Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Coles Island (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

21 August 2014 finds me perched on the trunk of one of a number of leaning Red Maples that overhang the south shore of Coles Island, on the north side of the south channel of the Caanan River, in south central New Brunswick. 

Yesterday we were shown around this special part of the country and told its history. My parents' friend Hazen Hughes
took time out from his busy schedule to show us the site along New Brunswick Highway 10 where the Canaan River flows around Coles Island, the area where he grew up. This is a tidal brownwater river with grassy herbaceous shores, connected to the mainland on both sides by old steel girder double-span bridges. Hazen told us that steamboats came up here until 1940 - doubtless to Stuckeys Wharf Road. We turned around and went south to check out Long Creek where I painted "Wild Rice and Sweet Rush".

Today we came back to paint and survey the Coles Island site - at first on land where the pipeline would widen a narrow hydro right-of-way in a diversely brushy area. Fred made records for two of his projects: Pastinaca sativa (Wild Parsnip) with a notation of NO:Depressaria pastinacella webworms at the edge of highway yard, and fall calling by Pseudacris crucifer (Spring Peeper) from nearby Spruce woods.

After reco
nnoitering the Old Bridge Road, we drove the truck down to the river and Fred picked up mussel shells crushed that were scattered along shore or tucked under little flat stones. The collection extends from the upstream edge of the old bridge to the downstream of the current bridge, about 50 m.

The Energy East route would cross the Canaan River
1.54km upstream (ENE) of here in what's now the Hydro right-of-way. I went across the south channel of the river to the wooded shores at former bridge site, to paint this scene upstream, with overhanging sloped and ice-battered Soft Maple. A young Green Frog clambered up the steep bank into the grass, rather than down into the water. Fred came by and sampled drift from above and behind the old bridge pier. The best handsfulls were from 1.5 m above current water level - there's more drift 3 metres up the steep slope behind this.

Then he went over to the north channel, where the bridge was being repaired, and collected a strange-leaved twig for the plant press, from a Red Maple that was
jammed in among Apple and Choke Cherry trees. Then he walked downstream along the north shore of the island, picking up scattered Eastern Elliptio shells from a sand bar which parallels the north shore of the island until the rising tide made further prospecting for Unionids impractical. Wild Rice was in bloom there and also offshore. Prairie Cord Grass (Spartina pectinata) is the main grass on the length of the bar, and he found one Pickerel-weed in bloom in a patch of the species at the base of the highway embankment. Swinging around the trunk of a tree that overhung the river, his field notes dropped into the river from the open top of his backpack, so he had to retrace his steps to find them. The plant press did an excellent job of drying and flattening the soaked pages. Hurrah for archival quality paper and ink! 

As my painting continues, and the character of light and sky change more and more, I become anxious, missing my field photo reference tool - I forgot to bring my iPad from camp. I've captured the sky, and decide to leave the water for another day. We head back to camp to pick up the ipad, as I intend to paint the Wild Rice at Long Creek in evening light. This will be a two-painting day.

On the way out and back we collect specimens of two invasive plants from a roadside ditch along Highway 10, in a diversely brushy area just south of the TransCanada highway: a 21 metre long stand of European Reed (Phragmites australis SUBSPECIES:cf australis) marked with the GPS at 45.93959N 65.82360W.
...and a 10m long stand of Typha angustifolia (Narrow-leaved Cattail), at 45.93828N 65.82015W. It has a small inter-head gap, and non-twisty leaves, and may be a small hybrid (Typha angustifolia x T. glauca). Invasive Phragmites and Cattails are abundant in Ontario, and Fred has been trying to alert New Brunswickers to take action against pioneer patches of them in their province for more than a decade now.

Dear concerned citizens and patrons of my art,

This 5 x 7 inch oil painting is available by e-mail auction to support our independent survey of the Energy East Pipeline. The starting price is $300 and bidding will close at midnight on 16 September. If you would like to purchase it, please contact Aleta   

No comments:

Post a Comment