Natural Capital – This Must Be The Place

Sketchbook Journal - Grace Pondering
Sketchbook Journal

The forests, mountains and lakes that surround me are a healing place. I’ve been pondering the idea of Natural Capital and my relationship to the land. According to  Dr. David Suzuki, whom I admire not only for his science, but for his way of living, his dedication to family, the planet and Haida Gwaii :

“Natural capital refers to the planet’s stocks of water, land, air, and renewable and non-renewable resources (such as plant and animal species, forests, and minerals). The term natural capital implies an extension of the economic notion of capital. Just as all forms of capital are capable of providing a flow of goods and services, components of natural capital interact to provide humans and other species with goods and services that are wide-ranging and diverse. The collective benefits provided by the resources and processes supplied by natural capital are known as ecosystem goods and services, or simply ecosystem services. These services are imperative for survival and well-being. They are also the basis for all economic activity.” 

I’ve been thinking about my individual natural capital – my time on this planet, how I use it and what I do with it. How I find ways not to tax my body and spirit and still give generously of what and who I am without destroying essence or making myself sick. Life-changing events such as cancer, good fortune, bad fortune …all have a way of causing you to examine what is precious to you.

The answer for me is in truly living each moment without fear of the past or present, with my loved ones by my side.

I believe that it’s beginning to reflect in my work, and I’ve had a renewed pleasure in painting little plein-air pieces as we camp and travel which I’ll share with you here.

Family Time At The Siksika Pow Wow
Family Time At The Siksika Pow Wow

The seasons have turned. My season has turned. I’ve had an interesting summer, taxed by radiation treatments and recovery time and peppered with some wonderful quiet camping opportunities with the family. I’m still in the recovery time and will be for a few months yet, but I can feel a change in my mood the same way that I can feel the crisp fall air freshening. I’m conscious of how I spend my own emotional and physical capital.

"Waiparous Starry Night" ©2013 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel. 6"x8"
“Waiparous Starry Night” ©2013 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel. 6″x8″

Time is a funny thing – it’s really the only thing that we have that is so limited, and I’ve come to appreciate even more, the time I have on this earth. Every moment is precious to me. My arm and shoulder are suffering from the trauma of the past 9 months of treatments and surgery and I have to take it very slowly and easily. It’s the most difficult thing that I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.

I’m learning to compromise and in that process, have found a new joy in painting and sketching whatever is in front of me. I’m keeping a sketch journal filled with little moments in my day. Getting back to small gestural drawings is one of the most joyful experiences I can describe….and a huge opportunity to think, observe and hone my skills. I’ve been super-inspired by James Gurney and his informative blog postings at Gurney Journey. What a generous man and artist, to share in so many ways, his skills, insight and humour. If you subscribe to any artist’s blog, it should be with James. In the coming weeks, I’m going to give casein paint a try in the field, spurred by James’ wonderful onsite illustrations. In Canada, I’ve been able to order some online from Curry’s Art Store.

"This Must Be The Place - Foothills of the Livingstone Range" ©2013 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel. 8"x10"
“This Must Be The Place – Foothills of the Livingstone Range” ©2013 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel. 8″x10″

I appreciate the land. I appreciate myself and my family more – and I didn’t think that was possible, because I sure love them! I appreciate the very short time we have, and am becoming more wise with the use of my own natural capital.

Yes….this must be the place.


THIS MUST BE THE PLACE – Lyrics/Music by The Talking Heads

Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb – burn with a weak heart
(so i) guess i must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It’s ok i know nothing’s wrong . . nothingHi yo i got plenty of time
Hi yoyou got light in your eyes
And you’re standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up + say goodnight . . . say goodnightHome – is where i want to be
But i guess i’m already there
I come home – -she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can’t tell one from another
Did i find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this where i’ll be . . . where i’ll beHi yo we drift in and out
Hi yo sing into my mouth
Out of all tose kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I’m just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till i’m dead
Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head ah ooh

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