Tag Archives: Gwaii Haanas National Park

2015 – A New Year, New Outlook and New Works


"The Harvest" ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 36"x48"

“The Harvest” ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 36″x48″

It’s been a long couple of years battling breast cancer, but I’m now feeling like I’m finally back on the horse. 2015 is looking like a brand new horizon and to ring in the new year, I’ve been back in the studio almost working full time. It’s a great feeling to finally have some control back in my arm and painting hand, and I have more paintings in my head than I could possibly paint in four lifetimes. I suppose that is what I love so much about  painting – it never gets old for me, and I’m always stretching, learning something new and finding that daily meditative space that only the canvas can offer.

I wish for you, a wonderful and fresh new outlook for this upcoming year, filled with beautiful artwork, good health, and happy days. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll stop now.

"Metamorphosis" ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 36"x48"

“Metamorphosis” ©2015 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 36″x48″

Georgia On My Mind! :: Bo Bartlett Master Class at Columbus State University

There are exactly four pivotal points in my art career that I can remember excited me beyond belief. Remember that elation you felt I felt as a kid on Christmas morning? THAT. That adrenalin moment when you feel like the planets have all aligned JUST for you.

Pivotal Point In Art Career #1Glen Loates - Canadian artist

Glen Loates, Canadian artist.

Glen Loates, Canadian artist.

The day that Glen Loates called me, after seeing my work wayyyy back in the early 90’s to say that he was literally ‘stunned’ at the beauty of what I was creating. Glen and Sally were the first folks to publish my work and support me in my art development and career and I am forever indebted for the time that I spent with Glen. The reason why this was so important to me was that when I was a kid, my grandparents gave me notecards with Glen’s work and I remember drawing them, learning how to see and beginning my learning journey. Glen was generous in his mentorship of me as a young artist, and I’m forever grateful for the things he taught me about art and myself.

Pivotal Point In Art Career #2

Spring of 1993 –  and I was taking in all things art around me – I had earlier discovered in depth, the work of American realist Andrew Wyeth. Living on the farm in Harley, and a just being a new mother at the time, I knew that I had to leave my young family and make an artist’s journey to Chadd’s Ford and the Brandywine Valley to experience Andrew Wyeth’s physical world…and of course, the Brandywine River Museum to see the works in person. It inspired me to begin a journey in learning how to work with egg tempera but more than that – it showed me how Andrew’s work was so integrally tied to his landscape and the feel of his world was reflected so deeply in his work. That trip is still deeply embedded in me at a cellular level.

Pivotal Point In Art Career #3

Fast forward to April 2012, around 4:30 pm when I received a call from Jen Wilson at the Haida Museum. I was one of three artists selected for a unique Artist in Residence for Gwaii Haanas National Park. The kids were in the kitchen, and we were jumping up and down and yelling and jumping up and down…yeah, there was a lot of yelling and jumping up and down! There are just times in your life when you know things are meant to be….exciting, inspiring and spiritually feeling like the right thing. I was right about my time in Haida Gwaii – it has changed me forever as an artist and a person.

Pivotal Point In Art Career #4

"The Rebel" ©2010 Bo Bartlett. Oil on panel. 24"x24"

“The Rebel” ©2010 Bo Bartlett. Oil on panel. 24″x24″

Today!!!!!! – receiving official notification that I’m one of 18 very lucky artists to study in a Master Class with amazing American realist Bo Bartlett. Bo’s work, philosophy and experience resonate with my soul as an artist and a human being. Around the same time in the fall of 2012 when I was working on pieces from Gwaii Haanas at The Banff Centre, I had the opportunity to attend a class with him at PAFA. Alas, I found out that I had breast cancer and art really had to take a back seat to my health. Again, the opportunity arose in March last year, but by then, I was sick and in bed with the devastating effects of chemo. One of the things that I clearly remember Bo tweeting to me was, “BEAT IT!”. It sure made a difference to me when things were so low, and I appreciate that.

