Monday, July 28, 2014

Jock River Sunset (oil on canvas 9 x 12 in.) Sold

26 July 2014 finds me sitting on my painting caddy on the low grassy bank of the Jock River at the Trans Canada Pipeline crossing, south of the town of Richmond, Ontario. The setting sun glows through the boughs of an Ash tree across the river from me, and as I paint, the sky which this afternoon has been bright and cloudless but more white than blue, becomes more and more interesting now, with a few lavender clouds rising up from the west and drifting like scarves across the sun. Yesterday in Ottawa I first noticed the heavy haze smelling faintly of  woodsmoke which must be from forest fires far to the west and the south.

On our hike in from Dobson Lane we heard a Gray Tree Frog call, and saw two adult Leopard Frogs along the grassy ATV-rutted track. Now at the river as I settle down to paint we hear the voices of three kinds of Ranid frogs calling from where they are hidden along the water's edge - the "jugaroom" of a Bull Frog, a few banjo-string notes from hidden Green Frogs, and a single
knock now and then from scattered Mink Frogs.
There is a narrow armouring of crushed rock along the shore where the pipeline crosses a little to my left, and there fred collects handfuls of drifted twiggy material sprinkled with aquatic snail shells - but here where I sit, the soft damp organic shore is thick with Reed Canary Grass, tall Carex, and Spotted Joe Pye Weed, with some Purple Loosestrife and Hog Peanut mixed in, and the water's edge is lined with a floating mat of yellowish algae laced with stems of Frogbit and sprinkled with duckweed. The Frogbit has begun to bloom - I can see one Buttercup-size white flower raised a bit above the small round floating leaves that look so much like miniature waterlilies.

Fred watches the silhouette of what must be a Green Heron flying south above the stream as I strive to capture the colours of the sky before it becomes too dark to see our way back to the truck. He has found some large Ramshorn snail shells but no mussels are evident on the shady bank under Soft Maples and Ashes to my right, where large-trunked Frangulous Buckthorn grow lush and dark.

On 20 June 2002 Bev Wigney and Eric Snyder canoed this stretch of the Jock, finding a rock cut and rapids, and then a path along the river and the railway line to delightful alvar-like limestone flats about 500 metres downstream. Then they paddled upstream past the pipeline crossing to a beautiful Silver Maple swamp. They noted all the birds that they heard, and photographed a sleeping Snapping Turtle and a Muskrat munching aquatic vegetation. Bev wrote "Eric and I paddled into that area of braided channels and up beyond that a couple of times, one of the most magical places I have ever been with the canoe in the Ottawa area."






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