Thursday, February 4, 2016

Moose Jaw Riverbank

Oil on canvas               $425

11 October 2014 found us 9.5 km east of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, approaching the north bank of the Moose Jaw River on foot. We forced a path through waist-high vegetation, downhill toward the riverbank. It seemed that everything was growing there, not mixed together, but in patches. Clumps of wild

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

20 October 2014 found me painting in late afternoon sunshine on the north bank of the Assiniboine River at Long Plain First Nations Reserve, southwest of Edwin, Manitoba. I sit on a rock amidst short grassy Carex, about 2 metres above the current water level, my feet making prints in the damp mud growing with scrambling Knotweed, at the edge of a small stand of reed-like Sandbar Willow.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bend in the Assiniboine (oil on canvas 6 x 12 in.)

18 October 2014 finds me painting a bend in the Assiniboine River 5 km south of Miniota, Manitoba, 7.5km downstream of the planned Energy East pipeline crossing.  A Bald Eagle flies across the river and I paint it into the scene where it lands to sit briefly, high in one of the tall Ash trees that reach their split, scarred trunks through the tangle of the riverine forest on the far bank.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Eagle River Hatchling (oil on canvas 7 x 9 in.)

24 October 2014 finds me clambering down the steep embankment from Highway 17 beside the bridge over the Eagle River, a little over two kilometres north of the town of Eagle River, Ontario. 

This is a broad, clay-bed river with boulders scattered along its edges and also emerging from the flat yellow-grassed clay and gravel shores.  A tall crest of Pines and Spruces reflects darkly from the far shore. I am searching for a scene.  

The soft wet sandy shore looks like a highway for wildlife. Deer tracks predominate, large and small cloven hoof prints - added to them are fox mink and Racoon, duck and Heron. The water is not quite clear, and olive brown.  An overcast day with a light breeze that one would call quiet if it

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rideau Crossing (oil on canvas 12 x 16)

26 December 2014 found me out painting on my birthday, on the east shore of the Rideau River at  Gideon Adams Park, 3.3 kilometres south of Osgoode, Ontario. This spot is a little over 1.5 kilometres downstream from where the Energy East pipeline route crosses the Rideau River. Having chosen my scene from the vantage point of a small boulder beside the boat launch ramp, I sat with my canvas on my knees and my boots in the sun-melted black muck. Its surface was covered with a felt of bleached and drifted Star Duckweed sprinkled with tiny white snail shells. To my right rose a winter-bleached screen of Narrow-leaved Cattails, and to my right bulged a shape rather like my boulder, but Fred identified it as a hump of old foam rubber with grass growing through it. 

Fred moved along the shore as I scrubbed on the burnt sienna

Monday, December 29, 2014

On 16 December 2014, Fred wrote to botanists and the NatureList, and posted on the Ottawa Field Naturalists and Ontario Field Botanists facebook pages:

“Botanists! After a field season spent exploring streams and pipelines from Saint John, New Brunswick, to Fort McMurray, Alberta, we've accumulated a 60 cm stack of plant specimens which seemed interesting to us at the time, some of which are are identified with stunning accuracy ("Pinus strobus L.") and others of which are denominated more laxly ("<mystery herb>"). So we've wondered if, over the holiday season, we could assemble a group of botanical identifiers to work through the stack. It would be nice to get a fair-sized group together in a party-like atmosphere, but it will be hard to synchronize schedules... I will print out labels for all the database entries labelled as plant specimens, and as the stack is worked through I'll crouch over the computer and sluice the identification and identifiers into the database. Authoritative identifications will improve the quality of our survey of the Energy East pipeline route.”

Owen Clarkin, Lis Allison, Clayton Shearer, Eleanor Thomson, Mathieu BĂ©lisle, and Bettina Henkelman replied affirmatively, and the date was set for Saturday, 27 December. 

Mathieu wasn't able to come, Bettina had the flu, but four would make a lively enough party so we set up tables in the

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winter's Work

Fred and I after our interview at CBC in Thunder Bay on 27 October 2014
After three months on the road, chasing Energy East from Fort McMurray to the Bay of Fundy for 14,632 kilometres, we wonder if any Transcanada personnel now have our experience of the entire pipeline route from Hardisty to Saint John...

When we think of how much we've seen and experienced through all this, it nearly makes us dizzy. There comes a time when you've

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Aidie Creek Winter Coming (oil on canvas 12 x 16) Sold

31 October 2014 found me watching rhythms in the rushing water of Aidie Creek at Highway 11, 9.5 km north north-west of Englehart. The air was calm and new snow clung to branches, whitening the leaf litter and melting on the rocks.

In May of 2002 Fred and I stopped briefly here, taking note of the lovely rapids, but since we were hurrying up to cover our Cochrane area study site for the James Bay Expedition it was a short visit, with a shelly drift sample and photos of the low stepped falls. This time again our stop was brief, as we were headed south along Highway 11 to a meeting of the Ontario Rivers Alliance in North Bay.

We pulled into the entrance to the picnic area just upstream of the Highway 11 bridge, and toured the extensive network of laneways among the rocks and trees, to find a spot to park near the river. We

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fragile Crossings 2015 calendar is out!

Here is the essay we wrote to "illustrate" the 13th month of the calendar:

Fragile Crossings – our Energy East Project

On 18 Sept 2013, Sustainable North Grenville held a meeting about the proposed Energy East Pipeline, which would

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Winnipeg River and Tunnel Island (oil on canvas 7 x 9 in.)

23 October 2014 finds me at a boat launch on the Winnipeg River, at the end of the Miller Rapids Road, north of Kenora, Ontario, looking upstream toward "Tunnel Island" and admiring the contrasting colour bands of the late afternoon sky to the west. Fred and Teika Newton are inspecting the shore of the bay on my left, picking up handsfulls of rich snail drift and observing Deer, Beaver, Raccoon, and

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pipestone Creek Marsh (oil on canvas 8 x 8 in.)

16 October 2014 found me astonished at the broad swath of cattail marsh that is Pipestone Creek, hemmed in by its forested valley wall, southwest of Broadview, Saskatchewan. The high sharp line of the flat prairie outside of this valley world is visible on the horizon though a gap in the trees. We are a little over a kilometre upstream of where the Transcanada pipeline crosses the Pipestone. We are past the places where we have the pipeline route mapped - so today we navigated by dead reckoning and were pleased to find

Monday, October 13, 2014

South Saskatchewan Bluffs (oil on canvas 7 x 9 in.)

8 October 2014 finds me gazing at the castellate bluffs of eroded loess along the South Saskatchewan River upstream of Alberta Hwy 41, west of Burstall Saskatchewan. We could see that there were interesting bluffs as we gradually descended along the highway toward the bridge, but here at river level, they are much more impressive - and the river itself is clear and green, ruffled by the wind into wavelets that weave green and blue into a new intensity of colour that even in a narrow strip, balances the strange bold shapes and stark contrasts of the wind-carved bluffs. We drove from the bridge to a kilometre-long area of campsites to a broad rutted area at the river that serves as a boat-launch.

The Transcanada Pipeline crosses the South Saskatchewan River 8.2 km upstream of here. I settle on a view of castle-like formations directly across the river and perch my folding chair on a low