Maritime inspiration

Darrell Cole
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Cumberland Health Care Art Gallery to benefit from artists vision

UPPER NAPPAN - When looking for inspiration for her work, all artist Colleen McKee has to do is look out the window of her Port Howe home.

Maritime inspiration

UPPER NAPPAN - When looking for inspiration for her work, all artist Colleen McKee has to do is look out the window of her Port Howe home.

Since coming back to the Maritimes several years ago from Toronto, when her husband took a job at Dalhousie University, McKee has marvelled at the brilliant scenery of the Northumberland Strait outside her home. That inspiration resulted in a series of paintings she is donating to the Cumberland Health Care Art Gallery.

"It's a way for me to show my work and show my support for this wonderful hospital," McKee said. "I've just been in love with the Northumberland Strait and Nova Scotia. I've always had an attraction to the ocean. It is just inspirational."

McKee, who is completing her degree in fine arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, started her formal art training at the University of Toronto before moving to Nova Scotia. She's a former volunteer with the Dalhousie Art Gallery and a docent of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and formerly represented Cumberland-Colchester on the board of Visual Arts Nova Scotia.

As part of her self-directed learning with the college, McKee completed a series of paintings of the Northumberland Strait, which comes alive on canvass in the form of the birds inhabiting the shoreline and the raging wages of a fall storm.

McKee has had a longstanding interest in nature and the environment that started when she was a young girl living in Dalhousie, N.B.

Now that her husband has retired, the couple has settled down in Port Howe allowing her to express her fondness for the sea through her art.

The Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre has four galleries with a portion of each sale going towards the Cumberland Health Care Foundation's equipment fund. During September and October, the gallery will also be exhibiting the works of Bert vanLeeuwen, Arlene Collins and Shirley Barnes.

"Hospitals have been regarded as a sterile environment and art such as Colleen's, softens that image and makes the facility more welcoming and more friendly," foundation chair Dave Wood said. "The presence of art makes the hospital more inviting for family coming into the building."

Wood said the hospital is also an excellent venue for local artists. While only a limited number of people will go to a gallery, Wood said, almost everyone goes to the hospital some time in their life.

Organizations: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Cumberland Health Care Art Gallery, Dalhousie University University of Toronto Dalhousie Art Gallery Visual Arts Nova Scotia Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre Cumberland Health Care Foundation

Geographic location: Port Howe, Nova Scotia, UPPER NAPPAN Toronto Dalhousie

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