There is not much White Cedar hereabouts, and this grove of mature wet-loving trees may indicate the pond we'd hoped to find. We weren't out of the van and into the woods for very long before we were drawn by a splash of evening sun
on the treetops - the other side of an opening - and there was the pond. The approach to it was magical - a soft, undulating forest floor with moss-pelted logs like a living room, columned instead of walled, with stringy-barked Cedars of all ages, as well as a tall Red Spruce and several good-sized Fir. This 'livingroom floor" gently sloped toward a mossy seepage into the pond. On one side of the trickle reared a cavernous moss-latticed root wad, and on the other sprawled a horizontal Cedar trunk 30 cm in diameter and three metres long from its base to where it curved upward, resuming tree-shape. When we later mentioned this remarkable tree to one of Mabel's daughters, we were told that it was called the "Elephant Tree" and that we were not the first to sit on it.
The seepage was my best window into the pond, so I crept close, balancing on branches that had fallen across it, to take some pictures of the pond's black surface, darkly mirroring the rhythms and textures of the forest and spangled by the yellow-flowered Bull Lilies. The sun was sinking, its guilding creeping up off the tips of the Cedars. There was to time to do a painting and the road out was rough, so I satisfied myself with photos at various zooms and exposures, and we left, concerned about negotiating the road out in the dusk.
At home in Ontario, I have just finished the painting, not an easy task though small. In my photos the living trees are all so green, and the dead trees so gray. I darkened some "indian red" with ultramarine blue for the underpainting, to provide the kind of depth and differentiation I saw when I was there. I don't just copy photos..... although charmed by the treetops' evening glow, I decided to leave off the treetops and minimize the sky in order to focus on darker complexities in forest and pond.
Dear patrons and supporters,
This is one of a series of paintings of the Musquash Estuary Natural Area, where we explored forest, marshes and shores protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The price for this paintingis $275. If you would like to purchase it, please contact me.