Whenever I am short of time or run a bit late in getting out there and painting, I look for places nearby so as to get going before the light (in summer) is directly overhead. If the light is directly above, there are few shadows and few contrasting colours, a rather bleak state of affairs. After thirty years of painting full time, I tend to run out of nearby places that are new to me; not a problem, really because the seasonal changes always keeps it interesting. Alder Bay, a ten minute car ride away, is one that I have returned to again and again when I want to do some ocean scenes, but new views are not likely to appear.
Through the North Island grapevine we learned that on a certain night, the Northern Lights were about to make a spectacular appearance. Since our home is surrounded by huge hemlocks, we thought we should go to nearby Alder Bay where unlimited views would enable us to see this exhibition. We arrived there near the expected time, about midnight, pulling up near their dock. Not surprisingly, the manager/owner approached our vehicle and questioned our presence at this awkward hour. After we introduced ourselves, we established the amazing fact that we had previously met on several occasions! He kindly took us to a better view high above the park and mentioned that if I were interested in painting something different at Alder Bay, there was a good trail leading down to a beach beyond the campsite; one that our grandson had created several years ago when he worked there at a summer job.
The Northern Lights turned out to be a non-event but a couple of days later I packed my paints down the trail to a marvelous little beach and some very interesting headlands. Alert Bay commanded attention to the left while the ocean traffic going by provided the entertainment. The painting shown here is a result of this foray.
The trail can be found by driving to the end of the campsite and simply looking for its opening just to the right of the boat ramp. It can also be accessed by going to the top of the hill, again to the right of the boat ramp. Just below lies a lovely place to stretch out and enjoy the marine life and the hustle and bustle of Broughton Strait.