On the road again! Two weeks ago we left the coast heading - well, anywhere to escape the smoke. Our plans changed on a daily basis as we evaluated our options. Initially we headed north and west, choosing the Chilcotin route towards Bella Coola, novel to us. Even that far north there was ample evidence of smoke; turns out "you can run but you can't hide". Not overwhelming smoke, but plenty of evidence of the fires of 2015 and 2017, reminding us of the 2020 fires just to the south.
Choosing RV sites, we were lured into Puntzi Lake with the promise of a bakery at the campsite - a little unexpected 'in the middle of nowhere'! A second surprise was the discovery that white pelicans call Puntzi Lake home in July and August before migration to more hospitable climes.
One of the pleasures of travel in the province is seeing changes in the vegetation. The "trembling aspens" and pine forests offer a beauty distinct from coastal cedar, oak, and arbutus.
We found the winding, ice-turquoise Chilcotin River spell-binding, softening as it does the stark sculpted desert walls and dunes that descend sharply to the water's edge.
Smoke obscured the glacier-covered mountains that line the route to the remote coast. Forty kilometres from Mt. Waddington, the highest peak in British Columbia, we were unable to discern even an outline. As we u-turned east and back-tracked to Williams Lake, we vowed to return to Chilcotin country someday.
It was illuminating to post-process images taken through smoke. I discovered that we could all use a personal 'dehaze filter'! Magically the processing filter allowed us to "see what we couldn't see". Below is what we 'really' saw followed by the same image processed using Lightroom's dehaze filter. Unfortunately the filter did not remove debris from the windscreen, 'dehazng' rendering both distant mountains and spots on the windshield more visible.
Hopscotching as we were around the province, we sometimes found fall before we found summer.
From Williams Lake we headed east towards Revelstoke, the route lined with lake after lake after lake. Among them, Bridge Lake, above, where a couch invited visitors to the end of the boardwalk, and, below, Shuswap Lake where, ironically, smoke be damned, we made our own fire!
Many of the lakes were obscured almost totally by smoke; others, like this one, allowed us a peek at their magnetic and majestic beauty.
Fortunately the distance across the Arrow Lakes is not far; the captain of the Galena Bay ferry was able to navigate safely through dense smoke. Maybe she uses a dehaze filter!
We camped 16 miles south of Nakusp on Arrow Lake, its capricious moods changing with the weather. Smoke was beginning to dissipate and the sight of fog and clouds was welcome.
West along southern BC route 3 the change to undulating desert brought sure signs of fall including beautiful grasses, pine trees, and more trembling aspens.
The Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail and the Columbia & Western Rail Trail extends from Hope to Castlegar. The trestle mirrored in the Kettle River below is part of the decommissioned track, now home to an extensive recreational trail providing almost 650 km (400 mi) of connected hiking and biking pathways.
From there we chose to head north and west towards home: along the way, a dramatic peak, a climber's magnet, seen from Marble Canyon Provincial Park.
Along Duffy Lake road yesterday we were granted glimpses of snow-capped peaks through the cloud-laden valley of Cayoosh Creek. The highway's a rewarding winding, hilly route; the prize once through to Pemberton is the thundering drama of Nairn Falls.
And then, Whistler. In contrast to the natural architecture of the river, the Audain Museum - an architectural beauty befitting the marvellous Canadian artwork collection housed within. Emily Carr and EJ Hughes, along with wonderful Northwest Coast masks are highlights.
(Below top: EJ Hughes, bottom Robert Davidson)
Satiated and feeling fortunate, we return home this weekend having managed to avoid considerable smoke and the first significant storm of the season!
Art off the Fence in the 2020 showcase format will launch for a final three weeks at the Driftwood Centre this Wednesday, August 5th. My image, Confluence, represents a toast to better times ahead.
There's a wonderful new show, Islands Wild, at Ptarmigan Arts Gallery at Hope Bay:
Three of my photographs are currently on the walls at Ptarmigan Arts. Two mystical images, Enchanted Isle and Aurora are photographs of shadows cast by sunlight through wavy glass. The sun created magic!
Sunlight once again casts its magic, this time through rain, in a third more traditional image, Rainbow Route.
Last but not least, I am delighted that my Sooke Fine Arts entries have gone to new homes! Printed in limited editions of five, Flying Solo and Deep Dive remain available framed or unframed.
So, a toast to better times ahead, to staying safe, to staying calm, and to being kind...
Creativity abounds and even thrives in this discombobulated age; no surprise that it's clearly evident in the online 2020 Sooke Fine Arts Show. The organizers have worked tirelessly to reinvent this premier Vancouver Island summer event. You attend from your very own home: no crowds, and lots of time to browse and ponder. I have just had my first peek at the show and, WOW. The presentation is exceptional. View the show at http://sookefinearts.com
I am delighted that two of my images were selected for SFAS 2020 and thrilled that Flying Solo sold during the Purchasers' Preview last night. (Limited edition of 5)
Art off the Fence 2020 officially opens in the glass showcase at the Driftwood Centre this Saturday, June 27th. Three weeks of rotating art in July will be followed (after a short break) by three more in August. Even within the limited space we plan to showcase a wide variety of work so please check the space often this summer.
