by Lucie Roy
Garrison Edmonton soldier, artist, volunteer, wife, contemporary artist Beth Martin is on a mission to fundraise for the families of the victims of the Portapique tragedy.
With 600 of the 1000 limited edition reproductions made from her original 12×16 watercolour she created sold, she is on the home stretch to sell the remaining 400. One hundred per cent of the proceeds from the prints will go to the trust fund. The prints sell for $34 each plus shipping and handling.
Martin said she has mailed prints all over North America. The prints are numbered, signed and available by either porch pickup or mailed in a decorative tube. The print pays tribute to the people who died the RCMP and some of the colours and themes of Nova Scotia.
One of the numbered prints is currently on display at Higher Grounds in Morinville, located on Main Street at 10019-100 Avenue.
Martin, who is from Donkin, Nova Scotia, said when she heard about what happened back home, the project was a kind of way of dealing with her own grief. She had no idea it would turn into what it has.
When she saw the pictures people were posting online on a support group, and someone posted a picture of a member of the RCMP kind of saluting and facing east it inspired her to use him in the picture as inspiration to paint it and then thought of Peggy’s Cove and the iconic lighthouse.
She was not sure how to portray the victims, holding hands, faces around the frame, the line of silhouetted people transforming into birds was in the final print.
“I usually do timelines of my work,” Martin said, adding that after she finished it and shared it online she had such enormous feedback. Within 12 hours there were hundreds of messages. She couldn’t keep up—people wanted prints and were touched by the painting.
When she saw the demand it was an opportunity to do good, but also the 1000 prints and 100% of the proceeds to the trust fund for the families, it turned out to be a lot more than she thought.
Martin grew up in Cape Breton and was in Halifax for 10 years and has only been living in Alberta for three years when she and her husband, both members of the Canadian Armed Forces were transferred here.
Martin said it is difficult being away from home when her province and with what everyone there is going through right now, it is kind of her way to feeling close to home with everybody there and mourning.
Martin has been an artist since she could hold a paintbrush in her hands. She has two art degrees, Bachelor of Fine Arts and graduated from university in Oxford, England obtaining her Masters in Contemporary Art at Oxford Brookes University in 2014.
Aside from her own practice, Martin is commissioned regularly to paint portraits.
Above: Higher Grounds manager Rick Melvin holds one of Martin’s prints, which is now on display at the coffee shop. – Lucie Roy Photo