In the late summer of 2006, feeling the need to kick up my heels and finally able to afford the time to do so, I took six weeks (unprecedented since university days) and traveled to the Maritimes and back in a twenty year old motor home.
In 2002 I had spent over a hundred hours of scrubbing, painting and carpentry converting the inside of a tacky, but mechanically sound, motorhome from a mothball- smelling, nasty interior to a clean bright white studio on wheels.
The first half of the trip across Canada was with my daughter (who was dropped off in downtown Toronto) and my husband (Ottawa to the Maritimes). I drove back by myself.
Because of the age of the vehicle there were challenges. Within the first few days after leaving Edmonton things began to fall apart.
The long tool box, which the previous owner had attached to the rear metal frame, detached and fell with a bang onto the road in the middle of an intersection in Saskatoon. Golf balls and clubs flew onto the pavement while people stood by and gawked.
$75 and lots of pleading at Canadian Tire and we were on the road again.
The wind in Saskatchewan was howling and trying to blow us off the highway. My daughter said to me, “I’m not driving. You drive this thing.”
Half of our awning unravelled and flapped angrily against the side. Ours wasn’t the only motorhome with awning problems. Other RVs had pulled over and people were trying to fasten down awnings. We were rescued by a kind farmer in Plunkett, Saskatchewan (Pop. 60!) who brought a rickety wood ladder from home and helped duct tape it up. I always travel with the stuff. He gave us some baling twine and said that it might come in handy. It did.
Problems aside, it was a wonderful trip: looking for water to paint, visiting art galleries (Saskatoon, Winnipeg, The National Art Gallery in Ottawa, Quebec, Fredericton, Regina), visiting friends in Ontario, and stopping to camp at many national and provincial parks. These parks are in areas of stunning natural landscape that have been set aside for everyone to enjoy.
In 2007 my husband and I drove in the other direction, through BC, up Vancouver Island, by ferry up the Inside Passage and from Prince Rupert, by ferry, to the Queen Charlotte Islands.
The paintings from CANADIAN WATER are two and a half year’s work, and they were a great pleasure to paint.
Since I often travel alone I’m happy that I now have a more reliable motor home. I’m planning another trip to the north shore of Lake Superior this year and one to the north the following year. I don’t think this series is exhausted. I’m not bored with water yet.