Aurora Borealis

Standing half-way up Mt. Erskine, the first thing that came to mind was the incredible sweet smell in the dark air. Long grasses, Douglas Firs and Cedars, all mixed in the warm air. Then, as our eyes adjusted to the dark, more and more stars appeared until the Milky Way was so dense above us, we could see the shadows left amongst the stars. I had not noticed these before until a Peruvian friend pointed out the negative shapes. In the Andean heritage, the shadow shapes were as important as the starry shapes. These shadows, the Andeans call "The Llama, the Fox, The Toad and Snake."

We were up on the mountain to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis and we were not disappointed. Although it was a 'diffuse aurora' and not a 'discrete aurora' with all its wave-like curtain formations, it was still a stunning sight.


Over the orange glow of the city, a faint band of green could be seen. It grew stonger as time passed.

Off to the north-west, out of the glow of the warm city lights of Vancouver, a more ghostly green illumination backdropped the fir trees.

Auroa borealis


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Here we go.

Get a rough paper sketch done and then quickly block it in on canvas.


Paint, paint, paint.

As usual it gets to the "frightful" mid-point stage where you have to have confidence that you can pull it off.  Too many colours! Too garish! The poppies are chunky smears! Time for a tea break and try not to think of the impending disaster in the studio.


Go back to the studio. Take a peak. Regroup.

Paint, paint, paint.

It starts to come together. You see the end of the tunnel. Voila.





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Mount Erskine

There are two paths up the mountain and that made all the difference. Winding switchbacks, a meandering through trees, soft green moss, tinkles of a winter brook, robin trills and the high-pitched tweaking of the kinglets high above. Glimpses of blue overhead and the occasional amber leaf of a Garry Oak mark the path below my feet.




At the summit are blue skies above and blue water below. The far islands curve in an optical illusion and I can see the friendly shapes of the mountains that guard Vancouver on the mainland.


There are, the locals say, small faerie doors marking the entrance ways to trees and undercrops of rocks. This adventure will be for another time.


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Day's End

Walking the dog at the end of the day, I watch my shadow before me. How long it stretches until is but a small potato. The land is rotating away from the sun, stretching, getting ready to settle down for the evening. All things grow longer, extending the boundary of their physical selves. Shadows merge with other shadows and now the apple tree can chat with the cedar as their forms merge into one. The last news of the day is exchanged with the energy of shadows.


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