Saturday, June 18, 2011

South Branch River Series

A Series of Encaustic Paintings of the South Branch River in Eastern Ontario from source to the mouth at the Rideau River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our communities historically have gathered around rivers and lakes for commercial travel, industrial traffic as well as recreation.  Today, in this series of encaustic paintings  called ‘South Branch River Series’, I turn my concerns to the small waterway that is in the centre of our small town, a small delicate tributary of the Rideau River called the South Branch River or Kemptville Creek as it is affectionately known to the people of Kemptville. 

South Branch Series 1: Long Shadows on Snowy Covered River; 

12” x 18”; encaustic on cradle wood; March 2011; $200. unframed or $300. framed to artist's specifications

As I step outside my home on Bridge Street I can view in the silence of early spring our lifeblood, the South Branch River. Just outside my home looking toward the north as the South Branch meanders under a thin layer of ice, I study in the crisp clarity of a cold spring morning, the long finger like reflections of trees from the east bank. The work is layered with rose and gray opaque layers of wax, covered again with white. The underlying textures and colours reach up from this snowy layer. I was seeking to create long restful and translucent waxy layers in this very picturesque segment of our river. It is quiet now as the risk of breaking through the ice is well known but soon it will be a playground where fishing, canoeing and camping abound. 

South Branch Series 3: Barnes Creek, South Branch at Jack Street, Kemptville; 
12” x 18”; encaustic on cradle wood; June 2011; $200. unframed or $300. framed to artist's specifications

At this early spring as I lean down and look toward the west in the early afternoon to watch the deep blue black of the water gracefully flow in its newly found freedom from the thin sheets of ice and snow, I muse as to where she has begun. She is a woman of bounty offering her lifeblood, water, for the benefit of small animals wild and domesticated as well as local fisherman, canoeists and pedestrians. Now the overgrowth of the gnarly and abundant manitoba maples overhang and engulf the efforts of this small tributary to make its insistent and irregular way through backyards of the village.

 South Branch Series 4: Spring Breakup at Oxford Mills; 
12” x 18”; encaustic on cradle wood; June 2011; $200. unframed or $300. framed to artist's specifications

As I gaze over the Oxford Mills bridge, the small splendour of this lifeblood of our community is flowing and active as it bubbles downriver to the Rideau River. At this point in the year, much of the ice flow has broken and melted to swell its banks. Its cool keep blue is expectant with new life.

South Branch Series 5: South Branch Empties into Rideau River; 
12” x 18”; encaustic on cradle wood; June 2011; $200. unframed or $300. framed to artist's specifications

This is the site of Beckett’s Landing downstream on the Rideau only miles from the mouth of the South Branch River. By canoe its shores are spotted with tiny cottages and thick with bullrushes, beaver, muscrat, herons and red-winged blackbirds. The air is very cool and fresh, the water cold and deep.
You will note that the titles emphasize its meandering geography as the South Branch River cuts through villages, countrysides downriver to its final journey in the Rideau River. As I located myself at each site in the series I was intrigued by its ever changing ‘faces’. So it is respecting these faces or locations that made me root the images in their respective locations. 
This series is completed in the medium of encaustic, an ancient medium from the Greek work ’encaustikos’ meaning to literally burn in, as in the process of burning wax into a surface for a permanent stable image. I chose this medium in its easy liquid flow as it symbolizes a fitting response to this ‘South Branch River Series’ a medium also ebbs and flows across the cradled wood. I am grateful the for richness that the South Branch offers at every season and I stand as a witness to its awakening in the early spring and gaze in wonder as I hope you do as well.
The life of this river comes early in the spring from its frozen rest and I am witness to its coming to life. 

1 comment:

  1. You'd never tire of looking at the wintery Canadian landscape if there is spirit enough to animate. I hope you, Linda, never get tired of my..."Wowie!" comments. I enjoy your interpretations.