Artist on the Dumoine

"Artist on the Dumoine" (oil on birch panel 6 x 12 in)

3 August 2019 finds me on the river bank a few minutes' walk from this year's DRAW (Dumoine River Artists for Wilderness) camp. Bonnie McQuillan is sitting near a magnificent Red Pine, painting the a downstream scene on a small canvas. On her easel is a larger painting, which she'd been working on in the morning - and I am painting her.

The water is clear but rich with tannins from being fed through leaf litter and peat over a vast forested watershed of 1,776 square kilometres drained by tributaries into the Dumoine. Its channel is so deep here that it soon descends from bright golden over cobbles to black. A bright sand bar and another of cobbles make brilliant streaks along the far bank, where an eddy makes the river flow back against itself. Mark and Phil are playing in the current, letting the strong flow in the centre convey them quickly past us to the right, about 200 metres down till their heads are just dots, and then they strike out toward the far shore and catch a slower current back.

There are several small cabins here on a high bank under pines and maples, and in the shade, the breeze feels cool, though it's several degrees warmer in the sunny clearing of our camp in the woods. This year's toadlet hops away from my feet as I shift my position on the pine-needled ground.

4 August: Returning to the spot to continue in the same afternoon light, first I wander up to the main cabin to see where our swimming artists descend by a stairway to the water's edge. Scott Haig, our camp photographer is there, and we both experiment with taking photos from a low angle, to capture the whole of the golden shallows, the sky reflecting on deep water, and the forested hills upriver.

Then I noticed an exquisite River Jewelwing damselfly landing on one of the stones... subject for a future painting.

This year 17 artists were invited to participate in the 6-day DRAW art camp in support of CPAWS Ottawa Valley's campaign for conservation of the Dumoine River wilderness. Watch for more paintings from the Dumoine. Our exhibitions and art auction is planned for the spring of 2020.


  1. Beautiful Aleta! Lucky Bonnie to be featured in this beautiful painting!


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