The Sockeye Salmon “Run of the Century”, Adams River

It happens rarely in one’s lifetime to witness a sockeye salmon run of this magnitude and significance. Abandoning all studio work in Vancouver I head towards British Columbia’s interior to witness first hand a river of bright red crimson fish.  Over a few million salmon have travelled 450 challenging  kilometers from the ocean to return to their place of conception to  lay eggs, spawn and die soon after. This display of life force transferring itself through out the ecosystem and into the wonder of thousands of curious people who gather along the shorelines to view the spectacle is inspiring.

I worked on several small paintings and drawing on site while filming. Afterwards a larger sustained watercolour is attempted and captured in time-lapse  for viewing in the following 2 minute video clip.

For location and further information on the Adams River see the parks website Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park. Also a fine blog post from this event, Salmon Connections by Ivan Doumenc with photos by Isabelle Groc.

PACIFIC SALMON

RIVER-BORN FUGITIVES, RED MUSCLED UNDER SHEATHING SILVER,
ALIVE WITH LIGHTS OF OCEAN’S CHANGING COLOURS.
THE RANGE OF DEEPS AND DISTANCES THROUGH WILD SALT YEARS
HAS GATHERED THE SEA’S PLENTY INTO YOUR PERFECTION.
FULLNESS IS THE LONG RETURN FROM DARK DEPTHS
RENDERING TOLL OF ITSELF TO THE SEARCHING NETS
SURGING ON TO STRIFE ON BRILLIANT GRAVEL SHALLOWS
THAT OPENED LONG AGO BEHIND THE FAILING ICE.
IN VIOLENCE OVER THE GRAVEL, UNDER THE BURN OF FALL,
FULLNESS SPENDS ITSELF, THRUSTING FORTH NEW LIFE
TO NURSE IN THE STREAM’S FLOW THE OLD LIFE.
USED UTTERLY, YIELDS ITSELF AMONG THE RIVER ROCKS OF HOME.

RODERICK HAIG-BROWN

"Return of the Sockeye"

"Return of the Sockeye" 22 in. x 30 in, watercolour by David McEown

About David McEown

Artist, Landscape Painter, Art instructor, Musician
This entry was posted in en plein air, Landscape painting, Northern Landscapes, West Coast Rainforest and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Sockeye Salmon “Run of the Century”, Adams River

  1. Could you possibly explain the camera set-up you use to get all those WIP pictures perfectly aligned? I’d assumed you’d used a scanner until I saw the size of the painting. I think it’s spectacular, BTW, and the colours you’ve used are just perfect!

    • David McEown says:

      Thanks Charlene for the comment. Regarding camera set up, nothing fancy on this one(other times i would have a tripod set up), but this is just hand held shooting, and the painting was placed in a even lighted area of the studio. The digital cropping , organizing is Bridge/ Photoshop and then pics imported to macs I-movie program.

  2. Excellent post and video, David. Thanks!

  3. Lee Treloar says:

    Hi David,
    I love your blog. I feel as though I can experience these remote and beautiful places through your work. Absolutely wonderful!
    This post of the salmon run is magnificent! Really captures the spirit of the spawn, and yes, the WIP pics are spectacular. Love the final result!
    All the best
    Lee

  4. susannehaun says:

    Hi David,
    I like the film and your painting from the salmon. Fishes are beautiful animals and it isn’t any time boring to draw and observe salmon.
    I think I look often drop in to your blog!
    Have a nice day
    Susanne

  5. Vicki Millis says:

    Where are your prints available for purchase?
    Thanks, Vicki Millis

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