Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jacqet River Evening (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) SOLD!

15 August finds me taking an evening drive down Archibald Road to the Jacquet River in the PNA - 13.5 km ssw of the Jacquet River settlement as the Raven flies.  The glass clear river flows in a deep pool with smooth corrugations drawn out on the jade green bedrock bottom, past a narrow gravel bank at the feet of Spruces and Cedars.

On this side I stand on a 4 metre high bank of stattered shale, where three days ago, I found and relished the last Saskatoon berry on a bush on the high gravel open area where we parked to view the river.
 Picking my way down the steep bank I am impressed by the form of the loose shale - broad flat slivers like shattered wood.  Bluebells are blooming here, and I consider them as a painting subject, but although they are easy to see with two eyes, their stems are too delicate to show well against the busyness of the crumbling shale in a painting.  I close one eye to "flatten" the image, and lose the distinction between plant and rock.

A stunted Spruce leans away from the rocky bank like a mountain tree in an old Japanese painting, one thin straight root reaching into the air, one broken off, and the rest anchored firmly in the shale.  I consider it for a subject, but this bank is in shadow now and there's not enough contrast unless I paint its silhouette against the river.... now I'm looking downstream, and the golden glow on the trees across the river make a striking contrast with the deep blue of the reflected sky.  Odd key-shaped ledges of shale jut out just at water level, and this is my scene.

I am alone with the chirping of crickets and another insect singing a long continuous "zeeeeeeeee" until a boy on a four-wheeler rumbles in from the road to the grassy edge above me and then motors off to check other river access spots, searching for the rest of his party.

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