At the Dam (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.)

18 June finds me at the dam in Oxford Mills, Ontario, after an afternoon of filming for the Mudpuppy documentary.  I step down to the grassy flat bit of shore on the east side that Fred calls the "Island" and settle to paint the racing white water below the spillway.  The lowest limestone ledge on the other side is still submerged since the recent heavy rain.  We call that closest ledge to the dam the "Vantage Point" for Mudpuppy viewing in the winter.  People also fish from there for Brown Bullheads (which they call Mudpout) during the spring spawning run.

I enjoy the challenge of capturing the dancing white foam with my brush.  I want to catch the eye with the bright movement of it before the gaze drifts to the right and then circles up among the sunlight glints on foliage to the trees and back to the dam - then along the warmly lit rock of the ledges, and back to the rollicking foam in midstream.  The dark space above the stone wall of the dam balances the white of the water.  My eyes enjoy stepping up the ledges and along the path into the shadowy centre of the painting.  That's the way we walk up through the snow every Friday evening from our nocturnal winter visits to count the giant salamanders on Mudpuppy Night in Oxford Mills.

The pleasant breeze keeps mosquitoes from finding me - until the sunlight is gone.  Just before I pack up my paints at 20:15, I look up and notice a Great Blue Heron perched on the dead tree top.  I wonder how long it has been watching me, perhaps too shy to come down to the Vantage Point for a minnow or two before flying off to its evening roost.

In the process of cropping the photo to post here, I notice that there is a fishing line hooked to the tree, making the Heron appear tethered!

This original painting is available for $275. For information on purchase and shipping please contact me at


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