Feeling better, but not yet 100%, I’m feeling so much gratitude to have been accepted this March for Bo’s Master Class at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. I can’t wait to spend time with the other artists and this great painter in his home town for a concentrated experience, and intelligent dialogue. And perhaps the coolest thing of all?…. Full circle, Bo spent over five years with Andrew Wyeth, creating the film “Snow Hill” and has an intimate knowledge and appreciation of the greatness of being that Andrew was.

Oh…..this is gonna be good.

Rock the Boat! One Artist’s Experience in Haida Gwaii

Tanu'u Woman. ©2013 Janice Tanton. Digital print.

Tanu’u Woman. ©2013 Janice Tanton. Digital print.

One year ago today, I left Canmore for Haida Gwaii and a life-changing artist’s residency at Gwaii Haanas National Park. In a month’s time, I learned more than I could absorb, met new family and friends, saw, touched, smelled and heard things that were literally Super-Natural and was inspired and welcomed with open arms by the Haida Nation and the islanders.

I yearn to return there – more than anything in my life that I’ve wished for. I need to show my family everything there that I experienced. I’d move in a heartbeat. The inspiration has taken me a whole year of thinking, battling and painting to begin to work out. Haa’wa to all my friends and family on HG. I think of you every day.

In this short year, Harper’s government has slashed funding to Parks Canada and as a result, the same program that inspired me so, is no longer in place. No mind. I’m more determined than ever to express the beauty and mystery that just one oil tanker spill could destroy. All this time spent sick has given me time to think, and once I am on my feet….well, let’s just say I’m making it my life’s work.

Pledge to something or someone important in your life. As an artist, this is your duty.

Rock the boat.

Janice Tanton and Moresby Explorers – 7 Day Power Painting Journey in Gwaii Haanas National Park & Haida Heritage Site

Bag Harbour, Gwaii Haanas National Park

Bag Harbour, Gwaii Haanas National Park

It’s official! On June 3 – 8th, I’ll be leading a group of 8 painters with Moresby Explorers into the wilds of…

Gwaii Haanas National Park and

Haida Heritage Site

Moresby Explorers Floating Lodge - Base Camp for Power Painting

Moresby Explorers Floating Lodge – Base Camp for Power Painting

Base camp for this seven day rigorous artistic journey is Moresby Explorers’ floating lodge, situated on the northern boundary of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. The lodge is rustic but comfortable with hot and cold running water, enough electricity for lights and camera charging and a flush toilet. Although there is no regular shower, there is an outside camp shower which can be set up if needed.

Comfy Living Room in the Float Lodge

Comfy Living Room in the Float Lodge

Canadian artist Janice Tanton is no stranger to Gwaii Haanas, having been an Artist In Residence for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve in 2012. Her practice continues to focus on the beauty and spirit of this special place. A two-time Canada Council award recipient, Janice’s works have been exhibited across the globe. An Alumna of Distinction (Creative Arts & Design) from Durham College, she has taught from coast to coast and worked as Artist in Residence and sessional faculty at The Banff Centre, Red Deer College and Haliburton School of Fine Art. She has been adopted into the Blackfoot as the daughter of Elder Tom Crane Bear, initiated into the pow wow dance circle, is a tipi owner and has been given the Blackfoot name Iniskim-Aki (Sacred-Buffalo-Stone Woman).

Curious as to how to reconcile the wide spectrum of diversity within her communities and familes, her painting practice explores the ambiguous spaces between cultures, humanity, and the land.

Marco Island Painting Spot - Gwaii Haanas National Park and Haida Heritage Site

Painting on Marco Island, Gwaii Haanas National Park


Power Painting In Gwaii Haanas Itinerary

Day 1: We pick you up at the Sandspit Airport at 15:00, when the Air Canada flight comes in from Vancouver. We drive to Moresby Camp, a little more than an hour down the logging roads, where we keep our boats. Here we load all our gear into one of our Hurricane Zodiac Rigid Hull inflatable boats and travel for about one and a half hours to Crescent Inlet, arriving at the lodge at dinner time. After dinner, we’ll get to know each other and share individual personal goals for the journey.

