Tuesday, May 31, 2016

1751 Dam Beavers

I am sure that some property owners think the word in the title should be "damn". It fits according to both the dictionary and the landowners wanting the industrious beaver condemned by God to suffer eternal punishment in hell.

I like beavers. We all need a place to live. I used the word to mean a barrier constructed to hold back water and raise its level. The resulting reservoir is used in the generation of of a beaver's family and not electricity. The beaver lodge is clearly evident in the Google Earth image. I painted the beaver lodge in #1734 "Long Lake Outlet" a month previously.

There were indications that someone was trapping the beavers. I am no trapper but I could read the signs. Someone had breached the dam and the spring flood was pouring over the top. There were also some steel posts embedded nearby probably securing underwater traps. I do know that this particular dam had let go in the past and flooded out Black Rapids Road at its lowest point.

The reflected colours of the spring forest in the beaver reservoir attracted me to this scene. The colours of the overflow were also distinctly different. This is were the Prussian and phthalo blues really come into play to achieve those special blends of pigment. I remember the drumming of ruffed grouse and the gobbling of a harem of turkeys bit I did not see any sign of beavers.

I would visit the same location twenty-three days later in #1761 "Long Outlet".


Sunday, May 29, 2016

1749 Long Lake Marsh

The morning radar showed that I had a couple of hours to paint en plein air before the snow started. I headed to the outlet of Long Lake. Overcast altostratus certainly limited the warming effects of the April sun but it was still pleasant enough when the wind died down. Conditions were rather chilly when the easterly cold conveyor belt feeding the approaching storm, frequently interrupted the calm. The temperature may have been zero Celsius (Canada started Celsius roughly forty years before on April 1st, 1976) but the wind chill on my bare hands was brutal. The weather certainly does not encourage the over-working of a plein air painting and that may be one of the strengths of the open air approach to art.

The sound of the spring melt running over the brim of the beaver dam provided the backdrop of sound. There was a thin skin of ice along the shore and this affected the colour of the surface and the reflections. I painted imagining that I was a bit elevated for a better look at Long Lake past the beaver dam.
A pair of Canada geese kept a close eye on me. Some turkey vultures also swooped by but I kept moving and they decided I was not quite ready to eat yet.


Monday, May 9, 2016

1714 White Pine Island

I paint a lot of sunrises and sunset. The light is best then. The shadows are long and the lighting unusual. It is the time to paint. But I needed to have a unique title for this painting and ol' Neil Diamond was playing at the time. September Morn was easily adjusted to December Morn which is only appropriate given climate change.

It was a rare December day to be kayaking but that is what I was doing. The cloud was spilling over the upper ridge in heavy sheets of cirrostratus. A system was on the way and the kayaking weather could not last. The cliffs of the south shore of Singleton Lake were impressive, even at this distance. The white pines on the point were very exposed to the winds which kept the gaps in the branches large enough to paint through.

I turned the 8x10 inch #1713 "December Morn" into the 3x4 foot #1714 "White Pine Island".


Sunday, May 8, 2016

1719 White Pine Reflections

This is new work from a period of high wind chills this past winter. It is a loose re-interpretation of #1683 "Autumn Shore". I like white pines and paint them a lot as they reach above the forest canopy. White pines are almost always silhouetted against the sky.

There are lots of hidden creatures in this painting - almost all were unintentional. Making a large painting out of a smaller plein air work is not always easy. You can kill the life out of any painting with a thousand strokes.  Every artist needs someone with a sledge hammer behind them, to let them know when it is done...