I wanted to convey a deep, atmospheric moment, caught in the vast, barren Arctic. Here, the musher and team are learning the harsh lessons of the wilderness together. The storm clouds closing in, along with a cold, unnavigable landscape and thin ice are real dangers that one might face. The mushers’ attention is on a young, rookie dog falling into thin ice. The moment is tense, the reaction has to be fast - emphasised by the quick-paced sketch, with the wheel dogs also trying to avoid the frigid water.
The environment can be challenging and formidable, repeatedly testing the team's skill and determination. However, the experienced huskies know just what to do. The swing dog checks back, concerned. Their body language will communicate to the musher before a visible danger; thin ice will raise tails and drop noses to ground as they apprehensively find the thickest parts. It is through experiences that this communication is learnt; it cannot be taught, hence the title. However, her paired companion knows to keep the line taut, while the lead dog concentrates on the direction ahead.
The use of light focuses the viewer on this by detailing
where it touches as if in the scene itself, watching from
afar. I wanted to paint the scene in a precise, illustrative
way, to give clarity to the sharpness of the event.
Although a tense moment, it is still a beautiful, inspiring
one - so I kept the contrast and colour changes soft, with
the intention of an overall positive sense of awe, respect
and appreciation for the Arctic wilderness.
As a team they will get through it and as a team they will
strive and be stronger, more mature and wiser than before.
They will work together and these moments shared will
only strengthen the bond between them.