This story is not about Northern Vancouver Island but is an amazing account of how small our world really is and how we are all tied together.
In the year 2000 we visited friends in a suburb of Fremantle in Western Australia. Gillian Peebles is an outstanding artist who was the official artist for the Americas Cup when that huge sailing competition was held in Fremantle for two years in succession. Her husband, Ron, helpful at every turn, was the epitome of supportive partners in the game called art. She and I had painted together briefly on North Island when they toured here the previous year and so the invitation to visit them was extended every month or so.
Ron had seven weeks of holiday time saved up and so they created some very ambitious plans for all of us to travel over most of Western Australia, a huge area almost half of Australia in size. Gillian took us to all her relatives and the places of her youth in the outback. We painted nearly every day in the most exotic places imaginable for a North Islander! One of these was a remarkable desert region preserved as a National Park, several hours north of Perth.
The Pinnacles National Park, an area of shifting sand quite near the Indian Ocean, is unique in that pinnacles of brilliant sandstone stand upright throughout the entire locale. The persistent wind from the ocean, not only weathers the pillars, but moves the sand around to expose new ones, changing the scenery almost daily. Did we paint? You better believe it! Gillian had the foresight to bring a lawn-chair and umbrella but I did my sketches in watercolour by kneeling in the sand and working in my shadow, the painting shaded from the brilliant sun. The sketch shown here was one of these productions.
End of story? Hardly. The painting, being a rough sketch was never framed when we got home, but we thought it would be worthwhile to place it in a mat and shrink-wrap it for inclusion in one of the bins in our gallery; where it stayed until last summer. Then the most synchronistic thing took place. A young lady from B.C. came in to browse the gallery and went, almost directly, to one of the picture bins, removed the sketch of The Pinnacles and brought it to the take-out counter.
I had to know why she had chosen it after so many years in the gallery. She told me, reluctantly with tears in her eyes, that she and her husband had been on a vacation to Western Australia and, while they were walking in The Pinnacles National Park, he had a stroke and passed away.
How do you ever explain how she had found this painting? She could not, so I’ll leave it up to you.