watercolour of Englishman Falls on Vancouver Island

Inspiration: Englishman River Falls

I made two sketching trips to Englishman River Falls; the first in 1994 with my friend and fellow sketcher, and the second a couple of years later when I drove over to Vancouver Island by myself, camped at the Falls and sketched my heart out.

I have very few photos considering this is a major inspiration of mine – I have picked a few that appear to be in the general vicinity from old photo albums. Non are labelled so I’m not exactly sure whether they are Englishman Falls or not, but at least they give an idea of the area.

Teal waters from my ’94 Island sketching trip. teal waters on my '94 Island sketching tripThis postcard from Tourism Nanaimo was picked up on my ’94 Island sketching trip and shows me why I didn’t take a lot of photos – the area was deep in the forest and very dark. This, I seem to remember, is one of the smaller waterfalls in the park on the way to the main falls. The description on the back says only : ‘Enjoy the varied natural surroundings in one of Nanaimo’s 28 urban parks and natural areas.’A postcard from Nanaimo picked up on my '94 Island sketching tripA photo from a later trip. Again, I’m not certain if this is Englishman Falls, but it certainly shows the dark jagged rocks that inspired my initial drawings.Englishman's Falls, a waterfall near Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island, CanadaEnglishman Falls, acrylic over textured gesso with ink brush strokes delineating the rushing water. Englishman Falls acrylic and ink paintingFrom my 9×6 sketch book: a pencil sketch of Englishman Falls in preparation for make etching prints. from my 9x6 sketch book: a sketch of Englishmans Falls

An ink sketch of Englishman Falls from the same sketch book.from my 9x6 sketch book: an ink sketch of Englishmans Falls

A lithograph in brown ink made from drawing and painting on a stone plate with various materials.
Litho Print of Englishman's Falls on Vancouver IslandAlso from my 9×6 sketch book: a sketch of Englishman Falls with notes on colour; mostly blue-green and blue-green-black. from my 9x6 sketch book: a sketch of Englishmans Falls And another from my 9×6 sketch book: a watercolour of Englishmans Falls with potential sound effect notes: ‘birds tapping, sapsuckers? spinning?’  to which I reply, ‘wrong motion, rocking more, blur, hurdy-gurdy!’ then, ‘different sounds – how?’, ‘uneven spacing will give different sounds, click, click.’ I was also thinking of some sort of ‘light’ show with the notes: ‘slots of light’ and ‘transparent light images, Thailand’.from my 9x6 sketch book: a sketch of Englishmans Falls with potential sound effectsPolaroid of my first attempt at an acrylic painting of Englishman Falls. I was never happy with it and eventually decided that the problem was that its four foot height was too small to really convey the majesty of these rocks and consequentially painted over it.Small acrylic painting of Englishman Falls.Mixed Media Painting of Little Qualicum Falls on Vancouver IslandThe section of the river leading to the falls was quite different; the water was tobacco brown and filled with intriguing boulders.Sketch of Englishman's FallsThis is the area where the brown water flows into the deep pools and turns that rich blue-green I associate with the falls. Sketch of Englishman's FallsMore of Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Water.


5 thoughts on “Inspiration: Englishman River Falls

  1. I love the way you have translated the falls in pencil drawings and then into the sketch book painting. It’s great to see your process and the way the drawings were realised into the small acrylic painting.

      1. I followed your blog again. I had already followed it but your posts weren’t showing up in my Reader. I hope they do now. I find your creative process fascinating.

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