Lectio

A lovely day at the museum.

Written By Heather Clitheroe - November 13, 2012

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Another lovely day in Banff. I’ve been waking up at the crack of dawn…well, quite a bit before it, actually. For some reason, I keep waking up around 3:30 or 3:45 and thinking that it’s time to get up. I’m not sure why. Maybe there are security staff doing rounds then? I go back to sleep, and then I’m up around 7:15ish. Which is fine, because the ginormous breakfast buffet starts at 7:30.

Same thing today. I had a very nice breakfast and sat and talked with two other writers. Then back to the studio to sit and work on revisions. It’s been quite incredible to see things clicking into place with this novel – I’m quite surprised at how nicely it’s coming together. Then to lunch (I am starving hungry while I am here, and not for lack of food. I think it’s the altitude…).

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After lunch, I went down to the town to the Whyte Museum. There’s an exhibition of landscape and wildlife painting and sculpture spanning Yellowstone to the Yukon, and it closes after Thursday. It was lovely! Pictures were allowed – no flash, but it was a pleasant surprise to discover that I could take pictures at all. There were a lot of different artists represented, but I found myself drawn to paintings done by Carl Runguis again and again:

At the Whyte Museum.

At the Whyte Museum.

At the Whyte Museum.

At the Whyte Museum.

At the Whyte Museum.

At the Whyte Museum.

At the Whyte Museum.

At the Whyte Museum.

I think what I like best about Rungius’ paintings is that he uses bold, vibrant colour. There were a number of paintings by Dwayne Harty, but they tended to be too pastel for my liking…too soft, I think, and when they were near or next to the Rungius paintings, they seemed washed out by them. There’s something that feels very vital and alive about the Rungius pictures. I spent quite a lot of time looking at them. Rungius kept a studio in Banff and painted here every year until he died, and apparently his ashes were scattered on Tunnel Mountain (which is where the Banff Centre is now) because he so liked the view.

I can definitely understand that. I really love the view here, too.

After that? I went for a walk around the town. I stopped into the Christmas store (there is one) and spotted a really nice tree skirt. And on sale, too! Then wandered around, and as I was heading back, stopped – on impulse – into the Atmosphere store. I’ve been trying to keep an eye out for decent snow pants. They’re awfully hard to find. There are a great many pairs of snow pants available for purchase in Banff, but quite a lot of them are for skiing, and they’re not meant to be worn over work pants (as I plan to). And they are really, really expensive. Imagine my surprise and delight to find real, honest-to-goodness snow pants that are meant to be worn over something at the Atmosphere store! Frankly, I’m surprised that I didn’t start jumping up and down. They were on sale, too, which just made the find that much better. I am so, so pleased. Really pleased. So pleased that I’ve already tried them on twice this evening, just to admire them.

And that was the day. Lamb shoulder for dinner with a bacon au jus (it was incredible) and garlic mashed potatoes. And the Banff Centre chef made me a special bowl of zucchini, as the buffet dish had been cooked with onion in it. I’m quite grateful to them – this is the second time I’ve has to ask for special vegetable at dinner, on account of a food intolerance. Both times, I expected to be given plain, steamed zucchini, and both times, I’ve been quite surprised: tonight was zucchini that had been sauteed and then grilled, and the other time, zucchini with lemon pepper seasoning and a little bit of oil. And both times, they’ve been very cheerful and pleased to help and haven’t treated the request like a bother. It’s quite a relief for me.

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Tomorrow? A writing day. I’m near the end of this residency, so I will spend the next couple of days working on the novel manuscript. Taking it easy for a few days, though, and having a break for the wildlife safari tour yesterday and the museum today was a very good idea.

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