Let the Landscape Call to You
One of the most incredible moments in my life was on a boat. I was just off the coast of Alaska on a tour of a bay. Sea otters had become my favorite animal on the planet while my husband and I waited to board, and once we set sail, we made a game of looking for bald eagles, sea lions and mountain goats along the shore.
We passed a small island that had narrow, tall trees on its surface. Ghosts of trees, really. When the Great Alaskan Earthquake of 1964 hit this area, salt water from the ocean had found its way into the roots of the plants and petrified them. The sight was haunting; the silhouettes of the trees quiet and timeless as we floated by, comparatively loud and temporary in our own lives.
With the island behind us and the shores becoming more distant, it happened. A spray of water erupted from the water’s surface. A whale! My heart beat faster, and the next few moments were filled with humility and gratefulness that our paths had crossed with this incredible creature.
Back on land in Anchorage, I had more moments of shock and awe. One was on a gray day, the sky not unlike it is now as I write this in a Midwest winter. I was looking at the city as a tourist would and paying attention to how beautiful the mountains were behind the buildings. I raised my eyes a little and noticed the clouds that covered the mountaintops. And then I raised my chin and saw that the mountains–these giants–were not letting the clouds have the last say. Bold as they were, the landscape itself rose above the clouds, and I realized that I had never felt so small.
And so the landscape moves us; from ocean waves to purple mountain majesties and everything in between. If the landscape inspires you to paint, you’ll want to check out this Step-by-Step Landscape Painting Instruction eBook from the new and improved North Light Shop.
Until next time,
A reader has asked me about the island of trees in Alaska. While I don’t recall the exact name of the island, I’m happy to share the photo that I had taken from the boat. It’s not the best image (definitely not National Geographic material, and this was before we even had a digital camera), but here it is: