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Oka Crisis 2013

October 13, 2013

When my friend Shari suggested going to Oka to sketch, the first thing I thought of was the Oka Crisis. I have very vague memories of events back in 1990. I can recall it was an armed standoff between the Mohawk and the Sûreté du Québec instigated by local developers plans to put a golf course on top of sacred ground.

On arrival at the State Park, we were impressed to find people still manning the barricades 23 years later.

I shouldn’t joke. The situation with the Mohawk was serious business. Today the park employees appear to be on strike over injustices that could not be made clear to me, as they had no English and I have no French.  Perhaps the strikers should take a page from history. They could get much more attention to their cause by blockading the Mercier Bridge.

In any case, we were allowed in, and enjoyed the day painting in the park. We had remarkable weather for October, surround by amazing fall colors.  You wouldn’t know it in this painting.


Someone who is a landscape a painter will have to explain to me why I can’t seem to wrap my head around pictorial composition out of doors.  Shari and I were both attracted to a marshy area with overhanging dead trees casting interesting reflections. I find I’m always immediately locking into these compositions that are not landscape paintings at all, but are in fact portrait studies of trees or rock formations. I can’t banish this instinct from Urban Sketching to stick a detailed subject front and center :)

Well, still, was a great day painting in this last gasp of fall – I can apply myself to scenic views again next year!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2013 5:35 PM

    I think your painting is lovely. Your article revealed to me an ignorance inside of myself that I wasn’t even aware of. I had never considered “portraits of rocks or trees” and how that was essentially and inherently different than a landscape. It makes sense now that you’ve said it, and I may have to include that idea in my art lessons (I’m an art teacher to middle-school kids). I hope others comment to describe the differences. Certainly I can see that the role and importance of “space” is going to be different in each, but what else?

  2. Linda Mirth permalink
    October 13, 2013 7:00 PM

    I think you did a fabulous job

  3. Danielle Choquette permalink
    October 14, 2013 9:07 AM

    Cest très beau.

  4. permalink
    October 14, 2013 6:37 PM


  5. permalink
    October 14, 2013 6:40 PM

    where are the value accents? seems to be overall one value range? emmett

  6. October 14, 2013 8:47 PM

    Don’t be banishing this instinct ! Marvelous painting.

  7. Annie DuMont permalink
    October 19, 2013 1:56 PM

    I would like to fail like this.

  8. lmnavroth permalink
    October 7, 2015 3:41 PM

    I have the exact same problem with landscapes! Probably why I paint so many birds and animals instead.

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