Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Algonquin Park....... Spring underway

I entered the Park's West Gate around 10:00 am.... primed to paint. The temperature was hovering at -10C and the windchill made it feel like -20 or more. Finding something interesting to paint was hardly a problem. Finding a place out of the influence that bone-chilling and constantly gusting wind was indeed the problem.

By 10:30 I had found such a haven on Rock Lake Road... nestled amongst spruce cover with some snow still hiding along the edge of the dark water creek and marsh... creating contrast and interest. The Park still has retained lots of snow on north-facing slopes and all the lakes still hold enough safe ice on their surfaces to make it likely that they will retain their icy cover well into April... which is the norm.

By 11:30 I had the 12x16 sketch to a pleasing level of finish... so I packed up and moved down to Opeongo Road... a favourite "roost" over the years for our plein air parties. Never have any problem finding inspiration for work anywhere along this quieter stretch of road off Highway 60. My first paintings in my Park experience were completed here thirty years ago... and still old views strike new chords... and lead to new and challenging subjects.

It was strange really... to find my "Self" alone in this setting. Even the usually bustling outfitters store was void of any human activity. Usually it is alive with interior permit seekers.... parties heading into the Park and tourists harvesting souvenirs... which exist aplenty in the store. Everything from power drinks... dried meals... clothing... whistles...bear protection... to footwear... field essay books on Algonquin... to decals, postcards, mugs, plates ... and yes... even that tacky, overly exposed Canadian Inuit "symbol" everyone was bombarded over the two weeks of the Olympics in Vancouver- the inukshuk in molded (plastic) rock. Whatever happened to native handicrafts?

As I looked over the Lake... a frozen finger pointing to the wilderness beyond... I marvelled at the stillness that Nature can command. The only sounds were those of boreal chickadees who flitted down to investigate my presence... piping their spring call... yes... they do indeed change voice in spring... all a part of recognizing that breeding will soon get underway.

I walked about around the empty parking lot and decided to walk back a piece to see if there might be something interesting along the shoreline of the rotting ice of Opeongo Creek which enters into the Lake at this place. As I looked back towards the store... it occurred to me that I had surveyed this sight so many times before... but never once had I felt the tranquility... or the "possibility" for making a painting. This was site number two for this foray!

The temperature plummeted towards the end of the session and the wind drove straight into my face from across the length of the ice covered lake...making seeing difficult and working very uncomfortable. I worked very quickly to get enough of the lay in completed... then packed up and headed back to the Lodge and a hot tub.

What a great start for the adventure! A two painting day!The jpegs shown with today's post are the "raw" results from the first day in the field. I'll post two per day until the four day trip and eight paintings are shared.

Good Painting to All!!

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