Brian “The Bald Bomber” Cross, a former prospector and owner of Mount Carlyle Lodge in the Selkirks, is known for exploring the local mountains for minerals and powder stashes. This summer, he helped a group mine the mountains for something else: inspiration. He welcomed artists to the recently refurbished lodge for a five-day, four-night creative getaway when the larches glowed golden, in late September. Organized by Rossland artist Stephanie Gauvin, the all-women retreat included distinguished painters Mirja Vahalla, Louise Drescher, Jennie Baillie and Brigitte Desbois. The group practiced plein air painting, or painting outdoors, a challenging approach that forces a person to react quickly “as the light changes and the shadows move,” says Gauvin. The artists are planning an exhibit of their works called “Fifty Shades of Larch at Carlyle Lodge” this December at the Rouge Gallery in Rossland. Stay tuned for more details. Photos by Dave Heath.