Singleton Lake Window on Winter (oil on canvas 6 x 8 in.)

19 January finds me painting with Phil Chadwick through the sunroom window of his house on Singleton Lake near Lyndhurst, in eastern Ontario's Frontenac Arch. After a sunny afternoon in Phil's studio, helping to select and pack paintings for our upcoming group show in Sydenham, there's not much daylight left to gear up and go out to paint, so we go next door to the house for tea. The sunroom gives me a view on Singleton Lake that I hadn't seen yet, and I begin to frame potential compositions
through the angles of my thumbs and forefingers. That's it -  and there might just be time if we forego the gearing up and stay indoors to paint! Phil brings his paints from the studio and we set to work, racing the sunset, while the colours become richer by the moment.

I don't mind foregoing the adventure of painting out in the snow, because Fred and I have had plenty of adventure in just in getting here. After a fresh snowfall of 10 cm of fluff over icy crust, the forested hills were gorgeous in the cold sunshine as we followed the complicated map of lanes and lakes, just missing Phil's lane at a turn in the road which led us through the woods past interesting Shagbark Hickories, following fresh truck tracks which I thought must have been made by Phil, as he said he'd opened the lane for us.

It was a very long lane, and we kept driving, mostly downhill, not slowing down on the uphills for fear of getting stuck. Eventually there were signs of habitation as we neared the shore of the lake, and we stopped at a house which wasn't Phil's, to ask directions. We were told to go all the way back to the turn and take the next left. I managed to turn around, but after several wheel-spinning attempts to get up the hill from the house, with our snow tires polishing the snow off solid ice, we were advised to wait for a truck which was being warmed up and brushed off, to plow the lane between houses. This is where residents (even those with 4-wheel-drive) back up for at least 20 metres to gain momentum for the first hill.

A shovel-wielding neighbour told us to park at her house until the plowing was accomplished, and then she piloted our vehicle all the way to the top of the third hill and around some tight curves, faster than we would have had the nerve to go. The ride was pretty wild, but we were in good hands - she said that her car is also front-wheel-drive. At the top I was pleased to have one of my books on hand as a thank you gift, and she walked down home in the fresh snow and sunshine.

Needless to say, we were relieved to finally arrive at Phil's place, and to see his spacious studio and his body of work - hundreds of exciting plein air paintings. Phil's work can be seen on his website and on his blog

Dear patrons and supporters,

This original painting is available for $350. For information on purchase and shipping, please contact me at

Aleta Karstad


  1. I love this story Aleta, I can picture your adventures getting there and acknowledge you for just picking up your brushes and painting in the create this exquisite painting of the lake at sunset. In our teens we were at a cottage on Singleton Lake.

  2. of course the paintings are for sale - it's just that they're for sale (with frames and finally-successfully-printed identifying tags) at the show rather than - for now - on the blog.

  3. This is my favourite Aleta... perhaps I am biased. You have a terrific body of art... good for you!


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