Welcome to October
October brings a definite shift in seasons. No longer can we pretend it's summer. There's a slight nip in the air. The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing color, the sky is that amazing cobalt blue... And the salmon are running...returning to the places they were born to spawn and to die. Our little creek running along our backyard is now beginning to fill with salmon...King Salmon...the big guys.
In the evenings, Mr. Al and I walk down the creekside to watch these incredible creatures at the end of their life cycles, swimming upstream. By the time they swim past our home, they've traveled over 50 miles. They are tired. You can tell. Yet, they persevere...swimming over the rocks...sometimes 2/3rds out of the water in the shallows, looking like speed boats as they jettison themselves into the deeper water. Then they rest a bit in an eddy before continuing their journey, yielding to Nature's urgings.
My October offering is SALMON RUN. The original painting is acrylic on a 12x15 sheet of paper. It is one of my favorites.
As you know by now, I have been using my iPad for my morning meditational animal sketches. It's been a wonderful way for me to wake up in the mornings...sipping my coffee and sketching. It took some getting used to, but now I appreciate the paperless, digital approach to drawing...just as long as I still paint and create in so-called reality. (Full disclosure, I want to start adding color to my morning sketching and just might.)
Speaking of "paperlessness," I recently did two pet portraits of pug dogs with my iPad, then ordered prints. The client wanted larger-than-life portraits, and I didn't have the paper that would fit a larger-than-life-pug dog. So, we discussed and came up with the iPad solution. Turns out, after we discovered how scary a giant pug could be, the finished prints were 11x14....here they are...fun, huh?? I'm looking forward to seeing them hung and framed.
I've taken up enough of your time. It's time to hear from Mr. Al.
BUT...Before I sign off. Remember we promised we had something new and different for you that could potentially be a holiday gift and that we would let you know in October what that something new and different would be? Well...you will still find out in October, but it will be closer to Tricks and Treats Time. Stay tuned...now...here's Mr. Al...
On a related topic.
Interestingly, where the salmon spawn might be surprising to you, it was to me.
I learned this last year by chatting with the Fish & Game Naturalist who is periodically seen strolling down the creek at this time of year. His job is to mark 'reds' (of course, you want to say beds...but it is, in fact, reds.) He ties an orange ribbon to a nearby tree branch to mark them for the next check. The length of the dangling ribbon signifies how large a red it is. Oh, and a lot of times, the ribbons disappear from kids or storms and stuff, so to make sure
a good red is marked well; he will also tie a ribbon to a rock and sink it in the middle of
More to the point, one would imagine the salmon would spawn in gentle eddies off to the side. That's what I was used to with bass in Minnesota lakes. But no, the salmon here lay
their eggs in the middle of rapidly flowing water and are fertilized in the same place. It's astounding! You would think the eggs would flow on down with the current and be lost forever. They must either be heavier than water or extremely sticky!
This year, directly across the creek from our 'beach' is a shallow series of very rapid-flowing water over stones in an elevation drop of probably 18 inches over 20 to 30 feet. That's where we see most of the couples (or SSOs - Salmon Significant Others) almost stationary but swimming into the current with their dorsal fins sticking out of the water.
This particular area was a significant red marked with a long orange ribbon last year! It is astounding!
We assume this is just the beginning of the run this year as we haven't seen Fish & Game guy yet...I hope to talk with him again. It is a very educational experience, and truth be told, I'd love to ask if I could go with him sometime.
Signing off for now...catch you in a couple of weeks!