Saturday, August 15, 2009

Le Tintamarre (Bang a Gong)

Today is National Acadian Day (I would write it in French but Pierre's away and I don't know how to insert the circumflex over the "e" in Fete, as in La Fete Nationale Acadienne). There are celebrations and parades and loud banging of pots in the streets and outdoor music shows throughout Acadie scheduled. My first experience of it was in 1980 in the northeast New Brunswick seaside town of Caraquet. I danced outdoors on a makeshift wooden floor to endless fiddle music until I thought my heart would burst from my chest. It was a wonderful introduction to Acadians, their music, their joie de vivre, their warmth and their pride.

The Blessing of the Fleet

There is also a "blessing of the fleet" that goes on in Caraquet when the lobster season begins. I mention this because one of the paintings in my Maritmes Series depicted this event, and got me into lots of hot water with the local press and outraged the citizens. I laughed it off, thinking it ridiculous that one of my happy little paintings could cause such a ruckus, including very irate letters to the editor of the Acadian newspaper. I realize now that I should have milked it dry for the publicity value of it (there's no such thing as bad publicity?) I think part of the problem was that I showed an Acadian woman kissing her crucifix pendant while wearing a star-emblazoned bikini top, representing the Acadian flag. I present the painting here for you to form your own opinions.

On Parade in the Lobster Capital of the World

Another summer event, in the Acadian town of Shediac is the Lobster Festival which happened in July. When I first moved to the Maritimes, 20 or so years ago, I was both stunned and amused to learn that there is a Mr. Lobster mascot, or perhaps he's the Lobster King, who reigns over the festivities. I had to depict this wonder in my series as well. (This painting, by the way, went to live in Haiti.)


Parlez-vous at Parlee Beach

Shediac is also well-known for Parlee Beach, which is thronged during the summer months--particularly in August when the Quebeckers arrive. The beach is part of a Provincial Park so you have to pay for the privilege of being crammed and jammed with masses of sun-seekers in all shapes and sizes. The water is reputed to be the warmest north of East Virginia. There are many beaches where you can go for free, and the water is the same, so we don't generally go to Parlee. But here are our Acadian friends, Betty and Rita, on their day off from work at the lobster plant, soaking up some fun in the sun.


There were 30 paintings in my Maritimes Series and they were shown and sold in many galleries on Canada's east and west coasts. I called this style of painting Post-Naive. If you'd like to know how the series came about and what it means, you can read all about it in my artist's statement.


The Acadian folk group Barachois asked me to do the artwork for their first album, which included a painting of them at a traditional kitchen party. Now those are folks who know how to throw a party!
(BTW no pot banging or gong bonging in my little village tonight--it's strictly Anglo in these here hills.)


  1. Wonderful art. Post-naive is a good word for it.
    So,circumflex is the word for the little accent mark? I wrote the name of your blog in my blog and had to leave out the circumflex. Had no idea how to make one with a keyboard. You were so right about the Kachinas, btw.

  2. Nice to see once again the fine catch in the lobster traps.

  3. Hi Susan, Actually "circumflex" is the little mark that looks like a pointy hat. The marks over my blog name are an acute accent and...can't remember the other...not so cute? (in French it's "accent grave" which sounds pretty serious, but I don't think it's as heavy in English).

    I coined the term "Post-Naive" and was flummoxed (yes!) to discover another artist's gallery using it to describe his work. I don't paint in that style any more, though.

    Re: Kachinas--So gratifying to be right about something! I did see the mention on your blog. Thanks.

  4. FCW--Thanks! They do stand the test of time rather better than their crustacean counterparts.

  5. Lovely post. I like the art whatever you call it. It's fun and vivacious.

    To make the strange marks:

    Press and hold the ALT key and type corresponding number then release ALT key

    a with grave accent à 133
    a with circumflex â 131
    a with tréma ä 132
    a e ligature æ 145
    c with cedilla ç 135
    e with acute accent é 130
    e with grave accent è 138
    e with circumflex ê 136
    e with tréma ë 137
    i with circumflex î 140

  6. stunning work!

