There were not too many incidents that broke the flow of our painting. However, one time when Mom, Rebecca, Carol, and I were painting in Kananaskis Country, a region of Albertan provincial parks encompassing both the foothills and mountains, a park ranger asked us if we had seen the grizzly that was in the area. A few weeks before a trip to Lake O’Hara, the trails were closed due to the grizzly bears. Wherever we went, we still ventured out on the trails, sometimes walking on narrow paths of forest-covered rockslides, while I blew on my handy bear whistle given to me by Calgary artist Judith Zinkhan.
An unexpected invitation came my way when my friends, Kathy Sloane, and David Powell, asked me to join them on a cycling tour between Jasper and the Icefields in Alberta. I had the easy part, driving their truck along the mountain highway to the chosen campground. At one point, I stopped to paint at a campground surrounded by bushes, near a meadow and a stream. I saw bear scat so I set up close to the camper truck. After finishing a watercolour, I decided to walk around. As I looked around the bushes at the edge of a grassy area, I saw a large grizzly bear eating some berries. The wind was in the right direction. I ran all the way back to the truck and nervously waited for my friends.
Another time when my mother and I were painting in a forest clearing along the southern edge of the Prince Albert National Park, in Saskatchewan, I was playing some loud music on a portable cassette player. After painting awhile, I needed to get something out of my van, which was parked by the side of the road. When I reached the vehicle I saw a black bear further up the road. The bear had obviously walked past us, clearly uninterested in art or artists