Tuesday, 20 September 2016


Heading South - Canada Geese
Graphite Drawing

It’s that time of the year in our neck of the woods. Ducks and geese are beginning to migrate through the area much to the delight of the local hunters. But, much to the chagrin of the hunters the sought after Canada Goose is all but absent from the marsh. Being long lived they have acquired a bit of the smarts equating the time of the year with the hunting season, and almost to a goose move away from the marsh to the sanctuary of the local parks and golf courses. Here in Midland as many as a thousand Canada Geese can be found  grazing the grass and fouling the water at Little Lake Park. A good deed gone sour? 
Canada Geese   Watercolour Painting

We call it the Canada Goose, but is it really a Canada goose. The Canada Gooses is native to North America and it breeds in Canada and the northern United States in a variety of habitats, but as Wikipedia edited article explains: -

 By the early 20th century, overhunting and loss of habitat in the late 19th century and early 20th century resulted in a serious decline in the numbers of this bird in its native range. The giant Canada goose subspecies was believed to be extinct in the 1950s until, in 1962, a small flock was discovered wintering in Rochester, Minnesota. In 1964, the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center was built to head the center’s Canada goose production and restoration program. The project involved private, state, and federal resources, and relied on the expertise and cooperation of many individuals. By the end of 1981, more than 6,000 giant Canada geese had been released at 83 sites in 26 counties in North Dakota. Similar restoration programs were carried out in Canada. In recent years, Canada goose populations in some areas have grown substantially, so much so that many consider them pests for their droppings, bacteria in their droppings, noise, and confrontational behavior. This problem is partially due to the removal of natural predators and an abundance of safe, man-made bodies of water near food sources, such as those found on golf courses, in public parks and beaches, and in planned communities. Due in part to the interbreeding of various migratory subspecies with the introduced non-migratory giant subspecies, Canada geese are frequently a year-around feature of such urban environments.

So, there it is, the Canada Goose is more the North American Goose, and when you get right down to it the United States should share, if not bear, the responsibility for the reintroduction of the species and the problem created. This brings me to the question, with reproduction and restoration programs in place to bring back the Trumpeter Swan, who ultimately is going to bear the responsibility for the problem that it may created. For those of you who may not be aware, the Trumpeter Swan dwarfs the Canada Goose, and can be equally as aggressive as the Canada Goose.

As I’ve probably mentioned in previous postings, it’s difficult to make a living as an artist. Government grant programs are reserved for what I refer to as “creative artists”, those that make the art that few, save museum curators and critics can understand, and in order to survive it’s necessary to produce “product”, art that appeals to the general public.  August through September and October are the make it, or break it, months for most artists. I suppose that it’s the time of the year, the weather cools, the leaves change colour, and we have Thanksgiving, a time for families to come together. Anyway, people seem to feel more generous at this time of the year spurring the holding of local art festivals and studio tours. With skeins of geese in the air and a genuine admiration, if not love of Canada Geese, paintings and prints of geese and ducks became one of my more successful products.

Aunts & Uncles - Canada Geese               Hand-coloured Etching with Aquatint

Back of the Marsh - Mallards    Hand-coloured Etching with Aquatint

Paired - Canada Geese      Hand-coloured Etching with Aquatint     

Spooked - Mallards     Hand-coloured Etching with Aquatint

Canada Geese         Watercolour Painting

High Fliers     Coloured Etching with Aquatint

Drake Mallards       Watercolour Painting

Mates - Canada Geese   Etching with Aquatint

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