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Porphyry Impressions | PART I | Artist in Residence | Summer 2018 | by Kaija Savinainen Mountain

Today is the day, my first day of Artist in Residence program. So, it begins!! I am beyond excited and yes, nervous too. The zodiac is loaded down with supplies, luggage and people. There is an excitement in the air as we get ready, put on our floater suits and take our places in the zodiac.

A safety lesson, questions answered and then we begin our journey to Porphyry Island. Two powerful outboard motors sputter and come to life, out of the safety of Thunder Bay Harbour marina we cruise. I hang on hard as the outboards kick into high gear. We skim across the blue green water, soon the city harbour shrinks from view. Up ahead, there she is, the Big Lake lies before us, stretching out, beckoning, teasing, beautiful, sparkling in the morning sun. I stand up, stretch myself to get a glimpse of the Welcome Islands and surrounding landscape. I am in awe of what lies before me. Speechless. Enchanted.

Far to my left I see The Giant resting, quiet in the morning light. I am mesmerized immediately with the breath-taking beauty of land, water and sky. I feel so minuscule and so insignificant, how am I to paint this view that lies before me? How will I convey the power of the land and water? I need to search deep within, to hear her stories, and to listen and observe. What is it that really matters - what is the essence of this place? No extraneous details required, just the raw beauty and heightened colour strongly come to mind.

In my mind I begin to search for my vision, not looking for a postcard replica or photo representation but something deeper, something more meaningful capturing the feeling that the panorama of this place evokes. I push my initial anxieties aside, and drink in the view that lies before me. Everywhere I look I am deeply moved with the beauty and power of this landscape. I have to remind myself to breath, to look, to see and to feel…is it possible to feel the landscape deep in my bones, in my heart and soul. I. Will. Try.

To be continued….