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The Working Wilderness Heritage Series depicts working man's interaction with the natural world. It may not always be pretty and may anger those who wish for absolutely no contact between nature and man, but it is reality, and properly conducted need not be intrusive or destructive.
As a geologist, I have spent much of my life working in and visiting remote areas of the world, frontier regions that collectively might be termed "wilderness." The wilderness is of course no such thing, and remains a term coined by humans when failing to encounter large groups of their fellow man while tramping through the bush of the Canadian Shield, over the treeless, vast terrain of the Arctic or the high, windswept plains of the Andes Mountains, through the dense, tangled growth of Ecuadorian or Papua New Guinea jungles or on the shimmering terrain of Mexican or Australian deserts. These so-called wildernesses are filled with the natural world, be they animal, vegetable or mineral. Experiencing the northern lights, the call of the loon, the flight of the eagle, rivers carpeted in crimson by spawning salmon, the explosive colour of Arctic and desert flowering, or the raucous cries of brilliantly plumaged jungle birds to give note to just a few, quickly gives lie to the natural world as wilderness.
The connection of indigenous peoples with the wilderness is intimate and inclusive, extending back to the dawn of mankind. Over the course of such history, the so-called wilderness has been both the key and threat to man's survival, be it as a source of food and shelter, or a force with which to cope, never to overcome but hopefully to survive. In more modern times, the wilderness has engaged the human race on somewhat different and expanded terms in exploring and exploiting its natural resources. As such, people other than indigenous groups have been added to the human component of the wilderness, as have machines. The term "exploitation" is an interesting one, for that single word can be employed to describe two completely opposite traits, one positive and one pejorative. Webster's Dictionary defines exploitation to be either an act of productive utilization or the unethical use of something for one's own advantage or profit. The nature of the former definition is one of balance and enduring quality while the downside of the latter practice as it affects our world is beyond debate, and is neither the focus of this series nor one that has for the most part underlain my personal experience. Rather my involvement in exploration and exploitation has been one of engagement with the wilderness, an engagement that has presented the awesome beauty of the natural world with a daily reminder of the respect and humility required for the survival of both self and the environment itself.
The Working Wilderness Heritage Series reflects some of the places and environments in which I have co-existed during my lifetime. There are those who see in a landscape painting the depiction of a human figure or any signs of human interaction with the landscape as despoiling the art; as somehow lessening the value of the artistic thought and diminishing the beauty of the natural landscape. This artist would disagree, mindful of the fact that we also are part of nature and a balanced interaction of man and nature is part of the natural world. It is fondly remembered how winter roads made through the northern Quebec bush facilitated forestry and one geologist's travel through the bush, but as well made easier the winter and summer travel of one of the largest populations of its kind in the world...moose!
The Working Wilderness Heritage Series therefore depicts working man's interaction with the wilderness, be it within the realm of mineral exploration, forestry, fishing or the like, and as a reflection of the fact that man and the products of his inventions are also an intricate part of the natural world. Voltaire once noted that "the secret of the arts is to correct nature." But what is there to correct in nature? Absolutely nothing. And no artist, however realistic his or her style, can ever out compose or truly depict the settings or beauty of the natural world. One can only but personalize the experience.
|Northern British Columbia Exploration Camp #2||Exploration Flight Paths||Exploring A Northern Canada River||Working On The Ecstall River, Northern British Columbia|
|Northern Canada Mineral Exploration Using Early Model Skidoo||Exploration On The Bunster Plateau, British Columbia||Fresh Supplies!||Flying Over High Country Glaciers, British Columbia|
|Labrador Fly Camp||Logs Under Tow, Ecstall River, British Columbia||Bush Road In Muskwa Range, Northern British Columbia||Exploring The Bunster Plateau, British Columbia|
|Turning Final To Bronson Creek Airstrip, Iskut River, British Columbia||Exploring The River Bluff||Exploring The Muskwa Range, Northern British Columbia||Summer Exploration Camp, Cottonbelt Plateau, British Columbia|
|Winter Exploration Camp, Cottonbelt Plateau, British Columbia||Exploring The High Canadian Rocky Mountains||Better Late Than Never!||Merritt, BC Ranchlands Series: Line Cabin|
|Merritt, BC Ranchlands Series: Split Herd||Merritt, BC Ranchlands Series: High Country Meadow||Nearly Home In The Canadian Arctic||Towing Logs On The Ecstall River, British Columbia|
|Log Grading, Howe Sound, British Columbia||A Race With Darkness||Log Sorting, Howe Sound, British Columbia||At The Top Of The Chute|
|Geologizing Over Kamloops Lake, British Columbia||Long Portage||On Final To Bronson Creek Airstrip, Iskut River, British Columbia||Impending Portage|
|Cliff Edge Exploration||Rendezvous At The River||Traverse Lunch Break||Upstream Exploration|
|Uphill Exploration||Northern BC Exploration #4||Northern BC Exploration #1||Northern BC Exploration #2|
|Northern BC Exploration Camp #1||Northern BC Exploration #3||Winter Exploration at Kullagh Lake, BC||Logging The Seymour River Valley, BC|
|Tough Traverse||Northern British Columbia Exploration # 5||Exploring The Stump Lake Area, BC||Mt. Grace, BC Drill Camp - Summer|
|Mt. Grace, BC Drill Camp - Winter||Exploring Mt. Grace Plateau, BC||Prospecting The Falls||Exploration Drilling Near Merritt, British Columbia|
|Prospecting The Gossan In Northern Canada|