Showing posts from December, 2008

Black Spruce bog, Cochrane

This is one of my favorite plein air oils, painted in the fall of 1992, while sitting in the moss in a bog south of Cochrane, Ontario. It took two afternoons. We were camped nearby on a closed loop of the old highway. Bogs are exhillarating places for me - the sharp acidic smell of the sphagnum, the clean cushiony texture of it, the rich contrasting reds, oranges and greens of the moss itself... the visual excitement of the tracery of Cranberry over the sphagnum. The micro-topography of a bog is interesting, in contrast to its flat aspect from a distance - it is always hummocky, and the little pools of black water are like reflective jewels in settings of brocade and filigree. The stunted aspect of the trees, and to realize that they can be centuries old and no taller than myself, is very personal somehow. I admire the tenacity and hardiness of the few plant species that can survive in bogs - and that most of them are evergreen. The plants that survive in the sterile acidic matrix

Another batch of slug watercolours

Deroceras reticulatum I have just finished the third dorsal view of this ubiquitous slug introduced from Europe, Deroceras reticulatum , the milky-slimed muncher in every garden, variable in colour and fast moving. You can see the flat spot in the rear portion of its mantle, where the vestigial shell sits, internally. The finger-print wrinkles are slighter just over this bit of shell that reminds us that slugs are relatives of snails. It has two characteristics that make it easy to tell apart from its native cousin D. laeve . D. reticulatum has a large pale area surrounding its pneumostome, or breathing hole, and when the animal is touched, it exudes exceedingly sticky white mucous which is hard to get off your hands, and can cause dermatitis in the slug collector. The lateral view and first dorsal view were painted from a 45mm individual collected by Judy Courteau, from under an Elm tree near Dunville, Ontario, on 23 September. The second dorsal view was collected by Fred, from