Northern Lights Paintings

It’s interesting, I lived in Alberta my entire life and I can count on one hand the number of times I have painted the northern lights. I would see them almost every evening in the winter, and on some late summer evenings. Since moving the coast I’ve been asked on three separate occasions to create a Northern Lights painting. 

Painting the Northern Lights

Despite seeking them out, and enjoying the northern lights fairly regularly. I never got myself inspired to paint them. Aside from a few assignments over the years. 

Take a look at my work and you might not be all that surprised. I usually focus on florals, birds, or some kind of insect in a brightly lit space. 

These three paintings were the first real attempts I’ve made to paint the northern lights. 

After putting these together, throwing paint around the paper is a lot of fun. It’s helped me learn more about my own medium. It’s nice getting a project that pushes the boundaries of what you know. I can’t wait to keep experimenting and learning new and better techniques.

It’s funny, it is almost as if making the move to Vancouver made me a little homesick for the night sky. Light pollution over here makes it difficult to see the planets and even our brightest stars.

Some Places I’ve Travelled to see the Northern Lights 

Elk Island National Park

For those of you planning to visit Alberta, for whatever reason. I highly recommend you look into Elk Island National Parks Dark Sky events. 

Before covid these events happened fairly regularly, I’m inclined to think monthly. 

They would put out announcements regarding the predicted activity of the northern lights, or the best times to watch meteor showers etc. and invite people to come visit or camp out for the evening. 

Wood Buffalo National Park

If you’re feeling up to it! Go camping in Wood Buffalo National Park. 

It’s the furthest north I have ever travelled. I’ve been there in a few different seasons. I will be the first to warn you there isn’t much going on most of the year. There’s more events, and easier hiking in the summer months. Winter the drive can become dangerous, and it gets incredibly cold.

The view of the northern lights however is unreal! Ribbon after ribbon encompassing most of the sky. It is something else. 

I Need to Plan a Road Trip 

When our Covid restrictions ease up, and our current travel ban lifts, likely September. By then everyone who can/want to get vaccinated should have both doses. Just a few more weeks and I can get my second dose! 

I am excited to start planning a road trip into northern British Columbia. See more of the province I’ve chosen to live in. Perhaps somewhere like Muncho Lake, or the Liard River hot springs. Drive the Alaska highway for the first time. Actually go camping! Instead of just talking about it. 

Ugh… what are things like outside of a pandemic? I don’t remember either. 

Oh! I forgot to mention this earlier… All three paintings have sold. So If you want one of your own you’ll need to commission me

Well I guess I should get back to work. Got some new ideas to explore, new subjects to illustrate and a few paintings and patterns to finish. Check back next week, I’m sure I’ll have more to talk about. 

Stay Creative,

Justin Erickson 

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