Little Marsh in Limerick

"Little Marsh in Limerick" (Oil on birch panel, 6 x 6 in.)

26 December 2023 finds me capturing sunset colours through a tear in the clouds over a small Cattail marsh on Forsythe Rd, 2.3 km E of McRoberts Corner, in Limerick Forest, Grenville County, Ontario. It is 7C after rain, and the road is muddy. We’ve had a rainy Christmas with temperatures well above seasonal average. Cheryl is in the driver’s seat, watching me paint my annual birthday plein air in oils on a  6 x 6 inch cradled birch panel, trying to get it covered with paint before we lose the light and go home for supper. 

This little marsh, only a few minutes from home, is a familiar scene. There are observations in Fred’s database over the course of 40 years from this spot, of Muskrat, Beaver, Snapping Turtle, Painted Turtle,  Green Frog, Great Blue Heron, and Red Squirrel. This is a few hundred metres from “Site F” where we listen each spring to monitor Wood Frogs, Gray Tree Frogs, and Spring Peepers. 

Until recent years Forsythe Rd was only used as an access road for forest management, and wasn’t open in the winter. Limerick Forest is a sprawling tract of natural forest and conifer plantations owned by the United Counties of Leeds & Grenville. Its vast network of wetlands (mainly out of sight of roads which tend to follow high ground) act as a natural sponge to retain water and reduce flooding. Around here they drain into both the Rideau and South Nation Rivers and it’s hard to be sure where the watershed boundaries are, as Beaver dams have often changed the direction of flow.  

We have been hearing more about the value of Beavers recently. Native engineers of a healthy landscape , they create wetlands for a stable (higher) water table. Beaver-maintained wetlands slow drainage like a natural sponge on the landscape, lowering the risk of serious flooding, and reducing the climate change threats of drought and fire.

Here is my “en plein air” birthday painting as I brought it home on the evening of 26 December. I made subsequent changes with reference to my photos, signing it as finished (at the top of this post) on 1 January. 

The original 6x6 inch oil painting, "Little Marsh in Limerick" is available for purchase at the price of $250
For more information about this painting and others, or to commission a painting, please contact Aleta at <karstad @> - remember to remove the spaces in the address.


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