Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kamloops

Kamloops brings another change in landscape. Usually very dry and hot, almost desert like in feel. Tumbleweed and wild sage grow in abundance giving the land a dusty gray green palette. The Thompson River runs through the middle of these unusual land formations that look and feel much like a living being.


 


We arrived at the end of a week of rain and I have never seen Kamloops so lush and green. It looked completely different to me this time with all the verdant hill sides. I love the way a landscape can change from season to season.


We have come to celebrate my daughter's wedding and graduation all in the same week.
It is a busy and emotional week but filled with much love and celebration as our family members begin to arrive from different parts of the globe.


My daughter and her partner Kim have chosen to get married above Kamloops Lake.


Radiant brides and bright sunshine are a beautiful sight on an early mountain top morning.


An intimate family ceremony is followed by a picnic breakfast including donuts and champagne.




  



Next we were off to a painting studio where we all painted a piece of artwork together and then got to christen the newly wed's dresses with paint. All in all a very fun wedding day celebration.

Afterwards we spend some quiet time on Paul's Lake where the water is refreshing in the heat and this massive rock invites some painting and sketching time.






When the celebrations are over we all go on a wine tour at Gray Monks Estate Winery just outside of Vernon and this is the beginning of our Okanagan explorations.




We take a tour of the winery and sample some wines before sitting down for a sumptuous lunch overlooking the Okanagan Valley and Lake. Always sunny in this part of the world it would seem.



Thus begins the Okanagan chapter of our journey.





























Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Rockies

The drive from Calgary to Kamloops is always an exceptional experience. The mountains begin to loom into view as you leave Calgary and slowly they begin to surround you as you enter Canmore. Their magnificent presence always inspires awe. Every time I drive through the Rockies it as if I have never encountered them before and I am always moved by their very existence. It was a joy to share this with Walt who has never been in their presence before.


 A quick stop in Banff and Lake Louise to breath in the mountain freshness and cooler air. Arriving in late Spring is a good time to view the Rockies as there is still snow on the tops and the rivers and waterfalls are full to bursting with the melting snow.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Across the Prairies

#trip_the_light has been on the road for 10 days now and I am dreadfully behind in my blog posts but wonderfully filled up with painting and writing material for many months to come.

I last posted in Northern Ontario where the beauty was boundless and all encompassing.
I am so in love with the landscape and how it is always changing and revealing different aspects of itself. I am currently reading PrairyErth by William Least Heat-Moon and it is an eloquent and deep exploration of one particular landscape in Kansas. The book is full of delightful quotes but this one struck me in particular was this one:

I like to think of landscape not as a fixed place but as  path that is unwinding before my eyes, under my feet.

To see and know a place is a contemplative act. It means emptying our minds and letting what is there, in all its multiplicity and endless variety, come in. 

-Gretel Ehrlich "Landscape," introduction to Legacy of Light (1987)

This seems to be what we are doing as we travel these marvelous routes and roads and allow the places to speak their own language to us as we pass through them.

     
A wooden suspension bridge leads the way to Ouimet Canyon.

   


Ouimet Canyon where we spotted a nesting Perigine Falcon and once again my breath was taken away by the beauty of it all. The land feels so alive in this wild state.

Aguasabon Falls, Ontario near Terrace Bay

We travelled through the Lake of the Woods area and marvelled at the endless waterways and lakes punctuated with rock formations from the Canadian Shield that made me want to photograph and paint for days on end.

Then comes the relatively quick transition to the Prairies. My home landscape that always calls out to me as I drive through it. We stopped at the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Steinbach, Manitoba just as it was closing but the kind woman at the desk let us in to take a peek at it anyway. Steinbach is the home of my ancestors who came here when fleeing the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine.


That night we ate farmer's sausage and vereniki in a Mennonite cafe which brought back a lot of childhood memories for me.

The sky opens up and you feel as though you are soaring through space. We crossed the prairies under a tumultuous sky that gave us a spectacular cloud and light dance as we moved along the ribbon of highway.

  



   
These trembling aspen were a big part of the Saskatchewan "bush" that I grew up in. I remember them as magical guardians of my imagination. This is where I would create and build and listen to the natural world as a child. Their trembling, rustling leaves evoke fond memories and I consider them to be old friends.

We stayed overnight in Regina, Saskatchewan where we walked along the river and visited the Mackenzie Art Gallery. This is where Walt and I thought it would be fun to imitate the Joe Fafard sculptures...Life imitating Art.



The journey continues...

















Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Trip the Light Travels - Day #3

Today we took a break from driving to more fully absorb the beauty around Lake Superior and the Wawa area. I have crossed Canada so many times and never stopped long enough to fully appreciate this particular area. The ever changing light on the water takes you by surprise throughout the day as you come around different corners on the road.


 
We stayed in an airbnb log cabin located slightly east of Wawa and on the shore of Lake Superior. Just sleeping beside this large body of water is a gift in itself. Rhythmic waves break along the shoreline and an almost full moon poured its generous light across the water's surface to create a masterpiece of shimmer and sparkle in the dark night.



We visited Old Woman Bay where the photos don't capture it but the water was turquoise. The cliffs are home to peregin falcons and the water is crystal clear. There is something about being in the presence of such clear water and pure air that seems to make you glow from the inside out. It feels right and natural to feel so alive and in synch with the world around you.



Of course we visited the famous Wawa goose in town which commemorates the completion of the Trans Canada Highway from Sault St Marie to Wawa in 1960. Before this time there was no road access to Wawa and this last part of the highway was called the gap. This stretch of road is by far the most awe inspiring part of the drive.


Silver Falls were just down the road from where we we stayed and they were roaring at their absolute height of power from all the Spring rains. Magnificent to see and hear!



I thought Silver Falls was roaring and then we visited High Falls!! I am a huge fan of falling water. I could stand in its presence for hours and loose myself in its powerful movement and sound. It feels so joyful to me!
   
 An abundance of beauty is to be found here in grand gestures and minuet details. No wonder the Group of Seven were so inspired to paint here. Glen Gould came and stayed regularly in Wawa and claimed to write some of his best music here. The Life Force is potent here.



Long stretches of completely deserted shore line and pristine beaches.