Thursday, June 7, 2012

Castor River Weir (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.)

3 June finds me painting through the chain link fence at the weir on the Castor River in Russell, Ontario. The far bank is the Burton Conservation Area, a sloping grassy lawn by the river and a walking trail through a Red Pine forest. The Castor runs clear and golden today, foaming from its two-metre fall over the weir. A wire-bound gabion at the far end of the wier is filled with grey broken rock, and in the shade of slim young Poplars and Elms, the gabion
gives way most charmingly to a natural wall of fractured limestone. Above this layer is a steep reddish bank that intrigues me. Is it shale or clay? I like the sunlit curve of flat limestone just at the water's edge and the bright banks of tall grass in midriver.

Orioles are whistling in the Manitoba Maple that shades my van, and flying like little balls of orange fire across the river. Below me is a wide meadow of tall grass growing among river rocks, and at the downstream end of this grows a patch of the uncommon aquatic plant Lizard's Tail, with its deep green elegantly gesturing leaves.  A young woman sits in a folding chair farther along bank to my right, casting a fishing line once in a long while. She sits very still between casts, with the tip of her rod lowered into the long grass. I must stand to paint, so I have tied a plastic lap-desk to the fence railing with a bungie cord, to support my canvas and palette.

When the light changes I pack up my paints to touch up the painting inside the trailer. A young family parks their vehicle close behind me and hurriedly unpacks fishing gear, scampering down the path through the long grass, to get some fishing in before it rains, as storm clouds are moving in.

When we visited here a few days later, Fred went downstream and came back along the shore, but the river was grass-full right up to the level of the limestone ledge. I hadn't told him that I was interested in the red layer, so what he picked up was a chunk of grey limestone from a stratum that had rounded, pebbly-textured surfaces. He found the Mystery Snail, Viviparus georgianus here, the first place we've seen it in the South Nation Drainage.

This painting is for sale at $275  If you would like to purchase it, please contact me 

1 comment:

  1. Now I've decided I don't know which I like best, Aleta, your paintings or your wondrously detailed descriptions. You are an artist with words, too.


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