Last August, we tied in a visit to the Cape Enrage Marsh nature preserve while on a family camping trip through Fundy. While Bridgette and the youngest kids played on the beach, I hopped over to a piece of higher land affording me a view of the salt marsh nestled between two wooded areas. I was mesmerized by the tall marshland grass blowing in the wind and the meandering Barn Marsh Creek running through.
Bridgette and the kids enjoying the beach:
A sneak peek at a portion of the finished painting:
Time is flying by and the final paintings for the Conservation on Canvas exhibition are nearing completion. The following image details a portion of a recent canvas depicting a scene from Pickerel Pond Nature Preserve at Maquapit Lake.
This painting has been a bit of a technical challenge with all of the intertwining elements of the pickerel weed. But I knew it needed to be the main subject of this painting as I feel it best represents what captured my attention most during my visit to this preserve.
Since the show opening is rapidly approaching this coming September, I will be sending more frequent blog posts to wrap up some of the final adventures leading up to the exhibition. Stay tuned! Up next will be an update on my visit to Cape Enrage and more painting progress...
This is just a short post to show some painting progress on the canvas that I recently completed for the Clark Gregory Nature Preserve at Chocolate Cove on Deer Island. I visited this preserve on Thanksgiving Weekend 2015 together with my family as part of a trail hike organized by the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. During the hike, I was fascinated by a small vernal pool and ended up exploring it twice during the hike.
The above images show some portions of the painting, Vernal Pool at Chocolate Cove, 36 x 48, oil on canvas, 2017.
Many New Brunswickers have likely driven past Saints Rest Marsh on numerous occasions on their way to the city of Saint John. I have often looked out past the marsh at the many cargo ships entering or leaving the harbour city. Even while working on this Conservation on Canvas project, I have driven past thinking that I should stop one of these days and spend some time exploring the Saints Rest Marsh -- F. Gordon Carvell Nature Preserve. Finally last summer, I took the opportunity to visit after a formal business meeting in downtown Saint John. It was strange to make a visit wearing business attire and in the rare occasion (for me) of even sporting a tie. But I had my camera with me and I decided to take the time to enjoy nature this late afternoon on a beautiful summer's day. This also happens to be a rare instance when it is possible to take in two Nature Trust preserves as Manawagonish Island can be observed from the marsh.
I started by taking in the view of both marsh and island from behind the Visitor's Information Center on the main route into town. Then I decided to visit the Irving Nature Park, which offers an even closer view of the island from the shoreline. At the main entrance to the park, you can walk about 200 meters or so and find a boardwalk path that takes you out onto the marsh itself. It was great to get out on the Marsh. The only issue I had on this particular day is that the view I wanted to capture had me facing toward the bright, low lying sun.
About a kilometer or so into the park from the main entrance, there is a lookout tower where you can gain a wonderful perspective of one end of Saints Rest Marsh where it meets a strand of forest as well as the coastline.
Only five days after this first visit, I was able to return to Saints Rest Marsh on our way back from a short family camping trip to the Bay of Fundy. My four year old son Greyson joined me for this second trek up to the lookout tower in the Irving Nature Park. It was earlier in the afternoon than my previous visit, so the lighting was completely different. Also, the tide was much higher.
We had a family picnic in a rest area near the trail leading to the lookout. This area also afforded a great view of Manawagonish Island. Then all four of us -- Bridgette, Greyson, Lilyanne, and myself -- walked out on the boardwalk through the marsh on our way out of the park.
Sneak peek: Below is just one portion of the painting that I have finished since these visits to Saints Rest Marsh. Come see the full works at the Conservation on Canvas exhibition at the New Brunswick Museum opening this September!
Happy New Years Eve!
To end 2016, I wanted to share some painting progress on a recently completed painting. The following are portions of a 40 x 30" canvas depicting the James C. Yerxa Nature Preserve in Keswick, NB.
In this painting that I've titled Fall Floodplain, I endeavoured to try a different colour palette than any I have used before -- mostly greens tinged with browns and yellows set against reds tinged with browns and oranges. It was an interesting challenge for me in terms of both colour and composition. I visited this preserve many times and during a variety of seasons. In the end, I settled on depicting the floor of this unique floodplain at a time when it is going through a significant change in state during mid-autumn.
As was recently announced, these paintings will be shown together for the first time at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John over the Fall of 2017. Until the opening, I will only be showing glimpses of works-in-progress. But I am very excited to see all of the works together next year, and will make sure to post about the exact dates once they are confirmed.
See you in 2017!
