With a promised heatwave in the forecast, I decided to hit the garage for a quick clean and organizing before the summer got too hot. As I lifted the lid of the green garbage can taking up way too much space and thinking to myself, “What in the world is this doing here?”, I was struck by a whirl of nostalgia. The raft. So many fun-in-the-sun family memories- all dashed with a hole, a rather large hole. Wondering if the raft was repairable, I called eNRG Kayaking and spoke with Sam Drevo, who prompted me to bring the old raft down to look at it.
I rolled out the 6-man gray, Sun Runner revealing a one-foot gash that turned the raft’s insides out. Sam crossed his arms. “Wow, that is one big hole,” he said with a nervous laugh. “I know,” saying as my shoulders dropped. Neither one of us said anything further about the state of the raft as the reality of irreparable damage had set in.
“Have you ever thought of kayaking?”, Sam asked.
I laughed. “What? No. I’m almost 50, fat, weak and afraid of water. I have never thought of kayaking,” secretly thinking, “Kayaking is for super athletic strong men.”, afterall former Olympic Team member Sam Drevo was asking me if I ever thought about kayaking.
Not waivered, by my what I thought was an adequate list of very real reasons to not ever kayak, Sam encouraged me to try. “Try” turned into a seamless glide across mirrored skies, far away from dirt, dust, and stress. Ten feet from the dock I knew that owning a kayak was a must so that I could feel this serenity whenever my heart desired.
“Well how did you like that?” Sam asked. Laughing to myself with excitement, the first words out of my mouth were, “Do you have any kayaks for sale?” Paddling my new Jackson 9 foot kayak, I joined the eNRG Kayaking team that summer and became a guide for their Historic Willamette Falls Tour.
Every day we ran 4 tours to the falls, and on every trip I was inspired by the beauty that continued to reveal itself. The ever-changing waters of the river, the startling wildlife and the connection of a time of vast industrial growth in proximity to the nature surrounding it.
One day, as we paddled past an abandoned pulp mill, I noticed a junior Blue Heron still as a statue, primed to strike the water for his next meal. Junior, as we came to call him, soon became a greatly anticipated feature to the tour. The few times he treated us to the splendor of taking flight, we marveled at the magic of this blue gray beauty as he defied gravity and left the rocky shores for windswept skies. How often I wished to capture this extraordinary grace, to share this breathtaking point of view.
As a fine artist and a staff member at Master School of Arts for six years, I have looked for new and exciting ways of inspiring creativity. My passion for art, kayaking, and teaching lead me to explore the possibility in front of me.
What if we brought the palette and the paint brush out on the kayak? What if we made the river our studio and the majestic falls our study in beauty and paint the gifts of the river to share with all?
In collaboration with eNRG Kayaking, Artworks on the Water is introducing fine art class instruction during the winter season to prepare artists for plein air painting in the spring and summer. Step-by-step lessons will lay a foundation of skills to help artists paint any subject with confidence. A variety of classes are available to build in versatility.
We encourage expressive individuality and acceptance while keeping a positive focus on learning and art mastery.
Join our vibrant art community and learn new skills in a fun environment. At the end of 12 weeks, we will showcase our works of fine art in a Final Exhibit at the kayak shop. Follow the Facebook link below for more info.