24" x 18"
Buckshot Lake, Southern Ontario, Canada
One of the joys of painting nature is telling the story of their history. Underlying a huge swath of eastern Canada and the northeastern States is a vast stretch of smooth, bare rock often dotted in sparse patches by thin soil and stunted trees. Geologists refer to this rock formation as the Precambrian Shield because it dates back to that geological period. Most of us call it simply “bedrock”. A little further south, the soil is thick enough to support sizable trees. Here the bedrock is visible only at the banks of lakes where wave action has washed away the land. Such a scene I have depicted in this painting.
Notice the lines etched across the rock. These are scorings from a glacier, which dragged stones along the rock face as it ground over it. There is also a vein of quartz showing near the lake edge. These features make the rock way more interesting to paint than a concrete boat ramp.
There is also a story above the rock. The long feathery branches of Hemlock trees (Tsuga canadensis) reach out over the water. Note how the branches droop a little at the end. Early settlers confused the Hemlock Tree with a poisonous water hemlock, a plant that grows near streams. Apparently, the crushed leaves of the Hemlock Tree and the water hemlock plant have a similar smell. I don’t know this first hand because I never dared to touch the poison water hemlock plant. I also never tried to brew a tea from the new leaves of the Hemlock Tree, but apparently it is very rich in Vitamin C.
The other obvious trees in the painting are White Pine (Pinus strobus). Their layered branches are dotted with tufts of stiff needles. One Pine branch reaches into the painting from the left. A complete pine tree is in the distance.
I intend to come back to this spot again some day with a sandwich. I’ll bet the rock is warm in the sun, even on this fall day, and the mosses that cover it are soft.