Île d’Orléans waterfront farm


Gabriel-from-Quebec, who we ‘met’ on Tinder (seriously), tipped us off about Île d’Orléans. It’s just a few minutes downriver from Quebec City, he said, and it would be a great place to paint. Île d’Orléans is too varied to ever be captured in one painting. In some places it is Quebec agriculture, with strawberry fields and apple orchards marching neatly down to the St. Lawrence River. In others, it looks surprisingly like the Maine coast, with seasonal cottages set among woodland. Houses of mellow golden stone dot the landscape.

It’s also a place that shows the visible evidence of its feudal past (which lasted for two centuries in some parts of French Canada). Small holdings stretch in narrow strips down to the water. This put tenants close to their neighbors and maximized access to the water.

While I painted, Mary quizzed me on French animal names. Vaches and poulet I already knew; dauphin confused me. Wasn’t that the title for the heir apparent to the French crown? Souris amused me, because I’d just painted in a Manitoba town of that name last week, and it was, indeed, just a little bit mousy. It was a beautiful, warm, autumn day. Abeilles buzzed among the the clover.

In 2016, my daughter Mary and I set off across Alaska and Canada on a Great White North Adventure, which you can read about starting here. We arrived in Anchorage at the beginning of September and got home in mid-October. In between, we visited every province but PEI (been there, done that), and Yukon Territory. In retrospect, it might have made more sense to do this during the summer, since Alaska and Canada threw a mess of strange weather at us.

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Île d’Orléans waterfront farm is 8X10, oil on archival canvasboard.

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