Saturday, 23 June 2012


You may be wondering about the "PLUS ONE" reference . Well, as I was making these  30 drawings it struck me that perhaps it might be interesting to include a step by step example of how I go about making a drawing. So, I made this extra drawing and as I completed a portion I digitally scanned it. I scanned it several times then set about to make an e-booklet of the Thirty Plus One drawings including the step by step drawing. The 30 drawings, as I've mentioned were sold as a part of a special edition book, and as for Plus One, for the life of me I don't know where it got to. Perhaps, it too was included with the special edition.

As it stands, I have digital scans of the drawings, as well as an e-booklet filed away for posterity. I use the word posterity loosely as with technology changing ever so rapidly no doubt my files will soon become obsolete.

 Amazing is it not, just how fast technology has advanced? Some dozen, or so, years ago I purchased a computer with a hard drive 80 megabytes in size. I asked the sales person if I perhaps should purchase some more memory, to which he replied that I'd never have need for more memory. The computer was an early Apple. It became obsolete moments after I purchased it. I've since had several computers with my present computer having a memory capacity of 500 gigabytes enabling files of a size no one thought possible just a couple of years ago. E-books that I published way back in 2002 were 8 megabytes in size possessing very small image files, files that today are totally useless.

This brings me to the question as to whether the files that we're publishing here, within this blog, will survive more than a few moments of computer time. It would be nice to think that some of the thoughts and art of ordinary persons might survive along with those represented by our national institutions. One cannot help but wonder what collective purpose our blogs, this babble, serves?

21. Kakakise Lake II

22. View Of Killarney & OSA Lakes II

23. Backside of the Crack

24. Little Sheguindah Lake

25.  George Island Shoreline

26. Chikanishing Trail

27. Island Chikanishing Trail

28. Norway Lake

29. Island Carlyle Lake

30. Beaver Dam - Cranberry Lake

Plus One - First State

Plus One - Second State

Plus One - Third State

Plus One - Fourth State

Plus One - Finished Drawing
Killarney Landscape

Thursday, 21 June 2012


As mentioned in the previous post, in order to promote and sell copies of my book, IMPRESSIONS: An Artist's Introduction To Killarney Provincial Park, I offered to produce thirty drawings, a drawing for each of thirty books,  creating a special edition, so to speak.

When first proposed I had it in mind that it would take about a week to make the drawings, and another day to mat each and to put the parcel together. As it turned out I spent the better part of two weeks doing the drawings. In the end though, knowing that the drawings were well received helping to offset the publishing costs, I considered the time well spent.

11. Killarney Lake

12. Island Killarney Lake

13. OSA Lake From The Crack

14. Killarney and OSA Lakes

15. Kakakise Lake

16. Kakakise Creek

17. Kidney Lake From The Crack

18. The Ridge From George Lake

19. Killarney Lake From The Crack II

20. Killarney Lake From The Crack III

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


I own a copy of Mendelowitz’s Guide To Drawing. It’s a wonderful book, no doubt long out of print. I discovered it in a yard sale some years ago, and although I’ve never read it from cover to cover I have read sections and have taken great pleasure in its many illustrated examples. Drawing, you see, is one of my passions. Place a pencil, or pen, in my hand and I immediately look for something on which to make a drawing.
Mendelowitz explains that, “drawings offer intimate contact with the act of creation and thereby permit the viewer insight into the artist’s personality”. He goes on to point out that, “Like notes in a diary, drawings often present direct notation made by the artist for themselves alone, free of artificial elaboration or excess finish.”  I couldn’t agree more.
When I draw I do so for myself. I make marks, explore, and simply enjoy a wonderful creative experience. Painting, to my way of thinking, involves learned technique carefully employed for the purpose of creating product. It might be said therefore that a painting is a wonderful idea lost in translation.
Several years ago I made a series of small drawings to complement the sale of my book, IMPRESSIONS: An Artist’s Introduction to Killarney Provincial Park. I made 30 site-specific drawings providing the opportunity to purchase an autographed book and an original drawing produced by the artist-author. As far as I know the Friends of Killarney Park sold all of the drawings. I’d always wanted to publish a booklet of these drawings as no one had actually had an opportunity to see these drawings other than those that purchased a book and a drawing, and even these persons failed to have the opportunity to view them as a collection. Perhaps, through this blog I can do what I’ve been unable to do in print.
The original drawings were approximately 5” X 7” in size. Some were made on buff colored paper and some on bright white paper. All were made with a 3B graphite pencil. The drawings were specific to various areas in the park.

