It feels like it’s been years since I painted in Algonquin Park, mostly because of the COVID pandemic. So with the end of winter in sight, and a forecast of several days of record high temperatures this April, I decided that it was an excellent time to travel to Algonquin Park to catch the last remnants of snow in the forests, the lakes opening up and other signs and sounds of Spring. After I talked to my photographer friend, Paul, who immediately said “Lets go.”, I called to reserve accommodations at the Algonquin East Gate Motel in Whitney and started assembling canvasses, my outdoor easel and ancient paintbox, just as I have done so many times in the past.
Driving west along Hwy 60, watching the spruce and pine forests looming thicker and taller, I recognized familiar towns spread out along the route. A flood of images filled my head: memories going back 40 years when my friend and mentor, Grant Tigner, first introduced me to a group of experienced painters gathered in Whitney at the Bear Trail Inn, now the Couples Resort, getting set to paint in Algonquin Park. While it saddens me to recall the numerous dear artist-friends that have passed, it always makes me feel so very grateful to be able to still make a painting trip like this one.
After two glorious days of painting, I had a start on four canvasses, including a 16x20 that I painted from the back of The Mad Musher Restaurant in Whitney, with the thundering waves of the rising Madawaska River reverberating in my ears.
I finished three of the paintings in my studio. Upon looking them over I was pleased that they resonated with the feeling of power and energy and beauty that is part of the Park. I promised myself another trip before too long.
The Art of Charles Spratt