Nature's Sunscreen

Last week I hiked Fullerton Loop, just outside Bragg Creek, Alberta, with a friend. She is much more of a mountain woman than I and so as we were walking she told me all about the trees and wildlife that we saw. When I hike, I am usually busy looking at colors and how the light falls and the texture of things; storing the images in my mind for later in the studio. I was grateful for her perspective and was excited to discover an interesting fact about aspens. I always attributed their color to whether they were in the shade or in the sun. I assumed their green bark tones would actually be white if the tree were in a brighter location. However, according to my friend, the trees develop a white powder as protection from the sun which is why they truly are white in the sun and green in the shade. Apparently the Cree used the white powder that formed on the aspen bark as a sunscreen.

So now I am working on a painting of aspens and the play of light and color that I saw during that hike. I am so lucky to live a short drive away from some of the world's best landscape!

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