The BD and I are making a point of getting to know our area of the province a bit better, so we decided that our first camping trip of the season was going to be somewhere we'd never been; Lac La Biche. The drive there was very pretty, lots of rolling hills with gracefully curving lines etched into the stubble of last year's harvest. Sometimes the lines or sections of color would intersect and make the hills look like they were blanketed in a layer of earth-tone plaid. We noticed more pine in the forests up that way, and groves of slender young aspen. And lakes! I'd no idea there were so many lakes there, not to mention that the Sir Wintston Churchill Provincial Park was on an island in the midst of Lac La Biche. That park had everything! Forest paths to wander, secluded and not-so-secluded bits of beach to enjoy, canoe rentals, showers, and amphitheater for interpretive programs. Oh, and really, really good ice cream at the registration office.
I brought along my oil sketching supplies and broke them out periodically during our time there. One needs something to do between bouts of exploring, eating, paddling, napping and cribbage games! Our camp site was surrounded by dense forest so there was plenty to sketch without having to lug my kit too far.
There was also lots to see and hear at night in our campsite. The birds were making quite a racket late into the evening, and would begin again as soon as the sun came up. One wren in particular decided that 2am was a good time to belt out his mating song, and since I had to pee anyhow I figured I should get up out of the tent and appreciate his efforts properly. The moon was so bright behind the curtain of tall spruce and the effect of the light through the trees and on the clouds hovering around it was stunning. No, I did not break out the paints and sketch this in dark. I took a photo of the scene with my phone and painted it in the morning after a good night's sleep, coffee and an egg and bacon sandwich, obviously. I'm not that hardcore.
I would have liked to have spent more time sketching by the lake, but the bugs were dreadful and I'm not one for basking in the heat for hours on end, so I made use of a calm evening and a public deck by the small beach where canoes were launched. The light play on the water and the shore across the lake were quite pretty. The cloud of sand flies hovering over me while I painted, not so much. But it's all part of the outdoor sketching experience. I should probably get some netting to put over my hat for my face to reduce my bug inhalations. This sketch surprisingly contains ZERO bugs.
Then more sketching at the campsite because dammit, I just love painting pictures of trees!
I started a few drawings on paper, but those aren't finished yet and I am adding more to that collection in the next few days. It was a surprisingly productive sketching trip, especially for the first sketch trip of the season. I'm very excited to lug my paints around on the other adventures we have planned in the next few months. Hooray for camping and plein air painting season!