Monday, September 14, 2009

The Mercier Dam

4 x 6 oil on canvas

Mercier Dam, Gatineau River, Quebec

19:00 Arrived at a dam run by Hydro Quebec, on the Gatineau River, 11.5 km nnw of Grande Remous.  We were hunting for the site where a collection of Orconectes immunis was made by ------ in -----. Unable to get close to the original waypoint, we guessed which gravel roads might take us to the river.  We passed a very old dam which was leaking from crumbling concrete at its base beside the road, and then arrived at a newer dam all fenced in with high chain link and locked gates.  We turned right onto a road that shortly headed steeply downhill.  We paused at the top, and while I got my painting kit out, Fred scouted down on foot, returning to say that there was a good campsite down there. I walked down ahead while the vehicle inched the trailer down the rough stony roadbed that sloped and turned at the same time.

A Loon called twice from the still waters above while I was on my way down, and the rushing of spillway streams into eddies greeted me as soon as the road levelled out.  A magnificent sinuous flow of granite in every earth tone imaginable lay before me, alongside the smooth concrete teeth of the spillway where the silken white water and the satin black water slipped side by side over the lip of concrete to plunge into the eddies. The contrast between the crispness of the sweeping parallel lines of concrete and the fluid shapes of the languid rock in ropy parallel masses - fascinates me.  One formation shows the ambitious precision of the minds of men, governing water to make it work - and the other tells a story of changes in the crust of the earth.

19:45 I have lost my light and must finish tomorrow.  Adam has built a nice fire and the Kelly Kettle has water boiling to pour into the pot of noodles. We will stir in flaked chicken fronm a can and add green onions and mango pickle.  In another pot I will lightly  "fry" onions and summer squash.


2009 September 14 Mercier Dam, Quebec

09:00 resuming the painting that I beganlast evening:

11.44  A Great Blue Heron flies low over the water below the spillway, disappearing behind one of the jutting walls on the far side, where I suppose it landed in a backwater out of sight.  Gulls mew and I hear something quacking but can't see it against the swirling water.  Another heron stands downstream a little where the water drops between two outcrops of rock.  A few moments ago, a Raven flew over, croaking.

Finished touching up the painting around noon

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