll be sticking with A3. 😆

A Small(ish) Update… — Aug 15, 2018

A Small(ish) Update…

If you were expecting the weekly art exhibition, it’s not on today.

Due to recent happenings around the world, I’ve been having a pretty rough week mentally, which has impacted on my motivation and inspiration to draw and do other creative activities. I don’t need stress on top of more stress and anxiety, so I’ll take a break from the exhibition until next week, when I will have recovered. Blog posts about other topics will still be posted as usual.

I should then be back to my normal schedule, so I won’t be gone for too long! 😁

Nova Scotian Beach Vacation (2018) — Aug 8, 2018

Nova Scotian Beach Vacation (2018)

Nova Scotian Beach Vacation

With ever-rising temperatures, this summer is set to be one of the hottest on record – if not THE hottest. That means it’s important to keep cool (literally), so most of us will be taking the plunge at the beach or in the pool. Which includes (some of) the cast of A Nova Scotian Way of Life.

The beach backdrop is inspired by some of the seaside trips I’ve enjoyed this summer, most notably Camber Sands with its sandy grassy golden dunes. Of course, the sea is almost never this shade of turquoise where I live, but it’s a lot brighter and sunnier-looking than the boring greyish-green which is the common colour of the ocean here. The off-white crest of the waves evokes bubbly seafoam, while the darker shade of beige in the sand is meant to have been soaked by the neverending rush of waves, revealing some hidden nautical treasures.

Along with the usual favourites of mine, some characters I don’t usually draw in swimsuits have also joined in the beach party. Truro and Yarmouth play some beach volleyball on the sands, while Lunenburg snoozes out in the sun and New Glasgow tries to ignite a summer romance with Peggy’s Cove… but all in vain.

I never tire of drawing beach scenes, even in the dark cold depths of winter when I imagine myself in warmer climes. 🏖🌊😎

Canadian Boys: Character Profiles P-S — Aug 3, 2018

Canadian Boys: Character Profiles P-S

  • Parrsboro

Parrsboro is Joggins’ 6-year-old nephew. He wears a dark green collared shirt, a bright green tartan kilt fastened with a belt and a lilac bonnet on his head. He is mischievous, loving to cause trouble and play harmless tricks on his family. Parrsboro has become somewhat famous for a dance routine he invented, popularly dubbed the ‘Parrsboro Dance’, which involves him shimmying from left to right and shaking his backside energetically. Parrsboro feels greatly cared for by his uncle Joggins, and he dreams of being a bagpiper just like him.

  • Penticton

Penticton is a chicken farmer. She lives in a giant barn populated with chickens of various breeds, such as Rhode Island Reds and the rare Black Pekings. She believes in the free-range ethos, so she allows her chickens to roam around her farm for their pleasure and wellbeing. She is also a vegan, as she believes it is wrong to kill innocent animals just for food. Penticton gives her chickens feed, water and regular health checks. She is often seen carrying a chicken in her arms, caressing and embracing it tenderly. Penticton frequently finds her chickens strutting about her barn, and when she finds a chicken perched on her bed, she smiles sweetly. Penticton cares greatly for her chickens.

  • Pictou

Pictou is a 13-year-old Acadian boy. Cared for by his parents Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton, he speaks both English and French, often blending the two languages together. He was born breech, which permanently damaged the muscles in his bladder and caused him to become incontinent. He has to change himself frequently to stay dry, and this can instill embarrassment in him. Nevertheless, Pictou’s parents are immensely proud of his progress throughout life, and they support him daily to help him live with confidence.

  • Plantagenet

Plantagenet is Limoges and Midhurst’s infant son. He is a silent crawler, which has caused some concerns for his parents about having abnormal bone growth, and must have frequent changes. Due to his dual heritage, he is being raised to be bilingual in both English and French. Plantagenet sleeps in a crib beside his parents’ bed at night.

  • Port Alberni

Port Alberni is a tearful young woman. She is the mother of twins Tofino and Ucluelet, who are so severely arthritic they have to use Zimmer frames – at the age of ten. She fears that they turned out like this because she wasn’t good enough, and so she often feels like she’s a failure at parenting. Despite this, Port Alberni still dearly loves Tofino and Ucluelet as her sons, and they both love her as their mother.

