There are really only three colours from which all colours stem, the primaries: red, yellow and blue. The secondaries: orange, purple and green, along with the tertiaries that are created from them, can all be mixed by using the three primaries. Because I am a landscape artist working mostly on Vancouver Island and its hundreds of greens, I lean heavily on two of the primaries, blue and yellow to mix my greens and use red only to grey down my greens in order to create a realistic green colour that isnt too gaudy.
It is only when July on North Island comes along that I get to show off my reds; fireweed season! Its a time when I get into a fireweed frenzy and go searching the valleys for two or three year old clear-cuts in which to paint. They are becoming increasingly harder to find . Gone are the days when you could travel down island and find whole valleys covered in fireweed pinks and mauves. New rules have limited clear-cuts to a much smaller area, making them less visible to the back-roads wanderer. Finding a new area is always a cause for excitement in this colour seekers heart and I shake with enthusiasm at the opportunity to use my reds!
I have recently discovered a new area; at least new to me. It is covered with fireweed, since the cuts there are about four or five years old. An urgency to paint it beckons me onward because in just a couple of more years the young trees in the area will green up and choke out the fireweed that has been feeding the soil. After all, this is what the cycle is all about! Subsequently, as an artist you have to get the fireweed now because its going, going gone!
Let me tell you where this painting was started. The general area is between the Port Alice road and Rupert Arm, with easiest access via the Port Alice Road. Rupert Main is a wide, very well traveled and maintained gravel logging road that crosses the Port Alice road, consequently easy to spot as you travel toward Port Alice. When you get to where these roads meet turn right, drive for about two or three kilometres until you cross a small creek and watch for the next road going left. Its just a short distance beyond the creek and wanders for many kilometres through freshly logged clear-cuts. A number of branches will take you to various kinds of terrain, one of them leading to the top of a large hill or small mountain (take your pick) from which you can see the old copper-mine site in one direction and Victoria Lake in the other!
The painting shown here is typical of the small clear-cuts interspersed with second growth forest, a rather picturesque combination. I spent the day here wandering, sketching and photographing and eventually making a good start on this scene looking out from the shade of the forest into the natural gardens beyond. A nice, cool place to have my lunch and paint on a hot July day. Great berry picking too; take your bucket!