Tag Archives: mountains

Mountain Trivia (Reboot365-4)

Did you know that more than half of humanity depends on mountains for water? (This fact comes from this article on The Telegraph website).

 

IMG_4842 mountains and water.jpg

At this time of year we have plenty of both mountains and water… 

 

Why am I thinking about water (where it comes from and where it goes)? It so happens that my ghost walkers last night wanted to know about Banff’s water supply and sewage system, not something I had come prepared to talk about (ghosts neither drink nor pee).

I figured there had to be some kind of waste-water treatment going on (there’s no way all those hotels have some funky septic system under  Banff Avenue) and, sure enough, Banff has a pretty skookum system. Because the town is in a National Park, they are pretty particular about what they consider to be a clean end product. Here’s a list of what Banff suggests you do NOT flush down the toilet. I’d say it’s a pretty good list for all of us to keep in mind.

 

Snapseed 100.jpg

I try not to forget how lucky I am to be able to enjoy a glass of good, clean water whenever I’m thirsty. 

 

On the incoming end, Banff’s (quite delicious) drinking water comes from very deep underground wells. It’s pumped up to a reservoir on Tunnel Moutain and given a bit of chlorine treatment before trickling back down into the townsite and into drinking glasses and refillable water bottles all over town.

 

WaterBottleFillingStations_MapForWebsiteIMG

The Town of Banff provides filling stations so you can tank up with great Banff water free of charge. 

Here in Canmore, there’s a rather ambitious action plan in place that hopes to reduce per capita water consumption by 50% by 2035 (from 200 rates). I love drinking the water here (tasty!) and I enjoy long showers… I guess I will have some work to do if I am going to do my part.

Do you have any great water conservation tips to share? I might as well start now…

 

 

 

We Know Better Now (42/365)

A very long, very busy day again – so today I’ve gone into the archives for a couple of quick photos in the ‘hm, good thing we don’t do this any more’ department.

IMG_4488

Back in the day, feeding wildlife was a thing… I think I even read recently  (can’t think now where) that long ago people came to Banff to feed the bears! That seems like an eminently stupid thing to do, but then, when I look at us (that’s me and my brother, Peter) feeding the bighorn sheep, that wasn’t too smart either.

charles m russell big-horn-sheep-1904.jpg!Large

There’s a dramatic painting by Charles M. Russell, c. 1904 called Big Horn Sheep… It’s the males that have the full-on horn curl going on. 

 

 

PC216120.jpg

This Big Horn buck is mounted and hung at Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. I’m not sure of the stats regarding trophy hunting and how popular it is then versus now, but I can’t say I understand why anyone would hunt just for sport. I’m not opposed for hunting for meat as long as one does so in season and following proper game management protocols but as a source of decorations? Um. No. 

And, yes, probably somewhat less dangerous but also not a good idea is the chipmunk-feeding craze we enjoyed as kids. I loved the feel of their tiny, delicate claws every so gently scratching the palm of my hand as they would take an offered peanut. They were pretty brazen (I think this one was on the top of Sulphur Mountain) and would sit back on their haunches, cheeks bulging and enjoy their feast.

 

IMG_4516

These days I have quite a different relationship with the little monsters. They know when climbers are busy belaying and can’t chase them off, so they blithely crawl all over our packs, chew holes in food bags, and generally make a menace of themselves while we are distracted.

They are still cute, yes, but I have a lot less patience with them now and have no patience whatsoever with people who feed them and make the problem worse.

 

charles m russell big-horn-sheep-1904.jpg!Large

There’s a dramatic painting by Charles M. Russell, c. 1904 called Big Horn Sheep… It’s the males that have the full-on horn curl going on. 

 

And that, as they say, is all she wrote…

Anybody else want to confess they used to feed the animals? As in, a long time ago before we knew better? I think there’s a statute of limitations on such misdemeanors (though today, there’s also a hefty fine). If you are a current offender, perhaps best you keep your head down and stay quiet.

 

Monsoon June (31/365)

IMG_4371 2.JPG

After a few glorious days of sun and heat, it’s cooled right down again here as we head into Monsoon June. Rain, dipping temperatures, and really cool skies (check out those clouds!) are typical of this time of year. After a few weeks of this unpredictable weather, we head into forest fire season.

