27 April finds us waking to large flakes of snow falling thickly all over our green spring landscape. By 09:00 there are 4 or 5 centimetres of heavy snow on the ground and large clumps of it clinging to twigs and branches. Along the path beneath the Manitoba Maples behind our house, I find blobs of wet snow bowing the newly opened magenta blossoms of the Honesty right to the ground, and the large patch of white and purple Violets are all touselled and untidy, having been pelted from above by lumps of wet snow falling from the trees. Flowers in chaos with incursions of white - a great subject for watercolour!
It continues to snow all day, so I take my subject indoors via digital photograph, and keep a fire going in the cookstove as I paint my watercolour by the kitchen window.
Cooper Marsh in Late August (oil on birch panel 8 x 10 in.) 28 August 2023 found me painting on the back deck of the Visitors Centre at the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area. It's a hot day, and I'm demonstrating plein air painting as part of a workshop hosted by the Raisin Region Conservation Authority and inspired by our mussels project with the River Institute. It's a hot day, so we stayed in the building's shade rather than venturing out into the sunny marsh. Also, the deck offers a higher view across the marsh to the thin line of the pale blue St Lawrence and the deeper hazy blue of the north shore of New York State, visible between the Poplars and Willows. An Osprey calls loudly and insistently overhead. A Red Squirrel scolds chirrs every once in a while, in irritation that we are still here, and once a Bull Frog thrums unseen, from open water somewhere out there among the yellow-green Carex or the dark green Scirpus, this side of the strip of tall, pale-plumed Ph
6 August 2021 found me exploring Robinson Lake on the Dumoine River by kayak. Taking it all in from the intimate position of just above water level was enchanting! It was difficult to be still enough to photograph the White Water Lilies Nymphaea odorata as I awkwardly circled a group of them, poising like dancers mirrored in the dark water. I was amazed at how, when my clumsy paddle brushed them, they closed to keep the water out of their delicate yellow inner parts, popping up dry and open on the other side of the kayak. In the middle of the channel, I spotted a Painted Turtle on a deadhead, and bumped into it, approaching to take photos. One can’t simultaneously take photos and manoeuvre one’s craft. As the sky lowered and the wind roused the water into a chop I photographed some "Swamp Candles", Lysimachia terrestris, with twisted yellow petals, blooming along the shore, and then turned the tip of the island and into the wind. There were small waves in addition to th
"Little Marsh in Limerick" (Oil on birch panel, 6 x 6 in.) 26 December 2023 finds me capturing sunset colours through a tear in the clouds over a small Cattail marsh on Forsythe Rd, 2.3 km E of McRoberts Corner, in Limerick Forest, Grenville County, Ontario. It is 7C after rain, and the road is muddy. We’ve had a rainy Christmas with temperatures well above seasonal average. Cheryl is in the driver’s seat, watching me paint my annual birthday plein air in oils on a 6 x 6 inch cradled birch panel, trying to get it covered with paint before we lose the light and go home for supper. This little marsh, only a few minutes from home, is a familiar scene. There are observations in Fred’s database over the course of 40 years from this spot, of Muskrat, Beaver, Snapping Turtle, Painted Turtle, Green Frog, Great Blue Heron, and Red Squirrel. This is a few hundred metres from “Site F” where we listen each spring to monitor Wood Frogs, Gray Tree Frogs, and Spring Peepers. Unti