Together with my sisters Rebecca Perehudoff, and Carol Perehudoff, and my mother, Dorothy Knowles, I have had many adventures in search of new landscapes to paint. We have met unconventional people, encountered wildlife, and experienced unpredictable weather. Recently, Mom was saying it always seemed that if we started out in sunshine we would be painting in the rain and if we started with grey skies we spent the trip in the sun. Our quest to seek out scenery and new motifs took us to quite a few provinces and as well into the United States. Initially, we travelled within Saskatchewan, either heading up north or venturing south to the Regina Plains, Qu’Appelle Valley, or Cypress Hills.
Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan
Calgary artist, Barbara Ballachey, would invite Rebecca and me along with other landscape painters such as Catherine McAvity out to her family’s ranch adjacent to the forestry reserve along the foothills. There we could meander through the woods, walk across streams, admire the horses, and paint.
We also headed west into the mountains. My sister Carol, who is now a writer, was with Mom and I, on one of our first trips through Jasper, Alberta. It was April and along every road south of Jasper there were avalanche warnings. We later thought that perhaps it wasn’t prudent to pick that time of year, but the colours were amazing. Mom commented, “They looked like blue china.”
Many legendary artists such Canadian J.E.H. MacDonald, and Arthur Lismer, both of the Group of Seven, have painted Lake O’Hara in British Columbia. During one particular trip, I went with my parents and the weather was cool and wet with the clouds hugging the mountains. The lake was captivating and the wilderness, thrilling.
Lake O'Hara, British Columbia
Journal Excerpt from July 2, 1992
“Mom and I painted Lake O’Hara while sitting on red wool blankets and a bench at the end of the lake. By lunch, it had begun to drizzle. We could only get the tiniest sketches done. Fortunately, after lunch, the clouds lifted and we were able to hike and take photographs. The next morning we saw the mountain peaks for the first time. The sun was out, at least briefly. We painted by the lake having our trusty umbrellas ready for the rain that came every 30 minutes. We later hiked to Morning Glory Lake but not before I had pulled a muscle in my neck and couldn’t turn my head. The trail was rocky and treacherous. I was worried about injuries and bears. We made it to the lake where there was an alpine meadow at the bottom of a glacier. The mosquitoes were terrible. We paused momentarily to witness the splendor and the blooming flowers. We were exhausted upon arrival and discovered that Dad had been on a two-hour hike by himself. I was so glad we were all safe.”
Elbow Falls, which is west of Calgary in Kananaskis Country, was a favorite destination. Artist Laurel Cormack and I drove there from the Leighton Centre, which was 15 kilometers southwest of Calgary.
Journal Excerpt from June 7, 1991
It seemed to take forever to get to Elbow Falls. We set up late in the morning and by 3:00 p.m. I felt my painting was really starting to look good. Suddenly the wind blew my easel over! The painting hit a charcoal log and gravel and was immediately destroyed. This happened just as I had turned around to get fresh water. The timing was unbelievable. Salvaging what I could, I kept painting when it started to rain. It was pouring so hard we couldn’t even see through the windows of our vehicle.