Last summer the fires were awful… thick smoke day after day and everyone on edge wondering if the flames were going to sweep through and engulf inhabited areas. Fort McMurray. Kelowna. The memories are still fresh.

mark tobey forest-fire-1956

Forest Fire, by Mark Tobey, 1956

This year’s fire season is still in the future. For now, I’m going to enjoy the beauty of clouds…

Clouds and the Baths

Puffy clouds over the Baths, BVI

Clouds over Canmore.jpg

Clouds over Canmore

Clouds over Ha Ling

Clouds over Ha Ling

Reflected Clouds - Policeman's Creek

Reflected Clouds – Policeman’s Creek, Canmore

Caribbean Clouds.jpg

Caribbean Clouds

Spanish Clouds over the Camino

Spanish Clouds over the Camino

 

More Spanish Clouds.JPG

More Spanish Clouds (Dawn)

 

More Clouds over Ha Ling

More Clouds over Ha Ling

Apparently, I have a thing for clouds… I found dozens and dozens of photos of clouds from pretty much everywhere I’ve been over the past dozen years.

Artists, too, find clouds irresistible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cloud Study, E. Colin Williams (watercolour)

Dad has done his share of cloud-centric paintings.

 

o keeffe 1963sky-above-clouds-iii.jpg!Large

Sky Above Clouds III by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1963

As have many, many other painters…

 

Braque 1960 birds-in-the-clouds-1960.jpg!Large

Birds in the Clouds by Georges Braque, 1960

 

John Constable 1827 seascape-study-with-rain-cloud-1.jpg!Large

Seascape Study with Rain Clouds by John Constable, 1827

 

Which makes me think I need to join this cloudy party and start experimenting with some cloud-themed drawings/paintings/collages… Something. Heaven knows I have plenty of raw material to work with around here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oooops… Got Very Distracted (24/365)

… so this will be short.

IMG_4171.JPG

We headed up Cougar Creek this afternoon for a bit of cragging. 

It was good to get back outside on real rocks again (my quick session on the auto-belays at the climbing gym last night just wasn’t the same!). In the ten days or so since I left for the coast, summer has arrived here in the mountains!

IMG_4162  IMG_4161.JPG

The view from partway up one of the routes on Cat’s Eye Wall… it never ceases to amaze me how quite large trees manage to grow right out of the rock face.

IMG_4165.JPGI did snap a few reference shots of climbers as well as natural forms (rocks, stumps) for future sketching sessions, but mostly, I just enjoyed being back outside, the low murmur and mumble of Cougar Creek in the background.

Hmmm… not quite sure why my video isn’t looping after I upload it… And, too tired to figure it out right at the moment.

While I was hanging around on the end of a rope, Dad was busy sending me all kinds of interesting art-y reference material. I’ll have to digest that when I have a few minutes and I’m not falling asleep sitting up! I would say tomorrow, but we have plans to climb again, so maybe not…

It’s a good kind of tired, this… after an afternoon of fresh air and sunshine!

 

sleeping-woman-1913 kuzma petrov-vodkin

Sleeping Woman by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, 1913

 

 

Look at all Those Patterns! (14/365)

 

Snapseed 88

Somewhere over the Rocky Mountains

Look at all those lines and patterns! I don’t usually sit in the window seat when I fly (I prefer to be on the aisle so I can stretch my legs and escape for occasional sprints, stretches, and visits to the loo without having to crawl over sleeping seat mates). Today, though, the plane between Calgary and Vancouver was half empty, so I had a whole row to myself and wound up looking out the window a lot.

 

Dad has always said that learning to draw begins with learning how to see. Everything (the landscape, a coffee cup, a person’s face, a hummingbird) can be broken down into visual elements – line, pattern, colour, etc.).

IMG_1417.JPG

Somewhere over an airport carpet

 

 

Snapseed 89.jpg

Somewhere in my notebook… (taking inspiration from both mountain range and carpet and somehow resembling neither…)

Dad, meanwhile, sent me some info on the German painter Josef Albers. Albers was obsessed with shapes, patterns and colour…

 

1976-7-49

Brackish Water Biarritz VIII, 1929 by Josef Albers (Collage)

One of his best known series of paintings (aptly named Homage to the Square) features squares…

 

homage-to-the-square-1967-1 Albers

Homage to the Square, 1967 by Josef Albers

Various squares in all manner of color combinations and proportions occupied his painterly efforts for nearly 30 years! Using squares in his compositions, Albers experimented (endlessly) with the ways in which colours interacted depending on their placement next to each other.

Speaking of colour combinations of note, some Canadians may recall the fuss that was kicked up when the National Gallery purchased Voice of Fire by the American painter Barnett Newman.

Barnett Newman 1967 voice-of-fire-1967

In the early ’90s the National Gallery picked up Newman’s blue, red, blue painting for a cool 1.76 million dollars. Granted, it’s a pretty large piece (18′ tall), but you can imagine detractors squawked. Not only was this a piece of work that generated some head-scratching (blue-red-blue? that’s it?), it was painted by an American!! Shouldn’t Canadian taxpayer money at least be used to purchase Canadian art? [Note, I am merely paraphrasing the discussion at the time… don’t throw things at me…]

 

In a 2014 Ottawa Citizen article by Peter Simpson, some rather crazy numbers get tossed around. At that time the Newman painting was estimated to be worth more than $40 million USD! Perhaps the rash purchase back in the day was actually a pretty smart investment. Not that public galleries buy art primarily as an investment, but it is nice to know that sometimes the curators get it right.

