Ceres in the Gardens (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.)

25 September finds me in the Halifax Public Gardens with three participants of my plein air painting workshop. Shaded by a Robur Oak tree planted by King George and Queen Elizabeth in 1939, a statue of Ceres, goddess of grain stands poised with hand out as if she were once holding a sheaf of grain, and attracts my attention as her slight form is an understatement in all the diversity of shapes and colours in the garden. Diana and Flora complete the set of three statues which were bequeathed by Chief Justice Sir William young in 1887.

It is a mild misty grey day with a few drops of rain that had us packing our paintings away temporarily in an attempt to shelter in the large Victorian bandstand, but its gate was locked. The afternoon is lightening somewhat and the sun comes out for a while, pleasing the wedding parties that have come here to have photos taken. Every time I notice a group of people it is a different wedding party, with brides maids in a different colour than the group before them.
The citizens of Halifax seem to enjoy promenading in their Public Gardens just as much as they did when it was opened to celebrate Confederation in 1876. There is a pond and a brook and a fountain and ducks which no-one is allowed to feed, so that they are more cute than nuisance - and a special plot of labelled Dahlias and a collection of Rhododendrons, and a tropical collection and a Horticultural Hall. I didn't see a vegetable garden, however, which the earlier citizens had been very proud of, storing their produce in the Hall for the winter.

I would like to store some of this balmy seaside air for the winter - fresh, moist and gentle. I raise my brush to take a deep breath of it and savour an afternoon of painting in the Halifax Public Gardens.

This original painting is available for $275. For information on purchase and shipping, please contact me at karstad@pinicola.ca


  1. If you can figure out how to store the seaside air, please send some to Alberta. I was so happy to see Halifax for the first time this year. My brother was there with the Royal Canadian Navy in 1967, Canada's 100th birthday, and now it is the navy's centenary.
    Thanks for posting your beautiful paintings, I enjoy them so much.
    -- Kay


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