Algonquin Park in Winter
Here is the finished 24x24 studio painting, Stillness in the Park, from the plein air sketch (right)
Some of my favourite memories are of painting trips to Algonquin Park; especially in the dead of winter. Accompanied by two good friends, both seasoned artists, I spent three great days painting in the Park last week. It was very cold - typical for January - so the warmth of our vehicles was the choice of studio.
As usual, we stayed at the Algonquin East Gate Motel owned by artist David Kay, in Whitney, and took our dinners at the Mad Musher just down the street. The town of Whitney is located on Hwy 60, a few short miles east of the Algonquin Park East Gate.
As one drives west on Hwy 60 out of Renfrew, the countryside begins to take on a new look. You notice that open fields, frozen lakes and forests of tall spruce and pine punctuated by the occasional log building become more common. By the time you reach Whitney the Precambrian landscape has transformed to a northern wilderness connected by towns along the highway.
As I stand in a corner of the Park, the sense of remoteness is overwhelming amid the tall Black spruce casting long blue shadows across perfect snow drifts marked only by the occasional animal track. Seeing moose and other animals is not uncommon and I did see a wolf at a distance this time. In the evening the stars stand out like sentinels.
I am so very grateful that I can continue to make these meaningful trips, considering that I have lost a number of wonderful friends that were often traveling companions. Still, the excitement of painting and sketching each day followed with discussion on art and politics in the evenings continue to provide great memories as I make my way home.
ps, Stillness in the Park, the 11x14 painting (above) was painted along the Opeongo Road in Algonquin Park, Jan. 19, 2019
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The Art of Charles Spratt