Saturday, September 28, 2013

From boom to bust, the historic Ghost Town Of Sandon here in the Kootenays.


"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days."  ~Winston Churchill



This past week has been cold and rainy and I found myself unable to focus on work and garner any enthusiasm to get into the studio. Ivor, Kenya and I decided, what a perfectly good excuse to get away for a day and enjoy a drive through the mountains.

Our drive took us along the east shore of Kootenay Lake to Crawford Bay where we caught the ferry taking us west across the lake to Balfour landing.  We then drove north through the beautiful, small lakeside village of Kaslo and continued on to the once thriving mining community of Sandon. (now a ghost town.)



















Miss Molly Browns brothel, just one of 40 that were once in existence in the town and surrounding area.  

  















No tea invitation here!  (Kenya and I)

In the 1800s, Sandon sprang into existence as Canada's richest silver mining community.  Prospectors and miners came by the thousand.  The town was hastily constructed in an impossibly narrow and inhospitable valley high in the mountains.  Buildings were constructed right at the edge of Carpenter Creek on either side with a boardwalk built right over top of the creek.  

It's said there was a population of apx. 5000 with 29 hotels, 28 saloons, 40 brothels, 3 breweries, 2 railways, banks and dozens of stores and businesses.
   
















Museum, Sandon, BC

















Sandon was enjoying a booming economy and then in the early 1900s much of the town was destroyed by a devastating fire. The town was rebuilt and over the next several years it began experiencing a series of labour problems, declining metal prices, along with the exhaustion of several major mines.   

















Both the Kaslo & Slocan Railway, connecting Sandon with nearby Kaslo on Kootenay Lake and the Nakusp & Slocan Railway (Cdn. Pacific) from New Denver and Nakusp raced to reach the Sandon area to profit from the boom. 

The hills around Sandon were actively mined by mines such as the Silversmith, the Slocan Star and The Payne well into the 1900s.  



This building is the original City Hall. 




















Like the other silver towns of the era, Sandon faded with the fall of silver prices. In 1955 a major flood of the Carpenter Creek occurred, destroying most of the remaining buildings of the downtown core.  Looters tore apart what was left and the town never fully recovered again.   




















Remains of the boardwalk are still found scattered around the creek edge.  Yellow sticker tape cordons off many areas as the embankment is unstable  and collapsing.  (Amazing to see this destruction up close)


Mangled piles of timber, once the main street,are still littered all over.

Scenes from the Sandon Museum

Prospectors Cabin

A photo of the Silversmith Powerhouse, still in use today and is the oldest continuing operating plant in Canada.  


We ended our day trip with a with a hearty meal of halibut and chips at JB'S Pub located at Woodbury Resort on Kootenay Lake.  One of our favorite stops when in the area.  

Have a great weekend, it's back to the studio for me!

Laura Leeder, Watercolour Artist, 
Creston, BC ~ In the heart of the Kootenays!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Yellow Mums-Painting In Progress or Study In Progress....That Is The Question!


"The best strategy relies upon an unlimited set of responses." ~ Morihei Ueshiba






















©Yellow Mums, Study In Progress,September 19, 2013
   Laura Leeder~Watercolour Artist

I've changed the caption under the photo from painting in progress to study in progress.  This piece is only 9 x 8.75 inches and was initially meant to be a warm up to figure out my colours and decide if I wanted to paint these chrysanthemums in a much larger format.  (which is what I should have done to start with) Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained!   

I couldn't wait to drop some colour into these fall mums.  I've started with a very light wash of aureolin yellow, followed by new gamboge.  I then mixed a light value of rose madder genuine and new gamboge and have added it selectively in some of the shadow areas.  I have also mixed a light value of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna that I am using to help separate the petals. 

I have just started to add some of the background colours into the glass bowl. I had to remove all my miskit spots as I was finding them too distracting.  At this point, I could no longer ignore the pityfull cries from my yard as my flowers were choking under the weeds and begging to be saved.  So that is where I have spent most of my time over the last few days.  A good thing too, as I was almost finished and the rains came.  

