Vermillion Pass Burn is a large watercolor painting by Suze Woolf

Painting Details

Watercolor on 555 lb Arches archival paper

30 x 41


Vermillion Pass is in British Columbia's Kootenay National Park. I hiked up the Stanley Glacier trail early in my residency at the Banff Centre. It was so cold in that sheltered valley that I hiked in a down parka for 2 hours before I was warm enough to shed it.

This huge 2003 forest fire burned a swath through the park several kilometres wide. We went to hike nearby that same summer, but the backcountry hut where we had reservations burned to the ground. It was in part due to this experience that I began the burnscape series of paintings.

This view is from further west on Highway 93 looking back east toward the Stanley Glacier drainage.

As the climate warms, forest fires are becoming more frequent and catastrophic in the western United States. My deep anxiety with the impacts of climate change on wilderness are emerging in this series. Burned-over areas of forest are riveting. Unfamiliar tree forms are newly exposed. Formerly hidden terrain features become visible. Normal greens, blues and browns are transformed. All the worst fires of the last fifty years have occured in the last five years.

Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about any of my images. All represent original paintings, not reproductions. I have many more paintings than are shown on this site. And, since I frequently work in series, there may be additional views of the subjects shown here.