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:
Dunvegan Historic Site is nestled in the valley, on the banks of the Peace River. Carry on northwards and there is a spectacular view of the river downstream. Here is Carolyn’s go at the scene. The mix of soft wet in wet and scruffy, dirty, strong foreground was great fun to create.
Wind. Rain. Just really cold. Welcome to painting in the great Alberta outdoors! Still, it must be done. This is really good for bulking up one’s artistic know how. The thrill of painting in the elements is unmatched by any studio experience. The paint and paper and water doing uncharacteristic things builds patience, technical skill, and the acceptance of mistakes… sigh. The practice is what makes it perfect. This is our first plein air expedition of 2019.
Painting at a local pond along the highway and railway tracks, there isn’t much to choose from as far as subject matter goes. The train was colourful and horizontal. Judy managed to fit the historic NAR building in as well. Actually, just now there is quite a dirt pile around the building, which is still under construction, so we have both made the dirt browns a little nicer than they are. Both Carolyn’s and Judy’s sketches are done in pen, then painted with Cass watercolourcolours.
It always helps to have a critic. Once the camera started coming out Pip took off for a walk around the pond. Spying a muskrat, he jumped in the water up to his belly and enjoyed himself very much.
The Dunvegan Bridge is probably our most famous local attraction in the Peace Country of Northern Alberta, Canada, so Carolyn painted another version of her original watercolour Peace Span. The Northern Lights are kinda attractive too 😉
There are not a lot of ways to cross the mighty Peace River, and this bridge at Dunvegan Historic Site is certainly one of the most scenic. During the day the valley is beautiful in every season, and at night it is lit up and sparkling across the water so travellers catch glimpses of it as they wind down the hills.
Spring has sprung early in the Peace Country, although we expect a little snow before its time to plant anything! The thaw always brings something interesting. A small creek loaded with ice and snow melted from the bottom as the water began to erode the ice. Below is a tree trunk with layers of ice beginning to drip.
Here’s the bigger picture. You can see how the layers dangle quite high. The actual creek bottom is about four feet below.