Paintings - Canadian Rockies

 by Willie Vergara



For three long years, I lost interest in pursuing my painting hobby. The decision to go back to the canvas and my paint brushes came immediately after our trip to Alberta a year ago. I really have to thank Sensei Noli Nolasco for his indefatigable invitations for me to visit him in Calgary. My primary purpose in finally responding to Sensei’s call was not to enjoy the marvelous and well-known golf courses of Alberta. It was about paying homage to my Sensei after undergoing difficult series of medical treatments.


Mesmerized by the boundless beauty and charm of the Canadian Rockies since we arrived from Calgary on September 13, 2019 I got into the paint, paint, paint mode. This has been quite a milestone on my part because I haven’t produced a single work for the past three years. All these are large paintings, save for the last one, which is just a study. Also, all these are in oil, which is of course the most difficult medium. 


My son Victor, who went to the Canadian Rockies last year, told me before our trip that the place is more beautiful than Yosemite. I did not believe him then. He observed correctly as I was completely taken in from Day One of this trip. I should indeed thank Sensei NOLI NOLASCO for opening the opportunity for us to finally visit this wonderful Canadian province of Calgary. This trip was also largely made possible by Brod Ike Araneta for doing all the driving and the research on the most important stops.”


Ike and Tanya, my wife Tess and I flew from Sacramento to Calgary, where we were met at the airport by my second cousin Chitang Munar. We later met up with my San Beda high school classmate Jon Salvador, another Calgary resident. On the evening of the same day, we drove to a Canmore hotel, where we lodged for two nights.

The morning after, we set out to see the famous sites of Banff, an hour or so from Canmore. It was there where I began to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the place. On the first day of sightseeing, I decided to immediately go back to my painting hobby.

The whole trip itself – from the sites of Banff, to the quaint city of Banff itself, to our trip to Jasper, then to Fairmont where Te-C Nolasco reserved a fully furnished apartment for us – will hopefully be a subject of an article for our travelogue.

Meantime, I am sharing six paintings of Alberta, with brief descriptions of each.

LAKE LOUISE. Oil on canvas, 6 ft x 4 ft. This is the biggest painting I’ve painted so far. It now occupies a whole wall at my home/gallery. A must see for tourists like me, it is believed that if one goes to Alberta and has not seen Lake Louise, he/she has not really seen Alberta. Because of the size, it took me about 160 hours to complete this work.

LAKE MORAINE. Oil on canvas, 4 ft x 3 ft. This is my personal favorite of all my Alberta paintings and, in fact, the very first I did upon arrival. While I was there staring at this beautiful sight, I couldn’t wait to go back home and capture the splendor of the place in oil.

JOHNSTON CANYON. Oil on canvas, 4 ft x 3 ft. The hiking trail towards the falls is in itself a grand experience – going through rails and bridges while enjoying the relaxing sound of the brook on its way to join the waters of the famous Bow River.


ATHABASCA FALLS. Oil on canvas, 4 ft x 3 ft. We saw this spectacular site on our way to Jasper. It is a powerful, picturesque not known so much for its height but for the it force due to the large quantity of water falling into the gorge.


CANADIAN ROCKIES. Acrylic on canvas, 16” x 24”. This painting just came out of my imagination out of my amazement of the beautiful rivers, lakes, and white-crested mountain during our road trip.

BOW LAKE. Oil on canvas, 6 ft x 2 ft. This beautiful can be seen along the main highway on the way to Jasper. I was immediately overwhelmed by its spectacular surroundings and the turquoise water.

LAKE LOUISE - 6 ft x 4 ft, oil on canvas


LAKE MORAINE - 4 ft x 3 ft, oil on canvas



JOHNSTON CANYON (Lower Falls) - 4 ft x 3 ft, oil on canvas                                           ATHABASCA FALLS - 4 ft x 3 ft, oil on canvas


CANADIAN ROCKIES - 16” x 24”, acrylic on canvas


BOW LAKE - oil on canvas, 6 ft x 2 ft.



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