The Peace River rarely freezes over anymore. Instead, large pancakes of ice lazily swirl downstream. Only when you are right above them can you see how fast they are really going, and hear the shushing noises of slush meeting slush. This is Dunvegan Bridge on the Peace River, painted from a photo taken early this year.
Ah, a step back into summer! Judy’s painting shows the St. Charles Mission at Dunvegan Provincial Park. You are looking up from the river below, catching a hint of the northern lights in the evening sky as dusk creeps into the giant spruces. What a welcome sight this small settlement would have been to a weary canoeist or rafting trader. Things would certainly seem to be looking up.
We spent two lovely days at Fort Dunvegan Historical Site on the Peace River, Alberta. We roasted bannock, toured historic buildings, listened to the Grande Prairie and District Pipes and Drums, played old fashioned carnival games and had rides on horse drawn carts. Happy (belated) Canada Day!
If you follow this blog you may have seen a few versions of this painting lately. I’ve wanted to paint it for a while but I suppose I needed to plan it out fairly carefully rather than just jumping in as I usually do. So I found I was putting it off for a long time. Something just wasn’t happening in my mind. I was losing interest in the whole idea. Luckily, we needed a subject for painting at the Lodge. I did a run through painting, hated it, but also lost it before we got to the Lodge. I still don’t know what happened to that first one. I did another as a demo for the ladies and they did their separate and unique versions, as seen here last week. All the while I was receiving more information about how to go about painting the scene the way I wanted it to be. At last I did a quick sketch and began painting.
From the finished product you may never have realized that I took a fat brush and flicked in wet paint to make the flowers. There was no sketching there. The trees also began as dripped paint, leaking down into the grass. My way of keeping things loose is to use a lot of water so I have no choice in the matter. However, I disliked the painting until I put in the nice neat house and smartened up the fence and flowers. The light through the flower bed was completely unplanned, but luckily I had the sense to notice it and preserve it. This does not always happen.
I’m not great with flowers, but these somehow turned out well. I think you might even identify them as sweet peas. I didn’t draw them; that would have put me off the whole project before I even wet my paints.
I’ve ended up being most pleased with this painting because I struggled with it for so long, and hated my initial results. I knew I wasn’t doing a good job, but I couldn’t figure out why. Somehow, the process of creation smoothed out the troubles and something positive came out. That’s what art is for 🙂
Here is my contribution to the card exchange at our Peace Watercolour Society meeting. We usually try to get together at Christmas; this year we realized in time that no one has time at Christmas! It was a great day for a drive even if it wasn’t quite warm enough to sit outside and paint. Instead we sat inside and talked and ate, then did our original watercolour card exchange. Here’s the painting I did, a winter scene of the historic buildings by the river at Dunvegan Provincial Park:
This sprawling Manitoba Maple at the Dunvegan Historical Site is a listed Heritage Tree. It seems this gnarly grouping is protected by more than the government: if you stand in just the right place on a wintery day, you can see an animal spirit, a dog or a wolf, on guard. This is where children like to play, even though they aren’t supposed to… they sit on this branch, possibly imagining a dinosaur or a train, but few would picture this.