1. Lumsden Lake II

2. A View From Silver Peak II

3. Frood Lake

4. A View From Silver Peak

5. A.Y. Jackson Lake

6. Island OSA Lake

7. Freeland Lake

8. Chikanishing Trail

9. Lumsden Lake

10. George Lake

Sunday, 17 June 2012


I've slowed down these past couple of years. Years of paddling against the wind have left me tired and without a lot of ambition. It's not that I wouldn't, couldn't, take on another challenge, write another book, or two, it's just that there seems no purpose. Technology, what can I say? I championed the ebook when it was but an idea, and now that it's a reality feel that, like a wind in the night, it has past me by. Perhaps, it has something to do with growing older? I'm now in my seventies, and although in my mind I feel like I'm in my fifties my body is saying otherwise. It whispers telling me to sit quiet and enjoy, accept what has been, to be satisfied with past accomplishments. All this while I thumb through the pages of my sketch books. Perhaps, for everything there is a season?

As the sketch's caption indicates this watercolour sketch was made at Spoon Lake located near to Killarney, Ontario. To get there you launch your canoe at the outlet of Wolf Creek, which flows into Tyson Lake. It's about a six mile paddle to Spoon Lake and a long six mile paddle back to Tyson Lake, hopefully with the wind on your back.

This sketch was made at the side of  the Trans Canada Highway near to Dryden, Ontario back in 2003. We were on our way out west. Highway construction caused a delay and I grabbed the sketchbook and quickly pencilled in some lines that I coloured later that evening. Canada's northland has a million lakes and after you've sketched a few dozen they have a tendency to begin to look alike. It's at this point that you begin to play with shape rather than detail.

Killarney Lake  Watercolour Sketch

One day, years ago, we did a day trip into OSA Lake from the campground at George Lake. To get there you paddle down to the end of George Lake, then portage over to Killarney Lake. At the end of Killarney Lake there's a portage into OSA Lake. Then, it's time to turn around and paddle home. You can keep going of course, but it's a long paddle back to George Lake. On this particular day, on the way back, we stopped for a late lunch and a swim on Killarney Lake where I did this watercolour sketch. It was at this time that I was gathering material for the book, 
IMPRESSIONS: An Artist's Introduction to Killarney Provincial Park. For those of you who might be interested the book contains almost 100 sketches and paintings of Killarney Provincial Park. I believe that It's still available through the Friends of Killarney Park gift shop. The book was a gratuitous effort on my part. I also donated some 200 sketches and paintings to assist with fund raising. All profit from the sale of the book go towards park programs including Art in the Park. You may wish to visit the Friends of Killarney Park website to acquaint yourself with the park's art history. It's really quite worthwhile.

Wolf Creek is what it's called, but it's more like a small lake in places. It's a difficult paddle down Wolf Creek as prevailing winds tend to funnel down the creek and at points where it narrows it can cause quite a headwind. Still, it's a wonderful place to paddle as the area is teeming with wildlife. We've encountered everything from otters to black bears, as well as experiencing some wild weather changes that make the paddling experience quite exciting. To be young again and to be able to paddle 10 -20 miles and think little of it. If you're young and reading this a bit of advice; do all the paddling that you can while you're young as the wind in your face gets stronger with every passing year.

A.Y. Jackson Lake    Watercolour Sketch

It's called A.Y. Jackson Lake after the member of the famous Group of Seven painters. However, it's highly doubtful that A.Y. ever got this far east in the park. The lake is named in his honour for the part he played in getting the Government of Ontario to make the wilderness area known today as Killarney Provincial Park into a park.

