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General News · 7th July 2012
Dianne Bersea
Stunned, overwhelmed, re-engaged, happy and saddened were the feeling after a week rolling to the rhythms of our coastal sea. Two weeks ago the crew of the Columbia III escorted seven artists to some of the most spectacular marine environments on the BC Coast. I feel especially honoured to be part of this group, and the larger group of almost fifty artists, each dedicated to bringing attention to both the beauty and fragility of our extensive coast. Each artist is addressing an aspect of the incredible diversity now in grave danger if oil spills occur with proposed increased tanker traffic. We visited Mussel and Kynock Inlets, two steep inlets on the mainland opposite Gwai Haanas National Park and just south of the proposed tanker path through the inlet from Kitimat. We settled to paint spectacular landscape, precious shores and invaluable habitat on the inlet estuaries, accompanied by grazing grizzlies (with a small river between us) and sharp angled peaks and snow slopes above. We also explored a number of the outer jig saw puzzle-like islets in the Hakai Protected Area north of Calvert Island where I turned my underwater camera on seaweed, kelp crab and sea cucumber. These islets are the last great undeveloped and largely unblemished land and sea scapes on our coast..., though I was shocked at the debris on our beaches. It truly breaks my heart to see how foolish and profligate we are. I found green garbage bags that were almost indistinguishable from seaweed waving in the current, with children's toys, plastic bottles and innumerable floats resting in the driftwood. An oil spill could only add to the devastation and would be impossible to clean up. Strange how we felt such contradictory emotions, celebratory at the extraordinary beauty & natural marvels, and chastened at how we are already treating this area.

Overall, the experience was uplifting and affirming. To be with people who love our coast so much was a wonderful treat. Our hosts on the Columbia III provided outstanding and comfortable accommodation and knowledgeable exploratory trips by zodiac into the heart of our inspiration. Our brilliant cook Gem, doubles as a eel grass researcher. She brought me a frond of eel grass with encouragement to appreciate the significant nurturing role of this seaweed in marine ecology. (Thanks Gem, see eelgrass sketch for the book!).

The next step is to produce outstanding artwork for a book and travelling exhibit. The book will be out this fall in time for holiday giving, and the art show will also open this fall. If all goes well, the two events will coincide and hopefully make a big splash! Your interest and support is of utmost importance. To see what is happening and what still might be needed to make the project a reality please visit web site below.

Photos include some sketches in preparation for my final painting which is now underway in my studio.
I found it very easy to sink into the landscape.
I found it very easy to sink into the landscape.
A young grizzly appeared out of these trees and grazed on the estuary.f
A young grizzly appeared out of these trees and grazed on the estuary.f
White, feathery sea anemones abounded in the intertidal around the small rugged islets on the outer coast.
White, feathery sea anemones abounded in the intertidal around the small rugged islets on the outer coast.
I found kelp to be extremely photogenic!
I found kelp to be extremely photogenic!