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Douglas Fir Watercolour Workshop – Feb 24, 2024

Today we were honoured to partner with artist, Marisa Pahl, to run a Douglas Fir Watercolour Workshop. 12 participants attended the workshop made possible thanks to funding from Park People.

Each participant were supplied with travel paint swatches from Beam Paints, handcrafted in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island/Mnidoo Mnising. In addition, they received 3 pieces of watercolour paper, two gold taklon brushes, and scrap paper.

Marisa invited everyone to begin by exploring the paint on a large scrap paper. With wavy brush strokes, first gentle then firmer, we created colourful lines on the page. She then read a poem about trees, to focus our energies.

Marisa then offered her first painting invitation: to create the shape of the Douglas Fir tree with paint. We explored pictures of Douglas Firs, passed around a piece of bark to touch, and shared a stories about the tree.

One story was how the Douglas fir pine cone got its shape. Long ago, there was a forest fire and mice were looking for a place to hide from the flames. So, they climbed up to the highest Douglas Fir and slipped in the pine cones. When you look at a pine cone, you can still see the little feet and tail of the mice hiding there.

Marisa then offered her second painting invitation: to create the circular inner rings within the Douglas Fir. We explored all the six colours offered in the Beam travel swatch – from deep reddish-brown to light green. Everyone created unique sweeping strokes.

Several participants commented on how meditative they found painting to be. Doing the repetitive watercolour brush strokes, put everyone in a calm, peaceful state.

We all came away with a deeper connection to the Douglas Fir through our art and deeper connection to our inner self through the quiet reflection.

Much gratitude to Marisa for her lovely workshop. Free the Fern would love to have her back for a future workshop. Perhaps, the next one could take place under the actual Douglas fir trees in the Red Alder Trail.