Forest on Fire
A settled summer drawing trees in the green forest of the Haliburton Highlands (2014) was followed by a summer watching footage of megafires burning in Saskatchewan (2015). I was anxious about the land and the green turning to brown. I examined images of the fires and carved them into wood.
An urge to visit fire locations followed: first a road trip pilgrimage to Arizona, Nevada and California (2016) and then to Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories (2017). Everywhere I walked alongside and into burnt-out tracts, looking up, spending time, taking photos.
Parson’s Lake Road, a 35 k gravel road over flat terrain in Wood Buffalo National Park (straddling the Northwest Territories and Northern Alberta) is a particularly memorable location. Nearly dead trees stand tall towering over emptiness and new growth. I had to catch my breath in their presence. These portraits of trees, carved with a Dremel into ink-washed wood, are as true to the still-standing, individual trees as I could make in their honour.
Postcards from Fort McMurray are small drawings of the land in and around the City of Fort McMurray a year after ‘the Beast’, the great fire of 2016. I call them this because I was told that tourists rarely visit the city. It seemed fitting to create postcards featuring what the fire had left behind.
Photo Credit for Tree Portraits: Judy Ruzylo