Secrets of the Great Bear Sea

SECRETS OF THE GREAT BEAR SEA: British Columbia by Kiernan Antares | Acrylic on 24″ X 30″ Gallery Wood Panel | #17P-004-127-BW


Artwork Statement

This project began with an intention to contribute good will into the world, but as I move more and more into it, I am reminded that one of the things that was a part of me from when I was a little girl, was to go into the stillness, the silence and to sense, listen and feel the presence of God in all things.

The sun, the moon, the stars, the land; the rivers and creeks I walked and listened to, the lakes and oceans I would swim in or watch the ripples and tides, the trees and leaves that whisper in their steadfast presence… everything would connect and fill me somehow.

And, even though I am connecting virtually across Canada’s nation, I can still listen, feel, and sense the spirit of the place… then paint and write the impressions that come. So, now it seems to me that it is not I contributing to the energy, but simply being an interpreter… bringing forth the beauty, power, wisdom, love and grace of our Creator and the LAND-SEA-SKY.

Secrets of the Great Bear Sea—an abstract representation of the mystery and wonder that supports one of the last incredibly diverse and rich ecosystems in the world—in Canada’s wild pacific paradise. Stretching from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border, these breathtaking azure-blue/green temperate waters that provide life to bizarre and colourful invertebrates on the seafloor, fascinating forage fish, sea otters and the great whales, are all at risk from overfishing, oil spills and pressure for an oil and gas super highway. I dedicate this painting to the protection of the Great Bear Sea.

British Columbia, Canada’s most westerly and third largest province has two main regions; ‘the Coast’ and ‘the Interior’. Both so beautiful… No… stunning… No… jaw dropping gorgeous that my heart swelled and my eyes watered in sheer amazement and envy.

“British Columbia is the kingdom of abundance. Where glaciated mountains stand over an unruly Pacific. Rainforests wrap cities. Nature shapes culture. The wild breathing life back into the wild within.” ~
Novelist James Oliver Curwood invented the term “God’s Country” to describe this Canadian wilderness, and I can certainly understand why. Truthfully, as I watched videos, the beauty of this land and sea churned me a bit upside down and inside out. At times, so surreal it seemed like fantasy land, or a Shamballa. A divine paradise, that dreams the dreamers soul and beckons it in flight with mighty wings across the divides.
“My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In a land sculpted by the last ice age, with the largest temperate rainforest, an abundance of wildlife exists where the lean wolves run, and Spirit Bears, Grizzly and Black bears roam the ancestral lands of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais, and humpback and orca whales, sea lions and fantastic jellyfish swim in the Great Bear Sea.

While it was the beauty of this region that first swept me off my feet, I was soon transported into the world of the First Nation’s people working tirelessly through heartache to protect the bears from trophy hunters, and organizations dedicated to preserving the waters of ‘Whale Haven’.

As I progress in this project, it seems that across the expanse of this nation, as much as there is good, the effects of climate change, ego or greed threatens. And I wonder… does there exist a place in this world where the yin and yang, the light and dark do not meet, or dance or collide? Is it perhaps the natural order of life, and the university for our soul to grow? Teaching us how, where and when to take a stand for truth? And unleash our brilliance? And rewriting our stories to leave legacies of beauty?

As I opened myself for impressions before the panel, with my paint palette at the ready, and brush in hand, something took over. My hand moved quickly and as another part of me watched it unfold, it thought, ‘oh boy—this one’s going to need reworking, or fixing, or even beginning again.’ But, I pushed aside the censorship and just went with it.

The piece was not going as I anticipated it might, a different energy altogether actually, and as I was finishing up, I had a sudden realization that it was life under water of the Great Bear Sea. I hopped onto my computer and began looking for images. What I found amazed me—the water flows, colourful fish and forage, and then an article in the Vancouver Observer explaining why the herring are so vital in these seas and conservationists are working to protect them. It’s actually the herring eggs that feed and keep alive wolves, sea life, whales, and birds. I found it interesting to note that at the top left of my painting some paint markings resemble the word, ‘Alive’.

A Message from this Painting

In my explorations I discovered this song that I feel is a beautiful accompaniment for this piece. When the Tide Goes Out—it is taken from local First Nations traditions that refers to the rich coastal bounty in shellfish and kelp, etc. Brian Robertson, of Vancouver, wrote this excellent song which is a plea for all of us to take care of our fragile environmental.

  1. Along the shore is where life began,

Fed by sea and formed by land,

Under the sun and the moon’s command,

Down through the ages feeding man,

Cho:    Oh when the tide goes out, the table is set,

And the sea serves up her bounty bless’d;

Oh come with me while the sand’s still wet,

Oh when the tide goes out, the table is set.

  1. I know some people whose minds get stuck;

To them low tide means slime and muck,

But when I go there I’m prepared to … shuck,

The oyster, the clam and the geoduck,

3. Now go a little further, put your foot in the sea,

Then Try wading out, say up to your knees:

There’s crab and abalone, and special seaweed,

Fix them up right, and they’re bound to please,

4. Now the driftwood fire is burning hot,

Drop your catch in the cooking pot,

Come on, everybody, find a place on the log,

Share a steamingbowl and a grateful thought,

5. Well, I was born and raised by Georgia Strait,

She’s a part of me and I share her fate,

And all of these poisons, she just can’t take,

We’ve got to stop it now, before it’s too late,

’Cause when the tide goes out…

Secrets of the Great Bear Sea—open your heart to the wonders of the magical natural world! Carry the treasure of the warm and nurturing sunlight within, close your eyes and allow the rapture of the Earth’s radiant enchantment to fill your loving heart to inspire your own symphony of creative harmonies. Breathe wild alive back into your life.