Invisible Impacts 

Alana Bartol. Plants of Grassy Mountain, 2020. Milk and charcoal on paper, (17.78 x 25.4 cm).



This is a second series of invisible drawings done in milk of plants that grow or have been known to grow on Grassy Mountain, this time using charcoal to make the images visible. If the Grassy Mountain Coal Project is approved, these plants and many more life forms (including humans), will be lost, displaced, and/or impacted. 


In collaboration with botanist, herbalist, and educator Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed, co-owner of ALCLA Native Plants, a seed mix of plants that grow on Grassy Mountain will be created for the upcoming exhibition. This limited edition of wild-collected seed packets will be distributed to visitors. Some of the plants in the series of drawings will be included in the seed mix including native plants such as silky and silvery lupine, scorpionweed, prickly rose, fireweed, yarrow, and many more.  

Plants of Grassy Mountain

Alana Bartol, Plants of Grassy Mountain, 2020. Milk on paper, (17.78 x 25.4 cm).


These are works from a series of drawings depicting plants that grow or have been known to grow on Grassy Mountain that will be destroyed if the Grassy Mountain Coal Project is approved. I created the drawings using milk on paper. Initially invisible, the heat from a candle reveals the image of each plant. Video of the process will be included in the exhibition. Watch a clip below. 

Stills from the entrance to the Crowsnest Past

Video stills from a work in progress (2020). Martine's hands exploring a dead tree at the site of the Burmis Tree, iconic to the Crowsnest Pass. See my blog posts for more on the Crowsnest Pass and Martine de Bertereau. Images: Alana Bartol and

Coal Seams, Chutes, and Streams

A look at a new series of drawings using frottage to capture the textures of coal chutes in abandoned mining operations in the Crowsnest Pass. How many tonnes of coal were mined and moved through these operations? A sense of movement and rippling patterns emerge as the indentations left on surfaces are captured through rubbings.  Working on vellum, I am using charcoal made from willow collected in the Crowsnest Pass as well as charcoal collected from fire pits in the region. Click to view individual images. The drawings will be presented in an exhibition at uLethbridge Art Gallery in 2021. Read more here.

With A Finger To Her Lips - Video Works In Progress

Clips from a video work in progress (no sound). These scenes were shot at the Greenhill Mine, an abandoned mining operation in the Crowsnest Pass in Treaty 7 territory in southwestern Alberta. The stream runs from the mouth of an abandoned coal mine that is now blasted shut. Learn more here. Video: Alana Bartol and  

Dowsing and Digging: Walks and Workshops

Documentation of dowsing workshops with artist Alana Bartol and plant walks with Head Horticulturalist Kara Matthews at the Coutts Centre for Western Heritage in Nanton, AB on Treaty 7 territory. Participants were introduced to many plants (native, non-native, or naturalized) in gardens, meadows, and plots, learning about their qualities, uses, and origins, and practices of cultivation. The dowsing workshops introduced participants to the tools and techniques of dowsing (aka water-witching), providing an opportunity to test their abilities.


We also experienced the magic of artist Donald Lawrence’s Nanton Camera Obscura, 2019. Made from a 1920s grain bin, Nanton Camera Obscura is a permanent artwork at the Coutts Centre. To learn more about this artwork, read The Darkened Room and Reflected Magic: Donald Lawrence and the Camera Obscura published in Luma by Keline Divine herePhotos:

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