To race the “Roaring Fraser” to the sea – Acrylic in an A4 Watercolour Moleskine

My first every attempt using acrylic paint only.

One of Roseindigo’s recent posts ( 8th August ) shows a steep gorge leading down to a river. When I opened Saturday’s newspaper there was an article about travel in the Canadian Rockies. This advertised the great rail journey from Whistler to Vancouver. The accompanying photograph seemed to have so much in common with Rose’s, I decided to attempt my version showing, I assume, the River Fraser crashing through this gorge.

The title of this post comes from the song “Northwest Passage” by the late Stan Rogers. In it he drives across Canada comparing his journey with that of John Franklin who tried, in vain, to find a route for shipping across the north of the continent. You can hear this song on You tube. (When my kids were wee, I used to “sing” this to them – other children got more conventional stuff).

The tale of Franklin’s, and other Polar expeditions, has long fascinated me. Victorian society was appalled when the Scottish doctor and naturalised Canadian explorer, John Rae, discovered the remains of some of Franklin’s expedition. He concluded that the last of the survivors had resorted to cannibalism and this shocked folk in the UK – Englishmen would never resort to such a thing! The local Inuit must have been responsible. A smear campaign was directed at Rae, mainly by Lady Jane Franklin but also by, among others, Charles Dickens the famous author. Rae was ostracised, his reward for finding the “truth” about Franklin’s fate withheld for some considerable time and he was branded a liar. Only years later were his findings grudgingly acknowledged. Rae is buried in St Magnus Cathedral’s graveyard, Kirkwall, Orkney. There is a memorial to him inside the cathedral which shows him, as if asleep.