Monthly Archives: April 2014

You know you’re in rural Canada when…

Since I don’t have a lot of new paintings to show (I’ve been waiting for a shipment of canvases), thought I’d share a little moose saga that took place this week.

You know you live in the country when you have to make sure feeding time is over when you invite friends for coffee.

We had a pet moose. It stayed in our driveway for most of the day, nibbling on branches along the way. It’s all fascinating to observe, until you actually have to leave or enter said driveway in your car. In which case, it’s a giant 7 foot high pain in the ass, which also happens to be a wild animal that could easily trample your car (try explaining that one to the insurance company…….)


The unusually high snowbanks are causing moose and deer to stay on roads (and driveways) because it’s a heck of a lot easier than trying to wade through 2-3 feet of snow. This particular moose is also a teenager at 2 years of age (you can tell by the size and fur), which explains some of the ‘risky’ behaviour of staying so close to humans.


This moose was in no rush – he just kept on eating….and eating….and would not budge. So I tried to inch closer with my own car (a Toyota Echo)…. Here I want to add a little disclaimer that you should never try to make a moose move faster by honking at it with your car – especially if you’re sitting in a particularly tiny car. Pure fear. Instead of shooing it away, the moose started charging towards the car, and let’s just say, this atheist kept repeating oh god oh god oh god, and put the car in reverse as fast as it would go. The moose stopped after a few meters, car was at a safe distance, no damage done, but lesson (quickly) learned. And the moose went back to its supper of branches.


Meanwhile, by the main road at the other end of the driveway (where you see the Mini Cooper), a crowd of neighbours was forming, roaring with laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation. These are the kind of phone calls you can expect when you stupidly aggravate a moose in your driveway while your neighbours are watching: “Have you seen my pet moose? I’m really worried about him, you know, it’s feeding time, and I can’t find him.”

One helpful neighbour then came over in his tiny tractor to try to scare the moose enough so it would enter the woods…the tractor itself was the size of a golf cart. (He later said this is probably the craziest thing he’s ever done).


It was possibly the strangest, s l o w e s t  tractor/vehicle chase I’ve ever seen. The moose was moving along at the same pace as the tractor, which was more or less tortoise speed. Plenty of time to take photographs, even with cortisol still flowing through my veins.

Eventually, it walked into the forest, but then, in typical Canadian fashion, got stuck in a snowbank.


You know you have way too much snow when a moose walks into a snowbank and its legs completely disappear (…you know you’re in rural Canada when….). Thankfully it managed to get free without harm, by wiggling back and forth, and disappeared between the trees.

Rural Canada Moose Adventures| Saltwater Birch Studio

It was quite an odd, though entertaining, ordeal. The moose seems to have moved on to another part of the forest, probably sick of us crazy humans.



Hiding From Walls of Snow

I’ve been keeping my head between easel and palette, working on a new portrait series…

Portrait Series by Vanessa Pesch | Saltwater Birch Studio

It also perfectly expresses how I feel when I look outside. It’s April, and there are 7 foot high snowdrifts, and streets are lined with meter high snowbanks. Spring is on hiatus in Atlantic Canada. It’s disheartening, though it does make for beautiful photographs.


Snowy Canadian Forest | Saltwater Birch Studio


For a reference point, that shovel is about 3.5 feet high, and there’s a pond hiding somewhere underneath that mountain.


Hence, my hiding away in the studio.  Working is the best excuse to avoid shovelling more snow. Oil paintings by Vanessa Pesch | Salwater Birch Studio

On a different note, it’s been a few weeks now since the opening of my first exhibit, and I’m thankful, though pleasantly surprised, at all the positive comments. I think it helps that the colors are so bright, which is a welcome sight after several months of a grey and white skyline.

Landscape by Vanessa Pesch

A comment I’m starting to hear more frequently, which always sticks out to me, is when strangers recognize my work, not because they’ve met me or even know my name, but because they recognize my style of painting. It’s a good sign that you’re doing something right.