Friday, April 13, 2012

Captain Smith and the Titanic

It's portrait time.

I thought it would be fitting to paint Captain Smith,
the Captain of the Titanic.

100 years ago at this time,
the Titanic was on its way to New York from Southampton,
with more than 2000 passengers onboard.

We all know the rest of the story.

But not everyone knows what happened after the sinking of the ship.

It's those stories i find interesting.

The recovery of the frozen bodies
once the Titanic had sunk,
and how the CS Mackay-Bennett,
a Halifax based cable ship,
was called for the grisly task,
of bringing the bodies back to shore.

And how, in Halifax, Nova Scotia,
on Citadel Hill,
people stood watch
and when the Mackay Bennett,
carrying over 200 dead bodies,
came into sight in the Halifax Port,

the bell rang to signal its arrival,

and within minutes,

surrounding church bells
began ringing

until it became a chorus of sadness
in the Halifax skies.

The bodies were taken to the Mayflower Curling Club,
because it was the only space large enough
and cold enough
to preserve so many bodies
until identification was made
and families were contacted.

But the story that saddens me the most
is how the White Star Line didn't cover the expense
of having the bodies sent back to their families.

Families would need to pay
to have their loved ones sent back home.

Needless to say, most of them were too poor to do so.

So most of the bodies remained in Halifax,
and are buried there,
in the Fairview Cemetery.

Some identified, others not.


  1. Love this...I love this whole collection on music sheets!!!

    I love reading your blog...I'm learning so much from you and about you!

    PS...connais-tu la chanteuse/poète Ingrid St Pierre du Québec. Ma découverte la semaine dernière et j'ai tellement pensé à toi quand je l'ai entendu. Sa musique est vraiment bonne, et elle a tellement des beaux textes! J'ai son CD si jamais tu veux l'emprunter.

  2. Wonderful post and tribute to families of the Titanic ~ your portrait is excellent ~ love how you painted him ~thanks, namaste, ^_^

  3. Sylvia - Ah... MERCI. xoxo
    Carol - thank you. :-)

  4. Oh my goodness. I got shivers up my back reading your post. I live near Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the titanic was built and set sail from and because of the 100 year anniversary every other word on TV is Titanic. To be honest, I find the whole commercialisation of such a terrible shipping disaster to be really distasteful - here whoever can cash in by adding Titanic to their name or product has done so. Your post however is truly what we should be remembering. I didn't know any of those things and how very sad that those people couldn't bring their families bodies home because of the cost. Thank you for sharing this post and your portrait of the captain is stunning - I love the limited colour palette and that you used sheet music as the background.

  5. The portrait is wonderfully done on the sheet music background! I love how you show the progession. Thank you for sharing what you know of the story.

  6. Pauline your're great for all your stories, this one is sooo sad and that grave stone for the unknown child pulls at my heart.
    Your captain is looking so great! What a resemblance and so well done! A real pleasure to visit you here Pauline and thanks for sharing so much with us!

  7. Beautiful portrait - he looks so vivid. Thank you.

  8. Wow what a wonderful tribute! Your captain would make a marvelous poster in celebration of the Titanic!
    Very well done!!

    Hugs Giggles

  9. I didn't know about the bell tribute or that the darn company didn't pay to ship the bodies home!!

    What a great job on the captain's portrait!

    Have a super weekend. :)

  10. Loving your fabulous painting. Happy PPF, Annette x

  11. Your painting is fantastic. Such a haunting story. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy PPF!

  12. You have talent my dear.. wonderful portrait... The sinking was a huge disaster and so many deaths... 100 years ago seems like yesterday.. and after they came all that way with all their celebrating, rich and poor... so sad.

  13. Touching portrait - the music in the background reminds me of the music played while she sank.

  14. Gorgeous portrait, Pauline!
    Love the limited palette! :)
    This blog post is a wonderful tribute to the Titanic and those who lost their lives on it.
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  15. This was an incredible post. I enjoyed watching the progression of your portrait and your story moved me so much. Most, if not all, all of your story was information that I had not heard before. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments. I'm always grateful that so many of you out there take the time to say a few words. I give you all a big virtual hug. :-)

    Pointy Pix - yes, I agree - there's a fine line between honouring the tragedy, and milking it. Unfortunately, many people cross it for the sake of greed.

  17. This is a beautiful painting, it looks terrific at every stage.

    I've been to the cemetery in Halifax and seen the Titanic section. It's really moving.

  18. What a wonderful post....Awesome story!!! Great portrait of the Captain.....Great Job!!

  19. this is really amazing and I love your recherche about it

  20. Fantastic post, love the story behind the painting.
    Also, your use for music sheet paper, beautiful work Pauline. :]

  21. You nail eyes in paint like no body else... great capture and cool story about what happens next... much more interesting than the thought of that movie rubbish, and in 3D now... al I can think about when I see the ads is how huge are Kate Winslet's boobs going to look in 3D!!! Now I have a much better image to think about... thanks for that!!!

  22. I always LOVE your portraits Pauline! You have such a talent for capturing the essence of people. It's such a sad story ..Tracey's comment cheered me right up though! LOL!! xx

  23. Thank you ALL again for such lovely comments...
    Carlarey - yes, i've also been to the Fairview Cemetery in Halifax & thought it was beautiful. I love walking around in cemeteries..
    Tracey - you are the fucking queen of comedy. YOu kill me, every time. :-)
    Lorinda - thank you, and yes, Tracey's comment cheered me right up too. xoxo

  24. oh my goodness... as I"m sitting in Starbucks reading this post, tears are rolling down my cheeks and I'm sniffling! I hate what happened with the people on that ship... all of it! I didn't know this part of the story either... thanks so much for sharing!
    Thanks also for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment!
    Happy creating...
    PPF... Renee

  25. Cool idea! I love that you painted it on sheet music. Looks fantastic.

  26. Phenomenal post. I loved the art and I loved the story. Very powerful.