Monday, 25 February 2013


Nature's Way  Etching

This past year parts of Central Canada experienced an early spring, and the fall came late. As a consequence it allowed Barred Owls to raise two batches of youngsters. Owls are very competitive when it comes to territory and food. As a result those juveniles who were still learning to hunt and were without a territory of their own, faced starvation. As more and more Barred Owls began to be found dead, or starving, there was much concern amongst local bird watchers. Of course, there was nothing that could be done but to allow nature to take its course, and to once again bring balance to the Barred Owl population.

A simple solution, allowing nature to run its course. Too simple, and too brutal for we humans to accept. We’d rather choose war and uncontrolled birth with its accompanying starvation and uncontrolled disease to bring balance to the human population. But then, whose to question the great minds of our religious and political leaders. Who would dare?

Owlettes   Linocut

Boreal Owl  Hand-coloured Etching

Hawk Owl

Horned Owl    Etching with Aquatint

Snowy Owl (detail)  Watercolour Painting

Snowy Owl   Watercolour Painting

Screech Owl   Etching with Aquatint

Snowy Owl
 Watercolour Painting

Friday, 8 February 2013


Pukaskwa National Park

ome years ago, in 2003 I believe, we paid a brief visited to Pukaskwa National Park. It was either on the way up to, or on the way back from, Quetico Provincial Park. On the other hand it could have been on the way back from a trip out west. Doesn’t matter really when we visited, the fact of the matter is that we were going by the park so we made a left, or right, turn and got off the main highway and made a side trip to Pukaskwa National Park.

Pukaskwa National Park is located just off highway 17, 25km east of Marathon on highway 627. It was established in 1983 to protect 1,878 square km of spectacular ecosystem, which consists of the rugged shoreline of Lake Superior , boreal forests, rich aboriginal heritage and a vast variety of plants and animals including many rare and endangered species.

I recall that it was a bit of a drive into the park from Hwy 17, and that it was in the autumn sometime after the park had closed for the season. We didn’t have a lot of time so we hiked down to the shore and followed the trail for a bit before heading back to higher ground. Lawren Harris and members of the Group of Seven had painted and sketched in the area and I was anxious to observe some of the landscape that had inspired paintings of Lake Superior and Pic Island. It wasn’t the best of days to explore as it had rained earlier and was threatening rain all the time that we were there, but I managed a few sketches, took several photographs for reference. Now, years later, I’ve returned to this material to make a few drawings, as well as a few small watercolour paintings.

Sketches are terribly important. When you've got but a few minutes take a bit of time and scribble a few marks on a piece of paper. One can never tell when these marks might come in handy as reference. Comes a time when just about every artist who is lucky enough to make it to old age reaches a point that travel, or hiking to high places, becomes but a dream. It's then that you realize just how important sketches can be, as not only have you saved a memory, but you have a lifetime of experience to make better use of the memory.

Graphite Field Sketch

View of Pic Island    Graphite Field Sketch

Lake Superior  Graphite Drawing

Pukaskwa National Park    Watercolour Painting

Pukaskwa National Park II    Watercolour Painting

Pic Island  Graphite Sketch

Pic Island  Watercolour Painting

Pukaskwa National Park    Graphite Field Sketch
Pukaskwa National Park   Watercolour Painting 2013 

Pukaskwa National Park  Graphite Drawing