Tag Archives: Pheasant Creek

Friday morning in the coulee

Alas! I set out early Friday morning to paint in the coulee just after the first flush of green! It was not to be – painting that is. The handy dandy yellow bag (pictured below) that holds my water had sprung a leak after many years of such expeditions. I watered the hill instead. Then I wandered the hills. They were  alive with bloom and blossom, with new plants pushing up through dry earth. I ventured from to hill to hill, smartphone in hand, bending low to look at all the amazing growth. Some are pictured below.

the leaky yellow bag and a sketch of

the leaky yellow bag and a sketch of what I think might be Missouri Milk Vetch(unsure)

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Missouri Milk Vetch (maybe). What I love about this wee flower are the leaves, a silver sage that are beautiful just on their own.

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Narrow leafed milk vetch (above) maybe and cushion milk vetch I am pretty sure

A hillside of cushion milk vetch

A hillside of cushion milk vetch

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Ground Plum?? I know I have seen plums on the hills arter flowering… I will keep an eye open.

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Grandfather Rock

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A view from Grandfather Rock

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The Hawthorne (but I didn’t go in) . A tick haven at this time of year!!

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Silver weed just before blooming. Aren’t these leaves amazing???

Silver weed just blooming

Silver weed just blooming

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Bear berry, kinnickinick

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Wild strawberry

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This photo soothes me

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the eye of sister aspen

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pussy toes

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Moss phlox

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A guess: Low Townsendia just before opening?

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Another guess : Plains Cymopterus?

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Guessing again: Sand Bladderpod?

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By the creek close to raccoon tracks

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Hoary Puccoon about to burst

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Creek

 

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“SongLines”, Paper collage and watercolour on watercolour paper, 10″ x 22″

During “Immersed in Nature: A Retreat at Valley View Farm“, a weekend hosted by my friend Debra and I in late August, we considered and explored line, shape and colour. The lines, shapes and colours  that called to us as we explored the natural world.

Much of my preparation for this weekend took place at Pheasant Creek Coulee, a few miles south of our farm. As I sit by the large stone I have come to know as “Grandfather Rock”, I am drawn by the shape of the creek, by the way that it winds and weaves. Again and again, I have drawn or painted or sketched  the creek as it sings and curls its way through the coulee and the hills in which it resides.

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"Pheasant Creek Coulee"

“Pheasant Creek Coulee”

 

 

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During our retreat, I began to play with the shape of the creek, starting with watercolours and eventually adding metallic papers – candy and chocolate wrappers, cigarette foils, origami paper. And there my own simple exploration of line, shape and colour sat for several weeks. I kept thinking “song line”…. it seemed the curves and rhythms of the creek were both outside me and singing deep within my body.

Collage- shape, line

Collage- shape, line, colour

I knew that I wanted the feeling of hills around the creek but not necessarily something representational. I began to play with shapes and contours, with different shades of rusts, browns, coppers, gold…..I wanted to capture the feel of the place, the movement of the hills, the way that this place sings within me, how it feels like  treasure.

Image 6 Image 7Once finished, I took this piece to the place that inspired it to photograph it. Seeing it in the coulee, amidst the rust of the little bluestem grasses, the gold of the aspen leaves, the shadows of the hawthorn and birch seemed somehow right, plus felt incredibly goofy (in a good way) and was just a lot of fun.
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Mornings at the Coulee

I have been thinking back to Julys of years past, a tumble of days at the beach, bonfires at night, gardening, packing and unpacking from camping trips and so much else. Sometimes I would manage just one trip down to the coulee to see the amazing July wildflowers and I would dream of the day that I could spend much more time there in the company of the flowers, and get to know them better.

Unbelievable, but that time has come! With an (almost) empty nest and no faraway trips planned, I have been slipping down to Pheasant Creek Coulee at 6 or 6:30 many mornings and staying for a few hours until the sun gets too hot. I bring a thermos of ginger tea, a knapsack of watercolour supplies, some sage to start with a smudge and not much else. When I am done, I pick wild Saskatoons from the bushes at the top of the hills. It is my version of paradise.

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Prairie Coneflowers

Prairie Coneflowers

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