Day 2: In the morning, Janice will give an overview of what to expect at the places we will visit and give a workshop in plein air power painting the authentic impressionists method, which will give you all the tools you need to capture and paint your passion, as you feel it in Gwaii Haanas. We will also discuss wilderness painting gear and wise ecological practices for painting in this environment; what to look for, how to be comfortable and create some comfort for yourself to do the best and most powerful work you have ever imagined. Let’s admit it a camera just can’t catch the emotion and feeling of a place the way that a well executed painting can. Janice will teach you a few skills to release your inner creative spirit into this painting space. We’ll also discuss a specific palette for the light, water, moss and trees in Gwaii Haanas, our studio for the week.
In the afternoon, we’ll head into the field to work onsite sketching and painting. Bring your camera and your artist’s journal.

Humpback Breach - Photo Courtesy of Moresby Explorers

Humpback Breach – Photo Courtesy of Moresby Explorers

Day 3-6: After breakfast we will take a packed lunch and spend most of our time in the field visiting ancient Haida village sites, small islands, mossy forest floors, under-canopy rainforest, intertidal life, cascading streams, interesting beaches and view the snow-capped San Cristoval mountain range. While in the field and back at the lodge, Janice will give you individual attention to further your practice and reach your individual goals as an artist. In the evenings, we will discuss our work of the day as a group and grow from the collective experience.
Janice will also be conducting workshops and exercises both in the field and at the lodge. Some of these include: A discussion of the artistic process, use of the camera for studio work following your painting experience, and the challenges to the outdoor painter. We’ll work on a specific and helpful guided journaling exercise designed just for artists which will help to bring your practice and your eye to the next level. We’ll have some time to discuss the business of being an artist, grant-writing, presentation and artist statements too if you like. Group critique sessions.
On our last evening in the lodge, we’ll hold our own showing, celebrate our work, review our goals and discuss our next steps as artists back in your own home studios. An intense painting experience such as this will last you a lifetime, so having a plan to work into the future is a good thing!

Day 7: After breakfast we will pack up and head back to Sandspit in time to catch the afternoon flight back to Vancouver. If you have more time on your visit to Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands) you may want to rent a car and visit Graham Island.

Skedans Pole - Gwaii Haanas National Park, 2012

Skedans Pole – Gwaii Haanas National Park, 2012

How you should dress:
Because we use open boats it can be very cold and sometimes wet. You should wear warm, layered clothing, preferably synthetic (like fleece) or wool, and if possible avoid cotton as it is very cold when wet. We suggest you bring all the warm clothing you have as you can always leave some in the van if your guide thinks you have to much. You should also bring a warm hat, sunglasses and gloves.

You should bring your own raingear, especially a jacket, but we also provide heavy raingear and gumboots for everyone.

Although we do have some covered storage on the boat, your painting gear should be in waterproof cases or bags and you are fully responsible for keeping it dry.

Gear List:
Please download this detailed Painting gear list.

We have very limited space on the boat, so all your non-painting gear should fit in a daypack.
-Warm clothing
-Warm hat
-Towel and/or facecloth
-Sandals or light shoes
-Water bottle
-Change of clothes
-Personal effects
-Binoculars (optional)
-Alcoholic beverages (to have with dinner, optional)
-Gratuities (If our staff exceeds your expectations, optional)

Booking Information

Maximum group size is 8 guests



Price with taxes and fees.



June 3 $2450 $2670.50 7 Days 6 nights, 5 full days of painting Only 8 spaces

25% deposit will hold your space. The balance is due upon the conclusion of your trip.

Click here now to book on Moresby Explorer’s website.

SPACE IS LIMITED and with only 8 spots, we are expecting it to book quickly!

You Can’t Fool Mother Nature – Alberta & BC Must Rethink Western Pipeline After Haida Gwaii Earthquakes & Tsunami Warnings

"Origin - North Beach, Haida Gwaii" ©2012 Janice Tanton. Work In Progress. 40x72. Oil on linen.

“Origin – North Beach, Haida Gwaii” ©2012 Janice Tanton. Work In Progress. 40×72. Oil on linen.

