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Artist Julia Purcell masterfully recreates the scenic setting of Gallery 18 in New London, on a peaceful Saturday afternoon. The daylong art demonstration coincided with Purcell’s ongoing exhibition and sale called, “Finding My Voice.”

Clyde River artist Julia Purcell made the front page of the Journal Pioneer on Monday and we want to say how proud we are of her and her work. The following is a reprint of the article that appeared.

Nature of Painting

“I started this landscape painting this morning and kept going until mid-afternoon once the paint was starting to set,” said Purcell. “Then I took a break.”

Painting is one of Purcell’s greatest pleasures in life, and it brings out a world of creativity.

“I don’t want to give away my age, but I’ve been painting for 40 years. It started with my parents who are well-known painters (Joseph and Tela Purcell of Nova Scotia), and it was something I eventually got the courage to try. And with lots of practice I got better,” she added.

“It’s definitely a shortcut if you have an instructor to guide you.”

Purcell instructs many on how to paint picture perfect images of P.E.I.

Unlike watercolours or acrylics, oil paints are complicated and take a long time to dry. Knowing the chemistry of this paint is almost essential to achieving the proper effect, she said.

“Oil painting, you do in stages,” explained Purcell. “First, you do a drawing then an under painting and keep going for a few hours until the paint starts to set. Then you would generally lay aside the painting for that day and, hopefully, get back to it the next because otherwise the paint doesn’t go on as layers the way it should.”

Several people came to see the artist transform a blank canvas into a stunning landscape painting full of blended brushstrokes with vibrant colours.

“There’s nothing I would rather be doing then to paint or talk about painting. I had several lovely people spend quite a few hours with me actually. It was great,” said Purcell. “One of the ladies that came to visit me today wants to learn how to paint, and she actually commissioned me to go out and take a look at a certain area.”

The daylong oil painting demonstration coincided with Purcell’s ongoing exhibition and sale, “Finding My Voice,” which features landscapes, townscapes, portraits and flowers of P.E.I.

“The owners of Gallery 18, Aubrey Bell and Patricia Bennett, saw my posts online and asked what I was going to do with all my work and if I would like to have a show, and, of course I said yes,” stated Purcell. “That was last fall and I have been working on it all winter, through the spring and summer.”

For more information visit www.Gallery18.com.

Editor’s note: Julia leads an art demonstration at our Annual Art in the Park event held each July at Murchison Place Park. Many of her paintings feature the beauty of Clyde River.

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Guest speaker: Teresa Mellish, Farmers Helping Farmers

The Clyde River United Baptist Women’s Missionary Society is hosting their Annual Thank Offering Service on Sunday, September 18 at 7:00 pm. Special speaker Teresa Mellish will talk about her involvement with Farmers Helping Farmers in PEI Schools and in Kenya. Special music will be provided by Vans and Emily Bryant. The Church is located at 726 Clyde River Rd. All are welcome. The offering will go towards our missionary work. A light lunch will follow the service. For more information, you can contact Jo-Ann at 902-675-4335.

Teresa’s Bio:

Teresa is a founding member and coordinator of Farmers Helping Farmers. She is a farm partner in Kings County where they breed sport horses and has worked in PEI in small-farm development. Teresa has a M.Sc. Degree in Adult Education focused on soil conservation practices in potato production.

Farmers Helping Farmers, a small non-government organization based in Prince Edward Island, has helped groups of farm women in rural Kenya to grow food for their families. They have improved the lives of over 100,000 Kenyans through their work with groups of Kenyan dairy farmers and Kenyan women who grow crops.

Link to Farmers Helping Farmers website, click here.

Drone over Clyde River

Drone over Clyde RiverOur ancestors would look at us strangely if we said there was a drone flying over Clyde River taking photos, but that is what is happening. Oswald tells me that Scott Stevens has been contracted by the Golf Association of PEI to take photos via drone of the 16-member golf courses in PEI. The benefit we get is to see Clyde River and neighbouring communities from a birds eye view in all their spectacular beauty. The golf course looks great, Oswald and team.

Coming Home

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I found a little news clipping from the 1930s where L.M. Montgomery writes about PEI.

There is at least one spot left on earth where a little leisure is to be found, and that is Prince Edward Island. People there have not yet forgotten how to live. They don’t tear through life. Every time I, accustomed to the breathless tempo of existence elsewhere, go back to it, I am impressed by this fact.

There is about life in Abegweit a certain innate and underlying serenity that is never wholly absent, even on days when a church tea is in the offing or the hay on the hill must be got in before it rains. They realize that eternity exists – no, we realize it. For I am one of the Islanders still, though I have made my home in another land for a quarter of a century.

You never know what peace is until you walk on the shores or in the fields of Prince Edward Island on a Summer twilight when the dew is falling and the old, old stars are peeping out and the sea keep its nightly tryst with the little land it loves. You find your soul then-you realize that youth is not a vanished thing but something that dwells forever in the heart. And you look around on the dimming landscape of haunted hill and murmuring ocean, of homestead lights and old fields tilled by dead and gone generations, who loved them – and you say, “I have come home.”

While Walter Shaw was Premier, The Guardian interviewed him about the Old St. Catherine’s Cemetery, also referred to as Shaw’s Cemetery. I found that clipping and it is rich with details. Here are some interesting excerpts from the article:

The cemetery opened in 1808-10, shortly after the first pioneers arrived from the Western Scottish Highlands and Isles. It was a non-sectarian burying ground where people came from miles around to bury their beloved dead.

The land was set aside by Walter’s grandfather Malcolm Shaw who emigrated from Mull in 1806. The old homestead was located about 300 yards above the cemetery overlooking the river. At the time of the interview, he said the depression in the ground was still visible.

