Sep 13, 2018

Going on a Bear Hunt - Painting & Drawing Tips

Have you heard that children’s song “Going on a Bear Hunt”? 

It is filled with rhymes and actions as you tramp through the bush, go over the water, climb hills and quietly steal though the trees.  Looking for a bear. 

Well my sister and I went on a real Bear Hunt last week.

Ready for a Grizzly Adventure - with Aboriginal Journeys
Our hunt was just like the song, full of adventure and fun. And, we definitely found big grizzly bears at the end.

We started at Campbell River on Vancouver Island, on the west coast of Canada.  With our captain, Garry and 10 other people we hopped on a boat and headed out.  90 kilometres, 2 hours.  Through the coastal islands back to the mainland.  

First we went around the southern tip of Quadra Island and Cortez Island, the inhabited islands.   Then through the Whaddington Channel between East and West Rhodonda Island, skirting the Desolation Sound Marine Park and up into Toba Inlet. (I was really excited. These are all places I have heard about for years but they are uninhabitable and only accessible by water.)  The water was calm and the view was Fabulous.  Sherry and I really felt we had scored a big one with the weather. 

Going through the islands, heading east to the Mainland.  Coastal Mountains in the background. 

Once in the Inlet it was still another half hour and 35 km before we reached the Toba River delta at the end.  The coastal mountains towered above us as we entered the inlet.   The steep banks meant there were very few places to land.  Very much like the fords of Norway.    

Not many places to land along these shores - inside Toba Inlet

Here was our first sign of settlement since we passed Cortez Island.  There was a few small buildings and vehicles.  Gary, our guide, explained that there is logging done in the area and a small network of logging roads wind up the side of the mountains.  Everything comes and goes by barge.  Hard to image roads that go nowhere!

We got on our small bus, there was only 12 of us, and headed up river to where the salmon were pooling and the bears were fishing.  This summer has been very dry and so the river was low, there were spawning salmon around but most were waiting out in the inlet for the rains to come before heading up river. 

This guy just sauntered along the rocky creek bed
Just like the song, we went up the road, through the woods and headed for the river.  Once off the bus, the rules were clear.  Stay as a group, singles are easy to be picked off, keep your voices down, walk as quietly as possible.   Whew.  It really made you realize this was not a zoo.  As we moved to one of the watching towers, Garry warned that behind the small trees, that really weren't THAT far away, was a large male grizzly sleeping on the sand bank.  We. Did. Not. Want. To. Wake. Him. Up. 

Just look at the size of his claws.  

In the tower, you had this great sense of safety.  But actually it was only a small wooden structure, about 10 ft off the ground and only about 12 square feet.  As a group we could make so much noise, even a grizzly would rather wonder off then come up for a look. Safe, right.

How can this big guy slip into the trees and disappear so fast - believe me, he can and did!

 Did we see grizzlies? 

You bet.  They wondered around. Swam in the water.  They are so agile and graceful, it is hard to believe they are such a Big Bear.  They sauntered into the shallow water, then suddenly jumped or scuttled along. We saw large male grizzlies, approx 350-400 kg, they were one minute awkward and slow and then fast and graceful.

This big guy was a fast and smooth as a seal in the water.  And he could disappear in a second in the dark shadows. 
Our time there went fast. 

We hiked through the trees to several different towers as the bear moved along the river.  Disappearing and then showing up further up stream.  We watched the large Chum salmon finning in quiet pools, enjoyed the sun on the water, the mountains glistening in the distance and I even had time for a few quick sketches.  (I just had to try)

Just a quick sketch with my pen, I was very surprised at how much I captured in such a short time.

Really ramping it up this time - lots more shading and more information.  I deliberately left the sketches untouched later just because I wanted to see what I could do there.  

Finally it was time to load onto our boat and head for home. 

It was really calm traveling down the inlet so I tried a quick sketch in the boat.  Once we were in open water I had to stop.  

Our adventure didn’t stop there.  
On the way home we encountered a few humpback whales.  It was a fitting end to an awesome day to see them breach a few times and then with a flip of their tail disappear into the waters below.  I must admit that our boat seemed quite big until one breached near us.  He was clearly much bigger than us!!

And just like the song, we came home happy, laughing and tired!

Special Note: At all times we were respectful of the bears and I was very much aware we would see them and photograph them, when possible, BUT we were not there to bother them.  Their needs came first.  

Wendy's Work is always available on her website:  "Art by Wendy" & at her Etsy Store: WendyMouldsArt

Paint the Train  Reception, Tuesday, Sept 18, 7 pm, Newton Cultural Center, Surrey.  This is when I find out what is happening with my picture "Hitch'n A Ride" with the Stellar Jay on the Train.  Fingers Crossed. See you there.

Sheraton Artisan Market
Saturday, Sept 29, 11-6pm
 Sheraton Guildford Hotel, 15269 104 Ave, Surrey,
This is an Invitation only event for Professional Artists so you know there will be Sensational Fine Art, Jewelry and Pottery there. 

Open Studio at Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery
 Sun, Sept 30, 10-4pm 
Special Hands-On Drawing Demos: 11 am & 1pm 

Artists reading this post also find the following valuable: 
How to find the Right Sketchbook Friend - here
Is Your Sketchbook Ready for You? - here
Have You Felt the Freedom of the Line? - here

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Have a great Artful Day,


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