This is a photo of my studio with the first of a series of watercolours that evolved from my almost daily drawings of plants in the drought this summer (see last post). As I walked on trails and in parks I began to notice so many young trees trying to survive. The colours of the drought are beautiful; gold, burnished reds, warm browns and still some green hanging on. They drew me in even as they felt sad.
As I worked on these paintings I tried to let go of my preconceived idea of how they should look and let the feeling of the wet colour dictate next steps as the fluidity of the watercolour took over the marks made by my brush.
In the end I am uncomfortable with these paintings. Are they too pretty in the face of the sadness of all the suffering life as our climate swings from one extreme to another?
Here is the last painting I made.
In Cottonwood Canyon campsite in the Coast Mountains of BC I made the first drawings in this series on a camping trip meant to last a month but cut short by the heat wave and its effects. The infamous heat dome of the summer or 2021 moved over us and meant seeking shade for three hours a day away from the hot camper van before we decided we had to leave.
The small plants were starting to suffer. Sitting still in the heat I drew them while they were still green and full of life. But fires encroached and news came of floods from fast melting snow in the region. These photographs may end up in a book.
Drawing in the reeds
I return home where the heat continues throughout the summer. Trees turn brown, large swaths of grass are drought stricken yellow. Some green hangs on, the most hardy will revive, the most fragile are dying. I continue my drawings.
Drawing in the park
I go out every day, sometimes to a local park or community garden, sometimes further away and draw. I photograph the drawings where they are made. Shadows creep in as the sun lowers in the sky.
Drawing in the dry garden
Summer is coming to a close now, all of a sudden it is cold and wet. There is more green in the damaged grass and plants. This series may be coming to a close, or it may transform. I've posted many of these drawings on Instagram. Click the icon at the bottom of the page to see them.
Drawing in the thistles