Oka Crisis 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!