Alpine meadows bursting with flowers, tall slender firs towering over the trails, vistas of mountains, lakes and forests as far as the eye can see, tiny lakes cradled in the mountainside – this is Mount Revelstoke National Park! My home for a few days.
I was chosen along with two other artists, Caroline Scagel and Valerie Rogers, to capture a few moments of life in the park.
It was mid-August, the peak of the short mountaintop summer. We were there to live in a cabin, paint, hike, photograph and collaborate – what an amazing opportunity.
For me it was love at first sight. The entrance, Meadows in the Sky Parkway, offers the rare opportunity to drive up into the alpine meadows of a mountain. For hikers this is regular fare but for us non-hikers it is heaven. Everything was so different from my experiences on the coast: skinny trees each with its own personality; open meadows full of new and interesting plants; and of course, the reds of the Indian Paintbrush giving everything a wonderful pink glow.
We began our days early, watching the sunrise over the valley below, and then hiking up to the one of the lakes, Balsam Lake was the closest and a beautiful place. We set up to paint, as the morning mist began to move off the water, it was hard not to just sit and enjoy the moment.
No, it wasn’t paradise – there were bugs. We had been warned and I was prepared. Plein Air painting took on a new meaning as I settled in and tried to capture my small part of this universe.
After lunch we moved into our little studio and worked and talked. Oh, how we talked. To have time to really talk about art, art making, art trials and tribulations with other artists is exhilarating! I know my husband takes a keen interest in my work but even he is not up to that level of discussion.
We were only there for a few days, but they were full and flew by so fast. Some of my favourite moments were hiking to Eve Lake, digging into our treasure chest of food for the day, face-time with a Northern Hawk Owl, experiencing moonlight walks to the out house, watching the sun set over the valley below, chatting with Caroline and Valerie, meeting and greeting visitors to the park.
The residency didn’t stop with our stay at the park. We each produced works for an art show at the Revelstoke Visual Art Centre that opened Nov. 7, and, after one month, will travel for a year promoting parks in Canada. This is a special year for the park – it’s the 100th anniversary of Mount Revelstoke National Park.
Now that it’s over you might ask, “Would you do it again?” You bet. My only wish is that it had been longer.