The artist captures an image of high tide in winter at the Nimpkish River estuary in this watercolour on canvas.

The artist captures an image of high tide in winter at the Nimpkish River estuary in this watercolour on canvas.

Some of best views are on your doorstep

PORT McNEILL-Artist and author captures essence of winter near his Nimpkish Heights home

Usually in winter, when I’m trying to do some hiking without slushing through snow, I escape to a sea-shore where the snow has all been melted by a high tide; but my timing was a little off on this day because I arrived on the shore at high tide. In planning this painting I was so delighted in the patterns that the new snow had created along the shore that I decided that a high tide was ideal.

As I sketched, the ocean was totally uncooperative and lowered all the water, but my initial sketch remained, therefore I left the water exactly where it belonged. SECRET (just between you and I): I always carry a little camera with me and use it to nail down details such as light and colour in the early part of my sketch. Often, especially in the mornings and afternoons when the light does fantastic things to a scene with warmer colours and gorgeous deep colours in the shadows, this kind of light makes a very brief appearance before it changes to, once again, create a whole new feeling.

This scene is almost on my doorstep: the estuary of the mighty Nimpkish River. Most local people still call this area Hanuse Beach, a hold-over from the days when the Hanuse family used it as a booming ground. Many of the old timbers still remain as relics of those heady days when a railway from lower Nimpkish Lake brought the logs here to be dispersed.

I often paint here in the spring and summer when the area is alive with seabirds, but this day was something special; I caught the snow when it was especially creative. I did the final painting on a support quite different from the usual watercolour paper; I painted with watercolour on canvas and hoped that this would enhance the feeling of texture for the snow. By Jove, it may have worked!