A Brush with Henschel: Inside Passage- January

The west coast could be blessed with an abundance of snow this winter. This seems to be a mixed blessing since if you are in the logging industry it often means shut-downs until the white stuff melts down to a workable level but, in the long term, it does help to make those trees grow bigger. Precipitation in the form of rain runs off pretty quickly while the snowmelt is a slower procedure allowing more of the moisture to get down into the soil to the roots. The colder weather that accompanies the snow is also a friend of the forest since it kills many of the bugs that feed off it.

The snow, one of my favourite painting subjects, is my friend as well. I can’t remember when I have painted so many snow scenes in such a short period. Just when I think I’m done with it, it keeps reappearing! The picture shown here is a scene sketched along the shoreline at Willow Point in Campbell River (which seems to get dumped on more than North Island does) during a brief stop coming up-island. When I eventually arrived home there was nary a white spot to be seen!

During the previous weeks, we had driven down to Palm Springs, California to visit some friends. Our trip down was quite delightful since it was the first time we motored down in thirty-two years. The weather was spring-like with Central California’s almond and olive trees in bloom. When we arrived we had to put up with that boring blue sky and swaying palm trees for two weeks!

We had previously decided to take a trip to Sedona, Arizona, a Mecca for artists and other weird people like us. It was up in the High Desert country, boasting some of the most colourful scenery in America and, it seems, an incredible array of art galleries. If I told anyone I was an artist they would reply “So, isn’t everybody?” Southwest art is hot colours, bold shapes, all quite overwhelming to a Northwest eye used to soft, cool shades.

Upon returning to Palm Springs, the weather turned cooler and windier with sandstorms making their daily appearance. Crossing California on the way home we ran into snow in the mountain passes and headwinds in the valleys. Distinctly different from our trip south, we hit a wall of rain at the Oregon border which continued on into the next day as far as Seattle. In a rest stop just south of that city it was snowing so hard that motorists were wishing each other a Merry Christmas! By the time we reached the Canadian border, skies were clear.

The best part of a trip, of course, is getting home where folks are a little more laid back, end every sentence with “eh” and a dollar is worth a dollar, not seventy-five cents! We got home to clear skies but, guess what? We woke up the next morning with ten centimetres of snow, imported from the United States, duty free!

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