Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saturday at Eagle Point Winery... A Blend of Sun and Cloud - Part Two

It was both wonderfully uplifting and exciting to head out into the "back forty" at the Winery with the sun overhead... and smiling. The air was washed freshand clean by the Friday rains... and the colour was rich and intoxicating! I partnered up with my long time plein air painting pal, David Kay from Whitney near Algonquin Park. David and I both share a willingness to explore "off road" sort of speak. That is to say, to search out otherwise hidden and inaccessible subjects. We both enjoy not merely the painting part of plein air painting... but as well, we share a deep reverence for the Natural World and a greater-than-usual interest in looking for unusual natural "treasures like these two small woodland discoveries on this day. One can find many such interesting models of "woodland wisdom"... if one pauses and earnestly looks for them!

A "toe hold" on life..... "Life is complicated... Just do your best"

Fungi... of every shape and colour suddenly poked their heads out of hiding after the rain everywhere on the cool, shaded pine needle-strewn forest floor. Their powerful urge to reach the surface... and light was obvious... as their caps still tabled the leaf loam and mulch of the woodland floor and stony detritus from which they struggled to emerge.  This particular Shaggy Mane "fungi family" caught my eye... and I marvelled at their delicate beauty. Their life spanned less than two days. Unlike many other mushroom species... their spores do not dry out and become dispersed by the wind. Instead, their cups consume themselves into an inky, gelatinous mass which is carried by insect and animal life to other sites to begin new colonies.

Well off the beaten path and west of the bridge location where we first painted, we came across this "perfect subject"... with interesting structure... rich colour... and undisturbed solitude... except for the constant chuckle of the brook as it made its way back into LaRue's Mill Creek. This would be our shared painting place for the morning. Though both paintings were, as is always the case, distinctly different in interpretation... they did share the essence of this wonderful landscape setting. Both winners!

Here is my two hour 14x18 inch canvas... "Simply...Autumn At Its Best"..."fresh" from the field... no need for reworking later. David took his home rather than leave it for exhibition after the event I guess that he feels much the same as I do about the time we spent and the pictures we made ... together! A memorable autumn morning shared with a kindred spirit.... "out there."

Our small group of four painters had spent the entire two days painting at the rear of the estate property, but we had noticed sites of interest... and worth considering at the front, as we travelled into the back country. We decided to move up into these areas in the open meadows and flats to finish up the second day. Here was the site that I chose to settle into.... LaRue's Mill Creek, as it passes gently through the front eastern edge of the Eagle Point property. It's quiet, pastoral quality... juxtaposed with its strong pictorial structure spoke to me strongly. So did the flat ground under my feet... and the warmth of the late sun on my back. A great way to close out a perfect second day of painting!

Here's the resulting 11x14 inch sketch made during two hours... "Autumn Meanders In... at Eagle Point Winery." Quick brushwork and shapes were my focus... not detail and photo-like finish. I left the field... rejuvenated and truly happy that everyone shared my feelings of enjoyment and joy felt that came as a direct result of our being together as a group in this painting adventure. The remainder of the evening... hosted by Eagle Point Operation Manager, Debra Marshall would merely amplify these good feelings and camaraderie!

The "Order of Good Cheer" 

The "Order of Good Cheer" tradition was created and first enjoyed  in New France... now Quebec by the expedition headed by Samuel de Champlain... still considered to be the mythic "Father of New France. It was created by the cartographer-geographer-statesman-soldier solely to combat the malaise... sickness from winter harshness, hardships, hunger and death experienced by these French settler- colonists. What began as a single celebration on November 14th, 1606, developed into a weekly feasting event that even included theatre productions to maintain the high spirits of the suffering inhabitants of the Habitation settlement. There was even an official "Chain of Office" awarded at each celebration which was worn around the neck of the deserving individual chosen to be celebrated.

Harvest Blend Folk...sharing  "Good Cheer" at the Eagle Point Winery tasting room prior to...

A sumptuous harvest feast... totally prepared and served  by Winery Manager and Hostess,Debra Marshall. That piping hot... "down home" harvest stew made from "local flavors" organic beef and fall vegetables... served with homemade buttermilk biscuits and bread and glasses of winery Riesling and Merlot filled the wearied souls and empty stomachs of all ten artists back to the top. It was perhaps the feeling of "plenty and bounty" that I enjoyed at that moment  ... in the glow and warmth of my fellow artists that caused me to reflect back in time to Champlain's first Order of Good Cheer gathering and celebration. Were they not the same... four hundred years apart in time???...

I wonder...

Stay Tuned for... Harvest Blend Finale - Part Three... tomorrow

I feel deeply blessed... and give thanks for the small blessings I have received.

Good Fall Painting to ALL!


  1. Oh boy, Bruce. Both of your paintings here are beautiful and I love them both. Of course, autumn colors always draw me right into a painting immediately...

  2. Good morning Sherry!... Glad that we share such a love of autumn and it's colour. More glad that you enjoyed the paintings!.

    Happy Fall Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Hi Bruce, fungi always fascinate me with the way that they live unseen for most of the year, and then suddenly erupt into wonderful displays of colour and shape. We have a type similar to (or maybe the same as) the Shaggy Manes: we call them Shaggy Inkcaps or Lawers Wigs.

    I love the colours in the first painting - truly autumn at its best.

    The last painting sounds like a perfect plein air experience. I'm glad you were able to finish on such a high note and that the event wasn't a complete wash-out.

    All the best,

  4. Hi there Keith!.. I am truly thankful for your constant presence and encouraging comments on my blog. It is wonderful to share pictures, thoughts and our two realities across cyberspace! Purely magical!

    Fungi are but one of a myriad of "feasts for the eye" that spring... seemingly out of nowhere and reveal themselves briefly, yet majestically to the searching eye of the plein air /outdoor trekker.

    "We" are conjoined in our appreciation of the Natural World that we inhabit...with these wonders. Perhaps... we are share their fate. One brief, sudden moment of life in a larger than can be ever imagined plan of Creation!

    "I" thank "You" for sharing your Light with me Keith!

    Blessings... and Good Paintings!
    Warmest regards,