Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Salmon are RUNNING - Painting & Drawing Tips

I know, I was going to talk about values in graphite verses watercolour in this post
but when Wildlife Things are Happening you have to be ready to Move.


My Coho Salmon with the blazing red colour

Saturday, Nov 11 we had rain in the evening.  

Not an uncommon thing here on the coast of BC but a very important thing at this time of year.  The rain puts lots of fresh water into the Fraser River and its tributaries and acts as a major signal.  The last salmon run is posed and waiting out at the mouth of the river. 
Chum and Coho at the fish ladder gate

That huge rush of fresh water coming down the river, signals the salmon to move.  This run heads up the Fraser and moves into the smaller rivers.  I live near the Tynehead Fish Hatchery on the Serpentine River and their last big run was happening NOW.

Opening the Fish Trap

My Dream
I am very much fascinated by the salmon run.  When I was a teenager we moved to the Comox Valley. I saw awesome salmon runs there for the first time.  The Puntledge River by our place was plugged solid with salmon in the fall. The smell, the fish, the seagulls, what a sight. After moving to Surrey, I was happy to see that the salmon come up the Serpentine River and I visit the Tynehead Fish Hatchery often. My Dream is to get some pictures of spawning Salmon swimming in the shallow waters.  I really want to capture the  Coho, with their bright red spawning colours.

Sunday, Nov 12, 4:30am The Call Came
The coho were moving.  The hatchery has been waiting for the Coho, they harvest the eggs for spawning.  So far only 12 coho seen, 10 males and 2 females.  But now the fish were coming, they were there and ready by 5:30am.  No, I wasn't there, unfortunately I am not on their list.  By the time I got there later in the morning they had their fish for the hatchery.  Now their job was to capture, count and release. 

Sometimes there are lots in the trap and sometimes not.
The hatchery harvests eggs from the Chinook, Chum and Coho. Once they have their catch for the hatchery, the other fish will now move up the river and spawn.  The hatchery's job is also to count returning hatchery fish and wild fish, to get a snapshot of what is happening in the river. (Hatchery fish have the small fin on the back removed) 
Keeping Score

Out of the rain and waiting to open the trap - Not your best hotel, but still warm, dry and comradely to help pass the time.

These volunteers are amazing, I was there a few hours with them watching but they had been there since 5:30am.  Did I mention it was a cold, wet, day.  A big thank you to all these guys and girls that volunteer to keep the salmon coming back to our rivers. 

One of the big Chum moving up the river
Not sure if I got THE PICTURE, but I got lots of others. I did however, get a very interesting adventure.  

Special Note: 

The Eagle Festival is happening there this weekend, Nov 18 & 19 with tours, boat rides, and lots of information. Harrison Mills.

FOLLOWING THE LINE - $300 (Matted 9 x 14) inspired by the Eagles in the trees waiting for the salmon at Deroche, in the the Nicomen Slough, Harrison Mills area. BC
With the salmon also comes the Bald Eagles.  The Harrison Mills area with the Chehalis Flats is a huge collection area for the Eagles and the dying salmon.   If you can't make the Festival, the eagles will be there in high concentration for at least 3-4 weeks. 

FRESH SALMON - 5 x 7 -  Inspired by the Eagles and Salmon


I will get back to my latest drawing series next week. Next up: Values and Colour in Action 
 
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Time to Move Inside and Draw
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Choose a morning or afternoon session. Bring your sketchbook or your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on a drawing.  $15 Pre-Register Required. Contact Wendy Here

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 Have a great artful day,
Wendy