Published in Nanaimo Magazine & Voyager Magazine - December 2015
The opportunity to paint in Jasper National Park was a magnificent gift! We set up our easels just south of Jasper along the Athabasca River. A Canadian Heritage River, the Athabasca begins its journey deep in the Rocky Mountains and winds its way north-eastward to Athabasca Lake in northern Alberta, a journey of over 1538 kilometers. There are so many stunning vantage points, from those on high with eagle’s eye views, to those with inspiring, low bank, bug’s eye views. Which view should we choose?
We followed the riverbank trails for a while to find the perfect spot to paint at the water’s edge that shaded us from the hot afternoon sun. While there are spectacular views in every direction, it is hard to pick just one subject to focus on. I like to take time, sometimes an hour or so, to walk around or sit quietly, studying the details and absorbing the untamed, refreshing energy of the surrounding environment. If I am patient, it happens by magic! Something always takes my breath away and I understand the essence of what has attracted me to this specific place.
The milky turquoise color of this glacially fed river is such a fascinating and unusual color. The Athabasca River carries fine grains of silt down from the mountains which bestows the characteristics of solidity and volume into the movement of this tumbling, restless liquid. The pale turquoise moves in and out of greenish white and bluish white hues, playing with the light in such clever ways.
I close my eyes and commit to memory: the fleeting light, color, shapes, sounds, movement and other unique nuances my senses bear witness to in this moment. Then I begin to paint, for “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary,” said Pablo Picasso.