Land of the Midnight Sun

Hey Everyone,
It’s almost appropriate that I’ve reached the most Northern parts of Canada now that it’s winter here. The Northwest Territories has one of my favorite birds as its official symbol so this piece was a real treat to work on. Learning about the different symbols of each province and territory has been so interesting and you can be sure some of this imagery is going to make an appearance in my future works.

If this is the first post you are seeing in this series, you can read more about it in my previous posts here. Now on to the symbols represented and a few process shots.

The title of the piece is not the official motto as the Northwest Territories doesn’t have one. It is a saying that is often associated with it and is used in marketing materials.
Bird – Gyrfalcon
The largest of the falcon family, this beautiful bird was made the official bird in 1990. Found throughout the territory, they range in color with the darker birds more commonly found in
the tundra. 
Flower – Mountain Avens
This member of the rose family was adopted as the official flower in 1957. It grows on what would seem like inhospitable conditions on the high, barren, and rocky ground in the Eastern and Central Arctic.
Tree – Tamarack Larch
Replacing the jack pine as the official tree in 1999, the tamarack larch grows to heights reaching 15m (49 ft) and is a primary source of wood for poles and posts.
Fish – Arctic Grayling
This unique looking fish has the ability to live in some the harshest environments. Made the official fish in 1999, it can be found in many areas of the Northwest Territories.

“Land of the Midnight Sun” 14×11 in Colored Pencil, Ink and PITT Pens on Hot Press Watercolor Paper 2017.
All images copyright Barb Sotiropoulos. All Rights Reserved.

Although I’m mindful to keep each composition in this series similar enough so that they are still cohesive, each one presents its own series of challenges. In my original concept for this piece, I had the Gyrfalcon on the opposite side and it was facing the other way. The Arctic Grayling was still jumping to the right and something felt really off about it.  Even though the two animals are not really in the same environment they still needed to feel like they were interacting somehow.

Out of all of the pieces in the series, this has one of the most limited color palettes. Yellow is not often a color that has a strong presence in my work, but this piece allowed for an opportunity to explore it. I used a series of yellow hues ranging from bright yellow to a light sepia. Yellow, much like white, has a range of tones that will make up the appearance of the singular color.
The most layering was done on the trees to create a rich depth and golden tone. As with my other pieces in the series, I started with a Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer base and built up layers with Polychomos afterward.
I really love how this piece turned out and I am so happy I finally got to draw a gyrfalcon! It’s hard to believe that this series is almost coming to a close and I’m so happy I decided to embark on this journey.

Only a few more to go! Next up the Yukon!

Follow me on Instagram or Facebook to see sneak peaks of the work in progress!

Prints available in my Society6 shop!


Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

2 Responses

  1. Barb …. your work is very excellent and inspiring! I love your technique and especially love the subject matter you’ve chosen for this Canada 150 series. I found you through Colored Pencil Magazine, the December 2017 issue. Thanks very much for sharing your insight and encouragement on researching and developing a series. I look forward to future posts in your blog!

    1. Hi Barb! Great name 😉! Thank you so much for your comments, that really means a lot to me. I always appreciate people taking the time to leave heart felt comment. 😊 Glad you are enjoying my blog so far and I hope you enjoy the future posts as well!

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Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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