Monday, June 27, 2011
It is no more a campsite, as vehicle access isn't easy and the owners patrol it often. That is good, because some people who camped here before left litter strewn around and did not replace the rocks they turned in search of snakes. I have a photo of myself at 19 years of age, on elbows and knees, watching a snail crawl on one of the flat limestone rocks that seem to litter the ground but which are shelter for many creatures, including Massassauga Rattlesnakes. Fred was pleased to encounter one basking near where I am sitting this morning - the first one that we've seen here since 1985, a period which included a summer-long herpetological survey of the outer Bruce Penninsula in 1990.
After sketching the composition out on the canvas, I underpainted all areas except the sky, that purplish blue of hazy distance. I painted the purplish blue all over the escarpment, the near forest including the lone tall trees, and the foreground. I figured that cool purple-blue would not only give good support for the distance, but also contrast nicely with the hot bright colours of the alvar. Then I painted the sky over the white gessoed surface that remained in the upper left corner, dabbing it in between the branches of the lone tall trees. Next I painted the escarpment and the forest over the still wet underpainting - first the darks, and then the lights, between and over the darks. Lastly, the golden-olive Cedars at the edge of the alvar. The yellow flowers were daubed on with heavy, fresh paint. As the still wet underpainting tends to pick up and mix in, I wiped my brush clean and re-applied new colour every few daubs. Next the red, the Indian Paintbrush. Then I laid the edge of the vehicle track across the foreground.
I then crisped the edge of the alvar in the foreground, scumbled in the golden mosses that stabilize the shallow soil there, and defined the stones, taking care to describe the shape of each one.
Since the muddy bottom of the puddle is rusty coloured, so must be the reflections of the tufts of Carex. Crisp white sparkles emphasized the water's contact with the mud right in front of me, giving an immediate surface that one could "step out on" - if one doesn't mind muddy feet!
I signed in the water. It's always an anxious moment, deciding where to sign. I could also have signed in dark red on the left hand bottom.
This original painting is available for $275. For information on purchase and shipping, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org