The Quickening


This is an original drawing that I made after the Caldor Fire of 2021, using charcoal foraged from the burn area near my studio in Christmas Valley. Measuring 22 x 30″, The Quickening was created on a heavy weight, archival paper called ‘Stonehenge’, and features a deckled edge.

Learn more about this piece, the story and my process via a recent KCRA 3 News story

Local delivery only for framed, as it has conservation glass. I’ll deliver free of charge within 100 miles or so – contact me to discuss.

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Charcoal gathered from the Caldor Fire on Paper
30 x 22″

The Warr Trail is a steep hike up what we call Meyers Mountain, the hillside which rises above our community in Christmas Valley. Embers from the Caldor Fire crossed Highway 89 on August 30th, igniting the forest on the slope. I have hiked and sketched this hillside many times, and become very familiar with the flora and fauna. There was a cedar tree bordering the trail that I would ‘shake hands’ with on the way up, every time. A little ritual, a greeting.

It took me a while after we returned after the fire to muster the emotional strength to go back to this place. The devastation was so extreme, so radical. It was silent, that first time. No birds, so chipmunks, and definitely no bears. The cedar was burnt. Manzanita arced over rocks, blackened and bare of their foliage.

I carried on hiking, the soft dirt mixed with ash dampening the sound of my footsteps. I was searching for life, and found none.

This Spring, I returned and found new manzanita regrowing from the roots of the old, lupins, ferns and grass now sprouted from the grey earth. Their colour seemed so much more vibrant, more saturated than before. They had the luxury of space, no competition for sunlight. The higher I hiked, I saw more regrowth everywhere. Still sparse, but persistent. I was looking for the seasonal streams which meander down the hillside at this time of year, hoping for a place to settle and sketch as I did before.

I caught my breath when I saw the scene in this drawing. Sunlight caught the thin trickle of water meandering between bare, burnt trees. A quicksilver arabesque of shimmering light, the stream was tightly bounded by green moss, grass and lupins – all brand new.

The setting sun blazed through the trees above, their twigs reaching across space like Gothic Cathedrals of old Europe. I sat down to draw with charcoal  found nearby, and made my peace.


Additional information

Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 32 × 24 × 1.5 in

Framed, Unframed