July 29, 2011

Capturing a Place

I've never thought much of the lyrics of the song that goes "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with," until I saw photos of my eldest son on Facebook, touring around Amsterdam. If I could not be with him, enjoying the sites of Europe, I could put more effort into appreciating the area that I was able to explore - my home here in Beautiful British Columbia (as is proclaimed on our vehicle license plates).

Earlier this week my girls and I went off to the nearby village, which is a resort destination and contains, among its many shops on the esplanade, the summer employers of many local young people including my second son. We brought our cameras with us and decided to play tourist. We found it fun to try and see such familiar sites through the imagined eyes of visitors taking everything in for the first time. The result was a collection of photos, I am sure, quite similar to those of the thousands of people who flock here every summer.

A cold, glacier fed, Canadian lake

My eldest daughter treated us to one of these favourite confections.

A tart, crisp apple coated in delicious chocolate, caramel and almonds. Yummy.

Where many, many local teenagers work for the summers. There's also a great coffee shop next door.

A dragon boat regatta was happening, with thousands of participants.

One of the dragon boats coming into shore with the caller/drummer at the bow.

A wonderful and famous Canadian painter named Toni Onley used to come here, too. He would fly in on his float plane to sketch and paint. He would not paint scenes like the ones I posted above, of people, shops and flowers. He painted scenes much more like this one:

Unfortunately, Toni Onley died in a plane crash several years ago. I grew up knowing and admiring his work and only now am I able to put into words the beauty and mystery of his deceptively simple layers of watercolour. People are often heard to exclaim, when viewing a coastal landscape, "That looks just like a Toni Onley painting!" Toni could capture the essence of place and landscape like few others can. He painted abstracts, arctic landscapes, and scenes from Mexico, Hawaii, and the BC Coast. His paintings seem to float somewhere between earth and heaven, and he is loved equally among art critics and 'regular folks'.

Someone once said that great art picks up where nature ends. And so I leave you with one of Toni's works.

I found this painting on the Winchester Galleries website. I'm having trouble providing a link, so if you google 'Winchester Galleries Toni Onley" you will find more of Toni's wonderful work. The site is well worth the visit.


  1. Beautiful, Rebecca. I love reading your posts.

    -Sarah R.

  2. Looks like you had a lovely day - and took your mind off missing the boy for a while.

    super watercolour!


    {And that apple looked great too!}

  3. Sarah: Thanks so much...and a sweet surprise to hear from you here.

    Alistair: Summer has finally arrived, and we are soaking it in. As for missing my boy...it's all part of the 'letting go and live' process isn't it.

    The apples are amazing!

  4. Yeah, that right. What a chap of 18/19 needs whilst touring Europe is his Mammy. I sorry me-dear but such trips are out from now until he has his own. Then you'll be welcome to come on all trips. :)

  5. I enjoyed your postcards. My mother used to take in foreign students and really enjoyed seeing London through their eyes. We of course had taken it for granted.

  6. Vince: I must tell you that it is not that I want to be with my son, it is that I am a bit envious of his adventures. The song lyrics refer mainly to a place to love and admire. Of course I want him to spread his wings. I ain't warped, you know :)

    Lucille: It's funny isn't it, how we think of everywhere else as exciting and glamourous...I've always wanted to go to London to visit the Queen...and Scotland, and Wales, and Ireland, and, and, and! But I am very happy at home, too.

  7. I'm just returning, today, from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We stayed in a villa at a resort that is right on the Atlantic Ocean. Not our first time there, but still, just as enjoyable as it was the first time.

    Seeing your pictures make me want to pack up again and head that way!

    Glad your son is having a good time! I hope my kids will have similar opportunities.

  8. Of course you're warped. No one that lives year round at latitudes that should be left to polar bears could be otherwise. The miracle with those of us above the 45'lat is that we're as sane as we are.
    And YOU wrote it btw. Here is the quote 'If I could not be with him'. But I know darn well what's up with you. Pure green-eyed monster. I've been there. I have a bunch of cousins all 15 or more years younger. All of them went off to Australia and NZ on a GAP YEAR. Gap-year-how-are-you. While these gits were swanning around Perth WA, I at that age was cleaning London Underground at 5am and attending a Hort' design course from 9am onwards.
    And while I'm truly ecstatic they had the joys of unlimited travel, there is also a bit of jealousy. Howzat for warped.

  9. I too am back from traveling. My in-laws live very near a tourist village such as this. More than one, in fact. I have now become a bit of a local. During our visit, my husband and I went to lunch there, and the "touristy" stuff escaped my notice completely.

    You adventure days are not all behind you. I am sure of that. You enjoy it too much.

    I love the picture at the end. Is that a watercolor?

  10. Anita: Even I have heard of Myrtle beach! It sounds really nice. I'd like to explore the Atlantic coast some time, too.

    Vince: Okay, okay. Since we only know each other through our keyed in words, I suppose I'll have to give you that little matter to gloat over. I will be more careful in the future :) And I believe we are equally warped. Ha!

    Tracey: you are back! I hope you had a great holiday. The painting is indeed a watercolour.
    Next week I'm going to drive three kids nine hours to visit my parents...does that qualify as adventure? Actually, it's a great drive - an amazing variety of scenery and geoclimatic zones.

  11. A tourist in your own town, what a great idea! It's looks just gorgeous and makes me want to visit.

    And thank you for the introduction to Toni Onley, his work looks just beautiful. C x

  12. Oh no! Where did my comment go?

  13. Hmmm... I shall try again.

    I'm always a fan of dreamy, foggy watercolors. That is really lovely.

    I'm sorry you're missing your son...I'm glad that playing hometown tourist distracted you for a bit.

  14. that is a lovely piece of art...and some great pics...i want one of those apples...they loook scrumptuous...sounds like you had a great time...


I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!