Lac La Vielle
5 x 5 inches watercolour
14 September 2009
Lac La Vielle, southern Park de la Verendrye, Quebec
18:06 A serene lake with a small sandy beach, provided by the park with a parking lot and picnic tables. The air is calm and the water is smooth, and the sun is just dipping behind the forest, but turning the crowns of distant hills russet. I decide to paint my miniature in watercolour this time because of the hair-fine lines of the lake's silver sheen against far shores, and the delicacy of tree silouettes.
As I paint and Adam dipnets for clams and crayfish we are visited by two First Nations men who say they were not aware that there are crayfish in this lake. The man who stood watching me paint for a while said that he has a trapping license that he must maintain by trapping a minimum of about 15 mammals annually. He tells me that there is no maximum take, and the government has doubled the number of licenses in this area, so the populations of fur bearers is diminishing. As he left me he said "Paint fast, because it won't be like that for long!"
19:25 A Great Blue Heron crosses the lake, just above the surface, and a Loon's single wailing call echoes.
19:35 The lake is ruffled into suede as an evening breeze springs up, and in a few minutes a great purple-grey cloud has turned the whole lake surface to match it. Large rain drops begin to patter down around me and I lean over my paper and pack up my watercolours to paint the last strokes from the shelter of the vehicle. The lake has so many moods that it takes as much speed and flexibility to portray as the face of a restless child!
20:45 Lying on my back between keying in measurements that Adam is taking of his sample of Unionids, my eye catches a meteor glowing for about 20 degrees of sky. The breeze that rippled the lake at dusk is gone, and the smoke from our cooking fire rises straight upward.