Artists find beauty in the aftermath of wildfires

Gaeil Farrar photos Artists Cat Prevette (from the left), Dean Jeffries and Linda Bachman were among a small group of Cariboo Art Society members making an outdoor sketching trip to record the devastation and beauty left behind by the wildfires this summer on the Bachmans’ property. Their home was saved but they lost about half of the forest to the wildfires.
Linda Bachman works on one of her nature paintings in her Miocene studio.
Linda Bachman looks for artistic inspiration in the forest of her property that was devastated by the Spokin Lake fire this summer. Gaeil Farrar photo
Gaeil Farrar photo Many of the forests around the Cariboo were consumed by wildfires this summer, but the one constant in all of the destruction is the knowledge that forests will regenerate with the right care. In the meantime a group of Cariboo Art Society members has already been drawn to a burned forest to record what they find . Here Dean Jeffries uses a stick of natural charcoal found in the forest after the fire at Miocene to create a sketch. For more on the story turn to Page 14.
Linda Bachman points to some of the greenery which started growing just a couple of weeks after the fires on their property were extinguished.
The fire burned so hot that roots were consumed leaving unusual holes in the forest landscape. Gaeil Farrar photo
Bill Bachman in the forest of their property at Miocene that was destroyed by wildfire this summer. Their home was saved but a brand new home belonging to one of their neighbours that should have been in the background of this picture was destroyed by the wildfire.
Bill Bachman in the fire break that was built through his property to help stop the progression of the Spokin Lake fire that destroyed forests and homes in the area. Gaeil Farrar photo

What surprised them most when they returned to their home and explored the damage was how quickly green leaves began to sprout from bushes that were buried under the snow white ash.

Ever looking on the bright side, the Bachmans recently invited fellow Cariboo Art Society members to their place for a plein air (outdoor) session of sketching and painting the aftermath of the fire in their forest.

The small group of intrepid artists hiked up across a wide firebreak that was built through their property to contain the fire and into a part of the woods where the ground revealed unusually shaped holes where trees and roots had been completely burned and where toppled and gnarly black trees towered high into the sky from a bed of snow white ash, indicating the fire was extremely hot in these locations.

In other areas the forest floor was quickly turning brown with falling needles that hadn’t been totally consumed by the fire.

The group also collected burnt twigs and branches to use as a natural charcoal sketching material.

Linda and Cat along with other Cariboo Art Society members are participating in the 2017 Williams Lake Art Walk and Sale this month. Linda’s landscape and wildlife paintings can be seen at the Williams Lake Indian Band office located at 301-172 Second Avenue North. Cat’s work, which includes a collection of mandalas as well as abstract paintings can be viewed at Walk-Rite Shoes located at 130 Oliver Street.

A graduate of the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University), and numerous art workshops, Linda enjoys landscape and wildlife painting. Before retiring Bill worked for Fraserwood Industries.

The couple also operated a trade and exhibition business together, while Linda was the owner/operator of two art galleries. Linda’s work continues to be exhibited at the Executive Suite Resorts in Squamish.

The work of many other artists, photographers, potters, fibre artists, graphic artists, mural painters, sculptors, woodworkers and more can be seen at the 56 venues hosting artists for the Williams Lake Art Walk and Sale that wraps up on Saturday, Sept. 30.

A collection of work by various other art society members can be seen at Sta-Well Health Foods located at 790 Third Avenue and at the Tourism Discovery Centre on Broadway Avenue South.

Many of the artists in the art walk will have art for sale by silent auction. Bidding on the items closes at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30 when the walk winds up with the draw for the grand prize taking place at the Potato House. The grand prize this year is a carved bear holding a coat/hat rack by local carver Ken Sheen.

Art walkers can also vote for their favourite artist and hosting business during the walk.

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