One place that draws me back to paint in all seasons, is Mount St. Patrick in the Highlands of Renfrew County. Since it is only a 20 minutes drive from Calabogie, I made several painting trips there on days when our PAE group stayed at the Calabogie Peaks Resort this past October.
There is something special there - a sense that time stands still. I am drawn to it by the placid, peaceful Constant Creek winding through the small community with its striking old church and ancient burial grounds. But more than that, I can feel the presence of the heritage left by the Irish settlers that found this place nestled deep in the Madawaska Hills and made it their home.
Would some of the gigantic trees that line the creek have been witnesses to the thriving community with two stores and a blacksmith shop at one time? As I paint I imagine some of the hardships faced by the pioneers and the wonder they must have felt from the natural world surrounding them.
I am told that A.Y Jackson included Mount St. Patrick as he painted the Opeongo Trail from Renfrew to Algonquin Park in the 1950 – 60's, while living in Manotick and Ottawa.
Sources: www.ayjacksontrail.ca, Google: Mount St. Patrick Community Ontario
The Art of Charles Spratt