August 2009   volume 8 number 7 The Artist's Loft logo The Artist's Loft logo

William H. Hays  Hello and Welcome Friends,

Today is dark, cold, windy and there is a heavy and constant rain from the approaching Tropical Storm Danny. It's not the first storm we've had this month, and not the biggest, as you'll see.

Although I've been painting regularly lately, my output has been minimal. I've completed only one painting and have two that are underway. So I'll start with the completed painting and show you another as it stands now. You'll see by the title of the first that it is from our overnight trip last month.

Brier Island Sunset by William Hays     "Brier Island Sunset" Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

This next piece is a commissioned painting of The Ovens (near Lunenburg, Nova Scotia) and is less than half done. (I think the sky is the only part that's done.) But I thought you might like to see it. Keep an eye out in next month's missive for the final product.

Ovens Afternoon by William Hays     "The Ovens, Afternoon" (unfinished) Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

So last month we traveled to Brier Island and watched the whales. This month the weather was the thing and we didn't have to go far. It came to us in the form of hurricane Bill.

At first we were told it was coming for a direct hit. But in the few days before it passed by Nova Scotia, it moved offshore where it was a category 1 storm. There is a certain excitement to the coming of a hurricane. You never quite know what you're going to get. This was our first real storm since we began spending summers here in 2002. Honestly, I have no wish for taking a direct hit. The power is awesome.

I awoke early on Sunday the 23rd to find everything perfectly still. A fog in the air and it was warm. Not until 9 or 10 AM did the wind start to blow. I had resigned myself to losing my 6-foot high sunflowers to the winds but thought, "Maybe... they'll make it." The gusty winds and periodic driving rains began after 10:00. We had battened down the hatches, so we just watched the gusts of wind sweep the trees and drive the rains. We were fortunate to have no real damage in the area (with one exception, as you'll see). In fact, at about noon we took a nap for a couple of hours and then headed out to see the waves as the storm passed away from us at about 3:00 PM.

We started out Western Head from Liverpool since we knew the waves would be best out there. The first glimpse of the ocean came as we crested the hill by Moose Harbour. Glancing out at the ocean, I wasn't sure what I was seeing. I thought there was some unusual light and shadow pattern from the clouds for a moment. Then I realized that the forms I saw were enormous waves like I'd never seen here before. We went down to the harbor and were thrilled to see them rolling in and crashing on the rocky shore. You have to remember that generally the waves are quite small here from the islands and undulating, rocky shoreline. This was very different!

Hurricane Bill waves, Moose Harbour, Nova Scotia

So we continued on out to the end of Western Head and the lighthouse. When we arrived there were plenty of other folks who had the same idea and we were all dazzled by the waves.

Hurricane Bill waves, Western Head Lighthouse, Nova Scotia

Although there were folks to the side of the seawall on the right, most of us stayed behind the seawall. After all, you never know.... These waves were 10-15 feet high and packed a serious wallop!

Hurricane Bill waves, Western Headk Nova Scotia

These next two are sequential.

Hurricane Bill waves, Western Head, Nova Scotia

Hurricane Bill waves, Western Head, Nova Scotia

Of course there's always someone who wants to be close to the waves and this guy made us all a little nervous as he was obviously too close. If he were swept in there would seem to be no chance he would live. And the waves swept several people into the sea during this storm at other locations in Nova Scotia. He's about 30-40 feet from the terminus of these breaking waves.

Hurricane Bill waves, Western Head, Nova Scotia

Despite the danger, we both agreed that this man was having an experience!

Hurricane Bill waves, Western Head, Nova Scotia

We tried to continue out Western Head but we ran into an obstacle. The causeway was washed out in no uncertain terms.

Hurricane Bill waves, Western Head, Nova Scotia

So off we went to Beach Meadows on the other side of the Mersey River. It was apparent on our arrival that the hurricane had been up to the road, over the dunes and had washed away some of the boardwalk leading to the beach. The passing storm was sucking all of the water out along with the low tide and the beach was at least twice it's normal depth.

Hurricane Bill waves, Beach Meadows, Nova Scotia

We strolled the beach and examined debris and sealife washed up where they are not, usually. The waves weren't so big here due to the sheltering of Coffin Island.

Hurricane Bill waves, starfish, Nova Scotia     Hurricane Bill waves, lobster, Nova Scotia

Still, the winds created a dramatic shoreline along the beach.

Hurricane Bill waves, Beach Meadows, Nova Scotia

Next we went off to Eagle Head, which you see across the water in the photo above. The seas had calmed down enough so that there were three or four surfers who were there trying their skills on some six-footers. Across the little bay looking back toward Beach Meadows, the waves rolled endlessly across the shallow waters. The wind created spectacular plumes of water illuminated by the end of the day sun. It was a wonderful day. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of it with us.

Hurricane Bill waves, Eagle Head, Nova Scotia

I look forward to hearing from you... Oh, and by the way, the sunflowers made it through the storm! Now if they can just make it through Danny....


William H. Hays

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