I thought that I might offer some of my images from past Springs and particularly those related to the Canadian maple syrup gathering tradition for those who are not fortunate to have experienced such a yearly ritual... and might not ever perhaps. So an early "Happy Easter Egg" for everyone... from this ol' Hare! Hope that these images lift your spirits and hearts to thinking Spring... no matter where you are! Enjoy!!
This pen and ink sketch depicts a typical rural sugar shack and its various parts ... before the new technology arrived. This shack owned and operated by The Smail Family and was located at Glen Smail, Ontario , south of Ottawa. It operated continuously each spring until the mid- eighties since their United Empire Loyalist land grant was issued to them as entitled settlers in the early 1800's. It no longer exists... nor the bush tapped.
This is an ink rendering done en plein air at the shanty of our friends The McCutcheon Family in the Oro-Medonte Hills north of Barrie, Ontario. They are World Champion Maple Syrup producers quite regularly at the Royal Winter Fair held each year in Toronto. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.... Good !!! Great Syrup!!!
"Up the Lane to McCutcheon's" an oil on panel 20x24 inches. I painted this en plein air during the run in February of 2005 and it quickly became my passport to travel with this family each Spring with my own family... for almost ten years. I am proud to say that it hangs in the living room in their brick home to the right in the painting! How sweet... it is!!! I am deeply honoured!
A "retired" shed near Westport, Ontario.... typically abandoned in many parts of rural Ontario.
This painting of Sheppard's Bush shanty in Aurora entitled "Sugar Moon"... 24 x18 inches on canvas was gifted to a special friend who admired it! I will add a poem / word thought that goes along with this painting in my next post. The painting speaks really the same thoughts... but expressed slightly differently in pigment... not print!.... "Two voices"!
"Late Evening Shadows", Deloro , ON - oil on panel 16x20 inches en plein air painting. Traditionally sap was gathered using team and sleigh. Getting through mud and brush was achieved more easily even than using tractor. Plastic tubing has now replaced both methods and delivers the sap from the entire maple stand continuously;y while the run last.. The problem that the producer faces now... is the constant need for repairs to the on going and huge amount of damage to the tubing caused by marauding squirrels with a penchant for sweet maple water. Every method has its unique problems it would seem!
"Team Canada... Two... at Afternoon Recess" - oil on canvas 36x36 inches. They do seem attentive to what's going on inside the shed... and they are indeed! The coats they wear greatly reduce the effects of cold. Hauling such a load through heavy bush and often muddy terrain really does work up quite a sweat. A rest is good for both man and beast. Believe me! ... It's hard work!
"Three Bucket Maple" - watercolour 22x30 inches. This award-winning watercolour belongs to my son Andrew and currently hangs in his Rockwood home. The rusty patina of these buckets belie their many springs of service. At the conclusion of the run... all that remained was that the buckets were washed in soap and water... laid out in the sun upside down to dry... and then stacked away inside the shed in tall columns of tin... awaiting the next year's run! The maple bucket brigade!
"Team Canada One" - oil on canvas 5 feet x 7 feet now lives somewhere... "Down Under." An unscrupulous Ottawa gallery... once based (now, thankfully for other artists out of business) in Ottawa sold this piece.But I never was paid for it! Life ain't always fair folks! But life is about choice. Suck it up... and carry on! Focus on the positive and Present... let go of the Past. It's gone... and Tomorrow... bringing with it Hope and Promise... is already on its way!
Good Painting to ALL and Happy Spring!!!