Last year, some delightful folks from Canada asked if I wanted to travel to Vancouver Island to paint the view from their beloved cottage. Why, yes! We put the plans into motion in January and here I am. I flew into Vancouver and spent two days exploring. It is a clean and polite city. There are fountains everywhere and waves of rhododendrons in full bloom. After my short stay, I caught a bus that took me onto the BC Ferry, then all the way to Victoria, where I rented a car. The ferry was magnificent - huge, shiny and new - and, after walking around the perimeter of the boat, I settled on the bow and drew the tufts of land that announce Vancouver Island's approach.
After spending one night with this delightful family in their little piece of heaven, I took off for Tofino, a small surfing town at the end of a peninsula that looks like an arm bending into the Pacific Ocean. It was a long drive, up the east side of the island and across the middle. Once into the mountains, I was reminded of Alaska, where around a turn you are likely to see green foothills ending in big, placid lakes. Tofino crawls up a hillside in the Pacific Rim National Park Preserve, with a small city-center on the water. I walked out the door of my Airbnb a bit dazed; all these new perspectives were begging me to record them!
Luckily, part of me understood that it was time to slow down and experience, instead of seeing everything as a potential painting. (This is harder than you'd think!) I hiked a trail through a rainforest where the trees were large and old, with crooked limbs that reached around, covered in moss. I thought maybe when I turned my head one might stretch out and tap my shoulder. Ahhh - so much wisdom buried within!
The beach at the end of the path was massive, encircled with craggy rock walls. I relaxed on a giant piece of driftwood and did some simple drawings and watercolors.
And now I am back near Sooke, around the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in a cozy cottage overlooking a jaw-dropping view. I have a lot to discover in the two weeks ahead of me, not least of which is how to turn off the "to-do" list in my head and open myself up to the breath of the skies and the heartbeat of the ocean.