“It’s Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature”

Tonight, in a turn of events involving a different type of oil, as “crude” as margarine when first introduced to Mother Nature, it’s pretty clear that she’s spoken loudly regarding her opinion on a western sea shipment and pipeline of oil from the Alberta Tar Sands to Kitimat, BC and into the waters surrounding that powerful island of Haida Gwaii to markets in China and beyond. At 3:04:10 UTC, at 52.769°N / 131.927°W an earthquake of 7.7 hit Haida Gwaii, followed by 14 aftershocks and counting at 2:52 am.

Haida Gwaii sits at the juncture of three tectonic plates, with a total of 10 fault lines. A bit like Mother Nature’s weak and ticklish spot, if you will. In discussions tonight with friends from Haida Gwaii and across the planet, I believe someone said something like this;

“This is a seismologist’s wet dream. They’ll be years looking at the data from this.”

In short, this area is as unstable  as the San Andreas fault, with a powerful oblique thrust that will put some kick in your behind. In fact, in Terrace BC, near where the pipeline would run, friends there said that it was the biggest @#$)(* shakeup they had ever felt. Friends in Queen Charlotte City (Haida Gwaii) said it felt like running through a speeding train.

The first earthquake measuring 7.7 eminated from the heart of Gwaii Haanas National Park as you can see from this map. I was right there this past June – should be able to find a photo of it in the morning when I’m a little less adrenalin-charged.

Gorgeous, primal seas, ocean and forests teeming with life, energy and the fluid supernatural spirit….and tons and tons of garbage from the tsunami in Japan. I know it…I picked up a bunch when I was there, as 2012 Gwaii Haanas National Park & Haida Heritage Site Artist In Residence. My tsunami garbage cleanup including a half-full Japanese kerosene can floating in the Juan Perez Sound and a giant Japanese dock float cruising along the south end of Moresby Island near world famous Unesco World Heritage site and Haida Heritage site – Sgung Gwaii.

We’re kidding ourselves if we think that it’s just Enbridge that is spurring this western pipeline route. Think hard…the government of Alberta – nay….the government of Canada… needs to get it’s oil to markets, and those markets are big and powerful and carry a lot of pressure (China, USA) ….but none of them are as powerful as Mother Nature who affects all of us, all of the time.

"State of Interdependence - Alliford Crossing, Haida Gwaii" ©2012 Janice Tanton. 40x72. Oil on linen.

“State of Interdependence – Alliford Crossing, Haida Gwaii” ©2012 Janice Tanton. 40×72. Oil on linen. Work in progress.

Let’s take a wild trip and figure out what might have happened if an oil tanker was caught in the tsunami. No…let’s not. That’s easy to imagine and it’s way too close to Halloween to be drawing analogies of disaster, death and doom in 2012. The signs are everywhere. Open your eyes. Have a look at where dirty crude could land…and think about the land route from Alberta, across mountainous regions of BC in a steel pipeline.

Tsunami Propogation Chart - October 28, 2012. Earthquakes from Haida Gwaii.

Tsunami Propogation Chart – October 28, 2012. Earthquakes from Haida Gwaii.

What’s not easy to imagine is a solution to this issue. How do we think through logical, sensible, safe routes? How do we have sensible, authentic dialogues around solutions? How do we start thinking together with some form of honesty about this issue…together. I challenge Alberta and BC, and the government of Canada AND the rest of the planet to start thinking a bit more sensibly and listening to what is going on. Drop your thoughts about what party, corporation or not-for-profit that you’re aligned with, and spend that energy and time on solutions. I’m confident there’s a way….just not this one.

I’m signing off for the night – as folks in Hawaii evacuate their shorelines, I pray that the waters will calm. I pray that we’ll find a better way.

And I don’t ever want to have to say, “I told you so….but I did.”, said Mother Nature.



Related Articles:

Anatomy of an earthquake: what happened under the earth’s surface in Haida Gwaii
Haida Gwaii Residents Headed for the hills long before government posted warnings 

Thumbnail Sketching – Play Before You Plan!

Getting On The Adelita at Sedgwick Bay - Thumbnail sketch ©2012 Janice Tanton.

Getting On The Adelita at Sedgwick Bay – Thumbnail sketch ©2012 Janice Tanton.

