Victoria Harbour, BC - Liesa Norman

My Watermark is the Pacific Ocean, specifically the Victoria Harbour, BC.

I swam in the water of my mothers womb before I met life. Born a little blue, like the oceans hue, I blinked, I breathed, I grew.

Collecting memories, like pebbles on the shore. Watching the sun do its tapdance atop the waves. Whispering, winking and smiling. My mummy, my daddy, my sister, all spread out on a blanket. Water, our common ground.

Mother: watching us
Father: trying to capture the chorus of tapdancers. Gracefully borrowing them, translating, from paintbrush to paper.
Us: sisters building castles in the sand.

Mermaids, cars, or cellos, all coming to fruition with the pails of seawater to seal the cracks. Sealing our creations, our sisterhood and our family.My father’s specialty, painting water, west coast scenes, beaches and boats. My mother, her favourite was, and is, the beach. My sister and I have never left the water except for a decade when I watered my brain with a couple of degrees from U of T, the lake, a body, but not like home. Nothing is like the ocean to me. It reminds me of family, love, and summer. In winter it’s raging waves mesmerizing me with its power. Beauty + Brawn. But mostly now, the seaside I befriended hangs on my walls, reminding me of my family, my fy father. Now passed, he captured and framed our ocean, our stories, our history with his brushstrokes. From water to watercolourist. From 50 shades of blue to sunset hues.

From my eyes now looking back on youth. I see the painting my dad had started, maybe midway through, interrupted by his sudden unexpected call to the other side. A simple ocean sunset scene. And I see my Watermark as a lifemark, the ocean a symbol or parable. Like life it’s constant change bringing beauty, love, fury and power. Colour, cold, warm, wild, at times we’ll cower.

I still look from my viewpoint now, 3 small ones in hand, partner beside. And I see in the Ocean, a part of me, and my dad, bouncing amongst the shiniest tapdancers, looking back at me from the seventh wave.

Mark Mattson

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