Regrowth and regeneration (Borrow Pit #4)


As we tootled east on the Al-Can, it was past construction season. There were not many sections gravier signs left to remind Mary of poutine. However, the fact that she could joke about food was a good sign, for it signaled the return of some appetite, even though she remained pretty low.

About 100 km east of Fort Nelson, I pulled down an off-road track to paint some regrowth in a wildfire area. This is a subject that fascinates me, since the geometry and variety are so different from any other plein air subject. Wildfire is a fact of life in the western provinces, so it should be painted.

I never relaxed while painting.  For me that’s very rare, so when it happens I heed it. After all, I was standing in some grizzly bear’s salad bowl.

There are a few paintings that “got away” along the Al-Can. One was of a hunting camp along the highway. I’d hoped to find one on this last day to paint. I also wanted to paint something of the Peace River Valley, for it looks so western here in its deeply cut ravine.

The Al-Can carries much more traffic near its eastern terminus. There’s gas exploration, agriculture, and much logging. The shoulder is narrow and the lay-bys few and far between. I took a few tracks off the main road and came up with nothing but forest encroaching on either side.

“It’s an early bedtime, then,” I told myself, and pushed on to our destination. There, Mary pointed out that I’d knocked off the tailpipe while off-roading. So once again we spent a morning in a muffler shop and were that little bit more delayed.

I reminded myself that we’d just passed through more than a thousand miles of territory where there were no muffler shops. Now we had a choice of four in Dawson Creek. I don’t think that was an accident.

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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Regrowth and regeneration (Borrow Pit #4) is 6X8, oil on archival canvasboard.

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