Floodtime – Keogh Estuary

The day dawned clear and bright, the salmon berry bushes aiming their little pink tongues to the sun while robins did their spring dances across the lawn. I was ready to belt out a chorus of “Oh what a beautiful morning” when I noticed the best thing of all about this new day, one that I had been waiting for: there was absolutely no wind; not a breeze.

I had tried to paint the mouth of the Keogh river before but I swear the winds off Queen Charlotte Strait all funnel up that channel, winds that seem to scare up every goose pimple on your body when you are sitting still for a couple of hours trying to pull off a painting. I packed up my painting paraphernalia and headed out because today was perfect!

There really are no shortcuts to get to the mouth of the Keogh so it takes a bit of doing. The road that gets you closest is a short turnoff just before you get to the Port Hardy Airport where it follows along beside the fence to the ocean. This is the spot to park your vehicle and begin your two kilometre hike to the estuary.

Upon parking my Jeep there on the day I did this painting, I saw the head of a young girl peeking over the bushes just above the beach directly in front of me. After this one cursory glance she disappeared obviously to make her observations known to the rest of her family. Her voice, not loud but quite perceptible reported, “ I don’t know who he is but he’s really old”! I went on with my hike muttering something about cruel honesty.

At low tide the Keogh’s mouth is a maze of bright sandstone rocks carved into a myriad of shapes by time and waves. An artist could paint here every day for a year and come away with as many paintings, all different. Where to set up and paint is always a decision one has to make quickly. After I did a ‘walk around’ I decided it made good sense to position myself up the river instead of the beach; besides, the marvellous old stump on the bank appealed to me.

Happily the wind remained non-existent all day. Along with a lunch on the sunny banks of the Keogh, this became one of my “super days” resulting in this painting. In spite of the remarks of that near-sighted little girl!

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