Anything good should have a plan. Sure, there can be some spontaneity in the creativity process. In fact, my own process relies on that. However, when you’re faced with high material costs, time investment and a project deadline for work, like any good business (or government)….you need to have an exploratory phase and prototyping period to work out the kinks, see what is possible and what might need more exploration. From there, you can prioritize after you’ve explored all the options, and head to a second full sketching phase to work out composition, value and flow.

Thumbnail Sketches 3 - Janice Tanton, Gwaii Haanas National ParkAs an artist, I use the thumbnail process to start. When I came back from Gwaii Haanas National Park in June, my head was filled with so many images, experiences and thoughts that I needed some time to sort through them before picking up a paintbrush. I’m still going through that, with over 5000 photographs, a full sketchbook, sound files and video. One of the things I’m starting to do now is to thumbnail sketch out in “storyboard” form, my trip through the park itself which took 5 days. I’m looking at every photograph, recalling the experience and picking a few moments that interest me. One of the greatest tools any artist can use is the thumbnail to do this, and it’s a great tool that I learned way back in my college days as a graphic designer.

Thumbnail Sketches 4 - Janice Tanton, Gwaii Haanas National ParkI’ve also had to pull back on the painting a bit, after aggravating repetitive strain injuries in my painting arm. So….what better way to rest and reflect than to work small, in a sketchbook and kick back with the family over the holiday!

Here are my sketchbook thumbnails for Gwaii Haanas National Park. These reflect the first day and a half, so there are still quite a few yet to come. Working 9 to a page on an 11×14 sketchpad gives me a nice size to comp up the thumbnail, and a large enough section of nine on each page to get the flavour of the work and the place storyboarded. Now, I can look at my thumbnails and get that same feeling of being there that a photograph just can’t give. It also gives you a chance to have a good look from an artist’s point of view, at the value and recall the scene in order to produce a more lifelike rendition of the  experience.

I’d say there is enough here for me to paint for the rest of my lifetime and another.

How do you plan your creativity?

Thumbnail Sketches - 1

Thumbnail Sketches 2 - Janice Tanton, Gwaii Haanas National Park

The Importance of NOT Being In Earnest – The Underpainting

Things are coming along well in my residency at The Banff Centre. With three  large paintings on the go at the moment, I’m well on the way to getting what I’d hoped for. The work you see below represents about four days of painting for me, also allowing drying time. This time period encompasses the original thumbnail sketching and all work to bring it to this point. Friends often remark that I’m very prolific, it doesn’t often seem nearly fast enough for me. There are more paintings in my head than I will ever be able to complete in my lifetime…and that does create a feeling of being in earnest. When I’m creating like this, it’s hard to sleep and maintain a regular family schedule – another source of anxiety!

Underpainting Detail - Stage One.

Underpainting Detail – Stage One. Terre verte allows for a luminous skin tone in the final layers. Setting the stage is crucial for success in this technique.

Getting an idea out of my heart and head is not always easy. Sometimes it comes together, and sometimes it doesn’t. I wanted to try a different approach to my work and underpaintings on this group, which are slated for exhibition from my Gwaii Haanas Artist In Residence experience. The colours on the underpainting are different from how I generally combine the subject and technique. I’ve taken an approach to combine the quick onsite plein-air experience with the more academic figurative approach. So far, it’s coming along, and I anticipate that it will provide the results that I’m looking for.

The underpainting can set the tone (literally) for the work, allow you to plan out in paint what you may have already done in the sketch, alter the scale, define the values and tighten the composition. I’ve never worked this large (40×60 and 40×72) with this particular underpainting approach. I’m very pleased with how it’s coming together.

Underpainting - 40x72 - Janice Tanton. Oil on linen

Stage 1 – Underpainting – 40×72 – Janice Tanton. Oil on linen

Working with terre verte, I’ve blocked in the underpainting for the figure within the landscape. Terre verte, raw umber or burnt umber are my preferred first value underpainting pigments.

