Pulled Out to Stay (oil on canvas 6 x 8 in.)

1 June 2014 found me on another Cockburn Island beach, called by the locals "Connell's Dump", used until 1960 as a depot for the lumber and pulpwood industry on the island. The Connells floated the logs off the beach in booms, which were towed around to the dock at Tolsmaville, some to be loaded onto ships, and some to be made into boards at the two local sawmills. The last of the logs still remain, with White Cedars growing up among them, behind the ridge
of lake-rounded cobbles where I sat to paint what's left of an old boat.  It must have been a rowboat or punt, with a high bow to deflect the steep choppy waves of Lake Huron.

This Cockburn Island beach had a timeless feel to it - a perfect place for retirement for this boat - to be pulled up to rest for a few more years while its wood is weathered into bits and scattered among the stones. Just below me and to my left, the bleached bones of a Whitetail Deer glimmered among the grasses between stones. We came to this place in the course of a three day survey on Cockburn Island, 60% of which has been acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, to preserve in its natural state.

Lake Huron storms have sorted the rounded rocks and pebbles of this beach into curving banks and ridges. The cobbly flats are dotted with bushes, stony meadows with Potentilla and Milkweed, and a strip of marshy Carex, where explored a small pond flanked by native Phragmites reed dimpling with Green Frog tadpoles and rippling to the wake of a Watersnake.

After getting a good start on this painting, the appointed time came for departure, so I packed up my paints to walk the two kilometres back to the truck with Jenn and Louis. Fred left ahead of us, exploring along the beach, so we cut across a delightfully mossy, boggy patch of spruce woods to meet him a little farther down Old Woman Trail. Just as we stepped back onto dry leaf litter among Cedars, there lay a nearly intact deer skull with antlers.

Dear patrons and supporters,

The original oil painting, "Pulled Out to Stay" is available for $275. Please contact Aleta karstad(at)pinicola(dot)ca. 



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