Atop Garnet

Artist Jennifer Walden

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Yellowknife (Non-Indigenous)
Acrylic on Canvas
10' x 12'

Initially when I set out on my hike to Garnet Ridge, my goal was to find a few raw garnets at the top (as I had been told there were many) to take home to my children. The hike turned out to be one of the most memorable of my trip. I met a lone caribou who was content to let me sit fifteen feet from him while he ate. I shared this close space with him for nearly half an hour. Later I discovered that the easiest way to reach the top of this crumbling mountain was to follow meandering and somewhat precarious caribou trails up the steep rocks.


The orange lichen growing on the rocks was so vibrant in some places it looked fluorescent. It is the nitrogen-rich bird droppings that enhance the pigment parietin in the lichen to make it such a bright orange. It was no wonder that at the bottom of an orange covered rocky outcrop I found several large golden eagle feathers.

Standing ten feet in the air on scaffolding, I was once again manipulating swirling colours in an abstract composition to create the plateau of tundra in the distance. What a surprise it was for me when I climbed down and stood back to look, to see that I had unintentionally created a series of what will come off the end of my brush is my favourite thing about being lost in the creative moment.