Outfall at Nuclear Beach

Outfall at Nuclear Beach (oil on birch panel 11x14 in.)

24 January 2024 finds me starting a plein air painting on the icy shore of Lake Ontario, near Pulaski, New York, looking east across Mexico Bay toward the cooling stack of the Nine Mile Point nuclear power station. 

I have set myself up to paint on a low ice shelf close to the water, near a bank of amazing ice cobbles tumbled smooth in the waves of a recent storm. At my feet a creek is running free from beneath its silent sheets of ice, along a high barrier of storm-piled frozen wave-spray mixed with ice cobbles. The gentle swells moving in from Lake Ontario splash against ice covered boulders where it finally meets the lake. After I took my initial reference photos, cousin Delos who had guided me here to his favourite spot for photographing sunsets, departed to prepare supper. 

By the time I had decided on a painting spot and arranged my plein air studio, the dark clouds on the horizon had lightened, spreading across Mexico Bay toward me. Just as I raise my brush for the first stroke, dark speckles of drizzle appear on the "underpainted" surface of my panel. Without the shelter of the big umbrella (an important part of my plein air kit, but left beside the door at home) I packed up, this  paints, my winter "en plein air"
adventure in plein air painting defeated. 

On 12 April, 1995, Fred took a break from his survey of Chorus Frogs to explore the mouth of Grindstone Creek, in Selkirk Shores State Park, about 1.5 km northeast of here. Here are some of his notes from that visit: 

Water at the site was permanent natural brook-slow creek and Lake Ontario. Water level in the creek was low. The bottom was cobbles shingle gravel sand. Water movement was small waves in the Lake, with fast flow at the mouth of the Creek. Drift on the beach was embedded in massed peaty fragments piled 30 cm deep by the waves.

10°C, rain, moderate breeze. Lampsilis radiata (Eastern Lamp-Mussel) (Mollusca). 2 shell, drift, specimen. 2 old valves, larger 71 mm.

Elliptio complanata (Eastern Elliptio) (Mollusca). 2 shell, drift, specimen. old, 14 pairs, 1 incomplete pair, 3 valves, largest 71 mm.

Dreissena polymorpha (Zebra Mussel) (Mollusca). common shell, drift, specimen. embedded in drifts of peaty material. 36 pairs, 15 valves, largest 26 mm. No snails noted.

Orconectes propinquus (Crayfish). common shell, drift, specimen. large fragments, sample includes another species.

He also noted two dead Crows in the beach drift and several dead Pike, as well as parts of Lake Trout, Catfish, and Bass. 

The original 11x14 inch oil painting, "Outfall at Nuclear Beach" is available for purchase at the price of $450
For more information about this painting and others, or to commission a painting, please contact Aleta at <karstad @ pinicola.ca> - remember to remove the spaces in the address.


  1. This goes along with a record-setting lack of ice on the Great Lakes this winter.


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