The artist-in-residence program at Quetico Provincial Park provided two weeks of rest, peace, inspiration and creativity at the artist’s studio in French Lake. In today’s post, Jennifer Caie shares her experience as Quetico’s artist-in-residence in June and July 2019.
Upon arriving at the studio, I was exhausted and exhausted from the stresses of life.
After unloading my art supplies from the car, I sat in an overwhelming calm.
The scene was peaceful.
As I walked toward the lake shore, a mother merganser swam by with her ducklings, feeding among the reeds. Dark clouds gathered, generating a gentle rain that bounced off the surface of the lake and then passed away.
There was no sound of engines, only canoeists in the distance heading to their first camp in the interior.
I spent my days walking, biking, and canoeing through the park, photographing the moments that caught my attention and then preserving those scenes on wood or canvas.
Inspiration was all around me.
As I floated in the warm water, I watched the clouds in this land of lakes develop rapidly, an ever-changing palette of colors and shapes.
I felt honored to be on these ancient canals where previous paddlers had painted pictographs on the rock walls along the water’s edge. Ideas began to form as he worked on small daily paintings.
I’ve always practiced trailless camping, but while I was in Quetico, that’s what I experienced.
It was the first time I witnessed a place that felt completely clean. Even the air was scented on a hot day with the release of essential oils from the tree sap.
The sky, the earth, the birds and history were my muse. I had in mind a feeling of protection that would be the theme of my acrylic painting.
What music is as sweet as the songs of silence?
It is incredible that at first we hear nothing until our mind calms down and our senses awaken to hear melodies in the desert.
Harmonizing songs echoed over the water as the many types of birds and waterfowl made their presence known.
I loved the music of the frogs while paddling in the swamp during the red sunset.
The lullaby of mosquitoes made me grateful for the thin wall of a tent.
These songs formed patterns and currents that added to my painting.
Meeting with kindred spirits
I lived these two weeks by my natural clock and not by the ticking of a stopwatch: waking up when I was fully rested, eating when I was hungry, and painting while inspiration flowed.
The only breaks in my lack of a schedule were the two days I painted at camp. Calling it “tailgate painting,” I set up my easel on the tailgate of my truck.
I spoke to the campers about their participation in the park’s Artist-in-Residence Program: two weeks with provided studio and time in the park, providing a painting to leave in the park, and encouraging others to love and care for provincial parks.
Some people tried painting, while others asked questions and watched my process.
I enjoyed meeting like-minded people who shared my vision.
My mission is to encourage others to love and protect these wild places through my painting.
my artistic contribution
My donated painting depicts the movement of birds, winds, clouds and scents interwoven together.
The mother Merganser is there with her wings spread protectively over her home.
The repeating patterns in water and rocks are the shapes formed by elements working together.
The distant tree line and nearest rocky islands contain camps that were first used by ancient rowers.
Isn’t it a privilege to be in the same place as those who came before?
Jennifer’s painting can be seen in the gallery of the Quetico Pavilion located at Dawson Trail Campground, adjacent to Highway 11.
Interested in being an artist in residence in Quetico? Learn more here!