Thursday, August 27, 2009
Galiano Island, learning to draw trees (also IF – Caution)
I drew and coloured this while sitting on the sandstone edges of Maple Bay at the North End of Galiano Island. Mom and I stayed at Swallow's Keep for three nights, and made the trek through the forest to Maple Bay and Coon Bay twice. We had a run-in with our host's sheep at the start of the trail, and then descended into the most breathtaking forest I've ever been in. Seriously breathtaking. It was all sunbeams floating past mossy trunks to land on lush ferns. About half way through, the trail transitions from a homemade path to an official parks one, at which point wooden hand-lettered signs gave way to standard yellow ones warning us of a gate a few feet ahead. And then, the beach.
Emerging out of the dense, lush forest and stepping into a deserted cove made of small smooth pebbles and the clearest water, edged by sandstone cliffs – there is nothing so magical. Except having it to yourself all day long, and having no other obligations than to sit on the pebbles with a small sketchbook in your lap, a few watercolours and a cup full of sea water, and try to record at least a tiny bit of the place and the way it feels.
I generally get totally bored trying to draw "nature" – I complain to myself that trees don't move, so are infinitely more boring than people. If there are people in a landscape, or even evidence of people's effect on the place, I'm so much more interested. But I'm beginning to realize a tree in a moment has a gesture just as a person does, and the above is me trying to capture that. It's something I'm now excited to practice.
This was the next attempt, a few hours later, drawn while sitting on a swing in a tree and watching the sun set over the islands below us – a gesture of an arbutus tree, along with a gesture of Mom at the beach, and her reading in front of our little cabin on the cliff.