Marble River Provincial Park is one of those North Island places I return to again and again, one in which I feel completely at peace. There is a sense of stillness among the huge trees still standing along a stream that captures the very essence of all North Island rivers. In its relatively short run, it contains incredible waterfalls (one of which can be viewed from the highway bridge), runs of rapids that would challenge any white water kayaker, and wonderfully quiet pools that would make any fly fisherman froth at the mouth.
I did this oil painting on site one morning early in June when there was not another soul in the entire park. I hadn’t been there for a while so I did a reconnaissance walk through each one of the lower level campsites before choosing the last site to do some thumbnail sketches, “quickies” to decide on a composition before setting up my easel. Then, when I first begin painting I also take a digital photo for reference later, because in the course of a few hours the sunlight can change significantly. If you keep on painting and using the scene in front of you for reference you find yourself “chasing the sun”. Very often, when painting on site, I take the painting home to finish it and, during the long summer hours, begin a second one and take it home as well. I don’t always get to finish these “beginnings” and my studio at home is full of these little gems, waiting for attention.
The Marble River campsite has two levels, the lower of which, along the banks of the river, is where this painting took place. If you drive to the farthest point, alongside the toilets, there are three sites that have an open view of the river. One of them is the view in this painting, showing a river with a great amount of water. This is the spring runoff but this summer, being as wet as it was, provided a “spring runoff” all summer long, continuing into autumn; a great year for the salmon to make their way upstream to the lake. There is a good side to everything!