Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mossy Snag on Lewis Mountain (oil on canvas 4 x 7 in) Sold

1 July finds us on Lewis Mountain, the second of two candidate Protected Natural Areas north of Caledonia Gorge and included in our two-week Bio-blitz. The others have continued down the increasingly steep slope down toward Turtle Creek, collecting insects.

Only a few hundred metres down the slope I find my painting subject, standing tall in the steep valley of a tributary to Turtle Creek - a tall mossy snag, elegantly festooned with mosses and several bell-shaped Tinder Polypores, Fomes fomentarius, sometimes called "Hoof Polypore." As I paint, splashes of sunlight appear and disappear on the leaves of a Yellow Birch that frame my view of the mossy snag, and a light breeze wafts the smoke of my insect coil back and forth, discouraging most of the mosquitoes that would be harassing me otherwise. A day-flying moth with black wings, white-banded toward the tips, flutters by, not stopping. I call to Don that it has gone in his direction, but he shouts back that we are looking for butterflies - Tony has already trapped several good samples of moths.
Fred is searching for salamanders within my hearing, above and below, carefully turning and replacing "100 pieces of cover" to get an idea of species abundance. He is collecting slugs too, of course, and finds five Philomycus of all sizes as well as (as yet uncounted) dozens of the large invasive Arion slugs. It is not yet known how they may be affecting the native forest communities, but the lichenologists and micologists participating in this all-taxon survey suspect that they may be capable of devastating the lichens and fungi that are most palatable to them.


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