Losing Light but Staying Enlightened



           We had an unusual Autumn this year with unseasonably warm temperatures and a
           lack of frost until November.  As a result, the leaves stayed on the trees, many into
           winter.  A bumper crop of pine cones dropped and I stayed fit raking hundreds of
           them. The golden light and spectacular skies did not disappoint.  Farmers close by
           harvested their corn and soya beans.  Migrating birds lingered longer and the sun
           fell earlier as the days began to shrink.
























                                                   Pumpkin soup and bread.
                                           Christmas cakes baked and ready to age.

     Constance and I drove north for our annual 'Homage to Algonquin.'  Stopping at Angela's,
     we enjoyed a cup of tea in her classic vintage style cottage, the kind I love and remember
     from my childhood.

                                            Little Brothers Lake




                    We arrived at our B&B, settled in and bundled up for the cold outdoor
                    presentation in Algonquin Park: "An Evening with Robert Bateman."

                                               B&B Fairy Lake, Huntsville


       Bateman's passion for wildlife began in his summers spent in Algonquin Park working
       with the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station, living in the park and working with a
       handful of keen teens as a Naturalist.  He developed a deep connection to Algonquin
      which inspired his development as an artist and environmentalist.  His presentation was
      in honour of the 75th anniversary of the Research Station.


       We both hold a great admiration for Robert Bateman.  Growing up in a nature-loving
       family, we were always awed to see Bateman's original paintings.  Dad and Mom had
       two Bateman prints enriching our living room walls.

                                                        Lynx in Snow 1987

       Constance worked at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) in Toronto and would deliver
       bird specimens to Mr. Bateman.  He came regularly to the ROM to sketch subjects from
       their collections.  Naturally, Constance has special memories of those times and a shared
       passion for Algonquin that Bateman has.

                                             Mossy Branches-Spotted Owl  1987
                                             The Challenge Bull Moose 1989

       Bateman and other "High Realists" as they are known have been shunned from
       galleries and fame for years.  Although they are highly respected and honoured by
       their followers, surprisingly, painters working in the High Realism style have often
       been snubbed by art critics. Works of art painted in this style take many meticulous
       hours, often months to complete.
       Hopefully Bateman will always be recognized as a famous Canadian Painter.

                                           Game Over Fox and Maple 2007

     Bateman's paintings are composed of the wilderness subjects he so loves.  His magical
     portrayal of light add a sense of intrigue to all his compositions.  Although we observe a
     moment in time, Bateman leaves us wondering what may happen a few minutes later.

                                                                  Chief 1977
                                             Bateman in his studio. Salt Spring Island.
                                         Wolf Pack in Moonlight 1977
                                           Forest and the Watch  1989
                                           Thanks GOOGLE for the images. 

      The evening with Bateman was held outdoors as the gallery had limited space.  At 88
      years of age, Robert Bateman stood in the cold for ninety minutes and gave a heartfelt
      and inspirational talk and power point presentation summarizing his life as an artist and
      naturalist from boyhood to the current day.  We were charmed by his humility and
      sense of humour.



        Afterwards, he greeted friends and fans and signed autographs.  The gallery
        was showing some of Bateman's original paintings, loaned by donors and
        nature-themed sculptures and paintings by Ontario artists.  We were both totally
        enlightened!  A full moon and spectacular star studded sky lead us back to the B&B. 



      The next day we were eager to explore Algonquin but the weather prediction showed a
      cloudy morning with rain all afternoon.  Morning views over Fairy Lake were promising.
      Off we went, content to have heard Robert Bateman's presentation and figuring that
      anything else would be "icing on the cake". 
 





          We were barely into the park when we saw a "Moose Jam", cars parked along the
          highway and folks fumbling with I-phones and long lenses peering into the ditch.
          It could not be true!  We were seeing double.  Two young moose were grazing in the
          long grass and just behind them was Mumma hidden and nibbling a tree.  Well, it goes
          without saying that we both just about burst a gasket.  We were able to watch the three
          for about twenty minutes before Mum decided to retreat to the woods.  What an
          absolute treat and awe inspiring experience!







                                                         Intermission aka Moose-break






                                            Just after our siting, we passed the sign.....

                In need of calm and meditation, we stopped at a few ponds and grasslands.
                No matter how often one visits the same spot in nature, things always look
                different; seasons, weather and light change those views daily.





                                                     Colourful Fall carpet.

                                                 Rocks impersonating a turtle.
                                            Camoflauged insects (photo above & below)



                                                       Wetlands tapestry

          Just when we thought our day could not get any better, the sun smashed through
          the clouds.  Our fabulous lunch was consumed in a quiet woodland picnic area with
          the company of Bluejays and butterflies.  Afterwards we headed to Lake Opeongo
          where folks  headed out to the bay and in to the docks in various style canoes.


                                                  Nature's Smorgasbord
                                                  Human's Smorgasbord












           We wrapped up our day with a short hike down our favourite path.  Autumn colours
           graced the trail and the sparkling sunlight enlivened the woods, rocks, undergrowth
           and water.



















             On our journey home the following day, we stopped at Fred Hummel's home and
             studio in Cold Water. Fred had a few of his beautiful carved stone bears in the
             Algonquin Gallery.  After checking out hi gardens and being schooled on his latest
             sculptures, we headed for home and were greeted by Paul's great welcome sign.









            October weather continued mild and rainy and mushrooms popped up everywhere,
            daily.  Harvest vegetables and fruit were plentiful and garden flowers bloomed right
            into November!
















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