Tuesday, March 2, 2010
February is, as always mostly grey and damp... as the winter ebbs.... slowly it always seems... to a close. I love winter when it is bright and sunny... and the snowy fields are ermine white. I never mind the cold really... but I do find the dampness and greyness defeating.
I have spent a lot of the month looking over sketches and photo references to find a project that would help lift my spirits and help me regain my focus and energy. Often, after large and demanding commission work, I find it difficult to "get back on my own horse" and back to my usual busy routine.
I have kept a vigilant eye on the weather reports and yesterday was encouraged to find that today we "might" expect a day of sunshine. So before turning in last night I decided upon a location that I would hustle to first thing this morning if the weather cooperated.
We are doubly blessed to live in a historically rich as well as beautiful region. Canada's earliest history began in this very region which was then known as Huronia... land of the Wendat Nation... or Hurons as they came to be known. The French led by Samuel de Champlain explored all of the region vigorously and gained the confidence and formed a strong alliance with this tribe of First People. They introduced them to Christianity, establishing a fort and church to develop a an alliance and relationship with them against the invading and warring Iroquoian tribes from Upstate New York.
The area I went to today is located along the shores of Georgian Bay, just north of present day town of Penetanguishene... a strong French enclave even today... and dating right back to the earliest French settlement. The site of my painting was just on the edge of Awenda Provincial Park... a beautiful and heavily visited park in the region. I snowshoed into the area located on Saw Log Point... the snow is still deep enough to make a walk-about uncomfortable when the crust yields to the higher and warmer sun during the midday.The trip out... when you are cold can be tricky and fatiguing. I learned that from such an early experience... but that's another story!
I traversed the shoreline looking for a good subject and decided to retrace my footsteps to a position that might give me some degree of cover from the cold north-westerly wind.These cedars helped out considerably. Though it was +2C... being in the shade and facing into the bitterly chilly wind made it feel more like a constant -10C experience. I was certainly happy to seek out the warmth of the van when the three hour session approached its finish!
The composition required no alteration or embellishment. What you see ... is exactly what I saw and painted. I was totally alone in this milieu, save for an odd curious approach by a pair of red squirrels... likely expecting a handout. No chance for that! I ate my lunch before strapping on the snowshoes... one less item to carry about!
The sketch shown in this post is untouched... done totally en plein air...a spontaneous response based upon a three hour experience. I see a couple of areas that I "might" correct. But for the most part... "I" am happy with the result.More importantly.... "I" am..... "back in the saddle again"!
For those of you who shy away from the outdoor experience because of the cold... "I" invite "You" to taste the elixir... the Spring tonic.... "my cup runneth over"!
Enjoy!... and Good Painting to All!