I am one of those lucky artists who can draw on stacks of family photographs for inspiration. That is because I am the designated family historian and many of my family have happily (for both of us) delegated to me the task of storing and organizing these treasures.
As an artist, I am fed by these lovely photos. Whenever I need some new inspiration, I can paw through my pile of old photographs and soon I am off down a path of creation.
In 2012, I participated in an artist book project in Canmore, and found many photos of my family enjoying the Canadian Rockies back one and two generations.
Among the different envelopes, I came across several photos of my father’s family skiing in what is now my backyard. I knew my dad grew up an avid skier, but I didn’t know that the whole Cote family would regularly hit the slopes around Banff to ski as well.
My father reminisces about the days when Sunshine was accessed by a snow cat up a rudimentary road, then you were dropped at the base of the Strawberry run where there was a small cabin on the site of the present day Old Sunshine Lodge.
A rope tow would pull you a little way up the Strawberry run, but if you wanted to ski higher up, the other option was to put animal skins on the bottom of your skis and walk to the top of the Wawa Bowl. From there, you would ski down once, stop for lunch, then take one more walk up the hill in the afternoon, ski down a second time, then call it a day. My kids groan when they hear about skiing the Rockies before the high-speed quad chairs entered the picture!
Although we had many lovely photos of the family up at Sunshine Village and Norquay ski areas (Banff), I also found a happy photo of my aunt in the 1940s skiing in Calgary. That’s when I knew there was a handmade card calling to me.
So, I gathered my tools, and set out to create my “Rockies Girl” greeting card. Here are a few photos in my studio, and also (at the end of the blog) a video on my Linda Cote Studio YouTube Channel for you to enjoy.
This video is one of several on my new YouTube Channel that shows the process behind my printmaking art.