The Manotick Art Association plein-air painting trips continue every Thursday to the end of September. Our group, usually consisting of 15 or so members, meets at pre-arranged locations within a one-hour's drive of Manotick (Ottawa).
On a recent Thursday morning we traveled to Hoggs Back to paint the power of the Rideau River falls. While most artists preferred to remain in view of the tumbling falls, I chose to wander on down the path that follows the river until I came across a giant ancient willow leaning out over the water.
Just how old, I wondered, is this incredible tree? For how many years has it survived the ravages of the seasons and witnessed each annual renewal? The evidences of late spring were everywhere, bathed in the colours of a clear blue sky and the soft green foliage; the reflected light shining off the water, rocks and on the living skin of that ageless tree.
I put down my back pack and set up my easel in front of the willow, short steps from the river's edge, allowing me time to consider how I could go about creating the feeling. In a short time, with the sounds of rapids in my ears and before the shifting sun had changed the light too much, I sketched in the massive willow and its surroundings.
At noon the artists gathered back at the Hoggs Back pavilion to look at the day's work. Everyone was pleased with the location and happy to share their unfinished paintings and drawings with the others.
Later, in my studio, after some quiet assessment of my sketch, I selected a 30x30 canvas, and got to work. The memories of the experience still fresh in my mind.
I call the painting 'Ageless'. (SOLD)
The plein-air trips are priceless. Can't wait for the next one!