The crest of granite is about 50 metres long and about 5 metres high, padded on its ledges by soft green moss alternating with banks of Polypody ferns, flowing with sprays of Marginal Wood Fern, and ruffled in patches with large floppy Rock Tripe, Umbilicaria mammulata, tan on upper sides and velvety black beneath. When we first arrived we noticed the Rock Tripe on the lower shoulder at the south end, and there I took photos and searched for interesting compositions to paint.
While Fred walks farther along the road to the
marsh to check for drifted molluscs, I skirt the granite crest, pushing past thin twigged Viburnum bushes and clutching at the thin trunks of young Maples to steady my footing on fallen trunks and branches covered by a deep bed of Maple leaf litter. There, on the back side of the crest of granite I discover the green grotto, a vertical cleft in the rock, upholstered with mosses, laced and dripping with mossy liverworts, and patterned with reddish purple Peltigera lichen with tiny red fingernail-like fruiting bodies. The several fronds of a winter-tired Marginal Wood Fern hang like a green silk scarf in the centre of the part that I select for my composition.
A pair of Canada Geese make a racket with their honking, defending their nest site on the far side of the open water below and behind me. Fred must be moving along the shore on this side. After a while I think I hear a Leopard Frog calling - a knocking snore - but listening to it repeating I realize that it's probably a woodpecker, sounding in brief bursts, not rising and falling in waves. In this late spring, the Leopard Frog time is not yet at hand.
Dear patrons and supporters,
The originals of the Frontenac Arch series including this painting will be shown at a special exhibition at Grace Hall, Sydenham, Ontario, opening on 1 February 2014 and closing on 29 April. Everyone is invited to the public reception and "talk by the artist" on 22 February.