  7. Oh wonderful colourful art work! I love it, you're UBER clever. I will have to name a cocktail after you!

  8. Hey!
    I like the suggestion for the use of "alt###" to get French accents. Here's also a link for a keyboard map that could help:

  9. Hi Karen, Thanks so much for the marking tips! I will keep a copy beside my keyboard for future reference. (Damn, no more good excuses not to write in French!) Also thanks for the "fun and vivacious" comment about the art. I wanted to express my delight in the colours and characters I experienced in the Maritimes.

  10. Anonymous--Clearly you are a person of exquisite, refined, and informed tastes--as well as quirky ones. Thank you for your comment!

  11. Saj, I'm so glad that you like the art work. I did have fun with the colours, though not always easy to "dress" a whole scene of people.

    As my dad would have said, "If I'm so (UBER) clever, why aren't I rich?"

    Will look forward to that cocktail--as long as it doesn't involve Drambuie! I just remembered that's what I'm allergic to. Maybe I should give Cointreau another chance!

  12. Merci, Pierre pour l'aide long-distance! Trust you to come up with a map!!! Bises, L.

  13. This weekend, I was made an Honourary Acadian!

  14. C: By whom, pray tell? The blue-eyed minstrel?

    I, too, was once made an Honourary Acadian, up in Pokemouche. Acadians are so much more accepting than Quebeckers. (Oh god, don't tell the in-laws that I said that!)

  15. Hey Lynne Lou ! I'm back! Here I am at last galumphing happily back into the blog-o-swamp of joyous beasties and wondrous colors, going snicker snack, snicker snuck, snicker snock !!! Galumphing back on blown gaskets and flat tires and rusting sheet metal sails, three sheets to the wind, galumphing back, wallowing once again in the comment boxes of eternal delight, snatching up whole watermelons and chomping them at a single cruch, red juice and seeds flying madly every which way, ah so easy to slip back into the simple rhythms of a non-blog life, going to the beach, reading a book while stretched on a big yellow towel, getting up to scarf down some rillette and tomato sandwiches before setting off in kayaks to paddle across to the little coves and hidden beaches of the l'ile Callot where there is next to nobody, then coming back for showers and long lingering dinners of barbecued mackerels and white wine... and then before one knows it it's midnight and time to turn in and hardly a thought was given to keeping the blog alive and breathing.... but then a quick tour to Saj's place and I see there are rust heaps waiting to be driven off into the glorious golden sunsets and it seems I'm the rogue factor causing all sorts of nefarious misbehaving, punning, and generally debauched depravity from otherwise normal civilized people... yes and all of that and more my friend... I've been galumphing under the quilt for the past nine hours, then lingering breakfasts with mugs of coffee, but suddenly the tadpoles are off on their sailing contraptions of catamarans, la Grenouille is napping on her towel in the sand, and I'm thus free for an hour or two or three to commune with the jabberwocks of blogland...

    So, having said all that (pant, pant) your paintings here are gorgeous, were I wealthier than I am, I'd be asking how much it might take to have one wrapped and posted across the ocean... the semi-circular layout is a change of pace from most rectilinear creations, the subject matter is intriguing, the colors and forms captivating, the ensemble harmonious and warm and rich... what more could one want to find in a painting ??? And having gained some insight into the marvellously delirious mind of the creator herself, yes, that is the sort of feeling that starts to make me want to acquire art to add to the Phillips Collection in France Museum... which hopefully you'll be able to see some day on a galivanting European tour to promote your upcoming exhibition in a Parisian art gallery...

    I love the album cover and kitchen music scene; and the lobster king is a joy !!!

    So, there you go, the galumphing phool who has radically slowed down his blogging pace while away from home here is trotting back down to the beach to see just how many grains of sand it takes to build a rainbow... if it can be done at all... blown gaskets and rusted synapses not withstanding...