Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Jacquet River Artist (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) SOLD!

10 August, participating in the 2010 Bio-blitz of the Jacquet River Gorge Protected Natural Area, finds us on the bank of the Jacquet River in northern New Brunswick.  There will be a total of 40 specialists focusing on this 26,000 hectare forested area over the course of two weeks.

Don McAlpine, head of Zoology at the New Brunswick Museum, took us down a steep rocky road this afternoon, to a spot on the opposite bank from the Protected Area, where there are large Black Ash trees, a special part of the forest that is left out by the current boundary.

Parking near an old wooden bridge, we follow a ferny path along the chattering brook through the woods, emerging on the cobbly river bank where the bar of the brook curves into the Jacquet River.  The  old growth forest rises on the steep far bank of the gorge, White Spruce tall and pointed, and White Pines waving long branches, and ochre-leaved Poplar trees on the river banks looking like western Black Cottonwood.  Hand-sized Lungwort lichens lie on the cobbles at my feet, fallen from high in the trees, reminding me of the rainforest of the west coast.  My fellow artist is New Brunswick's Kathleen Galant.  On a violet-gray underpainting I capture her gesture first, then the cobbles and the alders that shade them, then complete our world of river and forest.

Fred wandered about collecting drift from a backwater and a couple of alga samples from the river.  and Adam saw one small fish as he waded, peering closely into the amazingly clear water, but no clams or crayfish were found.  There were no mosquitoes either, as we painted all afternoon.  The peace was broken only by the noise of ATVs crossing the old bridge.  A kingfisher lilted across the river just as we packed up our paints to meet Don on the road at 18:00.

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