Yesterday the Dendrochronologist (tree historian) of the BiotaNB team Ben Phillips, cored some big old trees up here and found that two Red Pines (both of them split identically into two equal tops) counted approximately 300 years old. This is a heretofore unmeasured age for Red Pine. These may be the oldest known individuals of this species in North America.
So we mounted a second expedition, equipped with photographers (Steve and Nina Colwell) and an artist (myself) to hike back up today to further document the ancient Pines. We drove in and parked where a creek crosses the road, coming from a long thin Beaver dam, which we balanced along, with walking sticks, holding to
young trees. Then the road resumed, narrowing through the woods and proceeding gradually upward. At a spot previously marked by GPS we began to climb the forested mountainside, keeping each other in sight through untracked woods until we arrived at the trees. The ground was pillowy with mosses and the bases of trees encrusted with lichens. The two old Red Pines stood perhaps 20 metres apart, and we all sat down to rest and eat our lunches at the base of the upper one. It seemed that all the flies on that side of the mountain had followed us up there... and also that too many of the flies were kinds that bite!
As I paint, Steve and Nina hover behind me, filming over my shoulder and changing batteries, for nearly three hours. Every once in a while they pause to change batteries, and I pause to light a fresh insect coil. The smoke keeps most of the mosquitoes away, but some of the blackflies seem oblivious... and a dozen or so get stuck in the painting!
Dear supporters and patrons of my art,
This 11 x 14 inch oil painting is now part of a collection of my work in the New Brunswick Museum, which holds the rights of reproduction along with the artist.
Sales of my paintings support our research and conservation work. I am happy to receive commissions, especially for tree paintings!