The White Canoe

4 x 6 oil on canvas

12 September 2009

Canada: Quebec: Outaouais Region: Doran's dock, Lac St-Joseph, 2.1 km NNW Aumond. 31J/5, UTM 18TVG 304.3 480.4 46.48430N 75.90597W. TIME: 1515-1800. AIR TEMP: 22 ca, sunny, calm. HABITAT: steep forested shore of small, indirectly impounded lake. OBSERVER: Aleta Karstad Schueler, Adam Zieleman. 2008/227/-, visit paintings of the scene across the lake. Adam is joining me to paint, down the rickety steps from the yard to a deck at the base of the floating dock. We sit facing different directions -- me looking westward to the Maples glowing red against a green hillside across the water, and Adam interested in the looming ghost of the paper mill rising up a forested hillside like a cumulus cloud from another world -- this scene, bracketed by sky and its reflection and screened by the stark silhouette of branches.

I began my painting with a medium-dark dull purple underpainting to support the forest and provide a good contrast for glowing yellow-green shoreline and blushing Maples. A white canoe paddled into my scene, poising like a swan as it turned its bow this way. Cheryl's eldest daughter Julie joins us, to paint very tiny miniatures on wooden stretcher wedges.

At 18:15 Fred comes down and points out that there's no Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) visible here, where we collected 2008/176/b last year, from a "nearly submerged plant with Decodon-like corky rooting stems. " Springs of water flow out from the shore here, in diverse & elegant swirls of rusty algae. There's just a few fish, and the minnow trap left at the dock caught only a couple of small Lepomis macrochirus (Bluegill) through the day. We complete our paintings. One Gavia immer (Common Loon) and 1 female Mergus (Merganser) on the quiet flat lake.

At 19h00, Cheryl brings me back down here and teaches me paddling technique and sends me out in the Kayak. Ondatra zibethicus (Muskrat) swimming in the dusk around tree branches fallen against the shore. At 19h30 I'm back at the dock.


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