Thursday, July 8, 2010

Below the Weir (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.)

6 July finds us cooling our heels in the Rideau River at Andrewsville.  I am perched on the north west bridge abutment to paint the interesting swirls of the floating bubbles from the river's cascade over the weir. Fred is wading upstream and the others are swimming where the current has washed a deep hole just where it passes the corner of the concrete abutment.  The afternoon has cooled to 29 degrees C and the water temperature is 27.

There is a path that runs along the shore through the thick riparian forest on this side of the river, behind the trees in my painting.  The path is pretty well lined with Poison Ivy, so the safest way for some folks to go upstream is by wading. Adam and Claire have been wading barefoot, and they've come back with cuts on their feet from the Zebra Mussels that finally killed off the populations of big old native mussels beginning in 2005.

The big old clams that we'd always admired here inspired the feeling that some individuals may have been the first generation since the construction of the Rideau Canal 150 years ago, and now they are only scattered eroded shells.  See more for a photo of Fred wading.

Fred noted in his perusal of the south end of the ledge that runs most of the way across the river:  "Half of the area of the ledge is covered with a carpet of bright short-streaming gree algae - Butomus umbellatus - streaming clumps submerged just above the ledge, and wide flats where this species is dominant.  This is perhaps one of the main post-Zebra changes in plants here - the bottom welded together w drep over wide areas that used to be bare bedrock.  Turned a few rocks upstream of here and saw a couple of Orconectes crayfish of uncertain identity.  The underside of rocks  is densely encrusted with Zebra Mussels."

The channel between the islets is the only sediment isn't welded together by Zebra mussels.  Rhamnus frangula dense with young green berries dominates the islets, and white-berried Dogwood is also present and in fairly heavy fruit...  Ardea herodias (Great Blue Heron) flew off from where it has been wading on the north shore below the weir."


This original painting is available for $275. For information on purchase and shipping please contact me at karstad@pinicola.ca



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What do you think of this painting, and what do you know about the subject that I have painted?