St. Andrews Day One -- August has been a great month for vacationing and visiting nature preserves. After New Brunswick Day, our family got away to St. Andrews for a few days of vacation time. There are many preserves in the area, so I managed to visit one each day. The first day, we celebrated the birthdays of my niece Grace and nephew Elliot. Afterwards, Bridgette and I got out for an early evening walk around Pagan Point. This included an easy walk along a short path through a small stand of Acadian Forest and along a beautiful sandy beach. From the beach, you can look across the Passamaquoddy Bay and see Minister's Island with some of its unique architecture. We watched the tide come in at the far end of the preserve where it trickles into a salt marsh behind the beach. I was reminded of similar features at the Meredith Houseworth preserve on Grand Manan. My initial thoughts for a painting are to include a view across the bay, but also to capture the "place of the little forest."
The advice that I would give anyone exploring for the first time is to avoid wearing sandals as there are many of the famous St. Andrews biting red ants along the path. Lesson learned :) The next two blogs will cover two more preserves visited over Day Two and Day Three of our St. Andrews trip.
Join us this coming Saturday in Florenceville-Bristol for the Grand Opening of the Green Island Nature Preserve! I am very much looking forward to visiting the island, and am hoping that many will join us for a fun printmaking art workshop on the theme of bugs (in honour of the island's endangered cobblestone tiger beetle). Hope to see you Saturday!
Earlier in the month I had the opportunity to join naturalist and conservationist Jim Goltz on a search for Furbish's Lousewort at the George M. Stirrett nature preserve near the village of Tilley. This preserve is a narrow parcel of land along the shore of the St. John River, and is one of five known sites where Furbish's Lousewort is known to exist. Jim wanted to do a census for the Nature Trust after hearing that the populations had recently diminished. Sure enough, we only found a total of four plants nestled closely in a single area of the preserve.
A concern to Jim is that we could not find the lousewort in areas of the shore where he would expect to find it in previous years. Also, as you can see in the last image above, there is evidence of four-wheelers having traveled through the preserve, including areas where the lousewort would be expected to grow.
This is the second time I've been on a nature walk led by Jim, and he has an amazing wealth of knowledge about the natural world that he is very eager to share. Many other interesting plants were pointed out to me as we searched the site.
After concluding our search at the Stirrett preserve, Jim took us to a couple of other locations near Aroostook in search of other interesting species. This included a visit to a second site known to contain Furbish's Lousewort where we only found two of the plants.
It was a true delight to spend a day in nature learning from Jim Goltz. I feel much more keenly aware of the delicate balance of nature when it comes to the survival of rare species such as Furbish's Lousewort.
The 6th Annual Dooryard Arts Festival in downtown Woodstock has come and gone. This year's Dooryard was very successful after a few changes from previous years, including a switched time slot in the calendar and a slight trimming. The event still managed to break records in attendance and a great time was had by all! This was the first year I took a complete break from being involved on the organizational committee and instead participated as a guest artist.
This year, event organizer Adam Schriver set up an exhibition at the Dooryard HQ entitled Let Nature Take its Course, inviting artists Janice Wright Cheney, Joël Culligan, Kerry O'Toole and myself to participate. The official opening took place on Thursday, July 24. I was very pleased to be a part of this exhibition, which also offered the opportunity to unveil the next three paintings in the Conservation on Canvas series:
Ashburton Head, oil on canvas, 24 x 48", 2014
The Bishop, oil on canvas, 48 x 30", 2014
Lady Slippers at Sea Dog Cove, oil on canvas, 24 x 24", 2014
On Saturday, July 26th, I delivered an afternoon Artist Talk at Connell House to present the Conservation on Canvas project to the public, explaining the adventures behind each painting, and revealing some future plans.
Photo credit: Caity McEwing
New Brunswick Artist and Art Educator