The Bay of Fundy is world re-known for having the highest tides in the world. To sit and watch the raw power that our moon exerts over the 160 billion tonnes of water rushing into the narrowing bays and channels between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick makes one reconsider their significance in the presence of such an epic event. How does an artist capture this phenomenon in one brief moment in time?
I had the good fortune to attend the Parrsboro Plein Air festival last year and on my first day I hiked my painting kit up to the lookout from Five Islands Provincial Park. From the top of the approximately 30 metre (100 Foot) bluff overlooking the Minas Basin I had a breathtaking view of the Old Wife (in this day and age I will not even attempt to explain the story behind that name), a rocky promontory that juts out from the cliffs pointing the way to Moose Island. The tide was low when I started painting and I spent a lot of time reworking the sand bars and winding channels to try and capture the movement of the tide. Perhaps this scene was too overwhelming a subject matter for the first day of painting as I was not completely happy with the resulting paintings. But I do remember packing up at the end of the session and stopping to notice the silence at the moment of the full tide. A cloud front was moving in and everything took on a dark purple hue, and it heightened the potency of the stillness of that high water, a quiet reserve of unimaginable power at the apex of its potential.
I should have stopped and painted it, but my pale Nordic complexion exposed to a full day of sun and the chemical composition of my skin when combined with deet forming a seemingly irresistible blackfly BBQ sauce made that idea futile. I had to be satisfied with pulling out my camera and recording the event in photos. That said the moment followed me into the winter and I began to paint studies to capture that moment and its significance. This is a study from those labours which to me starts to express not only the moment, but the underlying power in that moment. My ultimate goal is to complete a much larger work that will allow the viewer to immerse themselves into that experience.
So to answer the question, my solution is at this point to capture the potential of this tide at its peak and its most potent manifestation in a quiet pause of breath.