Judy’s plein air painting of Kleskun Hills was done from the top of a hill overlooking the park. She hauled art supplies up the trail and sat out in the elements until she’d captured the view, like a dedicated painter should.
The Kleskun Hills, an unusual outcropping of badlands, melds with the usual northern Alberta landscape. The tiny ecosystem of sandy soil and desert-like plants survives despite visitors climbing all over the hills. In days past, there were organized fossil hunting picnics for the locals, who would park at the base of the hills. Now the site is better known for the campground, picnic site and museum.
Walking through the garden after a downpour, I spotted this moth, looking like a battered old leaf stuck in the metal guard around the apple tree trunk. It was just a little too symmetrical to my eye. Turns out my hunch was right: it was a moth with brilliant camouflage.
Our chosen destination for the first paint out of the year was the Kleskun Hills, a geological anomaly just north of Grande Prairie, Alberta. It is the site of the northernmost badlands in Alberta (maybe in Canada, I’ll check). The flora, fauna and soil is very different from the expected. Besides the hills, the place features vistas of farmland, distant hills and even the Rockies, a forested campground and a museum full of pioneer buildings and equipment. There was plenty to photograph and paint.
It seems like spring was ages ago! You don’t often hear that in May in Northern Alberta, but here we are sitting in the heat, wishing for that slow spring warming with the relief of cool nights. This picture was taken May 4th, when the green was just beginning to creep back into the landscape.
After a day of negative painting and isolating the lights to create contrast, just look at the sky that accompanied us on the drive home. It was a very impressive demonstration of everything we were teaching in the class.