Painting on Location ~ Waterton National Park

Waterton National Park
Watercolour and pencil on Arches hot pressed, 140lb 7″x 10″
June 13, 2007

Back in June, after completing the MS Bike Tour, we headed over to Waterton National Park for a few days of camping, hiking, sketching and cooking in the open air.

Both of us had managed to catch colds so our days tended toward the more relaxed of the activities. Our hikes were easy and took us along a winding river cut into bright red and orange rocks, painted with the most violently green lichens I’ve ever seen and up gentle mountainsides to alpine lakes, past nodding wildflowers.

Everywhere we looked it was beautiful – not pretty – breathtakingly beautiful.

Waterton is windy, making for exciting skies – huge bruised clouds sweep over the peaks and sunlight constantly changes on the slopes (reminiscent of our trip to Scotland). And then there’s the tent-wrenching gusts, tossing tent-pegs asunder and slashing through windbreak tarps.

I intended to sketch and paint a lot on this trip, but the wind just wouldn’t cooperate and neither would my cold.

Photo by Darren

I found one calm morning to do a small watercolour sketch in the meadow behind our campsite, close to where a cinnamon coloured black bear sow and her two blonde cubs had been the morning before. They appeared shortly after breakfast in a small hollow between two stands of trees. They stood up, looked around, saw us and disappeared down the bank again. We saw them a couple of days later, eating grass on the slope on the other side of the road from the turn-off to the campsite. My photos are quite crummy – it was a bit too dark out and they were a little too far in the distance for my lens (though still close for being bears and all).

Black Bear Sow
Pentax k1000 | Kodak Max 800

Black Bear Sow and Cub (those brown spots between the trees, above the bbq)
Pentax k1000 | Kodak Max 800