I decided to take a short break from painting this week and work on this small woodblock print project. Also I figured that working on a "creepy crawly" would put me in the Halloween spirit. This print depicts the endangered Cobblestone Tiger Beetle that can be found on the Green Island and Arthur Kyle preserves near home. I am also hoping to display the print in the Andrew and Laura McCain Art Gallery's Small Works exhibition next week. The Green Island preserve is just a few kilometers from the gallery.
Another unique feature of this print is that it was carved out of the wood of a fallen Butternut tree -- another of New Brunswick's endangered species. The wood was donated to James Buxton and I from the Meduxnekeag River Association and Southern Carleton Elementary School. James and I are preparing to begin a new collaborative sculpture project that will make use of the majority of the salvaged wood. In a way, completing this print was also a guinea pig project to test out how well the butternut wood carves. I decided to complete a two-colour print using the same block -- first printing in yellow, then in dark brown. You can see the progress of the carving and printing below.
I thought it would be timely to provide this painting update, which mostly shows you my progression painting a small patch of Acadian Forest on Pagan Point. I like that the Passamaquoddy Nation call this Kcihqehsisuwihkuk (Place of the Little Forest). I've also been thinking a lot about Pagan Point while working on this since there has been some very recent restoration done to the preserve. The finished canvas will be 24 x 48". Stay tuned for more updates as I continue to work on the foreground section.
On our third visit to St. Andrews at the tail end of our summer vacation, I was keen to visit one more NTNB preserve in the area. This time, I was joined by my wife Bridgette and daughter Caity. After a delicious BBQ in Bayside, we set out for an evening stroll around Sam Orr's Pond in Bocabec. This is an excellent hiking trail that was designed and built by Jamie Simpson and Sadie Bryan. Sam Orr's Pond is one of the key features but still only represents a portion of the entire Caughey Taylor Nature Preserve. It is accessible from the side of Route 127 that faces Bocabec Bay. Since it was evening, and it would begin to get dark around 8pm, we chose not to venture out to Berry Point, but instead just made our way around the pond. If you check out the map, you will see that the loop around the pond is still a decent hike on its own.
We enjoyed many scenic views of the pond as we made our way through the Acadian Forest. A highlight of the first part of our trip was a beautiful cedar grove with roots meandering in every direction. Bridgette spotted a blue heron as soon as we got our first view of the pond. At the far end of the pond, we crossed to the other side by stepping over some naturally occurring rock sills. On the other side we got to climb up some rock bluffs and look down on the pond. At this point the setting sun was casting a beautiful orange light that continued to dapple through the trees for the remainder of the hike.
This preserve demands a return trip, which will probably be next summer during our next St. Andrews vacation. I would like to follow the trail to Berry Point, and also see the trails on the other side of Route 127. Even though I still have much to visit here, there is a scene that I am anxious to paint from the rocky bluffs above Sam Orr's Pond. I will probably start working on it within a month or two as I already have a number of paintings on the go.
New Brunswick Artist and Art Educator