Friday, August 29, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
I decided to paint them in watercolour. The the snail on the left has its aperture closed neatly by a horny "operculum" attached to the back of its tail, and the one on the right shows the eroded spire that
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
On 11 August 2014, Fred went out with Don McAlpine and Mary Sollows to Grand Point of New Brunswick's Grand Lake, to search for specimens of Lampsilis cariosa that might have been thrown up by Hurricane Arthur.
This was (before our surveys during this Bio-blitz) the one known Grand Lake location of the Yellow Lamp-mussel, which prefers sandy bottoms, mostly in rivers. It was at this spit of sand and fine gravel that the species had been taken from the lake in 2001.
I've always found beach drift exciting as a subject for painting, and decided to do
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Bumblebees and Honeybees visit the bright flowers of the small compact panicles of Swamp Loosestrife bloom, at head height for me as I sit beneath my sunshade. An Osprey
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Friday, August 8, 2014
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Saturday, August 2, 2014
10 May 2014 found me admiring spreading willows and a magnificent old Burr Oak on the bank of the Trent River at a Conservation Area near Glen Miller, Ontario. We'd come for spring drifted mollusc shells, and we only noticed the "Line 9" pipeline river-crossing signs just as we were leaving. Our colleagues Amanda Bennett and Matt Keevil evidently hadn't noticed the pipeline crossing either, during years of launching their boat here as they studied the turtles in this stretch of the river. Our formal description of this “limestone savannah rare habitat” is “lawnpark bank of rapid canal-river, in residential area.”
After a day of collecting spring-drifted shells from creeks and rivers in Toronto we zoomed alog the 401 to the parking lot here and slept in the seats of the van until dawn. While I made breakfast, Fred sprinted for our traditional drift sample up near the Trent/Severn lock. He found handsfulls of chaffy drift from the eddy above the bridge. Much of the deposit was chunks of Cattail leaves hung up on the bedrock shore below Eastern Red Cedar
Monday, July 28, 2014
On our hike in from Dobson Lane we heard a Gray Tree Frog call, and saw two adult Leopard Frogs along the grassy ATV-rutted track. Now at the river as I settle down to paint we hear the voices of three kinds of Ranid frogs calling from where they are hidden along the water's edge - the "jugaroom" of a Bull Frog, a few banjo-string notes from hidden Green Frogs, and a single
Saturday, July 19, 2014
We'd come in from Stewartville Road along the south shore of the river, and upstream of the pipeline right-of-way, we came through mixed woods to a sunny grove of large Aspen trees,
Friday, July 4, 2014
27 April 2014 found us on Devine Road, 5 kilometres southeast of Carlsbad Springs. along a Beaver-influenced wetland, listening to a lively Spring Peeper chorus north of the road, and enjoying the sunset, reflected vividly in the roadside ditch. An American Bittern was thunder-pumping somewhere off in the Cattails behind the screen of European White Birch. Canada Geese passed overhead, honking, and a Redwinged Blackird announced his territory with a last few calls before dark. A Swamp Sparrow was singing as I decided on just the right composition with the help of my camera. This one would have to be started quickly onsite and finished in the studio.
We'd been out with Laurie McCannell to discuss surveys of the perimeter of this tract of land, where a landfill is proposed, and now we were circling the site, listening for calling frogs and birds. Since the “proponent” of the dump restricts access to the site, all the inventory work must done from perimeter roads. As the candy red sunset deepened, we added the declining American Bittern to the inventory's list of birds.
Paints packed up when their colours could no longer be seen, and as dusk fell we returned to the van and ate supper to the tunes of Peepers, Wood Frogs, and Toads, and a couple of
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
19 June 2014 found me three kilometres northwest of Winchester Springs, Ontario, painting a view across the South Nation River from a steep grassy bank on its north shore. Tall grasses screened the river's edge. I flattened some of the Bromus and Reed Canary Grass into a nest for sitting to paint in the combined shades of a licheny sprawling Manitoba Maple and a stocky low-spreading Ash tree.
The purpose of this visit was to explore this part of the South Nation River where the Trans Canada Pipeline crosses it. You can read more about this idyllic spot and what we found there at our Vulnerable Watersheds blog.
Dear concerned citizens,
This 8 x 18 inch oil painting is available by e-mail auction to support our independent survey of the Energy East Pipeline. The starting price is $375 and bidding will close at midnight on 1 July. If you would like to purchase it, please contact Aleta
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
The Canada Geese which had dotted the watery field when I
Thursday, April 10, 2014
"Rock Elm is one of those species which can leave an immediate impression on the observer" writes Owen Clarkin, who commissioned this painting.
"It frequently develops a rugged growth form with deeply ridged mature bark, pendulous "claw-like" branches, and corky twigs. To me this tree (the "Merrickville Monster") signifies how the common can become rare and eventually obscure, given that Rock Elm is poorly known to the public at present. Rock Elm was historically documented as being a common tree in Ontario, being exported to England as square timber for shipbuilding (etc.) and supporting industries such as the manufacture of hockey sticks, piano frames, vehicle frames, and tool handles. The wood of the species is one of the hardest, strongest, and toughest of any large tree, and it
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Sunday, March 9, 2014
I carried a twig and a portion of vine home to use as reference for the painting. An interesting thing about the corky thickening of bark is how it begins rather abruptly after a twig is two or three years old. Older, slow-growing twigs have corky coats nearly
Friday, February 21, 2014
With a snowy scene outside my window and a fire in the wood stove, I'm revisiting through my photographs the diversity of textures and colours in which I feel most at home. There is just enough detail to draw me in. It seems that the closer I look, the more real it becomes to me, and I can almost smell the sharp, earthy wetness of the moss, and feel the soft, leathery fronds of the evergreen Polypody ferns. They will still be there now, green under ice and snow.
In the title of this piece I play on the name of the purple palm-shaped lichen Peltigera, turning up the ruffled margins of its flat