15″ x 40″, Renaissance Giclee Canvas, 180/40, $895.00 U.S.
“Through the dark, quiet water moves the loon. It is early summer, and the chick or chicks
have not quite hatched. Loons are loud and boisterous in late summer and when far from
the nest. But during the nesting period, they are silent and secretive. It is surprising how
a small lake can hide such a large bird. Very few sites are suitable for the nest. The waters’s edge is only inches above water level.
The loon is considered the most primitive of North American birds. That means it is most
like its reptilian ancestors. It is built for a strictly aquatic life with its legs so far back that
it cannot walk on land. It pushes itself along sliding on the belly. Therefore, the nest
must be inches and seconds away from the water. It nests in grasses or reeds. Rocky
shores, bluffs or beaches will not do. The nest site must also be sheltered from waves.
In most northern lakes, this means that the southern and eastern shores are ineligible
because of prevailing north and west winds. A new and serious threat to loon breeding
success is the power boat which can create waves in sheltered bays which wash the eggs
into the water. Thus, locations which have not had waves for centuries may suddenly
have a violent motor boat wake which heedlessly wipes out one loon hatching for that
year. So secretive are the loons at nesting time that I have never found a nest of the
pair on our cottage lake though I have been going there as a boy.
In this painting I wanted to convey that feeling. I made it long and horizontal to give
it a secretive, tranquil look. I played up the lily pads and grasses and made the water
velvety, blackish green with light splotches that camouflage the loon so well near shore.”