Stage 1 - Underpainting - 40x72 - Janice Tanton. Oil on linen

Stage 2 – Underpainting – 40×72 – Janice Tanton. Oil on linen

In the second stage, I’m considering the seascape as quite a different situation than the figure, and have decided to work with a transparent red ochre as the underpainting colour. With regard to the temperature of the painting, I think of this as the “negative” phase in that as I work the painting, areas that are warm will ultimately be cool. That transparent red ochre will provide a beautiful visual foil to the cool greys and blues of the sea water and landscape yet to come. Conversely, the warm tones of the skin, underpainting with the ghostly terre verte always provide a rich and interesting flesh tone for me, when applied in a proven glazing technique.

"Mid Life Crisis" ©2012 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel.

My onsite reference painting from Gwaii Haanas – “Mid Life Crisis” ©2012 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel.

Have a look at the four images below. This piece is at the next stage. I am establishing the darks in the landscape. As the trees are very strong compositional elements, I want to have a good idea visually, of how they are going to affect the work. This section of the painting is based upon an plein-air piece that I did onsite in Gwaii Haanas in the area of Murcheson Lagoon.

Second Level Underpainting - Step 1

Second Level Underpainting – Step 1

(If anyone had told me 8 months ago that I’d be painting purple trees, I’d have thought them mad.) However – onsite, that’s exactly the colour that they appeared to be. Quite a magical place.

Second Level Underpainting - Step 2

Second Level Underpainting – Step 2

Here, I’ve started to block in the areas of the mossy ground. I’m looking for “what it’s doing”…how it flows and the motion that I remember seeing. Everything has life to it. Paint that life – paint what it is “doing” and your works will have a vibrance to them.

Second Level Underpainting - Step 3

Second Level Underpainting – Step 3

I want to show the earth as echoing the musculature of my model. It’s important to me in this painting, that we consider our relationship to the landscape so I’m working that feel in in on the middle ground area of the underpainting.

Second Level Underpainting - Step 4

Second Level Underpainting – Step 4

Here, I’ve gone a bit further with the detailing in the motion of the trees. There is a big tug upwards and downwards on many of these branches. When I was there, I recall a synergy of existance between the land, the sea and the earth. I’m looking to emulate that with the composition, and one of the ways to do that is with the web of branches. I’m conscious also that much of this branch work will be covered in dappled light and leaves in a later stage. Knowing what’s “under” it all is part of the planning and pouring of yourself into the work.

Underpaintings are like the bones on which to drape the muscles, organs and flesh of a painting. Considering what underpins the work, both in philosophy and physical structure is an important part of the process and ultimate feeling of the work.

…so much art to create….so little time….

7 Grandfathers, 7 Weeks, #7 Studio, 7 Paintings : What Obliteration Could Do For You

Lucky Studio 7 - Glyde Hall

The Clarity of Studio 7 – Glyde Hall, The Banff Centre

I’m always excited by the whiteness of a vast canvas. With nothing suggested, it becomes the means by which thoughts and directions can begin to have a life of their own and manifest. There is space for something to be born into.

Extrapolating that same brilliant white canvas into a three dimensional, fresh, white blank studio space is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. A space devoid of old work, piles of papers and the collections of years of work, even if it’s well set up, can cause creativity fatigue. Much like a mind cluttered with the happenings of the day, there is no space for creation. No room for ideas to manifest. No clarity possible. No hope when stuff just builds up.

“Art Is The Proper Task of Life.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Today, I got the keys to a new space – Studio #7 at The Banff Centre where I’ll be working on seven complex paintings for the next seven weeks for the Gwaii Haanas and final CAMP exhibitions. I’ve had them brewing in my mind, but they were not yet crystal clear. I’ll admit I’ve been excited about embarking on the challenge, but also challenged…by the creative challenge itself. Today, when the doors opened into whiteness with a few old pieces of furniture, it was akin to a deep meditation that allowed me to see things differently and to focus my thoughts for the upcoming residency. It was fast – within a half an hour of just sitting within the white walls of the studio, I could actually SEE what the paintings were going to be, my angst disappeared and the solutions presented themselves.