  • Port Bruce

Port Bruce is a model. Her left cheek is flecked with pale freckles despite her dark skin, and a red port wine stain arcs over her eyebrows. She promotes her philosophy of ethical fashion and body positivity via her photoshoots and magazine articles to live up to her idol, Regina. The two often contribute together with Orillia to spread their message and help other young girls and women to love themselves.

  • Port Carling

Port Carling is Komoka’s foster mother. She had originally planned to have her own child, but miscarried after only six weeks, which led to her current situation. Port Carling occasionally wishes she had a family she can truly call her own, but her husband Sprucedale’s sterility doesn’t exactly allow that. Port Carling treats Komoka just as she would her birth child, despite their contrasting skin colours.

  • Port Hawkesbury

Port Hawkesbury is Pictou’s mother. She tends to her son daily, helping him work towards his life goals and care for himself. She speaks both English and French, with a slight Acadian accent and a ‘Franglais’ mix sometimes perceptible in her speech, just like her son and her husband Stellarton. Port Hawkesbury cares greatly for her family, and she also feels intensely proud of them.

  • Port Hope

Port Hope is Cobourg’s mother. She cares for her disabled son, helping him get around and tending to his needs and wants. She often imagines him being able-bodied, being able to do things independently without the constant burden of looking over him. Port Hope’s life is very demanding due to her full-time job with Cobourg, which she shares with her husband Grafton, but she loves him regardless of his disability.

  • Port Moody

Port Moody is a charity fundraiser. She actively fights against breast cancer, wearing a pink ribbon pin on her lapel, and attending events across the city to help fund vital life-saving research and treatments. She occasionally meets the families of patients who have battled and survived the illness, and she uses their stories to inspire her further work. Port Moody receives messages from around the globe praising her job and encouraging her to never give up in her aims.

  • Port Perry

Port Perry is Markham’s mother. She cares for her autistic son, preventing him from getting into danger through his unpredictable behaviour and obliviousness to safety rules. Despite her challenges in supervising him, Port Perry doesn’t want Markham to be ‘cured’ of his disorder, as she believes it’s a part of him that can’t just be ‘fixed’.

  • Port Renfrew

Port Renfrew is Keremeos’ wife and Bountiful’s mother. She cares for her infant son, and just like her husband, she is very considerate. She shows a lot of consideration towards her husband and infant son, calling them by a range of endearing terms and embracing them lovingly. Port Renfrew sleeps with Keremeos and Bountiful in their king-sized bed at night.

  • Portage La Prairie

Portage La Prairie is Brandon’s 28-year-old wife. Her husband cares for her, helping her to live her daily life and giving her some much-needed affection. She loves to be kissed, stroked and hugged by him. When she is feeling down, Brandon will always comfort her to lift her spirits. Portage La Prairie sleeps beside Brandon in their double bed at night.

  • Prescott

Prescott is an entrepreneur. Meticulous and inventive, he keeps an entire journal to jot down and fill with new ideas which he’s always thinking up, which he usually starts working on right from the offset, and inspiring quotes to keep himself motivated. His projects are usually linked to charities which help out in developing countries and marginalized communities around the city and the globe. Prescott aids in advancing the image of black businessmen as a positive force towards racial harmony.

  • Prince Albert

Prince Albert is a 31-year-old man. He has two younger brothers named Prince George and Prince Rupert, and a seven-year-old nephew named Prince William. With his brothers and nephew, he is passionate about the environment and going meat-free. Everything in his household is recycled or reused, with nothing going to waste, and is powered by the mini-wind turbines and solar panels on his roof. Even his car is solar-powered, with an electrical outlet for extra charging power. Prince Albert grows fresh, organic fruit and vegetables in his backyard, which he uses in cooking, juicing and selling to farmers’ markets and superstores.

  • Prince George

Prince George is Prince Albert’s 28-year-old brother. He grows grapes in a small vineyard in his garden. After picking each bunch, he either squeezes the grapes into a healthy juice or ferments to make wine, despite being a teetotaller. Prince George carries a small torch which powers its light from the sun.

  • Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert is Prince Albert’s 26-year-old brother. He loves berries, and he grows all kinds in his garden, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. He likes eating them fresh off the bush, but he also makes juices, jams and smoothies packed with vital vitamins and minerals. Prince Rupert also grows mint, which makes for a natural breath freshener and flavouring, and collects rainwater in his water butt for washing and watering. He cares for his son, Prince William.

  • Prince William

Prince William is Prince Albert’s seven-year-old nephew and Prince Rupert’s son. Even at a young age, he is already passionate about our planet and eliminating meat from his diet, going vegan for his own and everyone else’s good. He loves to go foraging for fruits and mushrooms with his father and uncles in the forest, then make them into smoothies, pies and breakfast bars for maximum freshness and nutrition. Prince William has a small notebook that is made completely out of recycled paper, which he uses to doodle and write in.

  • Pugwash

Pugwash is a 26-year-old Scottish-Canadian man. He wears a light yellow collared shirt and a dark yellow tartan kilt fastened with a belt. He is very considerate towards his brothers, always helping them out and comforting them when they’re in trouble. He can get dismayed pretty easily, especially when something unexpected ensues. Pugwash loves to play the bagpipes with an affectionate intonation to his tunes.

  • Quebec

Quebec is Montreal’s 17-year-old brother. He cares for his younger brother, and just like Montreal, he speaks English when he is with the other Canadian Boys and his brother, but he speaks French when it is just him and Montreal. He comforts Montreal when he is miserable, showing him a lot of affection and feeling pitiful for him. He knows that Montreal is very scared of Laval, and so he tells him not to be afraid, for he will always be there for him whenever he is having troubles. Just like his younger brother, he frequently mixes up English and French when he speaks. Quebec is very kind and understanding to Montreal.

  • Regina

Regina is a 14-year-old girl. She has a mole on her upper left arm and a light brown birthmark next to her navel. She is a very positive role model for the other Canadian Girls, the reason being that she knows nobody is perfect – we all have flaws. She opposes the digital manipulation of photographs in the media, and she calls on everybody around the world to embrace themselves just as they are. She also wants that Canadian Girls be seen as human beings and not as sexual objects. Regina loves herself just as she is. She is smart and always makes the right decisions. She does her bit for the planet by being vegan, using natural products, recycling her waste and walking or cycling – she even says that the Canadian Boys’ House should run on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Regina appears on the cover of many magazines such as Cerise, and posters for many charitable organizations such as Canadian Girl Power! She is a very famous icon of ‘imperfect beauty’.

  • Riverport

Riverport is a retired fisherman and sea captain. He has grizzled grey fuzzy hair and a short beard. He wears a traditional nautical outfit comprised of a cobalt-blue jacket with cuffs, bright yellow overalls with a navy blue collared shirt underneath, light stonewashed denim trousers, and a pair of black gumboots. Riverport is warm and bighearted, loving to smoke his old sailor’s pipe and have a big guffaw while sitting in his rocking chair. He takes a lot of naps due to his old age, and he tends to snore raucously, which can unexpectedly wake him up. His years of working out on the high seas – sometimes in extreme conditions – has steeled Riverport against any kind of adversity, and he has a robust, hardworking spirit that cannot easily be broken.

  • Rosetown

Rosetown is a man with overflowing and overwhelming pride. Father to his son Shaunavon, he cannot go a day without obsessively texting him or calling him up whenever he’s away. He always goes over his son’s work and other endeavours so he can see how he’s doing, and if something looks ever so slightly off, he becomes inconsolably anxious that Shaunavon isn’t living up to his high expectations. Rosetown often implores Shaunavon to sleep beside him in his bed, even though he’s long outgrown that phase.

  • Rouyn-Noranda

Rouyn-Noranda is an arduous French Canadian man. Always writing up his daily schedule, he has developed a habit of continually glancing at his watch, even when he doesn’t have a job to do. This can annoy some onlookers, as they wonder why he always seems to be in a hurry. He speaks both English and French, but he speaks English when he is working on important matters, and French in more casual conversation. He sometimes inadvertently mixes up the two languages in formal speech, which can be somewhat awkward for him and others. Rouyn-Noranda’s favourite hangout is the Canadian Diner, where he can watch musicians perform while he dines on poutine and peppered steaks.

