OMOO and crew have found ourselves stationary this year. Normally we are exploring northern parts of the West Coast but the pandemic slowed us down, or I should stay, stopped us.

This led me to look around our home port of Maple Bay and pay more attention to what was going on around us on neighboring boats.

What jumped out was “ART ON BOATS!”

The artist closest to us is beautiful, creative, and humorous. Lora painted a picture for me of boats dancing on their moorings in lovely Maple Bay. Her talent is unique to her desire to bring awareness to the impact we humans have on our environment. Since living aboard on her Uniflite power boat with her husband Ron, she finds her inspiration in the ocean we float on. She states “some of my paintings are meant to bring awareness to what’s going on around us.”

Lora works by day in her business. She owns her salon and is deeply connected to the people she serves.

“People don’t always understand the impact we have.”
Lora’s inspiration comes from West Coast scenes.

The endangered species of whales, and this humpback is of utter most concern to Lora.

Lora’s easel is set up in her berth aboard “Knotty Friendship.”

Lora paints with playfulness and creativity of this tug. Her easel is moved to the main cabin of her spacious power boat.

Lora’s lively and creative spirit is depicted in this painting of a photo I asked her to paint of the boats dancing at anchor in our lovely Maple Bay.

Three boats over is Lesley, who lives with her husband Grant on their Canoe Cove power boat. OMOO originally met Lesley and Grant aboard their sailboat in Shearwater while on a trip of Northern Pacific waters.

Lesley is a retired teacher who has sunk her heart and soul into her textile art. She is inspired by social issues and the journeys she has made on their boat. Boating “allows me to see places that I would never have imagined.” She finds her expression through the tapestries she creates on cloth, making dyes out of natural products and transposing her ideas into tactile wall hangings, table runners, art cards and so much more.

Lesley got started in her art by making wedding canopies called “Chupah” which were designed with symbolism and images meaningful to the couple getting married.

She states “I’m happy with a piece that is saying exactly what I want it to say. I don’t ask for anyone’s opinion, I am confident anyone who sees it will understand.”

This piece is part of a series called “Forced Migration” which depicts people being uprooted and on the “Hardest Journey.” It took approximately three months to complete.

“The Weeds” above and below the water, with shades of blue each stitch can be seen in the close up of her work.

While living on Gabriola Island, Lesley learned about the Andreas Fault Line. She was shocked at the reality of what earthquakes occur regularly beneath the surface of the ocean. This piece is symbolic of the layers beneath the earth’s surface and the tetonic plates that shift over time.

Lesley works out her studio in the Maple Bay Marina small mall adjacent to the docks. She can be found most days sewing away the hours when they are not off on adventures on the water. As an onlooker it is obvious that her space feeds her creativity and nourishes her soul. Her vivacious energy is infused into her creations.

Lesley’s website is

Lesley welcomes visitors by land or boat to visit her in her studio at Maple Bay Marina.

One of the biggest thrills I have had since moving to the West Coast almost 20 years ago is connecting with a childhood friend, Linda from the prairies. Linda and I grew up on farms about three miles apart in Southern Manitoba. We met as we came around the corner of the Shipyard Pub one day at Maple Bay Marina. “Hey I know you!” I said as we made eye contact. It didn’t take long to reunite and start spending time together, rendezvousing on the water or on land.

Linda started working with pottery after seeing a potter “throwing” a pot on TV. She enrolled in classes and joined a group of women who met on weekends to enjoy some wine, snacks and fire pottery.

She learned the art of “raku” which is a process which transforms a glazed pot to a textured pot by taking it out of the oven and putting it into cold temperatures with smoke from some lit newspaper which infuses into the cracks.

The pattern on these pots were inspired by lichen which is a type of moss that grows on rocks here on the west coast.

Another process is called “terra sijilatta” meaning “brushed on.” The part that remains black is taped off so it remains black during the firing. The pot is buffed to a smooth texture and paint is splattered on to create this design.

Sea shells are used to imprint the design on the tops of these vases. A piece of driftwood is the design for the handle on a lid for a pot.

“The hours I spend working by myself is a meditative process where another form of introspection happens while working with my hands.”

The collection from beachcombing.

Linda’s studio is on top of the garage adjacent to their home on Maple Bay Mountain. She lived aboard their sailboat “Brass Loon” with her husband Dirk while building their home. Her studio is a solitary happy space that is reflected in her expression while she was telling me about her craft. The kiln lives in their yard, covered to protect it from the rainy days here on the west coast.

Linda’s pieces can be found on display at the EJ Hughes Gallery in Duncan, B.C. She regularly participates in shows at Shibui Art Gallery on Genoa Bay Road.

Thank you Lora Anderson, Lesley Comassar and Linda Helms for welcoming me into your world of creativity.

Ruth Brown, AKA Sideways Sally

3 replies on “ART ON BOATS”

Wonderful presentation of these three artists. Correction – the mountain Linda and Dirk live on is Mt Tzouhalem; Maple Mountain is across the Bay. Maple Bay Marina is a magical setting for artists and boaters and dreamers too.

Leave a Reply