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About Art: Artist shares experience at sea in Truro exhibit

This piece, entitled "Anchor," is a painting that will be featured in Anna Horsnell Wade’s upcoming exhibit at the McCarthy Gallery in Truro.
This piece, entitled "Anchor," is a painting that will be featured in Anna Horsnell Wade’s upcoming exhibit at the McCarthy Gallery in Truro.

Anna Horsnell Wade has a special story to share. On Thursday, Feb. 2, beginning at 7 p.m., the Truro Art Society will host the opening of the artist’s exhibit, The Sarah Diaries.

The exhibit will be at the McCarthy Gallery, 36 Arthur St. in Truro at the Nova Scotia Community College. The series of paintings and the accompanying book tell of her experience at sea aboard the tanker, the Sarah Desgagnés.

The artist will speak about her project and answer questions, as well as do book signings. Everyone is welcome to attend.

 

What’s your background?

Looking back, I can’t believe I’ve been painting for well over 35 years. Nova Scotia has always  been  home,  but  I’ve  worked  and  studied  in  various  parts  of  Canada.  When  I returned to Halifax 16 years ago, I wanted to become active in the local  arts community which  has  been  a  very  rewarding  experience.  Certainly  these  years  in  Halifax  have been my most productive, creating and exhibiting my work while continuing to learn and challenging myself to make a difference through my art.

 

What inspired your new exhibit, The Sarah Diaries?

My husband goes to sea as chief engineer on a marine tanker for half of each year. In 2014, I had the  opportunity  to  join him  for two voyages  aboard his ship, the Sarah Desgagnés. I was immediately inspired by the ship, the environment, and the men and women  who  work  on  board. I wanted  to  share my experience by paying  tribute to the world of the merchant mariner. Our province has been shaped to a great extent by the ocean that surrounds us and our busy commercial shipping ports.

 

How did you determine what you wanted to paint?

I was very fortunate to enjoy relative freedom on board allowing me to explore the ship from the bridge to the engine room. I wanted to share a bit of that intimacy amidst the day-to-day  operation of  a working vessel of that  size. My goal was to focus on the details that are the essence of the ship  from anchor chains to radar screens.  That approach led me to group  individual panels into larger pieces  highlighting the various areas on the ship and the landscape.

 

When did you decide to also include a book in this project?

The book grew from a diary I decided  to  keep while on board mainly as something to occupy my time, but after  the first few days  at  sea, I became  obsessed with writing down all that I  was seeing and feeling. I felt very  privileged to be able to watch the officers and crew at work, to hear their  stories, and to experience life on board. As a mariner’s wife, I knew not every family member has the chance to see what their wife or husband, son or  daughter do when they go to sea and I  thought it was important to share the story with them, as well as the general public.

 

What else would you like to tell people about The Sarah Diaries?

The Sarah Diaries project is unique in  that it allowed me to merge what I do  with my husband’s career at sea. The  paintings and book have also served to  inform many people about the  merchant  marine and the career opportunities  available in this worldwide  industry.  Most importantly, I am very proud of the  new  Marine  Officer’s Scholarship, established by The Sarah Diaries  project at the Nautical Institute of the Nova Scotia Community College in  Port  Hawkesbury. Half of all proceeds go to  this fund.

 

Janice Guinan is a local artist who passionately believes in the importance of visual art. Her About Art column appears each week in the Colchester Weekly News.

The exhibit will be at the McCarthy Gallery, 36 Arthur St. in Truro at the Nova Scotia Community College. The series of paintings and the accompanying book tell of her experience at sea aboard the tanker, the Sarah Desgagnés.

The artist will speak about her project and answer questions, as well as do book signings. Everyone is welcome to attend.

 

What’s your background?

Looking back, I can’t believe I’ve been painting for well over 35 years. Nova Scotia has always  been  home,  but  I’ve  worked  and  studied  in  various  parts  of  Canada.  When  I returned to Halifax 16 years ago, I wanted to become active in the local  arts community which  has  been  a  very  rewarding  experience.  Certainly  these  years  in  Halifax  have been my most productive, creating and exhibiting my work while continuing to learn and challenging myself to make a difference through my art.

 

What inspired your new exhibit, The Sarah Diaries?

My husband goes to sea as chief engineer on a marine tanker for half of each year. In 2014, I had the  opportunity  to  join him  for two voyages  aboard his ship, the Sarah Desgagnés. I was immediately inspired by the ship, the environment, and the men and women  who  work  on  board. I wanted  to  share my experience by paying  tribute to the world of the merchant mariner. Our province has been shaped to a great extent by the ocean that surrounds us and our busy commercial shipping ports.

 

How did you determine what you wanted to paint?

I was very fortunate to enjoy relative freedom on board allowing me to explore the ship from the bridge to the engine room. I wanted to share a bit of that intimacy amidst the day-to-day  operation of  a working vessel of that  size. My goal was to focus on the details that are the essence of the ship  from anchor chains to radar screens.  That approach led me to group  individual panels into larger pieces  highlighting the various areas on the ship and the landscape.

 

When did you decide to also include a book in this project?

The book grew from a diary I decided  to  keep while on board mainly as something to occupy my time, but after  the first few days  at  sea, I became  obsessed with writing down all that I  was seeing and feeling. I felt very  privileged to be able to watch the officers and crew at work, to hear their  stories, and to experience life on board. As a mariner’s wife, I knew not every family member has the chance to see what their wife or husband, son or  daughter do when they go to sea and I  thought it was important to share the story with them, as well as the general public.

 

What else would you like to tell people about The Sarah Diaries?

The Sarah Diaries project is unique in  that it allowed me to merge what I do  with my husband’s career at sea. The  paintings and book have also served to  inform many people about the  merchant  marine and the career opportunities  available in this worldwide  industry.  Most importantly, I am very proud of the  new  Marine  Officer’s Scholarship, established by The Sarah Diaries  project at the Nautical Institute of the Nova Scotia Community College in  Port  Hawkesbury. Half of all proceeds go to  this fund.

 

Janice Guinan is a local artist who passionately believes in the importance of visual art. Her About Art column appears each week in the Colchester Weekly News.

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