Whitefish Lake  Watercolour Sketch

Centennial Ridges hiking trail up in Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the longer day hikes taking as long as six hours to complete. In summer, with the temperature hovering around 25C - 30C it can be a be a bit of an endurance test, especially if you're pushing 70 years of age. The last few years that I was able to hike the trail I'd cheat a bit by doing it in reverse and hike up to the lookout over Whitefish Lake.  Hiking the trail in reverse took only 45 minutes, or so. There's an amazing view from the top, especially in autumn when the sugar and red maples are changing colour.

Monday, 11 June 2012


Many, many, years ago I went for a drive ending up in Algonquin Provincial Park. Now, this was sometime before I decided to pursue a career as an artist. I was interested in art of course, but back in those days my interest was confined to viewing art produced by others, as I had no serious thoughts about changing careers. The trip to Algonquin was simply a weekend get-away. However, the trip through the park rekindled something that I had long since forgotten, my interest in nature, and this trip was to be the start of many trips to Algonquin that would culminate in my producing hundreds of sketches, drawings, and paintings, and the writing and illustrating of a book entitled, "Where Raven Plays: An Artist's guide to Algonquin Provincial Park".
Now, for those of you not familiar with Canada, Algonquin Provincial Park is located approximately 250 kilometers north from Toronto, in the province of Ontario. It is the province’s largest and oldest park. Algonquin was founded in 1893. It consists of approximately 7,700 square kilometers of semi-wilderness consisting of mixed forests containing hundreds of lakes and rivers. It is a paradise for all outdoor enthusiasts.
As well, Algonquin has a rich artistic heritage and was the painting grounds for Canada’s Group of Seven painters and the legendary Tom Thomson. Although the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson have passed into history their paintings and sketches continue to inspire and to lure present day artists to paint and sketch in the park.
As for me, despite my having sketched in the park for many years and having made hundreds of sketches, I continue to return to the park  to enjoy the solitude that is Algonquin, and to make further sketches.

Barron River Canyon  Watercolour Sketch

Algonquin Provincial Park is huge. It would take years to explore it properly. In putting together the book, WHERE RAVEN PLAYS my wife Sandra and I spent the better part of a year visiting various areas exploring only a tiny bit of the park and very little of its interior. The Barron River Canyon is located at the north-east section of the park and is of geological significance. It's quite amazing to park the car and walk to the precipice. Quite the sight.

Opeongo Lake Access   Watercolour Sketch

Opeongo Lake is located a few miles off of what is called the Corridor, Highway 60, and is the largest lake in Algonquin. It's a difficult lake to paddle recommended for only experienced canoeists.

Cache Lake  Watercolour PaintingCache Lake in a different era was a tourist destination with a hotel accessed by a railroad that ran through the park. All of that is gone now with the exception of a few private cottages. In time, when the owners pass, these cottages will be torn down and the land returned to the park.

Whitefish Lake  Watercolour Painting

I don't know how many times I've sketched this scene, or versions of it. The view of the lake and the island below is from the Centennial Ridges hiking trail. The look out is about 45 minutes from the end of the trail and is a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the park's solitude before making that last push home.

Tree Stumps   Watercolour Painting
We're talking no where in particular in this painting. While hiking we came upon a wet area and these stumps caught my interest. Capturing the detail of the decay became the challenge.

Beaver Lake   Watercolour Painting

As you drive through the park you occasionally catch glimpses of small lakes at the side of the highway. I caught sight of this lake through some conifers and stopped to take a closer look. Beavers had dammed up a small creek and over a period of years quite a large lake had formed. 

Canisbay Lake    Watercolour Painting 

Canisbay Lake was for years a favourite place to do a day trip. We'd throw the canoe on top of the van and head up to Algonquin very early in the morning arriving at around 9:00 am. We'd paddle a bit. I'd sketch. We'd have a picnic lunch, then head back home. Great way to spend a day. Now, years later, I marvel at our stamina, our ability to travel hours for a few hours enjoyment. As the saying goes, "What I wouldn't give to be young again".

**Copies of WHERE RAVEN PLAYS: An Artist's Guide to Algonquin Provincial Park are freely available as a PDF download by request at