The Peace Country is beautiful all together, but some places have reserved a particular, timeless beauty that seeps into your pores. Such a place is the Peace Valley Guest Ranch, a haven of peace, quiet and nature maintained by the Allen family of Grimshaw, Alberta. I’m going to use big pictures and few words to show you we were excited to visit the Ranch for a watercolour retreat:
Judy and Carolyn have been observing horses and practicing drawing them before going to the Watercolour Retreat at Peace Valley Guest Ranch. Luckily, mid-summer is horse season in the West!
Wouldn’t it be fun to paint this horse using salt to make the markings?
Coming home on a late summer evening, sun bathed the fields and hills, turning the scene into a collage of light and long shadows. The setting sun is aimed directly down the highway, so that the outskirts of Spirit River are almost silhouetted in the golden light. Here’s Carolyn’s rendition of the scene:
Spirit River was settled not long before the World Wars and remains a farming community with strong Ukrainian heritage.
Judy started out in oils. So did Carolyn. Only she ate them. So Judy and Carolyn retired from oils for a while. Just recently, however, both took an oil painting course.
Our styles our similar… our colour choices differ quite a bit. Can you tell whose is whose?
The finished result. We were both quite pleased with our oil paintings. There may be more seen here in future.
(Judy left, Carolyn right)
Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, is also fabulously scenic. It’s just exactly what a mountain should look like: snow capped pointy bits and formidable cliffs, framed by the gentler slopes of lower mountains and finished with a variety of lush trees and a mountain meadow.
It is also easy to take a classic tourist picture, since a viewing platform and information centre with a vast parking lot, lunch counter and souvenir shop (and gas station) are only metres from the highway. Here is the iconic Mount Robson:
It isn’t every day one can see the top of Mount Robson. Usually there is cloud cover. Last year, smoke from forest fires concealed the view almost entirely:
Still, the people took pictures. For many, just being on the spot was a once in a lifetime experience.
Carolyn likes to look for a picture besides the standard perfect shot. Here’s her memory of Mount Robson, July 2019.