Our river is named the Spirit River because it dries up and disappears in the summer. But for now, it is beautiful. Just enough clear water to wade in, a nice cold flow to keep off the scum, and a sandy bottom that is inviting for bare feet. The dogs can hardly stand how exciting it is!
There are fresh rocks swept down each spring; rocks and bones and the odd homestead artifact. Fossilized shells are fairly common, as are bison teeth. This time I saw a few modern jaw bones, a young coyote and a deer. I also picked up this small rodent jaw with long, folded molars. A baby beaver?
This one, a much bigger tooth, is farther along in the fossilization process. It has a lovely bluish hue and nice wear on the labyrinthine chewing surface.
I always keep an eye out for fossils. Once in a while it pays off! I found one here. Can you see it?
Maybe a closer look will help.
There it is. Do you know what it is?
A tooth! I believe these are bison teeth (they are fairly common here) but if anyone knows better, please comment!
I’ll take it home and brush it, then put it in the drawer with my other teeth 🙂
Carolyn has finished painting her fossils and rocks collection. All of these were found in the rivers of the Peace Country, but they aren’t just lying around out there like this! Sticks and stones, bones and shells: you might be able to identify ammonites, amber, bison teeth, crustaceans, ironstones, belemnites, gypsum, an arrowhead, scutes and petrified wood.
When the first Fossils of the Peace Country painting was shown, one of the critiques was that the shadows should be stronger. Carolyn liked the effect of the solid rocks juxtaposed with pale translucent shadows that suggested the river water. However, the darker shadows sharpen up the rocks in the second painting, where each fossil is spaced much further from the next than they were in the first painting. So, what do you think? Do you prefer more contrast or less?
Carolyn here. I’m working on another painting of fossils, rocks and curiosities found in the Peace Country. Hopefully I can donate it to the silent auction fundraiser at the Amber Ball, in aid of building the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Wembley. It does seem to fit the occasion, doesn’t it? Now, I don’t know if there are any rules about donating things but for the moment I don’t care. Part one, the painting, will be finished while I think I can do this; part 2, the donation, will follow or not as it may be. Who knows where the progression of the fossils may end?
There is a lot of detail in a painting like this. Progress is slow so sometimes it is nice to have photographic evidence that spending two hours painting three square inches is actually a step forward. It is! It’s very similar to collecting fossils themselves, really. Each one takes a certain amount of time and effort to collect, and there is a lot of luck involved. Sometimes you don’t realize what you’ve got until you stash it for a while, then take it out and have a fresh look.
Here’s what I have so far, the progression from the week. There are two “plain old rocks”, one artifact and… the rest is fossils.