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summer sketches

Some seasonal changes creep up on us--the sun rising just a little later every morning. At summer solstice it is up by 5:07 am, climbing above the mountains of Howe Sound (from where I look across the strait). By 6:00 am it is blasting into our bedroom, making it impossible to sleep in. Today the sun rose at 6:19.

Other changes happen overnight--a few days ago all the Purple Martins which nest in the boxes on the pilings at Newcastle, just up and left. The soundtrack of their happy twittering as they fluttered over the island suddenly silenced. But a day later the mew gulls arrived on our point, noticeable because of their calls, described as "squealing outbursts" in the bird book, so different from the calls of our local glaucous-winged gulls. These mew gulls have just finished their nesting season. They may have come from as far as Alaska.


Despite the fact that it still feels like mid-summer, with the hot winds blowing all day down the strait, things are on the move. The light has the final say.

Time seems to move more quickly in the light and heat of summer.

My summer started with trip on the S.V. Maple Leaf in Haida Gwaii. Like last year, we traced some of the travels of Emily Carr in the islands, stopping to draw, as she did over a hundred years ago. 



As always, Haida Gwaii was full of natural history surprises, a group of transient orcas, one morning, hunting seals, just off Windy Bay. A herring left in the wake of a feeding Humpback.

And this beautiful Lingcod, mottled to match the sea floor which was home...


 Late July I was off to Mitlenatch Island Provincial Park, to work for a week as a volunteer. It is special to return to a place every year for many years (my pal Nancy and I have been going there for 20 years). It is a seabird colony, a small island humming with compressed life: wildflowers, gulls, cormorants, oystercatchers, guillemots, peregrines, ravens, seals....the best show on earth. And while you are there, other than orienting visitors to the island and some ongoing bird counts and upkeep, there are rich long hours for just sitting and watching everything unfold. And for drawing of course. This year the wet spring and sunny summer was perfect for fruiting and the wild apple trees were weighted....


In August, Kim and our daughter, Sophie, and I sailed the southern gulf islands:


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    Alison Watt, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC - Blog - summer

Reader Comments (3)

These are delightful summer sketches with a deft, aware, soft touch. Beautiful!

August 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDianne Bersea

Always a pleasure to see your sketches and paintings and read about your perspectives on the natural world. I am particularly taken with the August 3 water colour of the weathering patterns in the sandstone.

August 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMary Jo Fulmer

Thanks Dianne and Mary Jo for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
Diane, as you know, I am a great admirer of your work. Mary Jo--the water working of sandstone is so fun to draw and paint. That painting was done with a pigment "wode" (made from a plant) that I picked up in Albi in southwest France. At one time this was a centre of the pigment production and made the town rich. I've had the pigment around for a few years but just started using it recently and I LOVE it. It is a little like indigo, but much more lively. It pulls into a beautiful transparent pale blue grey when thinned down but it can also be a rich dark.

August 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlison Watt

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