Wednesday, 7 November 2018

My Quest for the Rock

On October 20, 2018 a group of us set out on a canoe trip into Killarney Provincial Park.  My quest was to sit and paint on the rock that Franklin Carmichael sat on in 1935 and to climb up to the top of the cliff where A Y Jackson painted his sketch for Nellie Lake.  I had wonderful and talented artistic company in the form of Martin Kotyluk a Sudbury artist.  We arrived at Grace Lake just as the sun was setting so we ate supper and settled in for a very cold (-4) night.

Franklin Carmichael is seen sketching 
at Grace Lake in this 1935 photo.
(Joachim Gauthier photo)
Me sitting on Carmichael's rock on Grace Lake
Me sitting at Grace Lake 2018

It was a tough unmarked climb up to Carmichael's Rock but once up top it was obvious why he chose this spot.  The views were magnificent.  Being inspired isn't always a good thing for me.  I knew that I would likely never get back this way again and so I only had one shot at it.  We were rushed because we knew that after we climbed back down we would still have a rugged uphill 2K portage before supper.

My painting of Grace Lake 2018
This isn't a great painting however considering the conditions that it was painted in I am more than happy with it.  The cold damp temperatures kept the paint soft so it, as well as my others, got pretty beat up during the rest of the trip.

We had a layover day on Nellie Lake and the cliff that A Y Jackson painted from was right behind our campsite.  It was an even higher and tougher unmarked climb but again it was worth it.  We had fantastic views of Carmichael (Nellie) Lake, The Notch and also north out of the mountains towards Espanola.  I was tired and exhausted but forced myself to sit and do two paintings.  I am not excited about them but the experience of sitting painting where my idols once sat is exhilarating.

My painting of Carmichael (Nellie) LakeMy painting looking through The Notch, Killarney

The next day we portaged all our gear down the steep 1420m portage through The Notch . I stopped for a break at a waterfall about half way down and painted what is in my mind my best painting of the trip.  This was painted in about twenty minutes and I was, at the time, too tired to care if it worked or not.

My painting of a waterfalls in The Notch, Killarney

These last two painting were painted on Little Bear Lake.  The most exciting thing about these paintings is the fact that Morgan, my 13 year old granddaughter, and her friend Onalee asked if they could have a board each and some paint.  Sitting painting and chatting with them was the highlight of a trip of highlights.

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