Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sandy heroes and villains

Today I drove up island to meet a friend-of-a-friend who would like Mitzi and me to house-and-horse sit for a few days this summer.

HORSE sitting??
I hasta sit on a HORSE???
Me:     No, Mitzi, it just means we'll be looking after the horses.  Not sitting on them.
Mitzi:  Well that's okay then - but dem horses better not sit on ME!  
Me:     We'll keep you well away from them, Mitzi.  

Anyway, I had a little extra time, so decided to pop into Parksville, a small mid-island city I have always enjoyed and usually visit at least a couple of times a year.  In fact, I was there just this May, when my daughter took Mitzi and me to a beachfront resort for Mother's Day weekend where we enjoyed beautiful sunrises, great seafood, and of course each other's company.

Parksville has a lovely sandy beach which, even when busy, isn't crowded.  Ocean, mountain views, boardwalk, and breezes perfect for kite flying - it's a community I could see myself living in one day.

Each summer, Parksville hosts a sand sculpture competition - this year was the 33rd Canadian Open, with the winners going on to the World's.  Today, I decided to check it out.  While it seemed small as such competitions go (having attended larger ones in Harrison BC as well as on the Oregon coast), it does draw master sculptors from across the country and around the world, who demonstrated their artistry with their representations of this year's theme: Heroes vs Villains.

There were, predictably, sand sculptures of caped superheroes and fairytale villains. In fact, the winner in the doubles was this one of The Joker and Batman, as a young child informed me:

First place, Doubles.
By Marielle Heesels (Netherlands) and David Ducharme (BC)

There were a few where I had a hard time figuring out how they fit into the theme, like this one of a baby:

Or where the subject was unknown to me but the detail, let alone the physics of the sculpture, was mesmerizing:

Such detail - and physics!

The first prize in the solo division went to a sculpture of Einstein, which, while very well done, didn't appeal to me as much as several other sand sculptures.

First place, solo
by Abe Waterman, PEI

Back of Einstein

I had three clear favourites - not necessarily technically the most difficult, but certainly ones that tugged at me for their creativity, their capture of emotion, and their spin on "heroes and villains" theme.

The first to grab me was - not surprisingly - an animal one:  Here Kitty, by Bruce Phillips of California

I particularly liked the expression on this little mouse's face!
The second to grab me was a piece in which mom and dad were in their super hero capes....on one side, a young child looking up to them - and on the other, surly and slouching and hands busy with smartphone, was teenage daughter. We know which child considers her parents heroes, and which considers them villains!

Sculpted by father-daughter team  Guy and Melineige Beauregard, of Quebec,  I wondered which of them had come up with the idea.  Just look at how true-to-life the sand daughter looks!

But the piece that I stared at for the longest time was a piece particularly meaningful across the province this year - the hero firefighter and the villain fire.

Firefighter weeps with exhaustion and sorrow,
his cap and pack behind him.

On the other side, the villain fire
rages with anger

Sketched into the mountain of sand was a familiar sight, one I photographed on my recent trip on the mainland - smoke rising from forest, helicopter dumping water just above the tree tops:

How well I remember this sight
from my travels to Lillooet
That piece, by Peter Vogelaar and Denis Kleine, both from BC,  came in third in the doubles.  But to my way of thinking, it won hands down - for capturing the theme in a way that spoke to my heart.

The firefighters are truly my heroes this summer. And fire (and those who cause it) the villain.


Andrew said...

Awesome pictures! Been there once, my uncle lives nearby.

Wendy Hamilton said...

Thanks for documenting this!
Sculpture is close to my heart--since I've done so much of it myself.. The skill involved in sand sculpture is foreign to me, however.. amazing stuff.