Black Sheep Gallery Happy September, everyone. The leaves are starting to change colour and the smell of wood smoke cuts through the evening air as people start up their fireplaces and wood furnaces.

We would like to start this month's newsletter by offering our condolences to Chris Huntington who recently lost his partner, Charlotte McGill. Chris and Charlotte were regulars at most of the folk art events in Nova Scotia. They were instrumental in introducing and promoting Nova Scotia folk artists and Chris was a co-founder of the annual Lunenburg Folk Art Festival, along with David Stephens and the late Lorne Reid.

We have several folk art events to share with you this month. The exhibition "A New Day: Harold Cromwell's Legacy", is presently being held at Artsplace in Annapolis Royal until October 28th. Harold Cromwell (1919-2008) was descended from black Loyalists who settled in Weymouth Falls in 1919. Harold worked with pencil and ball point pens on paper and sometimes paper plates, drawing scenes of daily life. Also, the Folk Art Society of Nova Scotia is presenting the first of a series of talks on October 1st at the Silver Building in Lunenburg. The first presentation by Gordon Stewart is "Let's Talk Folk Art, Understanding Folk Art, its Presence in Nova Scotia and how the Nova Scotia Folk Art Festival came to be". There is an admission charge of $25. And finally, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has a must see exhibition of the work of Deanne Fitzpatrick. "The Very Mention of Home" features a series of 22 hooked rugs with colourful and vibrant scenes depicting Maritime geography and architecture, illustrating the artist's relationship with, and ideas about, the notion of home.

We have added a few new items to the web site. The first is a snowy owl with lovely green glass eyes by Walter Cross. Walter was from Queens County, Nova Scotia and while he is well known for his decoys, he also carved other local birds.

Also featured this month is an early red devil with green eyes by Bubby Mooers. He stands about 21" high and holds a trident. Bubby had a unique approach to constructing his figures. He often found it difficult to find a log big enough to accommodate the subject in the round, so he used layers of planks glued together. The final artwork was less likely to crack using this method. He would also paint the wood white before applying any colours. This piece is from the 1980s and has developed a nice worn finish.

Ewald Rentz from Beardmore Ontario had his own individual approach to carving. He found unusual roots or branch formations, carving them to expose the figure or animal inside. He often applied plastic wood to help shape and add texture to the artwork. The standing brown rabbit is an excellent representative piece of Rentz's work.

Cape Breton artist Sid Howard would use trees he cut on his own property. It was not uncommon for Sid to fell a tree in the morning and the same day offer the still wet carving to a visitor later in the day. Even though his pieces were hastily executed with very little carving and detail, Sid had the capacity to capture the essence of the subject he was trying to emulate. Our little sandpiper, unsigned but finished in the unmistakable grey/black paint that Sid used on many birds and fish, is a great example of his skill.

The two small birds by Stanley Rector were meant to be hung in a window. We have featured a number of Stanley's birds at the gallery, and they are all totally original and full of inquisitive character. They often look like they are watching you out of the corner of their eye.

We are also adding a carving by Murray Gallant to the gallery. The man with balloons is a fabulous early version of what later evolved into his signature Walmart men and women. As Murray often said, "if they laugh at it I have done a good job." This fellow with his large belly and tiny pointed green shoes certainly makes us smile.

The horse pulling a sled filled with logs has been tucked away for many years. We found it in a little shop in Quebec back in the early '90s. The prancing white horse first caught our attention but the very personal inscription on the base spoke to the care the artist took to create this memory. The English translation is "To my daughter Therese from her father Wellie".

And finally, a very nice carving of a drum fish, measuring 5.5" high by 8" long. The fish is by Randall Smith, and it is dated 1977 and mounted on a base shaped like a black club. Randall was born in !906. He was a fisherman and a boatbuilder and loved to carve fish in his spare time. He was one of the first "wave" of contemporary Nova Scotian folk artists discovered by Christ Huntington in the early 1970s. Among our favorite folk art carvings at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is a large halibut by Randall Smith.

Stay safe everyone.

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