Saturday, August 21, 2010
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.
Posted by Aleta Karstad at 4:43 PM