Blog

A small meter of ice

ours_banquise_sans_s

What is happening before a Polar Bear sketch ? Well, a lot of time watching. From the boat, we spend hours, days, alone or in teams spotting the white.

The white ? Big mistake. Pretty much nothing is white up there, and definitely not the snow. It is a blend of blues and greys, with an infinite variety of green, turquoise, purple, yellow and brown. Seaice is a horizontal but non-uniform landscape. When ice floes bump into one another, it creates reliefs of a few meters and in other places open up deep blue almost black pools. And we go throught every detail of this landscape, looking for a small non-white spot as one would think when we talk about white bear, but a cream colored spot. Polar bear is cream colored yes.

So there are all the false hopes, when a piece of ice is tinted with yellow by micro-algae, or when moving ice or mirages, give the illusion of an animal moving in the distance. And then sometimes, we run out of alternatives, we know we have a good candidate miles away. We reorientate the boat, slowly. We approach carefully. « Darn ! I don’t see it anymore ! » We wait patiently and start questioning ourselves. The perspective changes as the boat moves forward and we do everything we can to keep track of the ice floe where we spotted our potential bear. And suddenly the confirmation: a head stands for a few seconds, cream spot in a blue and grey landscape. There he is. We keep our distance, we observe the behavior carefully to avoid any disturbance, but already the scene is beautiful, fantastic.

A bear in the middle of the ocean, living on a metre thick ice on the surface of several hundred meters deep freezing water. When you take a step back and you fully realize what you have in front of your eyes and where you are standing, it’s staggering. This small meter of ice makes all the difference between life and death for this bear, between diversity and poverty in this ecosystem, between wonderment and sadness.

Searching in the vastness
Aerial seaice
Watercolor from the bridge of the ship: another creme colored spot on ice
Sketching the sea ice

To the East

I live inbetween two worlds. To the west, the coast. The plains open to the horizon, the beaches, the fields and the lakes which welcome a whole diversity of birds which are easily observed from the road. One searches with excitement for the unexpected rarity. To the east, the mountains. The forests that close the

Read more »

At the doorstep

“Identification is only the front door to naturalism and I have the feeling of having remained at the doorstep. All my life, I’ve made lists. I identified, bird after bird, by the hundreds, by the thousands, learning along the way some facts about their biology. But what do I really know about the life of

Read more »

Open circle

« As soon as you see something,you already start to intellectualize it.As soon as you intellectualize something,it is no longer what you saw. » Shunryu SuzukiSeptember 8, 1967 As enigmatic and obscure this quote may seem, it is a very powerful description of the main predicament the drawer-from-observation is facing. He wants to paint his

Read more »