  • Saguenay

Saguenay is a surfer. He usually wears a wetsuit under his ordinary clothing, so when he is near the sea or another body of water, he can just toss his clothes off and jump – or dive – straight in. He is skilled at riding the crests and tunnels of rolling waves, and he often records his surfs to upload to the Internet and wow viewers everywhere. Saguenay practises his surfing skills on the artificial waves at the leisure centre on a regular basis to avoid embarrassing wipeouts.

  • Saint John

Saint John is a quiet 13-year-old boy. He never makes a sound, and he communicates using gestures, miming and ‘air writing’. He loves reading, but because he can’t talk, he just stares at the pages. Nevertheless, Saint John is a great thinker. He is very imaginative; just by looking at an everyday object, such as a spoon or cup, he can dream up all sorts of amazing adventures with that item. Saint John gets a little irritated sometimes so that he wants the other Canadian Boys to leave him be, but most of the time he is a sweet, taciturn young Canadian Boy whom everyone adores.

  • St. John’s

St. John’s is Blacks Harbour’s brother. Even crankier than Blacks Harbour, he does not tolerate any kind of trespassing or invasion of personal space. He will repel any unwanted visitors with a few lashes from his fishing rod and his harsh roaring voice, leaving horrific bleeding gashes etched into their flesh. St. John’s lives beside his brother in the Canadian Harbour, and he makes a living by catching fresh fish out at sea to sell at market.

  • St. Stephen

St. Stephen is a chocolatier. He uses only the finest cocoa beans that are organically grown and fairly traded, which he then makes into smooth, creamy, luscious chocolate that pleases everybody. As well as plain, milk and white chocolate, he infuses them with unusual flavours and textures like chilli, sea salt, cookies, brownies and coffee in addition to the traditional caramel, fruits and nuts. St. Stephen makes every single bar or block of chocolate himself, bringing a unique touch to every melt and bite. He even uses chocolate in his cooking, both sweet and savoury, and has written a whole cookbook filled with chocolate recipes. St. Stephen often opens his factory to visitors, and he doesn’t mind them snaffling a few chocolates while he makes them, as it’s all about trying new tastes.

  • Sandhill

Sandhill is a diabetic 20-year-old man. He must inject himself regularly with insulin to regulate his blood glucose levels, and he drinks a lot of fluids, which has the added side-effect of frequent bathroom trips. He uses artificial sweeteners in his food and drink, since normal sugar would cause his glucose to spike with potentially lethal consequences. Sandhill always feels hot and sweaty at night, even if he sleeps in just his underwear with thin bedsheets, so he keeps a glass of water at his bedside to temporarily relieve the heat.

  • Sarnia

Sarnia is a raspberry farmer. She lives in a barn beside the Canadian Fields, where emerald brambles of ruby raspberries encrust the golden crowns of wheat and barley. She grows and harvests her crops without using any pesticides, helping bees and butterflies to pollinate the surrounding meadows. In the summer, she opens her farm up to visitors to pick their own raspberries, then uses the remainder for jams, jellies and vinegar. Sarnia has several bird feeders hung up around her raspberry crops so they can eat without damaging the delicate, squishy fruit.

  • Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie is a philanthropist. She keeps herself informed of what’s going on at her favourite charities on social media, giving directly to them via their websites so the money can reach its desired goal and destination. When she is going out, she keeps some spare change in her purse so if she comes across a fundraiser, she can drop some coins in. Her impact isn’t just felt citywide, however – thanks to her vast generosity, a school was built in a developing country that allows vulnerable and marginalized girls to receive an education. Sault Ste. Marie only buys products that are fairly traded and have not been made in sweatshops or factories which use child labour.

  • Schomberg

Schomberg is a young black man with OCD. His daily life is overrun with rituals which he always feels he has to carry out, such as washing his hands a set number of times, turning off every light and electronic gadget before he goes to sleep, and picking up anything he finds on the ground – like a bottle cap or feather. He is constantly on edge, always worrying excessively whether he’s carried out his rituals or not. Schomberg fascinates and frustrates his onlookers and carers.

