Wednesday 22 June 2016

Exploring the Viking Trail, Together June 2016

I have just returned from 9 days in Newfoundland and Labrador 'Exploring the Viking Trail' with 41 great travellers. This was a tour for women so there wasn't a great deal of sketching time as I had in Portugal when the group were sketchers travelling with Montreal Artist Marc Taro Holmes. The weather was rather inclement, making it difficult to stand outside without blowing away. Believe me even at my size it was hard to not get blown over. It was a wonderful experience and I must say the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are 5 star. They came to this island and many stayed, for many generations. They lived through the worst of weather conditions but shared the best of family and friendships.  They shared their music, their friendship and their history with us. I think everyone on this trip came home feeling that not only did they become an Honourary Newfoundlander by partaking in the ceremony of the Newfoundland Royal Order of  Screechers but that Newfoundland and Labrador will continue to be a special place to them.

On day one I sketched from the bus as I have done in the past...what I called mini memories. The bus was bouncing, a lot! We headed to Gros Morne National Park which is named after the mountain shown below. The snow was still on the top. At Norris Point we took a boat along the coast to experience the coast line. How excited we were...too excited to sketch...when we saw a whale.

He turned then...
he dove! and was gone

Bobbie was successful in capturing the whale in a series of about 8 photos. I hope that she will share so I can include them here. This is one of three I was lucky enough to get, I must admit I was so excited I forgot to take photos.

On the bus as the world sailed by. A short stop at the light house gave me a minute to do this mini but it was all I could do to hold my sketch book, water brush and mini travel sketch box and stay upright in the wind.

another day on the bus in Gros Morne a visit to the Arches with a stop long enough for those looking for a photo op...and for me to quickly do a mini...then we saw  our first iceberg! The trees along the road fascinated me. I watched and watched and finally using the direction of Marc Taro Holmes when he painted looking down into the olive trees in Portugal I sketched the trees along the road. A lot of painting negative space. This also was a memory painting.
Raining and cold but so much to se...we continue our journey. At L'Anse aux Meadows we first walked through the rain from one Viking building to the next it was cold but very interesting. The last building I visited before heading back to the bus to capture the mist/cloud rolling in was a long house where women were cooking around an open fire. We had a chance to try their biscuits with some wonderful partridge berry comport. Worth the walk in the rain.


Finally a sunny morning. We had time in Corner Brook at the Glynmill Inn to wander before boarding our bus to Twillingate and more rain and fog.

We arrived in St. John's on the 15th of June, still cold. Breakfast was served on the third floor of #9 Roses Heritage Inn, our home in St. John's for 4 nights.  It was too cold to sit on the street and sketch so a couple of us thought that we could find a restaurant for coffee where we might look out the window and sketch. Have you ever noticed how coffee shops don't have many places to sit that look out on a pleasant view? This was the case of Starbuck's on Water St. in St. John's so the option was to sketch the people in the coffee shop. Not a great experience, but something I should keep trying if I am going to sketch as an Urban Sketcher!

Back in St. John's on the last day of our adventure the temperature soared to 24 degrees Celsius and I had some time to sketch. I started across from our accommodation then moved back to the side of other side of the street to catch the view of the Church. St. Thomas Anglican Church was the garrison church for Fort William. While I sketched todays parishioners arrived for morning service. It was a lovely warm day in sunny St. John's. I don't think you hear that too often.

Working in my new, made by me, sketch book I had a chance for a stop by the harbour. It is nice to travel with people who like to sit and take in the sights. I could have stayed longer but Air Canada was waiting and those who had gone to the Girl Guides of Canada Trefoil Gathering would be heading to the airport to return to their homes. I wanted to hear about the Gathering and what they had done while spending the last 4 nights in St. John's.
Now to do some serious sketching. My next adventure will be in Chicago in July when I go to the Chicago Urban Sketchers Symposium. I am looking forward to this experience.
THEN OFF TO INDIA IN FEB. 2017 TO SKETCH WITH ANNE-LAURE JACQUART. Join me and Anne-Laure's workshop you can find all the information on under "Tours for Painters".