At Oak Bay Avenue's Gage Gallery (Victoria), some of the work submitted to "Challenge Crisis with Creativity" (previously shown online) will be displayed when the gallery reopens on Tuesday, June 23rd, for the first time since the shutdown - five days only. My piece Connecting While Physically Distanced (shown below the Gage Gallery poster) will be among the works on display.
Connecting While Physically Distanced
Welcome to The Social Distancing Festival.
This is a site for celebrating art from all over the world, showcasing amazing talent, and coming together as a community at a time when we need it more than ever.
Our Pender Island Art off the Fence Bee Project is featured on the Social Distancing Festival Website:
My piece Upside Down Yoga, Upside Down World is part of our festival display.
The Social Distancing Festival website is worth exploring; showcased is an extensive
collection of inspiring artwork in multiple genres.
Stay tuned for more!
Art off the Fence is an annual premier summer art show on Pender Island. To mark it's 24th anniversary this July, the show will go on, reimagined for these discombobulated times.
We have moved from our usual one acre site on South Pender Island to the twenty-four square foot
display case at the Driftwood Centre, as well as online.
Starting Wednesday, May 27th with the Bee Project, you'll find a rotating exhibit of our artists' work in the display case in front of Talisman Books - and on Facebook and Instagram at
Art Off the Fence on Pender Island.
About the Bee Project
There are 20,000 species of bees in the world; they pollinate one third of the crops we eat; a few species are thriving, others are endangered by habitat loss, pollution and climate change. This exhibition and sale of work by Art off the Fence artists is a celebration of the importance of bees.
Shown below are my photographic contributions to the bee project:
Just Cruisin' Upside Down Yoga, Upside Down World
Stay tuned - Art off the Fence will reappear in late June, again in the Driftwood showcase, with the usual eclectic variety of work that has been a feature of the outdoor show for twenty-four years.
Watch for posts on Facebook and Instagram
Art off the Fence on Pender Island
Four weeks ago Victoria's Gage Gallery Arts Collective launched "Challenge Crisis with Creativity". Each week the gallery requested images matching the following themes. Week One: Social Distancing, Week Two: Can't Stop the Spring, Week Three: Thankful For..., and Week Four: Pandemic Connection.
Thank you Gage Gallery for a thoughtful and fun way to help artists find ways to stay
creative through this pandemic.
Social Distancing (two images):
Is it Safe Out There?
Week Two: Can't Stop the Spring (two images):
Paper Thin, Still Lovely
Paper Thin, Aging with Grace
Week Three: Thankful for... (Three images):
Family Near and Far
Week Four has arrived and I am delighted that Gage Gallery chose to use one of my images for their call this week.
"Challenge Crisis with Creativity" is not juried and the gallery continues to accept submissions in all of the weekly categories.
A brief post-trip note - we crossed the border on Thursday just as our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced that anyone returning from the US should self-isolate (that proviso has been extended to world-wide entries / returnees to Canada). After picking up groceries and flowers we returned feeling happy and fortunate.
Stay well. Stay safe. Find ways to laugh.
The cartoon-like Leafy Sea Dragons at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla alone make this stop worthwhile - captivating and amusing underwater wonders!
La Jolla Cove is home to pelicans, cormorants, seals, and sea lions, each claiming a special spot and ignoring the tourists' cameras. The cormorants guard nests; male and female parents taking turns brooding.
Just off the coast at San Juan Capistrano - the "jewel of the (Spanish) missions", a calming and sublime refuge in a distracted world.
The Mission gardens and pools are lovely; this one attracting a single-minded Green Heron.
In LA, the Getty Centre - home to J. Paul Getty's extensive art collection. The angular architecture is grand and imposing; the gardens a softly elegant counterbalance.
Finally, Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture Garden in Paso Robles; sculpture by various artists. Magnificent!
We leave today to begin the trek north filled with a trove of uplifting images of some of the treasures to be found along this delightful coast.
older blog items...
First, some sculpted fun. In 2008, Artist Ricardo Breceda was commissioned to create
sculptures for placement in multiple locations around Borrego Springs. These creations,
sizeable in themselves, serve to highlight the astonishing scale of their desert surroundings.
The five section giant serpent has the head of a dragon and the tail of a rattlesnake; the tail
stretches under and across the well-travelled road.
Little Surprise Canyon is typical of many of the trails in Anza Borrego. At this time of year,
hikers are rewarded with glimpses of the desert gradually colouring into bloom.
Canyons carve the badlands into chasms, sculpting a dramatic and challenging landscape.
The terrain viewed from above:
and below. Hiking "The Slot" requires deft manoeuvring and a degree of bravery!
Shadows in the foreground and the distant motorhome offer further clues to the colossal scale
of the desert landscape.
Golf course oases provide welcome diversion from sand and sandstone. Many visitors to
Borrego are drawn by the game and the mostly benign weather - warm days, cool nights.
A four mile sandy road leads from the highway to Fonts Point - a viewpoint providing a
breathtaking 360 degree view of the badlands and surrounding mountains. Sunlight and shadow
play tag throughout the day, spellbinding those lucky enough to witness the magic. At sunset
the scene is sublime.
Now it's farewell to the desert as we head towards that magnetic Pacific Ocean.