Sunday, 17 June 2012


I've slowed down these past couple of years. Years of paddling against the wind have left me tired and without a lot of ambition. It's not that I wouldn't, couldn't, take on another challenge, write another book, or two, it's just that there seems no purpose. Technology, what can I say? I championed the ebook when it was but an idea, and now that it's a reality feel that, like a wind in the night, it has past me by. Perhaps, it has something to do with growing older? I'm now in my seventies, and although in my mind I feel like I'm in my fifties my body is saying otherwise. It whispers telling me to sit quiet and enjoy, accept what has been, to be satisfied with past accomplishments. All this while I thumb through the pages of my sketch books. Perhaps, for everything there is a season?

As the sketch's caption indicates this watercolour sketch was made at Spoon Lake located near to Killarney, Ontario. To get there you launch your canoe at the outlet of Wolf Creek, which flows into Tyson Lake. It's about a six mile paddle to Spoon Lake and a long six mile paddle back to Tyson Lake, hopefully with the wind on your back.

This sketch was made at the side of  the Trans Canada Highway near to Dryden, Ontario back in 2003. We were on our way out west. Highway construction caused a delay and I grabbed the sketchbook and quickly pencilled in some lines that I coloured later that evening. Canada's northland has a million lakes and after you've sketched a few dozen they have a tendency to begin to look alike. It's at this point that you begin to play with shape rather than detail.

Killarney Lake  Watercolour Sketch

One day, years ago, we did a day trip into OSA Lake from the campground at George Lake. To get there you paddle down to the end of George Lake, then portage over to Killarney Lake. At the end of Killarney Lake there's a portage into OSA Lake. Then, it's time to turn around and paddle home. You can keep going of course, but it's a long paddle back to George Lake. On this particular day, on the way back, we stopped for a late lunch and a swim on Killarney Lake where I did this watercolour sketch. It was at this time that I was gathering material for the book, 
IMPRESSIONS: An Artist's Introduction to Killarney Provincial Park. For those of you who might be interested the book contains almost 100 sketches and paintings of Killarney Provincial Park. I believe that It's still available through the Friends of Killarney Park gift shop. The book was a gratuitous effort on my part. I also donated some 200 sketches and paintings to assist with fund raising. All profit from the sale of the book go towards park programs including Art in the Park. You may wish to visit the Friends of Killarney Park website to acquaint yourself with the park's art history. It's really quite worthwhile.

Wolf Creek is what it's called, but it's more like a small lake in places. It's a difficult paddle down Wolf Creek as prevailing winds tend to funnel down the creek and at points where it narrows it can cause quite a headwind. Still, it's a wonderful place to paddle as the area is teeming with wildlife. We've encountered everything from otters to black bears, as well as experiencing some wild weather changes that make the paddling experience quite exciting. To be young again and to be able to paddle 10 -20 miles and think little of it. If you're young and reading this a bit of advice; do all the paddling that you can while you're young as the wind in your face gets stronger with every passing year.

A.Y. Jackson Lake    Watercolour Sketch

It's called A.Y. Jackson Lake after the member of the famous Group of Seven painters. However, it's highly doubtful that A.Y. ever got this far east in the park. The lake is named in his honour for the part he played in getting the Government of Ontario to make the wilderness area known today as Killarney Provincial Park into a park.

Whitefish Lake  Watercolour Sketch

Centennial Ridges hiking trail up in Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the longer day hikes taking as long as six hours to complete. In summer, with the temperature hovering around 25C - 30C it can be a be a bit of an endurance test, especially if you're pushing 70 years of age. The last few years that I was able to hike the trail I'd cheat a bit by doing it in reverse and hike up to the lookout over Whitefish Lake.  Hiking the trail in reverse took only 45 minutes, or so. There's an amazing view from the top, especially in autumn when the sugar and red maples are changing colour.

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