Thursday, September 20, 2018

#2123 "Rocky Entrance to Gargantua Harbour"

Gargantua Light was important. Without that beacon it was easy for ships to find the rocks of the eastern shore of Lake Superior. The cold water, fog and other threats to navigation make Superior a challenge. The light house started in 1889 with Louis Miron in charge. Three generations of the Miron family kept the light going until 1949 when the automated beacon took over. Louis' son Charlie was the second lightkeeper starting in 1912 with his son Tom taking over the role in 1943. Apparently the lighthouse keeper's residence was the largest house in Gargantua. They rowed over to the island to keep the light on.

The very rough panel did not allow much detail which was fine by me. The strong northeasterly winds created gravity wave patterns in the altostratus. Waves were breaking on the rocky points of the island. I was protected from those winds by the tall forest to my back.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#2122 "Gargantua Harbour Brook"

This is where I found the fishing lure snagged on a branch in the current. The stream carved a ever changing path through the sand on the northwest corner of Gargantua Harbour. The fishing must be good. At the peak of the hamlet of Gargantua in the early 1900's the village would have included a cookery, an ice-making building, a twine shed, homes for the fishermen and lighthouse keeper plus some cottages for the summer tourists. The population was seasonal but would have tallied a few dozen souls. It was surprising to me that a century later, all of that was gone without leaving much of a trace. The fishing lure that I found was new and probably off the shelves of Canadian Tire.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

#2121 "Gargantua Harbour Island"

There is an island just to the southeast of Gargantua Harbour. From my vantage on the sandy beach it looked like the island was simply an extension of the peninsula that protected the harbour. I liked the trees and the streets of stratocumulus embedded in the chilly northerly flow. There was once a lighthouse on that island. The light keeper had to row from his home in Gargantua every day to tend the light. I only had the automated beacon to paint.

It is challenging to sign your name to these very rough panels. Sometimes the scratched signature is almost impossible to see so I dot the "i" of Chadwick with a jab of red oil. Only the red dot shows up on this very rough panel. The entire story is on the back of the panel anyway.
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Monday, September 17, 2018

#2120 "Gargantua Harbour Ranger Cabin"

I was camping at the Agawa Bay Campground right on the eastern shore of Lake Superior. For my second day on the eastern shores of Lake Superior I wanted to thoughtfully retrace the steps of some artists and paddlers that I admire.

The guy at the Lake Superior Provincial Park Visitors Centre said it was beautiful at the end of Gargantua Harbour. It sounded nice ... a big Harbour with maybe some old fishing buildings and the rusted hulls of old fishing vessels and maybe a pier. Certainly there had to be something to paint. The guy said the road was bad. I said I had a Subaru Forester. He said no problems. The road was really bad maybe especially after the tropical rainfall. I had to pull a tree off the road but the scenery would be worth it I said. The guy said the road was 15 km long... seemed longer and rougher. The guy didn't say anything about the no cars allowed for the last 2 kilometres on the lane to the Harbour. I must not break any rules and plus the subject matter would be worth it.
The two kilometre trek seemed longer. Only moose and a bear and a big truck with big tires had used the road. It was now 6:30 am and I had planned to start painting at 6 am.
I could see the water through the trees. I went down to the lake and it was nice but no derelict ships or piers. The rutted road continued and so did I. I got to Gargabtua Harbour but it wasn't very big... a lot of trees and a long abandoned rangers cabin. I retrieved a fishing lure from a stream.

I was painting away and a guy suddenly emerged from the bush about 200 yards further west and stared at me like I was an alien. About 5 minutes later a gaggle of teenagers did the same thing and returned back into the bush. Strange for being so remote.

After another five minutes two teenage girls walked down the beach to see the weird artist. Apparently they were on an outdoor Education Course from a Timmin's high school. They rode a big yellow school bus right tot the campsite with all of their gear. Perhaps I am pretty stupid to obey any signs and rules. That explained the big truck tire tracks in the lane.

I did four small sketches numbered 2120 up to 2123... I had to have something to show for the adventure...
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Sunday, September 16, 2018

#2119 "Chippewa Falls Cascade"

This was my first day on the eastern shores of Lake Superior after leaving my friends of the Southampton Art School's Wind Waves and Weather 2018. I wanted to thoughtfully retrace the steps of some artists and paddlers that I admire.

