Butlers Creek Low Tide (oil on canvas 11 x 14 in.) Sold

2 July finds me painting a high view over the Musquash Estuary at low tide. My half tent is set among low conifer branches at a spot on the Five Fathom Hole trail where the Firs seem to step aside to reveal a breathtaking vista high above the estuary. Ten meters below, the clear brown water chatters it's way among seaweed-bearded rocks to join in a grand curve in a bowl of pale rusty clay. The green, pelt-like sod of the marsh curls softly over the edges of the steep clay banks. An
island of Fir and Spruce stands on the far bank, separated from the mainland forest beyond by another channel of the estuary. 

Directly in front of me the forest edge begins its descent through raspberries and Asters. A pale tan moth with two bands of brown across its wings flutters, searching for shelter among the wet leaves. Lower down the slope, lichen-stemmed Alder bushes lean over the tidal bank of curved-bladed marsh grasses dusty from the muddy tide waters.  

Now I shall begin to paint. I choose the colour of Fundy mud for my underpainting. This is a complex composition with a broad view and many distances. Owen continues along the trail and at about 2:00 Fred decides to walk to the broken bridge downstream, just off my canvas on the upper right.He heads down the slope, finding the shell of a Green Crab in the drift at the bottom, and the tracks of a large Whitetail Deer in the mud among stones bearded with Fucus (Rockweed) and Ascophylum nodosum (Knotted Wrack). These Brown Algae grow in inverse order here above the level of the fresh water in the creek, waiting for it to rise with salt water from the sea.

By 6:00 the tide has risen up to the foot of the riffle, with some rockweed afloat, surprising me with the sudden breadth and depth of the curve of smooth brown water, reflecting the trees beyond - I've been painting the distance and hadn't noticed the tide coming in! I have a little more to paint on the rocks and riffles, but now they are awash, so I will have to use my photos later for that.

Owen returns with reports of dramatic rocky beaches south of here, and helps us strike my tent and pack up at 6:30.


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