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.
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.
We arrived at our B&B, settled in and bundled up for the cold outdoor
presentation in Algonquin Park: "An Evening with Robert Bateman."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
graced the trail and the sparkling sunlight enlivened the woods, rocks, undergrowth
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