Showing posts from May, 2012

Dryad's Saddle (oil on canvas, 5 x 7 in.) Sold

23 May  finds me in a Manitoba Maple grove at a farmstead on Rt 100 in North Russell, Ontario, painting a Dryad's Saddle, Polyporus squamosus , bursting out of the rotting base of a tipped over Manitoba Maple.  This is a fresh cap, 28 cm wide, with the usual two attendant younger caps beside it. Nearby another pair of young Polypores are poking out of a knothole on another nearly horizontal trunk. I sit on a short stool among the Nettles and the Jewelweed to paint, beginning with a dark, greyish-purple underpainting. Most of the mosquitoes are kept at bay by the wafts of three smoking insect coils. Dryad's Saddle is a bracket fungus which plays an important role in woodland ecosystems by decomposing wood, but is occasionally a parasite on living trees, producing a white rot in the w. It ranges throughout North America east of the Rockies, and is also found in Europe and Australia. Many of the Manitoba Maples in this grove are bent down. The stems which lean out toward

Spring Beauty (oil on canvas 11 x 14 in.) Sold

May 7's visit to the J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area in the village of Russell, Ontario, involved a competition between spring ephemerals as to which would be painted onsite. The Red Trillium won, and Spring Beauty came second with a series of photographs, which I have used as reference for its portrait. A magnificent Silver Maple welcomes visitors to this protected valley of a tributary to the Castor River. Its massive trunk is ropy beneath the rough grey bark, fluted like a Corinthian column. A straight, thin scion springs from a crotch in its roots, thrust up through the loose fabric of winter-faded fallen leaves, and here, Spring Beauty cups its delicately pink-striped flowers atop thread-like stems from a tousel of tender green leaves.

Russell Red Trilliums (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

7 May finds me painting the base of a large Silver Maple in the J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area in Russell, Ontario.  The tall thin stems of three Red Trilliums sport wine red blooms above broad green shields of their leaves. Can you see them? Just out of the shadow of the tree, backlit against sun-splashed leaf litter and a haze of lacy new ferns at the feet of the younger maples. Other Red Trilliums grow singly and in small groups about this tree, and a raft of White Trilliums flaunt their large petals beside where I sit on a sprawl of fallen dead branches. Down a short slope behind me, a small clay-bed creek meanders through this forested valley. I hear the voices of children calling to each other echoing among the trees. People pass quietly behind me on the gravel path and across the wooden bridge, some on bicycles and others walking with their dogs.  Whitethroated Sparrows call "Sweet Canada-Canada-Canada" and Cardinals whistle "Pretty-pretty-pretty".

Basking in the Lee (oil on canvas, 5 x 10 in.) Sold

17 April found us looking for fresh water mussels at White Lake (also called Inglesby Lake) south of Erinsville, Ontario. The sun was warm, but the wind was violent on this the last day of our Chorus Frog expedition. The whole shore of the lake is privately held except for a brushy road allowance and a small township boat launch.

Red Soil and Spring Green (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

28 April finds me sitting at the edge of an apple orchard, painting bands of red and green through a screen of fencerow trees north of Russell, Ontario. It's exciting to see the colour of the soil in these high fields near the old quarry of Queenston Shale, and I'm taking this opportunity to paint it before it grows up in crops.  A Pine plantation on my right sends long shadows across the lush spring grass and the evening sun highlights Ash and Elm with rich ochres.  A flock of Canada Geese is resting on the green field beyond the fencerow. Now they stretch their necks and raise clamorous voices in greeting to geese in the air. Out of the empty blue, ragged scraps of a flock grow from a faint smudge to delicate pencil ticks, oriented like fine iron filings, scattered but responding to a force that pulling them in a sweeping curve to join their fellows on the green field.  Two massive-trunked Ash trees stand at the forest edge. Taking a break from my painting I