Showing posts from November, 2012

Silver Lake Reclaimed (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.)

26 November finds me painting the view across a snow-patched meadow that used to be the north half of Silver Lake in Port Dover, Ontario. The Misner Dam was lowered for safety reasons two years ago and since then the river has returned to its old channel along the east side of this exuberant meadow of Goldenrod, Asters, Purple Loosestrife, Nettles, and Vervain, with thickets of Willows and Honey Locust.  I can only see the river channel as a dark shadow between the tall herbs on its banks from where I stand on a picnic table to start my painting.  A Cattail marsh with patches of invasive Phragmites is beyond this scene to my left, and in the foreground you can see dishevelled, autumn-redded bunches of Nodding Smartweed (Persicaria lapathifolia).  When I turn to my right and look downstream across the paths and park benches behind me I can see the open water of the existing millpond and the bridge at its southeast end with the Misner dam below it. This river used to be called P

Crystal Beach Rosebush (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

24 November finds me sheltering from the wind between a low sand dune and a cement retaining wall at Crystal Beach, Lake Erie, Ontario. The wind is blowing half a gale out along the beach. This Rose bush was glorious with yellow leaves only the day before yesterday but the wind that began last night has blown them almost all away. The rose hips are still here though, glowing like rubies in the autumn sun. The little sand coloured Toads who share this beach with the citizens of Crystal Beach are all burrowed down for the winter. No one knows exactly where they have gone, but I imagine that a number of Fowlers Toads may be sleeping in the damp sand directly below me as I sit leaning against this wall to paint the Rose bush. A wooden stairway leads up from the beach beside a vacant snack bar to a lawn, public washrooms, and a fenced parking lot. Beyond the stairway lie the sand-filled concrete ruins of the foundations of another beachside building, and that may be an even

Point Abino Beach (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

21 November finds me sitting on a boulder to paint the view westward, my back to Point Abino, Lake Erie, Ontario. It is a delightfully calm, sunny, sweater-temperature day and we've been brought down to the beach by one of the cottage owners of one of a resident association of Point Abino (pronounced "Ab-in-o"). The famously beautiful lighthouse is hidden around the point. Our interest is not in it but in the Fowlers Toad, a "species at risk" on the northern shore of Lake Erie. All of the toads must be burrowed down for the winter now, high on the sandy beaches. How vulnerable to digging and trampling they are, we don't know. Their eggs have been seen in the spring, in water-filled pools and dimples in places like the fossil-filled, algae-streaked limestone at my feet. In the summer, night-time visitors to the sandy beaches find the toads hopping on the wet sand at the fringes of the waves where they feed on small invertebrates. The last time we were