Big, Big Sea

big-big-sea-peggys-cove

This cut, along with the remainders in the series, are more personal and related to my life, as opposed to exercises and experiments. Big, Big Sea is based on a photo I took in 1993 at Peggy’s Cove of my sister Marie and daughter Meg staring out to sea. Aside from the few white lines at the bottom and very loosely defined squiggles to represent the figures on the shore, the rest is all done free hand with the cutters. I had no idea how it would turn out, and even after taking a proof I was uncertain of any success, but at Holly’s urging I ran a small edition. People seem to be responding to it (it has sold well) and it’s growing on me too. It was one of those artistic leaps of faith that so terrify me, but the end product is more ‘honest’, in an artistic sense. Of course, being honest does not, by any means, ensure success, however that may be defined, but sometimes that absence of contrivance adds a quality that people seem to pick up on. (I remember this well from my years at the Upper Canadian trying to understand, and then writing intelligently about, folk art.)

A lot of people associate the turbulance in the image with the characteristic pounding surf that is usually the status quo at Peggy’s Cove. I am told that every year that force of nature plucks one or two unlucky tourists off the rocks, making them very wet and very dead. However, on the day I captured this image, it was calm as a millpond (to quote the captain of the Titanic) and we were able to go out to the very edge of the shore line. It was a pleasant but hazy day in mid August, if I recall correctly, and when I developed the photo I could not discern where the sea ended and the sky began. A great shot, if I do say so myself. My print, on the other hand, is a visual speculation on the power that churns beneath the calm in a sea that reaches right up to the sky. How small we are in the face of all that might. And when one thinks about it, how lucky we are that it isn’t angry with us all the time. Not yet, at least.

The metaphor runs deeper, of course.  I certainly had Meg in mind when I cut this, both as a moody ten year old and as the adult she is today, struggling with her own storms.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Block Printing, Lino Cuts

One Comment on “Big, Big Sea”

  1. Marie Says:

    I remember Larry and Holly and Meg’s visit to Halifax, and how free I felt that summer especially whenever we visited Peggy’s. There’s something about the smoothe granite that makes you feel young and strong, bounding from one ledge and shelf and boulder to another. Little did I know that the spirit of that place would shine out 14 years later. It’s a testament to Larry’s stubborn artistic streak.


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