Saturday, September 7, 2013

How I Spent My Summer Holidays - Pacific Rim, Vancouver Island

What a summer we've had on the west coast this year! Day after day of sunshine, breaking all previously-set records. I've spent huge chunks of it outside in one place or another, enjoying the beauty of it all, and filling up my "creative well" with all sorts of images and ideas to feed me during the winter to come. It's not that I haven't stitched and quilted, but these have been things to do in the cool of the morning, or when travelling, rather than central to my everyday studio practice.
These first few images are from Pacific Rim National Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I went
camping there for a week in July, with my husband David. We re-acquainted ourselves with the joys of tenting, and making a campfire, and took walks on the beach and through the rain forest, often accompanied by our daughter Jessie, who makes her home in Tofino (it's Jessie who's perched up in the cedar in one of these photos). I spent some time with my sketch book, trying to capture the lines of the waves, as surfers rode them in to shore; and the lines of ferns growing under the canopy of coniferous trees, and the lines of long-dead cedars arising from the bog. (Did you know that cedars can remain standing 100 years after they die? Something to do
with the oil in the wood.) And I took lots and lots of photos - moss hanging from trees, boardwalk pathways through the forest, asparagus ferns, the curve of bare branches - its all fodder for future work.
But I think the biggest value of spending lots of time walking and observing and just be-ing in places like this, is that is slows one down enough to pay attention, to actually see. We miss so much when we travel too fast. And this ability to pay attention serves us well in the creative life. In fact it's essential to it. Being in the forest allows me to connect with it in a visceral way, and that connection will show in my work. Nothing tangible, exactly, but I know it matters somehow, even if I can't quite put words to the "why" of it. I hope your summer has been rich in experience and in filling your own creative wells. It's good to re-connect with you after this hiatus, and I'll be sharing more of my summer with you in future blog posts, as the days begin to shorten and the 
temperature begins to cool.