Cochrane Farmers' Market showcases spirit-lifting beauty

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, August 9, 2018

In addition to fresh produce, the Cochrane Farmers’ Market offers encounters with local artists, such as Gwen Hughes (left) and Fiona Verlinde (right), whose creations celebrate the beauty of life. Photos by Warren Harbeck

Cochrane Farmers’ Market brought home to me afresh the words of Josh Groban’s inspiring piece, You Raise Me Up.

I myself was feeling a bit down and weary that morning, sort of like an old discarded newspaper. But as I visited the various vendors of arts and crafts in their booths along the arboured path at the Cochrane Ranche Historic Site, two of our creative coffee companions, in particular, raised me up through their offerings.

Old, discarded newspapers? Weren’t they traditionally used for wrapping the day’s catch at the local fishmonger? Ah, but Cochrane artist Gwen Hughes has elevated them to a better use: making yesterday’s news the canvas for today’s rainbow trout art, beauty that will long outlast any order of fish and chips.

Such engagements with the everyday are Gwen’s passion, she says. “Life is an adventure for the senses and art is my way of expressing these emotions.”

A few booths further on I encountered Fiona Verlinde and her Cougar Mountain art. She combines her photographic gift of trust-building patience among area wildlife with her imaginative use of alcohol ink and yuppo paper to create portraits any creature would be proud to feature in their cave or nest.

“I just love animals, all animals,” says the fauna-friendly Beaupre Creek Rd. resident. “The way they live to survive is my inspiration. Small or big, they are all beautiful.”

Yes, Fiona and Gwen, your attitude and beautiful renderings are indeed healing inspirations to me. Thanks for raising my spirits one brushstroke at a time so I could once again, in Josh Groban’s words, “stand on mountains” and “walk on stormy seas.”


© 2018 Warren Harbeck

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