1999. Watercolour on paper. 27 × 138 cm.
We summer at a small pothole lake in the southern edge of the Dry Mixedwood Boreal Forest, in central Alberta. Too small for motorboats, it is a perfect canoe and rubber boot lake. I often spend afternoons drifting in the canoe, watching birds and insects. One hot afternoon, I stood in the aspen and poplar at the edge of the lake, as dragonfly larvae emerged from the muck to crawl across the shore and up the trees. The hard brown carapaces split down the back, and soft and crumpled creatures emerged. As I watched, hundreds of dragonflies unfolded their wet tissue wings to dry in the sun. Their abdomens slowly lengthened and turned blue, raining drops of dragonfly essence onto my face and hair. Entranced, I stood motionless until all had emerged and flown. This painting is my love letter to dragonflies.
Photo: Robert Zawaski