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.
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.
This December I had my dream experience of spending two days, mostly alone, at our National Gallery in Ottawa. I have been asked several times what my favourite piece was but I don’t really have an answer. Actually I think what I enjoyed most was the process of looking.
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.
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!