Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kettle River, Before the Fire

I have just finished another painting. It's the one on the easel, titled: Kettle River Before the Fire

Kettle River Valley is one of our favourite places to spend time in the summer. It is located in southern British Columbia, Canada, just north of Osooyos and south of Kelowna (accessible from Kelowna by the back road). The area is most well known for the Kettle River Valley Railway, which was dismantled and turned into an amazing bike trail. We have biked the 25 Km section north from Rock Creek, and have fantasized about doing a multi-day trip along it or connecting to one of the other trails in the network of old rail lines. I took this photo on one of our biking excursions.

About seven km north of Rock Creek, there is an excellent provincial campground right on the Kettle River. Or, I should say, there used to be a great campground. Last summer, a terrible wildfire raged through the valley. People camping in the campground got out with minutes to spare. The tiny hamlet of Rock Creek also burned. I think I remember reading that 14 homes were lost. 

Last summer, we camped in the Kettle Valley. In fact, we had just left the area the day before the fire started. There had been a drought all summer, and the valley was bone dry. It was one of many wildfires that razed huge sections of southern BC and northern Montana last August. 

So this painting has special meaning for me. It reminds me of the happy times in the Kettle Valley, before the fire. I started painting this picture at the beginning of September. And then I broke my foot. For the four months I was on crutches and in a cast, I stopped painting. I just felt ready to start again in February. I am part of a painting group that meets weekly. But because of my work schedule, I miss a lot of the painting nights. I usually finish a painting in 4-6 sessions, depending on how large it is. 

Here is a closeup showing some of the detail. As you can see, I had fun with the palette knife in this section. It is great to be painting again!

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