This August I embarked on an adventure – a rafting trip on the upper Alsek River with Canadian River Expeditions. I had saved for this trip for a few years as a 50th birthday present to myself but then Covid struck and everything was cancelled. However, on July 31st Yukon opened its borders to B.C. and NWT residents so the rafting company put together a custom trip for locals that stopped short of the Alaskan border. Within a couple of weeks I had to wrap my head around the fact I might actually do this.
Reflecting on this (Robert Davidson) quote again, I think “the knife edge” between the past and future is where true creativity lives. Some think creativity is only painting, drawing, dancing or making music, but I think it is really also about living.
As many of my students have told me, their lives seem richer because they are seeing better and seeing more. It’s helpful to remember that we don’t teach reading and writing to produce only poets and writers, but rather to improve thinking. Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
This painting is loosely based on a view of the Comox Valley, perhaps from Cumberland or somewhere in the Beaufort Mountains. It describes the place in a mountainbike ride or a hike you enjoy after having done the hard work of getting there. Here you may have a snack, sketch, take a couple deep breaths or take a nap. You may be with others sharing light conversation or a meaningful moment.
Every time I visit the place I grew up – Pt. Holmes on the windy tip of the Comox Peninsula – I still feel very connected to the smells, sounds and sights. It feels like visiting an old friend or relative.
Sketches aren’t about making a perfect picture, it’s the act of looking that is important. By completely stopping to look and draw (a flower, a tree, person, building..) you start to notice things you didn’t before.
Over the years I’ve had a few dreams about fire. Sometimes I see the licking flames in sharp detail and other times something is burning more in the distance. A couple times there was a more scary explosion or almost explosion (usually when I’m mad about something – ha). I’ve also connected dreaming about fire to major transition points in my life, such as moving or when I started dating my husband!
Fire in a controlled sense denotes security. It is always needing to be fed or stoked and invites interaction – it is alive. Every year when my family goes to Tofino we enjoy fires on the beach – sometimes playing music as well.
This painting called “Monarch Mountain” is inspired by a hike with a friend in Atlin, B.C. (near Whitehorse) last summer. Due to this being a south facing slope in a northern latitude in June, I witnessed the most wildflowers I had ever seen in one spot. We were surrounded by colour!
While reading all her books in succession I started to feel like Emily Carr was becoming a friend which I looked forward to hanging out with at the end of the day. Maybe it is the frank, direct way in which she wrote – believing you shouldn’t “use a big word if a little one will suffice” or the humour she found in everyday life, which made her feel so real.