|"Sydenham Sycamore" oil on canvas 20 x 24 in.|
20 September 2016 found me on the bank of the Sydenham River, 4.3 km southeast of Alvinston, Ontario, painting the joined double trunks of a huge Sycamore tree as Fred waded the shallows, searching for freshwater mussels.
This part of the Sydenham River flows through land that has recently been acquired for conservation by Ontario Nature, and we were there with staff and volunteers to survey the river for its general biodiversity and rare mussel species.
This spot was perfect for the first of two paintings that commissioned by Ontario Nature.I set up my easel as close to the edge of the clay bank as possible, fascinated by the big old leaning Sycamore, its roots undercut by the river, its leafy crown towering high above the other river-edge trees - and how the mottled bark of its younger trunk was as smooth as my arm, while the bark of its main trunk was dark and scaly.
Down in the river there was much excitement as the first of each species was brought,