Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Painting and Paddling the Kickapoo River

   Now that the flood waters have receded and the mud has settled, the Kickapoo runs clear. A few days ago I was thinking that there was only one day of paddling for me this year. Thinking of paddling inspired a look at photos I'd taken of the river, between Bridges 8 and 14. Each time the river is different. My favorite time to be on the water is just at daylight or as twilight turns to night.

Moonlight on the Kickapoo

   My favorite paddling trips were done for 'bat monitoring'. A full moon night, a flat bottom boat, the amazing and wonderful Bat Monitor ( which gives us both the bat calls in a frequency humans can hear, and a visual pattern of their calls) and a few friends with canoes floating into the magical dark tunnel carried us into a river journey hard to imagine during daylight hours.
   The water was dark, the banks were black, the cliffs were empty vaults of anything we could imagine. Then we would round a bend in the river and the rising moon poured liquid white light into everything that was a moment ago invisible in darkness. One moment we could see nothing but blackness, the next, nothing but light.
   Each time we followed the river's bends into and away from the direction of the moon, we glided from total dark to blinding light.

   During the day, light and how it plays on water and rock, leaf and sand, is much of what I notice when on the river. But color instead of dark and light contrast are daytime's priorities. The cliffs along the river are amazing for the variations in color. Moss and lichen are the most of the source of colors, and they change all the time. One day brilliant red and green covers a large flat cliff close to the water, but later that will be all gone. The colors will be muted greys, browns and greens.
   Here is my November meditation on our beautiful Kickapoo river cliffs. The blues are lichen on the rock; that's really their color.

Near Bridge 8  Acrylic on canvas 9" x 12"
   Now that winter is here, the ice caves are forming and the valley's water puts on a different display, silver, white, grey, making a different world than water makes in the summer. It's fun to go outside and watch the ice form, then come inside and paint the greens, blues and reds of summer.

   Please share this blog if you've enjoyed visiting. Thanks!

   Wishing you happy trails in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, all year round.

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