On October 11, NTNB board member Wayne Burley and myself met in Fredericton and took a road trip north-east to explore the Joseph Allain Nature Preserve in Néguac, NB. It was a beautiful drive as we made our way through Doaktown, Blackville and Miramichi -- taking in all of the bright fall colours along the way. Our first stop was the local school where Wayne met with teachers to plan a spring educational event for high school students to visit the preserve and learn about nature conservation. Here we were also warmly met by fellow board member Edouard Allain. It was the Allain family that donated this preserve to the Nature Trust in memory of their grandfather, Joseph Allain. After a delicious lunch together and many enthusiastic introductions to friendly Néguac residents, Edouard took us to meet his cousin and current steward of the preserve, Gilles (who would later take us by boat to visit the preserve). Gilles actually lives next to a stand of forest that eventually connects to the preserve itself. Below is a view from his backyard:
Gilles, an avid oyster fisherman, needed some time to prepare his boat for us. Meanwhile, Wayne and I walked around Île-aux-foins park on Hay Island, which is connected to the mainland via a causeway. This beautiful bird sanctuary has excellent boardwalks for exploring the marshland and learning about its history and ecosystems.
After our brief tour of the island, we met Gilles next to the causeway on Rue Joseph, hopped aboard the oyster boat, and made our way across a short patch of shallow water to the preserve.
Once landed, we mainly explored the shoreline and salt marsh portions of the preserve. One of the objectives of this preserve is to protect shorebird habitat, and we were indeed pleased to see resident birds enjoying the site. I was quite taken with the orange and deep yellow colours of the marshland grasses, and specifically how they contrasted the bright blue sky reflections in the various small ponds dotting the land.
The moment I set foot on the marshland, I knew my painting composition for this site would include the warm fall colours of the grasses in contrast to the small pools of water reflecting bright blue sky. Stay tuned for painting progress in a future post! Thank you Wayne, Edouard, and Gilles for a great adventure to another unique and beautiful nature preserve!
It has been a very busy fall! This will be a quick post just to provide a sneak peek at a portion of the painting, Grindstone Island. My wife and I travelled here by fishing boat as part a Nature Trust event. Throughout this series of paintings, I have enjoyed capturing a variety of reflections in water. This particular one determined my choice of what I wanted to portray in a final composition for my painting of the Grindstone Island Conservation Easement in Albert County, NB. Again, this only represents a small portion of a painting that is 24 x 48" in its entirety. Please come to the final exhibition in Fall 2017 to see the entire canvas...along with what is casting that reflection!
I will have more updates soon detailing summer and fall excursions to Cape Enrage, Saints Rest Marsh, and Joseph Allain (Neguac) nature preserves. Stay tuned...
Over the summer I completed a painting, Whale Cove, that depicts the Meredith Houseworth Memorial Seashore Nature Preserve on Grand Manan Island. There was a lot of material to capture in this spectacular preserve that consists of a beautiful pond, forest, and crescent-shaped cobbled beach. It was one of the first NTNB preserves that I visited with my wife Bridgette back in 2013. This section of the painting depicts a portion of the marsh nestled behind the cobbled beach:
I also wanted to show how this site connects to two other NTNB sites: the Seven Days Work Cliffs and Thomas B. Munroe Nature Preserves. From the beach, you can clearly see Ashburton Head, a prominent feature that marks the end of the Thomas B. Munroe site and the start of the Seven Days Work Cliffs.
I continue to hold back on revealing the completed painting because I want these to be seen in full for the first time at the final Conservation on Canvas exhibition in 2017. I did have fun with the dimensions of this particular painting as it required a lengthier rectangle to get the composition I was looking for. The final dimensions are 20 x 60".
On Canada Day, July 1st, 2016, the Nature Trust hosted an Orchid Walk at Shea Lake Nature Preserve near Plaster Rock, NB. The walk was led by Dr. Jim Goltz, a well-known naturalist and local expert on New Brunswick plant species. Over 30 people attended the event. including many with backgrounds in botany. We met mid-morning and, after going over some important guidelines, we started the 5-hour hike through the forest. Jim was an excellent guide and pointed out many interesting plants, answered our many questions, and provided rich facts on everything we were experiencing.
Some of the the plant species we found were quite rare and sensitive. So we took great care not to trample them as we took in their beauty. The orchids were definitely one of the highlights for me personally...
We eventually made our way to Shea Lake itself and its surrounding bog. Again, there were many interesting plants to observe in this wet habitat...
An interesting fact is that Shea Lake is actually the first Nature Trust of New Brunswick preserve to receive protection in 1988, and it has over 17 different species of orchids.
Check back later to discover what I've chosen to paint from this adventure...
A quick update on some painting progress for Belding's Reef...
New Brunswick Artist and Art Educator