the haida canoe

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We didn’t plan our visit to Haida Gwaii down to the minute. Besides booking our ferry to and from the island, we didn’t make any really set plans for where we wanted to go and for how long. Most of our trips are like that. It leaves more room for surprises and spontaneity. In the evenings at our campsite on North Beach, we’d visit with our camp neighbors and share a communal meal while we shared stories of what we got up to that day. Our new friend Colin mentioned he had gone to see the Haida Canoe which was just a little further down the road from where Jay and I had stopped to hike the Golden Spruce trail. Colin said it was worth seeing so we decided to check it out on our way to our next camping spot. I’m so glad we did!

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It was a sight that brought to mind so many questions. How old is it? When was it started? Why was it abandoned?

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Being a person who paints for a living, I got thinking about the time it took to wander through the dense forest to find the perfect tree for the project, much like I spend time wandering places and taking photos of things I may want to paint later in the studio. Then once you find that image, or in this case the perfect tree, the time and energy needed to spent cutting it down and clearing an area in the woods so you can move around the felled tree and begin carving at it to reveal the canoe inside. How long did it take the artisans to commute from their residence to this area? How long did they want to spend carving each day? How many were involved in this particular canoe building project?

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I made a small sketch of the canoe on site in my sketchbook and decided I’d like to try a larger version on paper. I will tackle this again in acrylic, from a few perspectives I think.

haida canoe,  mixed media on cold pressed paper, 12” x 16”, $240 + GST,  2019

haida canoe, mixed media on cold pressed paper, 12” x 16”, $240 + GST, 2019

This drawing is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.