First Cut




First Cut
Xwaaqw’um V
oil on birch panel, 36″ x 24″

I have an aerial map of Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park (Xwaaqw’um – Place of the Merganser) onto which I’ve written names for all the meadows, accesses, paths and trails. The names represent the Sqw’uts’um people who lived, hunted and fished here before contact, as well as the European settlers who took possession of the land in the 1860s, and cleared it for buildings, orchards, hay and livestock. Other names represent natural features, and some of the people who more recently lived in the valley before it became the fabulous 2,500 acre park we know today.

This painting is inspired by the field to the left as you enter the park, where the first hay of the season is being cut. The heads of the still-uncut grass, which Ted Akerman, who has hayed here for fifty years calls “Red Top”, range from a soft mauve through lavender and coral to a bright orangy-pink, and are a favourite element in my paintings of the valley in summer. “First Cut” refers to the clear-cuts on Mt. Sullivan, as well as to the new-mown hay, and is also the name I give to this field.

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