Showing posts from April, 2012

Edge of the Swamp (oil on canvas, 5 x 7 in.) Sold

12 April finds me sitting on a steep forested bank, painting a gracefully gesturing Spruce stump. The swamp behind it glows with evening sunlight, full of blushing red Dogwood and greening willow bushes. We've come here hoping to hear frog voices but although the day is sunny, it is also cool and windy, and except for bird sounds, the afternoon is quiet. Occasionally a clamour of Canada Geese rises and falls in the distance. A male Wood Duck splashes down at the foot of an old Ash tree, where a box for nesting is fastened above aluminum sheathing high on the trunk. It always amazes me how small the hole is in a Wood Duck nest box, compared to the size of an adult duck - and how the ducklings when they're ready, jump from their high nest to never return. This land is on limestone, and the undulating floor of the forest above and behind me is carpeted with smooth dry Cedar leaves. The Cedars grow in big clumps of gracefully curving trunks, where they'd been cut 40 or

Jill's Barn (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

11 April finds me sitting on Jill's back steps on Concession 6 north of Hanover, Ontario, painting her barn. The sun and clouds are chasing each other and the dark wet streaks on the barn are drying after yesterday's snow and rain. The Turkey Vultures have returned from wherever they'd been during the past few days of cold wind. Perched on the ridge of the barn, the great birds seem to diminish the grand dimensions of this magnificent barn. The broad flat face of the barn imposes on the back yard a grand old outdoors indooors space of 13 x 20 metres. Its sheer size of its aspect dwarfs the foot-wide boards, weathered grey and shrunken just enough to let thin slivers of light through, as if the old barn were slowly but surely becoming more a part of the sky than the earth. But still held down by the stones of its foundation - square and dark on the west end and of various sizes, colours and shapes on the east end, In the middle, the lawn sweeps up to the massive sliding doo

Woodsy Chorus (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.)

3 April finds me sneaking a photograph to paint from later, at 575 Route 100, north west of Russell, Ontario. This is a vernal Ash and soft Maple swamp adjacent to a farmstead with huge Silver Maples in its lawn. Canada Geese fly calling overhead. We see that a  Pileated Woodpecker has been ripping chips out of a rotten Maple on the margin of the swamp. It is just after six o'clock in the evening on a cool, cloudy day, and the Chorus Frog voices are silent. They were calling "grri-i-i-i-i-i-ik" this afternoon. This pond is a special discovery in our Chorus Frog survey, as they haven't been heard east of Ottawa since the 1960's. We've found during the past four days of warm weather survey work to the west that it seems that Renfrew/Castleford is now the northern range limit of the Ottawa Valley population. The model that suggests itself for this 20km

Pond at Pine River (oil on canvas, 5 x 7 in.)

23 March finds me sitting on the sandy verge of a forest access road called Gunns Road, painting a pocket of tussock marsh in old river channel, a little over 160 metres from a bridge over the Pine River, in Renfrew District, northwest of Killaloe.  To my left the steep bank of the pond is overhung by the contorted, mossy-barked branches of a majestic Bur Oak. Spring Peepers are beginning to call, warming up in the morning sun in their hiding spots - grassy bowers