Living only a few blocks from Kanaka Creek is a big draw for me when looking for natural history subjects to paint. Kanaka Creek flows through Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada. It originates high up on the south slope of Blue Mountain and flows down gathering speed and water volume. The creek has probably been flowing down Blue Mountain before the glaciers started retreating from the area. It then traverses through Cliff Park, carving its way through solid rock and then emptying a few kilometers away into the Fraser River. On the northside of Blue Mountain is where Alouette Lake can be found, in Golden Ears Park. Many portions of Kanaka Creek are picturesque if not spectacular but the most impressive is the portion that flows through Cliff Park. My painting shows Kanaka Creek just before it enters Cliff Park.
"Kanaka", originally referred to native Hawaiians, from their own name for themselves, kānaka ʻōiwi or kānaka maoli, in the Hawaiʻian language. A number of these Hawaiians were hired by the local railway companies in British Columbia during the pioneer years. The local indigenous peoples formed a close bond with these workers and named the creek in my area, Kanaka Creek, to honour them.
On the day I ventured to Kanaka Creek, the region was experiencing a lot of smoke due to various forest fires as well as a major fire in Vancouver. This created an unusual mist or fog throughout the whole area. This is noted in how the light was directional but also diffused at the same time. Despite it having just rained heavily an hour prior to collecting references and sketches of Kanaka Creek, the mist persisted throughout the day. I observed large droplets of water dripping off the cedar tree branches which really captured the feel for this area so I made sure it featured in my painting.