While rescuing my flowers I came across this surprising trumpet lily in bloom!  Yes, in my garden, blooming in September!















©Trumpet Lily, blooming in the garden, Sept 17, 2013
   Photo by Laura Leeder

















One last photo of the only other flowers left in bloom in my backyard flower beds after all my deadheading.

There is a lot more work to do around the yard and indoors, so it's back to work for me, sadly though, not in the studio... just yet!   

Thank You for stopping by, have a great week!

Laura Leeder, Watercolour Artist
Creston, BC ~ In The Heart Of The Kootenays

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Back In The Studio After An Enjoyable Summer Break

"Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year's end and day's beginnings."   ~Terri Guillemets






















©Yellow Mums, Painting In Progress,September 13, 2013
   Laura Leeder~Watercolour Artist

As we approach the middle of September, I am noticing fall is already in the air.  The leaves are just starting to change colors and drop to the ground.  My planters filled with lush, heady, petunias are fast fading having survived the intense summer heat that we've enjoyed here in the valley. I have been replacing them in all my planters with a variety of yellow, pink and red chrysanthemums and a hearty trailing ivy. 





















©My Planter with Yellow Chrysanthemums and Ivy, September 2013
   Laura Leeder

I can't think of a better way to embrace the changing of the seasons and welcome in fall, than to celebrate it with a painting that includes some of my favorite fall flowers!
 
It feels good to be back in the studio with a paint brush in hand and a riot of color on my pallet. The above planter was my inspiration to start a "warm up" painting with a bouquet of  yellow mums.  I have chosen Daniel Smith Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Quinacridone Violet and Permanent Green Lt for my background colors.  While these colors were still wet I spritzed them with a spray bottle of 90% pure alcohol, a technique my artist friend Win Dinn uses a lot in her mixed media paintings.

I will come back in later and adjust the colors in the background, right now though, I can't wait to drop some color onto those chrysanthemums!

For more great tips on painting in watercolour, check out my artist friend Eileen Gidmans blog.  In this post she shares some great examples of painting leaves!
.  
Here's to the changing of the season's, have a great week!

Laura Leeder, Watercolour Artist
Creston, BC in the heart of the Kootenays

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One Last Look At August And Our Kootenay Lake Retreat

"The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many."  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Although I enjoy every season and always look forward to each, I can't help but feel sad that August has ended and with it summer is fading away and making way for Autumn.  So I am taking one last look at August and our Kootenay Lake Retreat.

















These hydrangeas are from my garden and I just had to bring a few back to the lake with me to enjoy.


















We thoroughly enjoyed our little slice of the wooded park on Kootenay lake that we named Forest Haven.

















An added bonus of having these hanging baskets around our campsite was the hummingbirds they attracted.

















Look up....way up....quite a perspective isn't it?!

















We've enjoyed many walks through the forest.  What an amazing spot this is!

















These daisies are just one of the many wild varieties of flowers that grow in this area.























Kenya enjoyed our morning walks through the forest and then down onto the beach.  Everyday was a new discovery for her.

     















Sigh....even now, I miss the sound of the waves rolling into shore.  I can't wait to get back here!

 















I marveled at the site of this"water art" a mass of old tree stumps and roots.






                 










And this, if you study it long enough, you can see all kinds of characters taking shape.




And last but not least, one of my favorite activities, sitting at the waters edge and dipping our feet into the lake, while watching the boats go by and the eagles soar high in the sky.

And with that I welcome September, the changes of the seasons and all that Autumn has to offer.

I am back in the studio working on some new sketches for my teacup series, a floral still life and another small apple painting.  Thanks for stopping by, your comments are always welcome!

Creatively Yours,
Laura Leeder ~ Watercolour Artist
Creston, BC (the heart of the Kootenays)                                                              

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