Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Crossed path in Banff, oil 15 x 20cm
I was walking along this path alone some years ago during a trip to Canada, and had been told by locals to watch out for cougars, a warning I received with some skepticism; it reminded me too much of Australians cautioning tourists about 'drop bears', ie. as if! Everything was silent and still and peaceful as quiet snowy Canadian landscapes should be. Certainly nobody was going to be attacked by anything anywhere in the vicinity of this friendly ski resort town, right? Even if I was really quite far out now, and it was getting kind of dark, and feeling a bit too quiet. Suddenly out of nowhere a huge pale-coloured blur came rushing right at me, crashing through the black woods like a flash of lightning. I now understood what people meant by the phrase "paralysed by fear": I just froze to the spot, not even my eyeballs could move. So it took quite a few beats to then register the excitable labrador running circles around me before darting back into the wilderness; its owner, it turned out, was walking a long distance away, far beyond the trees. So much for a relaxing stroll in the woods! This is what I now think about when I think about Banff – and when looking at this painting – a place where I was kind of "attacked" by a kind of "cougar" after kind of "ignoring" the warnings of locals.

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