I was parked where the Chippewa River goes under Highway 17. There were several historical plaques at the car park and I read them all. This location was about half way along the Trans-Canada Highway between St John's Newfoundland and Victoria on Vancouver Island. There was also a display of the Great Artists in the Land of Waterfalls and one that told all about Chippewa Falls. These plaques made for interesting reading while it rained. Apparently JEH MacDonald painted at Chippewa Falls in 1919 while on one of the Group of Seven Box Car Painting Trips. Montreal River was just to the north but the raging falls that MacDonald painted had been tamed for it hydro energy long ago. A.Y. Jackson actually painted at Chippewa Falls in 1955. Jackson's sketch "Streambed, Lake Superior Country" is now at the National Gallery of Canada.

Alberto was still raining outside but not torrential so I decided to try to paint. The rain occasionally tapered off to more of a drizzle and I thought I could paint the white water rapid of Chippewa Falls up from the road in the periods between the heavier rain. The very smooth panel got very wet and the oils were slipping and sliding around. The bugs were not bad. The roar of the water from the heavy rain overnight was something to listen to and enjoy. The resulting painting was mix of waterfall and tropical moisture and a few black flies.

I packed out some garbage which was mainly comprised of tangled fishing gear and coffee cups.
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Saturday, September 15, 2018

#2118 "Harmony Beach Fog and Drizzle"

This was my first day on the eastern shores of Lake Superior after leaving my friends of the Southampton Art School's Wind Waves and Weather 2018. I wanted to thoughtfully retrace the steps of some artists and paddlers that I admire.

It stopped raining after completing #2117 "Harmony Beach Fog and Rain" from the shelter of the hatch of the Subaru Forester so I grabbed a smooth 5x7 burnt sienna. I went to the beach again but this time looked south. The fog had thickened up again and the scene I sketched at the start disappeared into the pea soup advection fog. Even the sea gulls were grounded.

There were still a few tiny black flies but nothing bad. There was also one mosquito. If you can count the biting insects then plein air is still quite tolerable. The warm air mass of Alberto turned into advection fog over the frigid water of Lake Superior. I figured that the lake temperature was close to 4 or 5 Celsius.

After finishing #2118 "Harmony Beach Fog and Drizzle" I headed back north on Highway 17. I stopped at a northern resort for lunch before entering Lake Superior Provincial Park. Tourist season was still a month away. It was all closed up but the owner came out and I asked if the restaurant was open. He said it could be. I asked what he liked to make in his restaurant. He said lots of stuff. I asked if he made fish and chips... no, not that. It is a restaurant for burgers and hot dogs. So I had a cheeseburger. He was a grizzled old guy but probably younger than me. He said there was internet but I was not able to connect. A couple from Germany came in on their motor cycle for a meal. The restaurant business was booming.
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Friday, September 14, 2018

#2117 "Harmony Beach Fog and Rain"

This was my first day on the eastern shores of Lake Superior after leaving my friends of the Southampton Art School's Wind Waves and Weather 2018. I wanted to thoughtfully retrace the steps of some artists and paddlers that I admire.
Alberto was the first tropical storm of 2018. Alberto transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone about 20 miles southwest of Alpena, Michigan on Thursday morning - about the same time I was doing this painting. Under the right atmospheric conditions, tropical depressions and storms can maintain themselves hundreds of miles from their landfall point. With respect to Alberto, this system had a very large area of enhanced moisture to work with that extended from the Great Lakes to the western Atlantic and southward to the Caribbean.
Alberto worked out the dry air that impinged on its ability to intensify over the Gulf of Mexico and created it's rather ragged appearance in the days leading up to landfall.

When the fetch off the wind Lake Superior got longer the temperature dropped to 8 Celsius and the fog thickened into pea soup. Advection fog is a better indication of the real temperature of Lake Superior. The waters of the lake were probably around 4 or 5 Celsius. Much too cold for swimming.

The warm and wet air mass with Alberto has created advection fog over the cold waters of Lake Superior. I thought the fog and rugged Lake Superior shoreline of Batchawana Bay would make for a possible painting. I took the Beach Road exit off Highway 17. I set up on the beach since it wasn't raining too hard at the moment. There were a few very small black flies. You would not even notice them until they sunk their tiny jaws into a your skin. It started to rain and the visibility improved. There was another row of pines further north along the shore that I had not seen when I started to paint. The fog was thick. It rained hard enough that I had to move to under the hatch back of the Forester.

I finished that #2117 "Harmony Beach Fog and Rain" under the back hatch of the car in the pouring rain. It was 5x7 on the rough blue grey Masonite. The dew point was 16 Celsius which was the same as the car temperature.
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#2123 "Rocky Entrance to Gargantua Harbour"

Gargantua Light was important. Without that beacon it was easy for ships to find the rocks of the eastern shore of Lake Superior. The c...