With almost 26,000km of coastline British Columbia is abounding with areas to explore and beach comb. Winter storms and high tides bring in a multitude of items ranging from lost fishing gear and trash to trees and mats of kelp. Though many items that wash ashore present themselves as novel keepsakes others may still serve useful purposes. As I walk along the rocks in Boat Bay I sift through the driftwood and refuse looking not for keepsakes, but pieces that could be transformed into canvases. Smooth wood, shells and bracket fungus offer themselves as the beginnings of paintings.
My first summer here with the Robson Bight Warden Program was brief, only two and half weeks long. The entire time I was amazed by my surroundings and began pouring over field guides, learning as much as I could about the plants and animals around me. My journal filled with sketches of the creatures I was committing to memory and with an appetite for the area unfulfilled I returned last summer for a two month long internship. I began to learn the area and its local wildlife more in depth, even recognizing individual orcas as they passed through the ecological reserve we look after. I started to paint them and other fauna on uniform pieces of driftwood that I came across on the beach. This idea matured and took full form this year, in my third summer, as I begin to create a series of Northwestern flora and fauna on found objects from the beaches.
Through this series I hope to inspire others to help protect this area’s beauty and richness of which they may not be able to experience in any other way. As a warden I am fortunate enough to be immersed in a lifestyle dedicated to the health of the environment and local marine life and by creating art from and about this place I plan to give others a taste of it. All paintings are being sold with one hundred percent of the proceeds going back to Cetus, and ultimately the Warden Program, in order to aid in the raising of funds after this years federal budget cuts. By putting to use the items others may have forgotten about I plan to remind people of the obligation we have to preserve this area and our surrounding oceans.
Please visit https://www.facebook.com/EPReNo to check out more of Erin’s art and to support Cetus. Thanks Erin!