From sailing with the Navy I learned not only about the work of sailors but also about many other things about the sea. There were so many things that I did not know about the sea and sea-life.
I learned about the work of fishermen at sea. I did not know how hard fishermen work out there at sea and I did not comprehend the dangers that they can encounter. I did not know that the weather on the Atlantic Ocean can change quite abruptly, and how dangerous the waves and the wind can be. Every time I heard MAY DAY my heart crumbled and I said a little prayer.
In addition, I learned about the many different types of fishing boats that exist for different types of catch, and I saw how these small boats move, like crazy, that just looking at them could make a man sea sick. The work of fishermen is dirty and hard, and seeing them hard at work made me grow an appreciation and respect for fishermen.
I must have been sailing for two months already when I first went up on the bridge of our ship to see fog up to our windows. It was even harder to go through ice fields that are accompanied by fog. I don’t know what I was thinking, but prior to this experience I thought that all could be seen as far as the horizon. It then occurred to me how important the job of an NCIOP is.
I did not know how much I was going to care about the people with whom I sailed, I did not know that I was going to love my ship, and that the memories from sailing will have such a beautiful impact on my life.
I learned so much not only about the life of sailors but also about Canada, the Arctic, the life at sea, and much, much more.
Painting, Painting, Painting
When I paint I am in my own world; I don't hear anything, and I don't see anything outside of my painting
Initially the fishing boat was supposed to be red, and the sky was different.
And then the boat was a different colour, and then it ended up orange. The sky was also changed.
Hard at Work
Hard at Work
FINALLY HEADING BACK HOME; THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Here I am sailing near P.E.I.
“Finally Heading Back Home” depicts HMCS Goose Bay in a paradise-like destination; however, there is no place like home. The job of a sailor is quite demanding. The constant movement of the ship, the long working hours, and the rotating night-shifts can make a person extremely exhausted. Prior to being a sailor, I did not know what it was like to be sea sick and still have to work. I did not know what it was like to be constantly living with my luggage packed, and to be constantly coming in and out of ports. It seemed as though as soon as I reached Halifax and I finished doing my laundry, I was off again. If is not easy to be away from home for long periods of time, time after time. However, I witnessed sailors become a family as they supported each other through difficult times while they were away from home. I witnessed the joyful atmosphere when we were all heading back home. And although sometimes the places that we visited were breathtakingly beautiful, we were always happy to get back home. I definitely grew great appreciation and respect for all the hard-working sailors who sailed with me.
Sailing is hard work; however, sailors get to see many beautiful places and they get to experience things that only few people get to experience in their life-time. “Three Memories” is a composition of three of my separate experiences from my trip to the Arctic, which stick out in my mind.
I recall that someone informed me about a huge ice berg floating nearby. By then I have seen many small icebergs so when I went outside I did not expect to see this huge iceberg. It was also the first time that I witnessed that beautiful turquoise colour that one typically sees on pictures of icebergs. It felt out of this world. One of our ships went a bit closer and the ship looked so tiny against this huge white block of ice. It was a semi-foggy day, the air was calm, and I remember hearing the sound of waves. We were all taking pictures. It was one of the most amazing and beautiful things that I have ever seen in my life.
My second memory I recall being anchored somewhere up in the Arctic for a night. It was I think evening time that someone yelled “there is a polar bear outside”. Of course we all went to see because for many of us it was the first time in the Arctic and many of us have never seen a polar bear, at least not in the wild. I remember that the land was quite close to our ship, and there it stood; it looked huge and was so absolutely beautiful. He was interested in this grey-blue thing that was in the water; and possibly the tasty mammals that were taking pictures of him. He stood there for about 5 minutes while he looked around. And then he started making his way towards the water. The big meat that he was, moved so heavily that I was convinced that once he plunges into the water he will just sink. But of course I knew that polar bears know how to swim. His heavy body swam across quite a large piece of water, and then his heavy body climbed out and he shed the excess water off of his fur. Even from far away he looked huge. What an incredible sight. Unlike in my painting, we were not amongst icebergs then, just in-between land. Also, of course this is not the time when we did our polar-bear-swim because that would have been too dangerous.
The polar-bear-swim we also did in-between land. For safety, the people who went in the water supervised by rescue swimmers, and there were people helping them out. I did not go in because I am not a fan of cold water; however, I watched as people went in and went out more quickly than one can imagine. I actually think that one of my friends beat the record – if a record of going in and out of the water exists. This was one of the funniest experiences that I had on a ship.
A very messy studio
Paint in hair - very common - gotta put my hair up
I named this painting "November Bravo" because when I first went to work at the dockyard, my first thought was “I am in LEGOLAND”. I saw all these workers with hard hats who resembled LEGO people, the helicopters, trucks and boats, and the busy environments that resembled the LEGO cities that I had built as a child.
NB was a difficult painting to make because, for one I had to paint it while I was travelling between 3 provinces: Quebec, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. I started painting this painting while I was in Montreal taking a course at the University of Montreal. I brought my paints with me on the plane, I purchased my canvas in Montreal, and I turned my little dorm room into a studio.
After the course ended, I was off to Ontario for a visit with my parents. At my parents’ house I set up my painting in my parent’s backyard where I painted to the sound of crickets. The weather in Ontario, as always, was very hot and sunny; my father worried that I would get a sun burn so he created a little station for me that enabled me to paint in the shade. I found out that my father and my husband have something in common; they both like to give me advice on how to make my paintings better.
This painting was crazy hard to do because of the different views that I used to make this painting. As you can see, some sections of this painting are painted from birdseye view, some are painted as if looking straight forward, some are painted as if looking up-hill, and some are painted as if looking down-hill. In addition, this painting is very busy, it is very detailed and a lot going on.
In total it took me 15 day to paint this painting and I stayed on schedule.
TRAVELLED ON A TRAIN TO ONTARIO: At my parent's house in Ontario where I painted to the sound of crickets
My father giving me advice (in Polish) on how to make my painting better. My husband and my father have something in common: they both like to give me advice on how to make my painting better.
With my father who is trying to make my painting conditions a little bit more comfortable; Windsor, ON, gets HOT, HOT, HOT
IN HALIFAX THE PAINTING CAME ON A PLANE: And finally in Halifax finishing the painting. Here I am with a list of things that I still have to fix or add. I cannot forget anything because people notice.
Inside the LINK Journal.
IN HALIFAX: Here I am trying to figure out how the lines cross. I actually had to consult a BOSN who drew me a picture.
On the cover of the LOOKOUT Newspaper.
Yes, this is me in the photograph to the left dressed up in firefighting gear. And to your right you will see a detail of the "NB Legoland" painting; this detail was obviously based on my work.
TOWARDS THE SUNSET
“Towards the Sunset” is a painting based on a photograph that I took while I was sailing with the Royal Canadian Navy in the Arctic. I remember seeing this beautiful sunset and I began to photograph it; the gun was in the way of the sunset and at first I was trying to avoid photographing the gun because I wanted to get this beautiful sunset; however, I then realized that together, the gun, the sunset, and the flag flying in the background would make an amazing painting.
I admired how beautifully the gun looked in the sunset; to me the beautiful sunset and the sun symbolized “life”, the gun was there to protect that life, the bow of the ship symbolized “direction”, and the flying flag symbolized “loyalty”.