The first burial from the new arrivals was a man named MacArthur, from the Riverdale and Churchill branches of the family, in 1810. There is an old story that three MacArthurs occupy the one grave – the original pioneer, his son and grandson. Walter says this could have easily happened as grave markers were usually a small sandstone which could have become displaced, or a small stick that would quickly decay. The graves of many early pioneers have no marks of any kind to locate their exact positions, although most have well-placed headstones.

Shaw said that people from Rocky Point to Bonshaw, Nine Mile Creek to Canoe Cove, Clyde River to Churchill and from the borders of Emyvale are buried here. There is even people from Wood Islands buried here including a relative of the Hon. Cyrus MacMillan.

Because of the lack of roads and the difficulty of travel through the thick forests, homesteads were located near the river to take advantage of river travel facilities, Walter said. The cemetery was located near the river bank for the same reasons. Funerals came by boat in summer and by ice in the winter. The old road that the funeral processions took could still be seen in Walter’s time, and a portion of the new road follows the old trail.

Previous to 1915, Walter said his father Alex would organize an annual cleanup of the cemetery and he knew the exact location of all the graves and plots and could even identify them in winter without a chart when an interment was necessary. After his death, the cemetery was neglected until there was organized effort made by his family and the community in the 1930s to maintain this community treasure.

His closing words describes this old cemetery as “a lasting and beautiful memorial to those who founded it and who sleep in its embrace.”

Editor’s note:  The MacMillan was likely Margaret MacMillan who was married to Duncan Darrach. The MacMillan’s settled in Wood Islands. We featured a story on the MacMillan clan earlier here.

List of those buried in St. Catherine’s Cemetery – link here.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 1.15.40 PMClyde River artist Julia Purcell has an exhibit and sale of her original works at Gallery 18 in New London. The show is called Finding My Voice and features new paintings of Island views. The show continues through until Sunday, August 28th. Gallery 18 website here.

Doreen Pound attended the opening of the exhibit on August 7th. She says there are both watercolour and oil paintings. Her favourite was a landscape view of Clyde River from the vantage point of Jo-Ann MacPhail’s. Almost half of the paintings are of Clyde River.

We are having a lovely summer, so make sure to take a drive up to New London with your friends, neighbours or off-Island guests.

Julia leads the Art in the Park event at Murchison Place Park each summer.

Argyle - 1It’s summer in Prince Edward Island, a time when aside from all the tourism activity, Islanders travel anywhere from 2 to 30 minutes to stay at their cottages. It’s not that we don’t like our neighbours but it’s just that we have already heard all their stories over the winter and we are in desperate need of some new ones and we are drawn to the shore. We don’t want to move too far away from home because we want to make sure we actually know the characters in the stories.

I am in Argyle Shore. It’s where my parents took us to the shore as children and where my grandparents took my mother and her siblings in summers. My mother’s family went to MacDougall’s shore as they were relations. Our parents took us to Argyle Shore Provincial Park. You could park handy to the water. The Park had picnic tables, play equipment and washrooms close by. There was even a natural spring to keep soft drinks cold. We were fortunate if we didn’t have to stop at the cemetery on the way. My mother liked to walk through, linger and remember Argyle Shore people that she knew as a child.

The Selkirk Settlers’ migration extends to Argyle Shore. It’s MacPhail country for the most part. Historical ties run through communities from here to Wood Islands. In the Murray Diaries (1911-25), there is mention of family from DeSable down for a visit to Clyde River. The DeSable relatives took the Murrays for a drive in their new car in 1922. In Mary Ann MacDougall Darrach’s letters (1904-07), she wrote that she had travelled from Clyde River down to Eldon. I recall her writing how “good it was to see my people”. Grace Seller Inman-Morrison from Argyle Shore was asked what was the greatest thing that happened in her lifetime and she said it was the telephone. When she married and moved to another community, it offered her an opportunity to stay connected to her people.

I am staying on Harvey Inman’s shore, Grace’s son, right beside Argyle Shore Provincial Park. In fact, he manages the Park. On the field below his home place, he has created a small community of cottage dwellers. Many began renting a cottage from Harvey years ago and went on to purchase their own little piece of heaven. It’s a quiet place offering ample time for rest and reflection. As you travel along Route 19, you will see many similar cottage communities in DeSable, Canoe Cove, Rice Point, Nine Mile Creek, Cumberland, Fairview, New Dominion and Meadowbank where friends and relatives reconnect after long winters. There are Islanders, those married to Islanders, long-term summer residents from other parts of Canada and New Englanders for the most part.

There is little in the way of commerce here. The Blue Goose Restaurant and Bakery is in DeSable. Harvey’s store in Crapaud has the largest variety of offerings unless you want to make the trip to Cornwall. Anna’s Country Kitchen even has a drive through. Victoria offers fresh fish, theatre and artisan shops. But there is no need for much. The view of the Northumberland Strait sustains you. I recall when I stayed here years ago for the first time. Harvey told me it was so quiet you could hear the moon come up. Last night’s buck moon, the name for July’s full moon, performed a silver symphony reflected across the strait.

I enjoyed a visit with Harvey and Evelyn last evening and we talked about the Clyde River history lectures we hosted last winter. As a first cousin of Ron MacKinley, he also knows how to tell a tale and he recounted a few stories about playing hockey at North River Rink and the strict loyalties divided by the West River. He had viewed the photos on the Clyde River site and smiled when he saw the men sitting around having a good chat. He said in earlier days, they would have been fierce opponents on the ice.

That’s it for now from across the river on the shores of Argyle. I hear someone playing fiddle music in the distance. Harvey says there’s a wedding on Cranberry Lane.