Perhaps I need to do an 18′ high version of my dot…

 

 

 

 

S is for Slug, Snow, Spindrift, Spring and Street Art (#AtoZChallenge2018)

 

 

Spindrift IMG_2421

Spindrift [Fine snow that blows off a mountain… well, I guess it could blow off anywhere, but this was snow blowing around above the Bow Valley]

Snapseed 87

Snow is melting away before our eyes as spring finally, finally finds its way to the Bow Valley. This year, it seems like winter has been here for a very long time. 

 

S, it turns out, is full of potential when it comes to this month’s daily blogging challenge! It seems everywhere I look it’s all about transformation (the theme this month is Travel, Transformation and Transition…).

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been receiving updates on a watercolour painting from Dad’s studio…

 

IMG_2423

In an artist’s studio, ideas are transformed into drawings, paintings, prints, lino cuts… 

 

The subject matter? Unusual, to say the least!

 

IMG_2428

Slug, slowly making his way to completion… 

 

 

IMG_2422 Slug ECW

Slug on the Camino by E. Colin Williams (2018)

 

 

IMG_2435

Stormy Seas… by E. Colin Williams (Oil on Board) I don’t think that’s actually the real title, but today is day so I’ll leave it for now… I’m sure Dad will let me the correct title. 

 

When I travel, one of the things I love to photograph is the street art I come across. Somehow, even the roughest of neighbourhoods, most rustic back alleys, decrepit sheds, and ramshackle fences are transformed when someone takes the time to add a little art… Here are a few pieces of street art spotted while wondering through Paris earlier this month…

IMG_1800 2.JPG

IMG_1801 2.JPG

IMG_1802 2.JPGIMG_1804 2.JPG

IMG_1808 2.JPG

IMG_1793 2.JPG

And, of course, I can’t leave this post without mentioning Rodin and this piece of sculpture featuring a great stone… Oh, I sure did enjoy myself in Rodin’s garden!

IMG_1702 2

Oh, one last thought… sometimes the stones themselves become works of art as in this installation not far from my place here in Canmore.

 

 

IMG_2409.jpg

Portal XII by Lucie Bause, 2011

 

I could keep going for hours, but it’s been a very long day staring at the computer as I work my way through the draft of the new manuscript and my eyeballs are getting more square by the minute! So, away I go to slip off to SLEEP so I can transition into T is for tomorrow!

 

Abbott Handerson Thayer 1887 sleep-1887.jpg!Large

Sleep by Abbott Handersaon Thayer, 1887

 

 

Q is for Quarry Lake (AtoZChallenge2018)

 

IMG_2289 Quarry Lake Picnic

Quarry Lake Park near Canmore

 

Well, sometimes the stars align, hey? I was wondering what on earth I’d dredge up to talk about when Q rolled around. After I picked A. up from a dentist appointment, we headed up to Quarry Lake for a stroll and a pizza-themed picnic. Because it’s so close (about a five-minute drive from downtown), it’s a pretty popular spot and even though the trails are  soggy at the moment there were lots of people out and about enjoying the spring sunshine (and, yes, it is very strange for me, a Vancouver Islander for so many years, to consider a snow-covered landscape to be in any way related to the word spring).

The views here are terrific – Ha Ling is one of my favourite mountains (we can see it from our condo, just across the valley), but up close and personal, it’s an impressive peak. Quarry Lake Park is also a designated off-leash dog park, which makes it a great place for pup-watching.

 

Quarry Lake Tree Bark

Quarry Lake Tree (bark detail)… Keep an eye on the blog for a pastel interpretation of these great colours and patterns!  

 

The lake was still sort of frozen (everything is quite slushy this time of year) and overed with snow, but in the summer should one try to swim out a bit and dive down (good luck – it’s cold no matter what time of year you visit…), you’d have to hold your breath a loooong time before you reached the bottom as it’s over 100 meters deep in its deepest, darkest corners (if a lake can have corners…)

Once a quarry (surprise, surprise), the park is slowly reclaiming land once used for mining. And, yes, I do mean the park is doing the reclaiming. Picnic tables and toilets aside, large areas are just being left alone to slowly return to their natural state.

 

IMG_2304

Ha Ling from Quarry Lake Park, Mixed Media Experiment (yep, I touched Deb’s pastels… living dangerously! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Visit P is for Pastels)

 

See you tomorrow! I wonder if I’m actually going to make it through the R-S-T-U -V-When-will-the-alphabet-ever-end doldrums this year?? So far, so good… it’s looking promising!