Working on some complex issues with education and the arts over the past week has been exhausting and a big learning curve – lots of new information peppered with high emotions on all sides. People are fearful of change and upsetting the status quo. Filtering through the rhetoric, politics and individual agendas has been like taking some whitewash to an old fence and wiping away the dirt. There’s a lot of dirt on THAT fence, but it’s clear to me that there are solutions when you scrub hard enough. Some folks don’t like me scrubbing that hard, but I’m determined to ensure there is success. Solutions like this require everyone coming to the table with an honest desire to make things better for the future – laying aside party politics and jurisdiction in order to truly innovate in a clean space. Find that creative solution to the blank canvas of complexity.

It’s the same when you create a painting – you follow and act according to the Seven Grandfather Teachings of the Anishnabe.

Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, Truth

The Seven Grandfather Teachings

“The Seven Grandfather Teachings” ©Janice Tanton. 2008. Oil on canvas. 8″x24″

  • Nibwaakaawin—Wisdom: To cherish knowledge is to know Wisdom. Wisdom is given by the Creator to be used for the good of the people. In the Anishnabe language, this word expresses not only “wisdom,” but also means “prudence,” or “intelligence.” In some communities, Gikendaasowin is used; in addition to “wisdom,” this word can also mean “intelligence” or “knowledge.”
  • Zaagi’idiwin—Love: To know Love is to know peace. Love must be unconditional. When people are weak they need love the most. In the Anishinaabe language, this word with the reciprocal theme /idi/ indicates that this form of love is mutual. In some communities, Gizhaawenidiwin is used, which in most context means “jealousy” but in this context is translated as either “love” or “zeal”. Again, the reciprocal theme /idi/ indicates that this form of love is mutual.
  • Minaadendamowin—Respect: To honor all creation is to have Respect. All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected. Some communities instead use Ozhibwaadenindiwin or Manazoonidiwin.
  • Aakode’ewin—Bravery: Bravery is to face the foe with integrity. In the Anishinaabe language, this word literally means “state of having a fearless heart.” To do what is right even when the consequences are unpleasant. Some communities instead use eitherZoongadikiwin (“state of having a strong casing”) or Zoongide’ewin (“state of having a strong heart”).
  • Gwayakwaadiziwin—Honesty: Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave. Always be honest in word and action. Be honest first with yourself, and you will more easily be able to be honest with others. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean “righteousness.”
  • Dabaadendiziwin—Humility: Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean “compassion.” You are equal to others, but you are not better. Some communities instead express this withBekaadiziwin, which in addition to “humility” can also be translated as “calmness,” “meekness,” “gentility” or “patience.”
  • Debwewin—Truth: Truth is to know all of these things. Speak the truth. Do not deceive yourself or others.
Corpse of The Golden Spruce

“Corpse of The Golden Spruce” – Yakoun River, Port Clements, Haida Gwaii. The last of it’s species.

Lucky Studio #7 for 7 weeks…on 7 paintings with the 7 Grandfather Teachings? Four groups of 7?…I think it’s a sign.

Choices : Create / Destroy – They Are Both The Same.

Every moment of your life, you make choices.

Ball Kelp, Haida Gwaii

Ball Kelp, Haida Gwaii

In truth, there are only two choices.

Balance Rock, Haida Gwaii - High Tide

Balance Rock, Haida Gwaii – High Tide


Burnaby Strait, Low Tide - Gwaii Haanas National Park, Haida Gwaii

“Bat Stars, Turban Snails & Countless Lifeforms ” – Burnaby Strait, Low Tide – Gwaii Haanas National Park, Haida Gwaii


Clearcut and Landslide - Moresby Island, Haida Gwaii

More than twenty-five years after an old-growth clearcut on Moresby Island, Haida Gwaii, the mountain is scarred by landslide.

Every choice falls into both categories.

Protest Signs at Old Masset, Haida Gwaii

Protest Signs at Old Masset, Haida Gwaii

Every choice has a consequence.

Corpse of The Golden Spruce

“Corpse of The Golden Spruce” – Yakoun River, Port Clements, Haida Gwaii. The last of it’s species.

In every choice….be….an Artist.

Haida Gwaii - Ferry Crossing from Graham to Moresby Island

Ferry Crossing from Graham to Moresby Island – Haida Gwaii