Red Shale Quarry Lake (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

5 June finds me sitting on the roof of our van, painting the scene that I can see over a high chain link fence where a lake glints between the trees at the northeastern gate to the old quarry in North Russell, Ontario. There are only a couple of spots where the surrounding grassy berm behind the boundary fence is low enough for the lake to be visible. What we are doing here is taking a peek into the forbidden hole in the centre of the redshale area - the land

owned by Taggart Miller who have closed it to biological investigation preparatory to applying for permits to convert the area immediately surrounding the lake into a series of landfill dumps. This old brick-shale quarry is in the Queenston Shale formation, and supplied high quality red brick for buildings over quite a wide area.

The quarry was last active in 2007. The operators had to keep water pumped out during the quarrying,  as the large, gently sloping hill of North Russell is full of natural springs. One of the few lakes in the South Nation drainage, the quarry lake supports presently-inaccessible fish and Crayfish, as well as being an important staging place for flocks of many thousands of migrating Canada Geese that swirl over it in spring and fall. 

As I paint, our assistant Clay sets up his telescope to photograph the transit of Venus. Bird's-foot Trefoil is in bloom along the mowed roadside. Vetch is beginning to decorate itself with curved purple fringes, and Chickory will be coming out soon with blue "Cornflower" blossoms.  Virginia Creeper writhes along the chain link fence. Trees along the fence here are small Manitoba Maple and Elm - otherwise everything is tall grass.  I'm so busy with painting up here on the roof of the van that I only vicariously appreciate the transit of Venus across the Sun - a rare astronomical event. Yellow Warblers flit about in the Manitoba Maples across the road, and Song Sparrows forage for insects in the roadside Trefoil. Grackles and Redwings peck about on the shoulder of the road, and I'm getting stiff and sore. Here's a photo of me in my "Quarryview" studio.


  1. Way to go girl!!!
    Good for you. Never let a fence get in the way of a beautiful painting!!


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