Saturday, November 24, 2012

Point Abino Beach (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

21 November finds me sitting on a boulder to paint the view westward, my back to Point Abino, Lake Erie, Ontario. It is a delightfully calm, sunny, sweater-temperature day and we've been brought down to the beach by one of the cottage owners of one of a resident association of Point Abino (pronounced "Ab-in-o"). The famously beautiful lighthouse is hidden around the point. Our interest is not in it but in the Fowlers Toad, a "species at risk" on the northern shore of Lake Erie. All of the toads must be burrowed down for the winter now, high on the sandy beaches. How vulnerable to digging and trampling they are, we don't know. Their eggs have been seen in the spring, in water-filled pools and dimples in places like the fossil-filled, algae-streaked limestone at my feet. In the summer, night-time visitors to the sandy beaches find the toads hopping on the wet sand at the fringes of the waves where they feed on small invertebrates.

The last time we were here was 1976, on the "Mayes Expedition" when Frank and Fred "did"
Lake Erie while I replenished our expeditionary coffers by doing portraits in Toronto. We weren't studying native freshwater (unionid) mussels then, but mainly focused on the toads. Now the unionids have been almost totally killed off by the invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels which with only a modest number of snails make up most of Fred's samples. We see only one native mussel shell fragment on our visit to this stretch of the beach today.

Dear patrons and supporters,

This painting, in my current series, "Lake Erie" is for sale by auction to support our work on the 30 Years Later project, as we revisit places we studied over the past three decades. If you would like to purchase it, please send your bid to me   Bidding is open for one week from posting date, ending on 1 December at 1:00 am eastern daylight time. The starting price is $250.   



  1. Eleta, I feel so fortunate to have been able to watch you render this amazing painting.
    Sadly,the Fowler's toad status has been reassessed from "At Risk" to an "Endangered" designation.

  2. "Endangered" is a category in the "Species at Risk" system of classification. It's perhaps not very scientific to force all species into a single series of categories: "not at risk," "special concern," "threatened," "endangered," extirpated," and "extinct," but it seems to be a necessity of the interface with the legal system.


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