Monday, January 21, 2013


Alberta linocut

The symbols of Alberta, its provincial animal, the big horn sheep and its famous flower, the wild rose cover the hand-carved map of Alberta in this linocut. The block was inked 'à la poupée' (with different colours, green, pinks, yellow and gray-brown, in different areas) and printed by hand on lovely Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper. Each print is 23.5 cm by 31.8 cm (9.25" by 12.5"). The print is one of a variable edition of eight.

It was obvious, despite the various symbols of the province from which to choose, that I needed to include the wild rose1; the licence plate of every car in the province proclaims it to be 'Wild Rose Country'. While the provincial bird, the Great Horned Owl is a wonderful subject, its range stretches far beyond the province. The mammalian emblem, the Big Horned Sheep, on the other hand, gets its very name from Canada: Ovis canadensis. Also, I liked the idea of using the shape of the province to micmic its topography. So, I imagined a scene of looking through a wild rose bush on the prarie at the base of the foothills, west towards the mountains of the Rockies and the Big Horn Sheep.

I've had the great priviledge of having seen much of this country and having travelled from coast to coast. (I am still hoping to visit the third coast). I have visited Calgary several times, and flown over the province more times than I could count. I hope one day to be able to explore more of Alberta. I know there is much beauty yet for me to discover. One Week, for instance, convinced me that I need to go to Drumheller, "Dinosaur Capital of the World"! Plus, hardy friends keep moving to Edmonton.2

1 No political overtones intended. I won't hold the, shall we say less-than-gay-positive party with the unexpectedly poetic name against the flower. The flower came first.

2 Did you know they have summer and winter electrical tape there? Do you know why? Cause regular vinyl tape can freeze solid at -40oC and cut like a knife. Or, at least so I've been told.

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