Archive for the ‘Nova Scotia Nine’ Category

Some Fresh Work
March 24, 2013

Here are a few images of my latest paintings: the first is a partial pic of a new work, based on 3 baseball players. (Can you guess who ?)

To get a view of the full painting – a trio of ball players whom my husband asked me to paint for him (a 50th birthday present) – scroll down …

These photos are via my friend Elissa Barnard, who took them on her phone when she stopped by the other day.

Here is  “Anthem: O Canada””… which I was going to put in an upcoming fundraising event, for Sacred Heart School in Halifax. (I decided instead to do a new painting: a oil portrait)

… I cropped the photo of “Anthem” a bit ..

And below is the full image of  “The Baseball Boys”…

(I will also post a close-up image of Anthem girl’s eye, since it gives a great sense of color…).

Hmm, let’s see.. here goes…

Before I go, below is a “”thumbnail” sized image of Elissa’s pic of the painting “”The Baseball Boys””.

from left:

Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig.

The painting is about 2×4 feet… and is now hanging in Greg’s office.


New Paintings, New Plans
April 16, 2012

The 6-month showing of “The Nova Scotia Nine” portrait series has wrapped at The Halifax Club, and I’ve decided to devote some blog time and space to showing my latest paintings here, online. I’ll post images of the portrait series along with the paintings most recently completed. Watch this site for more….

As for “The Nova Scotia Nine” (you can click the link above to read more about women), they’ll be making independent appearances at various events around town, including an upcoming federal ministers’ meeting.

KPMG Hosts Halifax Club Reception for The NS9
November 7, 2011

This blog tracks the origin & evolution of Jo Napier’s Art Exhibit honoring “The Nova Scotia Nine- Great Women of N.S.

The Halifax Club

Since the Great Women of NS Art Exhibit moved to that elegant business bastion – The Halifax Club – the reception has been strong.

Most recently, KMPG hosted a by-invitation, women-in-business event; it centered around a private showing of my “The Nova Scotia Nine” collection of contemporary, interpretive portraits of great women of Nova Scotia.

It was a sparkling evening and I’d like to thank KPMG for staging such a great event around “”The Nova Scotia Nine“”.

Great Women of NS Portraits Storm The Halifax Club
July 2, 2011

This blog tracks the origin & evolution of Jo Napier’s 2011 Art Exhibit honoring “The Nova Scotia Nine- Great Women of N.S.

The Halifax Club

The Great Women of NS Art Exhibit has moved to that elegant business bastion, The Halifax Club.

Thanks to Jodi Bartlett, the Club’s wonderful General Manager, for the warm welcome.

Crowds were steady and reactions to the portraits were very, very strong at The Public Archives, where the show had its 2-month Summer “”run””. Jodi says the response to the portrait collection, at “”The Club”, is equally strong.

Great Women of N.S. Art Exhibit Run Extended
June 24, 2011

Hi Folks,

Just found out my Great Women of Nova  Scotia Art exhibit, featuring The Nova Scotia Nine, will continue  – for another month – at The Public Archives.

Then, it moves to The Halifax Club for late summer/fall…more later.

The traffic has been steady and the feedback tremendous.

My thanks to all who have visited and shared their thoughts on these great women of N.S.

We’re Open!
June 16, 2011

This blog tracks the origin & evolution of Jo Napier’s June 2011 art exhibit/portrait series honoring “The Nova Scotia Nine- Great Women of N.S.

What an evening! The opening night of my Great Women of Nova Scotia art exhibit (which runs til June 25th at the Public Archives) was amazing: to say I was awed by the size of the turnout and the warmth of the crowd would be an understatement.

My event organizer, Colette Robicheau and I decided to rent 200 wine glasses for the evening -feeling optimistic about the turnout. I brought another 50. And… we ran out of glasses.

The room was so crowded some folks said they missed each other in the mix of the crowd: people came, stayed, bought 1/3 of the paintings I had for sale – and, most importantly, they really embraced The Nova Scotia Nine.

Moms brought their daughters, wives brought their husbands, and members of Rita Joe’s, Mabel Bell’s and Granny Ross’ families all made the trek. An amazing evening, truly.

Julia Ying Napier Chiasson and her Mom Jo Napier, with Organize Anything's Colette Robicheau Photo Credit: Jan Napier

Searching for Relatives of the Nova Scotia Nine
June 1, 2011

I will be  honouring nine incredible women who changed the course of Nova Scotian history this month. I am currently trying to track down the surviving relatives of these women to invite them to the opening reception on Friday June 10, 2011 at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia inHalifax.

The centerpiece of the 20-painting show, which runs June 10-25 at the Archives, will be The Nova Scotia Nine – a series of contemporary, interpretive portraits of Rita Joe, Mabel Bell, Aileen Meagher, Viola Desmond, Anna Leonowens, Muriel Duckworth, Edith Jessie Archibald, Margaret Marshall Saunders and Marie-Henriette LeJeune-Ross.

So far I’ve been able to contact the descendants of Mabel Hubbard Bell, Anna Leonowens, Viola Desmond, Rita Joe, Muriel Duckworth and “only three” members of Aileen Meagher’s family.

I am hoping to contact the relatives of Margaret Marshall Saunders, Edith Jessie Archibald, Marie-Henriette LeJeune Ross, and more of the Meagher family.

Saunders hails from Milton and Berwick in Queen’s County. Her parents were Maria Kisborough Freeman and Edward Manning Saunders, an accomplished, educated Baptist pastor, historian and author.

Archibald (nee Jessie) is originally fromNewfoundlandand lived in Port Morien before moving toHalifax, where she died in 1936. She was married to Charles Archibald, the president of the Bank of Nova Scotia.

LeJeune-Ross lived in the North East Margaree, where her homestead still stands. She died in 1860, leaving behind 11 surviving children.

If you have information or want to find out more about The Nova Scotia Nine, please contact Jo Napier at (902) 429-7389 or or visit

Ladies Don’t Run
May 31, 2011

This blog tracks the origin & evolution of Jo Napier’s 2011 art exhibit/portrait series honoring “The Nova Scotia Nine- Great Women of N.S.

How could you not fall in love with Aileen Meagher?

Back in the day when ‘a lady did not run’, she cut off her brother’s trousers, fashioned a pair of running shorts and tried out for the Dalhousie track team in 1928. The track coach mentioned the Olympics. Aileen had never heard of the Olympics. Soon, all that would change.

She quickly beame Canada’s record holder for the 100- and 220-yard events and, by 1932, was part of our nation’s Olympic contingent. (A charley horse kept  her out of competition.) By 1935 she was named both Most Outstanding Canadian Athlete and Most Outstanding Female Athlete.

She took home gold and silver medals at the 1934 and 1938 Empire Games and – the year Hitler hosted the 1936 Olympics in Berlin– Aileen arrived at the Halifaxairport with an Olympic Bronze Medal for the 400 relay.  

Meagher at 1936 Olympics, Photo Credit: NS Archives and Record Management

That’s her, at the front of the group, with her Canadian team, the, and British team prior to presentation with medals in Berlin.

She went on to become a talented artist who traveled the world – filling notebooks with watercolor sketches and captivating snippets.

Hugh Townsend interviewed Aileen for The Chronicle-Herald back in June 1976. In the interview, she recalled how she became a world-class athlete:

 “. . . I didn’t have a diet, no special conditioning, I didn’t know much about training. I just prepared myself to run as fast as I could.”

Later, as a teacher, she used her running medals as a paperweights on her school desk. When her Olympic medal went missing, she was unperturbed. “I know I did it – so, why worry?

The Power of Edith Jessie Archibald
May 24, 2011

This blog tracks the origin & evolution of Jo Napier’s June 2011 art exhibit/portrait series honoring “The Nova Scotia Nine- Great Women of N.S.

So now I am back in the studio, “working away” on the soft, gentle face of Edith Jessie Archibald. Take a peek:…

I am using old hotel-room cards to carve away at the surface of Edith Jessie Archibald’s portrait, focusing today on the background surface – trying to create a sense of “sea”… her dress is so staid and proper, starched collar and puffed sleeves, I think the contrast will create some tension and a sense of the energy of a port city alive with rough-hewn possibilities…We’ll see what happens.

When I started researching the women who were ‘key’ to securing the vote for N.S. women, EJA always popped to the surface. She was in good company… Dr. Eliza Ritchie, Edith Murray. Agnes Dennis to name three…

But I chose Edith because she spoke to me, as all “”The Nova Scotia Nine”” did and do: Like Rita Joe, and Viola Desmond, Edith Jessie stood out in character and countenance, in action and impact. In Edith’s case, she wrote powerful essays. Made powerful speeches. And ultimately, she moved people to action, giving downtrodden female citizens a sense of self-worth – a feeling that something greater, for them, was possible.

Okay, back to the studio.

Wrestling With Amazing Anna
May 19, 2011

This blog tracks the origin & evolution of Jo Napier’s June 2011 art exhibit/portrait series honoring “The Nova Scotia Nine- Great Women of N.S.

I am, literally, wrestling with Anna Leonowens.

Back in the 19th century, Anna (of The King and I fame) was one of the most amazing women of her time. A widowed mother of two young children – without any visible means of support – who completly re-created herself.

 She became a woman of adventure, an author, a vocal supporter of women’s rights and abolition. She created an amazingly successful and dramatic life for herself. She was hardworking and ambitious. And a great self-promoter. Anna lived for more than two decades in Halifax, and she left her mark on the city, the province – and, ultimately, the country.

“In 1862 she was recommended to King Mongkut of Siam (Thailand) as a potential governess to the royal family, then composed of 67 offspring by the king’s numerous wives. Settling in Bangkok, Leonowens began a remarkable five-year career as “Mem Cha” (“M’am Dear”), which proved to be the pivotal event in a long and curious life.

In 1868, she left that posting and opened a school for training kindergarten teachers in (New York City.

Adept at self-promotion, Leonowens soon became known to the publisher of the prestigious Boston-based Atlantic Monthly.
Under his sponsorship, a series of articles portraying her Siamese experiences appeared in that magazine during 1870, followed immediately by his publication of
The English Governess at the Siamese Court.

“”Since castigated as little more than plagiarism and fraudulent misrepresentation, the book was an immediate success…” – (Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online)””

Think of it this way: Readers back then, were hungry for stories about the mysterious Far East. And Anna, who did have a legitimately amazing adventure there, knew how to take a great story and make it sellable .

By the time Anna landed in Halifax in 1876, she was quite famous – as a woman of adventure, an author, a rights activist.

Before she left – 20 years later – to move to Montreal (where she died, at 84 and is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery), she left her mark on the city: sparking the establishment of the Victorian School of Art and Design, now the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University. So: that’s who I’m wrestling in my studio with – a formidable woman!