BASS RIVER - Once a year, local artist Joy Laking invites the public into her studio near Bass River to view all of her most recent paintings.
That tradition has been taking place for a number of years and continues this month. Laking already welcomed visitors to the open house this past weekend and will do so again from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 20 and 21.
Laking is celebrating 40 years of being one of the province's artists with a studio exhibition of new watercolours, oils, acrylics and prints of Cape Breton, the Eastern Shore and her beloved marsh and bay right outside her Bay of Fundy studio gallery.
Her current exhibit features 15 new paintings from her three-week trip to Bolivia earlier this year. There, she taught more than 100 children at three schools in Aucapata the joys of art, while also offering free after-school and Saturday classes for all ages.
She also did 15 quarter-sheet watercolours, numerous sketches and word pictures to capture the misty mountain beauty of the Andes and narrow, brown adobe streets of the village.
"Painting an unfamiliar landscape always gives me new ideas and I return home to paint with fresh eyes and a different approach," she said.
As a young artist 25 years ago, Laking was not inspired by views of her marsh, instead she preferred manmade beauty such as porches, village-scapes and windows.
An outing with her father in 1987 resulted in her painting rocks and water.
Now she loves nothing better than to sit for days out on the salt flats painting the transient beauty of tides and skies.
She recently completed a 16" x 20" painting of the Portaupique Salt Marsh. The image so captivated her that she returned for two more days to start a much larger version of this view.
The skies change constantly and Laking waits until she gets one she loves before painting the sky. Unfortunately the rising water adds another challenge, because not only does her subject disappear, but once the river floods the marsh, she has to pack up before getting wet.