Buoyed by his art

His doctor told him that he had to find a hobby and take things easy. That's when Caledonia's Douglas Wolfe, 84, decided it was a good time to fall back on his love of drawing and painting.

"I'm a half-assed artist. I take and paint some pictures," he said, describing himself. "It's a very entertaining thing."

In the past he focused on painting on canvas. However, lately he's set his sights almost entirely on buoys. He has several on the hook and is looking for a way to sell them.

"I had a couple of buoys here, and my wife wanted them painted. So I painted a picture of the Lunenburg harbour on them, and a woman from Ontario stopped in and grabbed them. And I had just finished them about two hours before," said Wolfe.

He set out to paint some more for his wife, Janette, and has been painting them ever since.

According to Wolfe, his passion for painting goes back years.

"I used to be very interested in painting when I was a child living in Eagle Head. I used to get the old Roy Rogers and Gene Autry colouring books. I wouldn't colour in the book, but I would draw the picture then paint them," he explained.

After he began working on a farm in North Queens as a teenager, he found he didn't have a lot of time for artistic work. Over the years he had continued to be kept busy with farming, construction and woodwork, while, or the past 67 years, he's also been a member of the North Queens Fire Department.

At just 55 years of age, Wolfe suffered a heart attack, but after some recovery time he continued to "putter around" with woodworking.

He maintains he's feeling fairly well most of the time now, although his legs don't always cooperate the way he'd like them to. Meanwhile, his wife, a VON nurse and a housekeeper are on the scene as caregivers, and his painting helps to give him solace.

"When you're painting, it's something that you have to be alone to do, without too much noise. That's why I took it up," he explained. "Sometimes I don't start painting until 10 o'clock at night, when everything is quiet. The next thing I know I look up at the clock and it's two in the morning. You get so interested in it."

A typical buoy painting of the Lunenburg waterfront takes him about five days to complete. Although most of the buoy paintings are of the waterfront, they are all a little different.

"When you are painting, it's kind of like a puzzle. You might make a little mistake, and so you change it again, and then you have a different picture of what you were going for," said Wolfe.

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