At Brandon, Manitoba, we turned off the Trans-Canada and headed north on Route 10, looking for a place to paint. The landscape was suddenly looking very Midwestern. Farms replaced ranches, towns were more frequent, and the tree cover grew more abundant. Golden light poured down onto the newly mowed hayfields.

And then, with a mighty screech, our SUV powered down and refused to move. A turn of the key elicited nothing but a click. It could only be a failed alternator.

As our tow truck brought us back into Brandon, an enormous fireball erupted to our right. “Oh, that’s just the airport,” the driver, Gerald Dedieu, said. It turns out that they do firefighting practice there in the off hours.

It was clear that we were going to kill some time in Brandon, so Gerald suggested we head down to his hometown of Souris in our loaner car. Souris has a creek, a suspension bridge, and a pretty setting, he promised us.

The suspension bridge is evidently Canada’s answer to Britain’s Jubilee Watering Trough, by which I mean that most towns have one. Instead of painting that or Souris’ peacocks, I decided to paint a block of their downtown, and that pretty much covered it.

In 2016, my daughter Mary and I set off across Alaska and Canada on a Great White North Adventure, which you can read about starting here. We arrived in Anchorage at the beginning of September and got home in mid-October. In between, we visited every province but PEI (been there, done that), and Yukon Territory. In retrospect, it might have made more sense to do this during the summer, since Alaska and Canada threw a mess of strange weather at us.

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Downtown is 9X12, oil on archival canvasboard.

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