  • Sexsmith

Sexsmith is a mentor. He brings his support to people of all creeds and communities, but he concentrates on those who are at risk of being involved in criminal activity, developing mental illnesses, being exploited, or are without a home. He uses his extensive training to develop resilience in his mentees, as well as teaching them to be good, dutiful citizens. Sexsmith is very understanding, always ready to help with whatever problems his patrons may have.

  • Shaunavon

Shaunavon is Rosetown’s 10-year-old son. He has to undergo his father’s overwhelming affections every day, getting bombarded by near-constant text messages when he’s at school, and having every step of his work and life scrutinized. He fears that Rosetown’s overprotectiveness will cause him to develop anxiety later in life, as well as a perfectionism that can never realistically be achieved and adhered to. Shaunavon hates being dragged into Rosetown’s bed late at night, when logically he should be sleeping in his own room at his age.

  • Sherbrooke

Sherbrooke is a Quebecois artist. He always hauls his easel, art palettes and folders around with him, so he can paint ‘al fresco’ scenes of land and seascapes, gardens and public spaces. He also loves creating abstract art, splashing a rainbow of colours all over his canvas. He speaks both English and French, but speaks French when he’s around fellow artists to look and sound more ‘cultured’. Sherbrooke likes putting on impromptu exhibitions for members of the public to appreciate and buy his artworks for decorating their homes.

  • Smithville

Smithville is Brantford and Mallorytown’s mixed-race son. He is rather slow in communicating with words, but he shows a vocabulary advanced way beyond his years when he writes. He has slight difficulty walking straight due to his rickety legs, so he sometimes has to use crutches, especially if the pain is severe enough. Despite his mild disabilities, Brantford and Mallorytown love Smithville dearly.

  • Springhill

Springhill is a 29-year-old Scottish-Canadian man. He wears a dark emerald-green jacket with a lime-green collared shirt underneath, a grass-green tartan kilt fastened with a belt and a sporran on the front, and a very dark green bonnet on his head. Married to Amherst, he is calm and mild-mannered, loving the scent of fresh grass and the feel of soft things. He is a seasoned berry-picker, going foraging for blueberries in the forests and making his own blueberry jam to eat with Amherst’s scones. Springhill loves to play the bagpipes high up on a grassy hill, the cool sea breeze gusting in his face.

  • Sprucedale

Sprucedale is Komoka’s foster father. He keeps vigil over his adoptive son, taking care of his desires. He had originally planned to have a child of his own, but Port Carling suffered a devastating miscarriage, and he was subsequently left sterile. It is because of this that they found Komoka, and they have been raising him as ‘their’ child ever since. Sprucedale deeply cares for his family as though they were his own.

  • Stellarton

Stellarton is Pictou’s father. He watches over his son daily, attending to his needs and taking notes in his journal. Like his son and wife Port Hawkesbury, he speaks both English and French, and sometimes blends the two languages together in an Acadian patois. Stellarton feels immense pride for Pictou and Port Hawkesbury.

  • Stettler

Stettler is a cowboy. He wears a typical ‘Western’ outfit, complete with chaperones, a Stetson hat, and a golden sheriff’s badge. He patrols his ranch every day, watching his animals and riding them around the sandy dunes. Stettler is somewhat conservative in his views and can be rather brash, especially when he’s showing off his rodeo or lassoing skills. Stettler’s favourite meal is grilled beef laden with ginger and spicy sauces.

  • Sudbury

Sudbury is a 24-year-old man. He is very sweet and kind, and he is always around to comfort somebody if they’re feeling down in their lives. He uses many endearing terms when he speaks, such as his favourite, “my lovely-jubbly.” Sudbury spends many summer days camping out in the Canadian Park, usually napping in his sleeping bag.

  • Swift Current

Swift Current is a comedian. He presents the popular prime-time TV show That Canadian Thing, which blends satire, stand-up and quizzes with a Canadian theme. He entertains his guests and audience with witty remarks and funny routines, like pretending to be lazy, and swinging from a bungee rope tied to his feet. During filming, Swift Current often sweats profusely due to the stuffy studio, so he drinks lots of water and installs electric fans to keep him, his guests and his audience cool. When not presenting his show, Swift Current likes to dine out and collect autographs at the Canadian Diner.

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