10 October finds me sitting to paint Phragmites reeds on the shoulder of County Road 20, at a wetland which is the headwaters of the South Nation River's north branch a kilometre east of East Oxford, Grenville County, Ontario,
This is the closest the South Nation River drainage comes to home, and we've been measuring the height of the tallest stem that's within a few metres of the road here, ever since we took a 4-metre sheaf of it to display like a trophy in the entryway of the Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum in 1999.
Fred takes advantage of being tied down to my painting site today, by finally having the opportunity to capture the geographic coordinates of the perimeter of this stand. Bob Woolham's recollection is that it has been here at least since the early 1980's, which agrees with ours, though in those days we foolishly didn't pay adequate attention to this invasive species.
We at first thought that should paint the interior of the stand, but this was very dense with stems (perhaps unusually dense), so I settled on its exterior, viewed against the forest of Large-toothed Aspen and Red Maple that flanks it to the east.
I chose an 12 x 16 inch canvas because I wanted to enjoy the long tapered brush strokes of the leaves and the long subtly arching linear strokes of the stems. With so much space to move in, I actually feel as if I'm flying! As the canvas fills in with breeze tossed reeds and fluttering aspen leaves, the painting appears to be dancing!
Fred returns from his circumperambulation with accounts of hearing Gray Treefrogs and Spring Peepers, and at the stream, discovering a Mud Minnow and some Sticklebacks - and a Green Frog that hopped three metres after the beetles he'd tossed from his net. He found a second stand of Phragmites, not flowering, behind this one in the edge of the woods. Too soon I have to pack up, but look forward to finishing this from my photos.