Back Country Road Treasure
Last Snow Lanark, ON 10 x 12. Painted in 1985.
A few weeks ago, I received an email from a lady living on the West Coast. She was pleased to have just purchased an original painting that she admired and was inquiring if it was one of mine. She had inspected the back of the small oil and found my name and a catalogue number. Digging through my records, I found an entry for a painting with the same catalogue number, showing that it was painted in 1985. I asked her to send me a picture of it, which she was happy to do.
From the catalogue number, the painting date, and the image she sent me, I assured her that it was, indeed, one of mine.
Afterwards, I recalled that I had painted it in early spring in Lanark County. I would have been painting then in oils. I am fairly certain that Grant Tigner, artist and mentor, was with me when I set up and painted that day on a favourite back-country road, one that we had visited on a number of occasions.
Memories of painting on back roads go back so many years - great friends, wonderful adventures, and memorable painting experiences. The journey, starting with my first night class at the Ottawa School of Art in 1980, continues thanks to family and friends making it all possible. Forty years later, I still enjoy painting back roads - closer to home – with friends. I can’t wait to be going out again in the spring, hopefully, when this Covid - 19 is finally under control. In the meantime we hope everyone can stay healthy.
January 22, 2021
Transition 20x24 acrylic #221966
I turned off the March Road one cold December day onto the Peter Robinson Road to check out the heritage buildings on the west side. Nothing grabbed me. However, turning around, I gazed at the ancient creek, dusted with snow and frozen over, the broken sky reflecting on the clear ice. It was a peaceful scene yet disquieting to think that the creek and low area are in a state of transition. Just as we are, I suppose. I discovered that the creek is called Coody Creek.
On country roads I see large tracks of farmland being taken for new development. This meandering creek, part of the natural drainage system flowing northward to the Ottawa River for thousands of years, will eventually succumb to the Big Plan. “That’s life”, I tell myself – ever more conscious of the fragility of my own time here.
So, let’s capture the momentary beauty of this amazing old creek frozen in time, I decide.
The weather is too cold for acrylics outside - and for me too - and there is no safe place to park my vehicle and paint from inside. So, after four trips back to the area on days with varying weather patterns, and several accumulated photographs, I decide to make a stab at the painting in my studio. A 20 x 40 canvas is unwrapped and placed on my studio easel.
Two weeks later, after many adjustments and another drive-by, I feel that I have accomplished what I set out to do. The painting speaks to me. And it feels very satisfying. I call it Transition.
January 3rd, 2021
The Art of Charles Spratt