Snowbound – cold night in Canadian north
While painting Snowbound and thinking about what lies beneath a snowy blanket, I remembered literature I studied long ago in university. Many authors have written about the cold Canadian north. The first settlers arriving in Canada were worried about surviving the bitter winters of this foreign land. They wrote letters back home accurately describing their hardships.
However, other authors have described winters elsewhere. A Russian winter, for example, is not so different from a Canadian one. After all, our countries “share” the Arctic waters in the far north.
I have been rereading The Red Scarf by Kate Furnivall who describes one of Stalin’s labour camps in 1933.
Set in Siberia, Furnivall describes the taiga forest. Her account would be just as accurate for some areas of Canada in winter. Here are a few excerpts:
- The track threaded its way through unremitting taiga forest, so dark it was like night inside, the slender columns of pine trees standing like Stalin’s sentinels overseeing the march.
- She could feel it (the forest) breathing down her neck like a huge unwelcome presence, so that when sudden soft sounds escaped from the trees as layers of snow slid from the branches to the floor, it made her shiver. It was as though the forest were sighing.
I love these descriptions because they do capture the sights and sounds of the Canadian forest too.
In the city, we never get to see aurora borealis, but back home, in northern Ontario, the starry night sky is lit with shimmering greens and pinks and blues.
I could not help but think of home while painting Snowbound.
Rugged, Canadian landscape in Snowbound
The land is rugged and beautiful with myriad pristine lakes and vast forests. I was inspired by my memory of skating and snowmobiling on frozen lakes and rivers. These days, we snowshoe during the day which is quite a different experience than being out in the forest at night. And even though we are enjoying the solitude of nature, we are always aware that the city is nearby.
Of course, there is a loneliness to the land up north, the feeling that the silence and the cold are harbingers of death and despair. Beneath a snowy blanket especially at night, we have a feeling that something lies waiting…lurking in the shadows.
But if one can forget that sense of foreboding, then there is much to appreciate.
The fresh smell of the woods, the invigorating crisp air, the crunch of the crusty snow near the shore all add to the enjoyment of an evening spent outdoors in the north.
The forest is silent except for the winter winds occasionally whispering around the branches and a fine powdery snow blowing drifts here and there among the rocks that jut out on the hidden shoreline.
This is a one of a kind (OOAK) original 9×12, gallery wrapped acrylic painting, painted and signed by me. The sides are painted a dark blue. There is no need to buy a frame.
Colours may not be exactly as pictured above.
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