Monday, June 29, 2020

What Will Happen to the Storytellers?: Storytelling, Painting, and Newfoundland Ponies with Clifford George. #MakerMonday

For #MakerMonday we'll be profiling some of the people practicing traditional skills on the Baccalieu Trail.

Clifford George of Whiteway wears many hats. He is a storyteller, an artist, and has been rescuing Newfoundland ponies for decades.

Storytelling comes naturally to Clifford. He says that growing up without electric lights and without television, stories were all around him. He was inspired by the stories of his father, Esau George, and others, and has been remembering and writing them down to safeguard them for future generations. His favourite stories to tell are about Newfoundland fairies. These stories about ghosts and fairies were told to him by older family members to encourage him to be home before dark.

He has also always been a painter, and credits his isolation growing up in a small town in Newfoundland with training his eye to see the shapes and colours of the land. He practices plein air painting, capturing the vivid colours of Newfoundland and Labrador outports. He says you can probably hear his palette knives clicking all over the harbour as he lays on the paint. He plans to continue painting this summer, and you may see him on the side of a road with his easel surrounded by yellow caution tape.

Clifford George and one of his paintings. Photo by Jackie Evans.
Clifford has also worked hard to save the Newfoundland pony from extinction. With his own money, he would buy ponies that were destined for meat trucks, and established a sanctuary for retired Newfoundland ponies to spend their days. While the generation of Newfoundland ponies that he saved in the 1980s and 1990s are mostly gone now, their legacy lives on.

To hear more stories from Clifford George, check out the Living Heritage Podcast Hidden Gems episode.
This episode is part of a special series about the Baccalieu Trail region of Newfoundland and Labrador. Join us as we explore the hidden gems of the Baccalieu Trail- from stories of phantom ship sightings to local art and history.

Do you live on the Baccalieu Trail and practice a traditional skill or know someone who does? Fill out our survey!

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