What's beyond Niagara? Once this mighty landmark overflows with water from the upper Great Lakes and northern Ontario, it flows on down through Lake Ontario, out the St. Lawrence and into the Atlantic. Unless it's evaporated by the sun, turned into a cloud that floats - wherever the wind takes it...and drops as rain - wherever the conditions are right.
What's beyond Niagara? The world.
What is it that makes an artist 'great'? Some would say their ability to render photographic renditions of life around them. I disagree. Some would say their ability to shock, to instruct, to titillate. I disagree. Some would say their ability to sell to collectors, galleries and museums. I disagree.
Great art comes straight from the heart, and powerfully connects to someone else. Maud Lewis, crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, unschooled and impoverished was a great artist. She was consumed by a compulsion to joyfully paint her response to the abundant life that surrounded her in Nova Scotia. She painted every inch of her tiny cabin. She lived without electricity or running water, but not without her painting.
Maud's paintings spring from somewhere deep inside her, and jump out and grab your imagination and your heart. She was a great artist.
The NOTL Writers Circle had its debut at the 2018 Eden Mills Writers Festival on Publisher's Way. EMWF celebrated it's 30th anniversary, and we were proud to be part of an outstanding event focusing on top Canadian writers. Who would have predicted we'd need our winter coats when just a few days before the weather was scorchingly hot! Thanks to Hermine Steinberg and her husband Barry for joining me under the tent to sell our books.
Here's where I am at the crack of dawn, every morning. From my kayak I have the unique opportunity to spend solitary time with nature. The human inhabitants of my community are all still sleeping, and I'm thankful! My Loon family neighbours greet me - sometimes shyly ducking under the water and disappearing, and other times swimming very close by. The male and female call to each other- a gently hooting when they are joining me from a distance. Up close, they chattering and cry in a haunting duet that echoes from the distant trees.
When I am close to them I let the boat drift. I'm blessed that they accept my presence and let me listen to their early morning serenade. No other creature or instrument on earth can match the magic of their duet.
Sharon Frayne is a writer and artist. She is a member of the Canadian Author's Association, the Niagara Writer's Circle and the Pumphouse Art Gallery. She looks for the universal experience and the mystery in everyday things.