It's time for some more painting updates. Below are some images of the more recent progress on Ashburton Head. The last update can be found here. The completed painting will be on display at the 6th annual Dooryard Arts Festival.
Last week, stewards Ida and David MacPherson offered to give me a tour of the Sea Dog Cove Preserve on the Kingston Peninsula. It was a beautiful sunny day with just enough cloud cover to offer a warm, dappled light along the trail. I met the MacPherson's at their home, just a kilometer or so from the trail, and we traveled together to the site. There are actually two trails you can take on either side of Summerville Road. We chose to explore the longer one first that runs southwest to Kennebecasis Bay. This took us on a 45 minute walk with lots of interesting plant life to observe along the way. A highlight at this time of year is the many pink lady slippers or moccasin flowers in full bloom along much of the path.
The trail brings you to Barlow's Bluff where you find a different type of terrain with many more rock features. There is a less distinct trail that will take you down from the knoll to the waters edge. It is not an easy descent with some slippery spots even on a dry day. But at the bottom of the trail is a beautiful old white pine clinging to the edge of the rocks and growing in a bow shape. You can also catch a glimpse of the ferry shuttling cars to Saint John and back across the Bay.
There are a lot of beautiful trees on the preserve, including many old pines. After returning from the first trail, we took the shorter trail that runs northeast to Sea Dog Cove -- for which the preserve is named. Just before reaching the water we came across a gorgeous oak tree with branches sprawling in every direction.
I am discovering that these visits are becoming as much about the people as they are about the landscapes. It was a joy to meet Ida and David and to learn what was most special about the site to them -- noting the moccasin flowers, the old pines and the great oak as some favorite features. We expressed our mutual love of lifelong learning and how much there is to learn about nature. We also expressed our appreciation for the many people we had met who have been willing to share their knowledge in anything from identifying plants and wildflowers to bird calls. This project has certainly been a great learning experience so far!
On Saturday June 7th, I had the opportunity to kayak through a couple of NTNB preserves with a small group of enthusiastic paddlers, including Renata Woodward -- NTNB's Executive Director. We joined Andrew Cuthbertson of Tumblehome Paddlers on an excursion starting at the James Yerxa Preserve, passing by Sugar Island Nature Preserve, and continuing down the Saint John River to Fredericton. This was a National Paddling Week event. It was a gorgeous morning out on the water as you can see in the photos below...we even managed to stir up some wildlife:
Thank you Andrew and Nature Trust for hosting such a wonderful event!
Here is a watercolour pencil study of The Bishop, one of the landmark points that can be seen along the trail of the Thomas B. Munro preserve in Grand Manan.
On Saturday, May 17th, I was keen to get out for a sea kayaking adventure to Navy Island in St. Andrews. It was an event to take place as part of this year's PaddleFest. Unfortunately the wind was too strong and the event had to be cancelled for safety reasons. Not all was lost though! Walter Emrich offered to take me on a paddle next to Minister's Island which was significantly more sheltered from the wind. So although I didn't get out to a nature preserve, it was still nice to get out kayaking and meet some great people! I know there will be more opportunities this summer.
Sunday, May 18th was a bit of a rainy day in the Woodstock area. But there still happened to be a Wildflower Walk led by Jim Goltz at Bell Forest, which is one of the Meduxnekeag River Valley Nature preserves. Although not officially a NTNB preserve, this was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about the understory plants found within the Appalachian Hardwood Forest. I knew this would be good research for the Beardsley Hill preserve, which shares a similar ecosystem. It was a pleasure to meet Jim, who helped us discover many rare Appalachian Hardwood Forest plants.
Some photos from the walk:
There will be much to keep an eye open for the next time I'm on a nature walk in the area. Thank you Meduxnekeag River Association for setting up this walk!
April and May seem to have really flown by. Although this is my first blog here in awhile, I have been plugging away at different aspects of the project. One new exciting initiative is a project with Southern Carleton Elementary School. We have been exploring the Appalachian Hardwood Forest together with a Grade 5 class in preparation for a collaborative art project that will be installed in the new school being built next to the Beardsley Hill preserve. Expect a blog entry devoted to that story before the end of the school year.
I will also be posting some updates on painting progress....
New Brunswick Artist and Art Educator