Flooded Fields (oil on canvas 6 x 8 in.)

10 April finds me sitting in the car 1.5 kilometres south of home in Bishops Mills Ontario, painting the Streights' flooded cornfields. I came out late on this overcast day, hoping for some colour in the sky for a painting of flooded fields, as even on a very dull day there's usually a little colour near the horizon in the evening. Looking southwest around 6:00 pm today it's pale salmon.

The Canada Geese which had dotted the watery field when I
arrived have risen up honking and departed, leaving nothing but sky reflection and silence, with only distant Crows to break the stillness as the landscape, flooded by meltwater from its whole winter's burden of snow, waits for spring. The corn stubble was ploughed under in this field last fall, and now only the bare ridges between furrows break the sky reflection, and farther out, a flooded fence row with Cedars makes a line out into the water.  Over the past decade our neighbours have been taking out fencerow after fencerow here to make their fields bigger.

I scrub the canvas with a darkish violet blue underpainting to lend a cool distance to far woodlots and the lowering sky. This cool dark base colour also provides an opposite hue for the warmer dark colour which I use to paint the muddy ridges, emphasizing the approach of the foreground furrows. This ruddiness in the foreground also echoes the thin line of distant Dogwoods, glowing with spring scarlet.

This field floods in most springs, but the extent of flooding this year makes it look like a lake. Local people think back to the 1970's to remember a year when spring flooding was this extensive. A few kilometres south of here,  County Rd 18 is closed due to flooding. I drove past the "Road Closed" sign yesterday to investigate, and found water from flooded fields to the west rushing across the paved road like a diverted creek. There are also two flooded sections on Branch Rd which parallels the South Branch of Kemptville Creek, and to the east, more flooded spots on County Road 20. All this flooding has Fred fired up about gathering samples of drifted land snails for the Canadian Library of Drifted Material, but he's going to have to wait until the water levels drop.

After an hour and a half of steady painting I think this one looks well enough like the scene that I'll call it finished. I know I could add more detail in the studio with reference to the photos I took when I arrived, but it's satisfying to do a painting entirely "en plein air" so I'll pack up, take it home, and sign it.

Dear patrons and supporters,

This painting is for sale for $275. If you would like to purchase it, please contact me 



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