Painting from Seney National Wildlife Refuge

In October 2016 I made a trip to Seney National Wildlife Refuge, on the Michigan Upper Peninsula, with some graduate students and a colleague of mine from The Nature Conservancy.  After meeting with the Director of the Refuge to learn about their approaches to land management, we took a long drive around the area.  This is a landscape of inland lakes and wetlands where the water level is kept high to provide many square miles of habitat for endangered waterfowl, which is one of their main missions at Seney.  The slightly rolling landscape coupled with the high water level produces a complex maze of these “tree islands.”  Because it’s habitat for endangered waterfowl, they don’t allow any canoeing or kayaking.  We were there on a grey, rainy day in October.  We drove around and saw miles and miles of these areas.  The red foliage in patches down close to the ground really stood out to me – from a distance it looked almost like cranberries.  But from closer up I could see that it is some sort of knee to waist-high woody shrub with small leaves -- I couldn't identify it.  From a distance it made this low blanket of deep, gorgeous red foliage and seemed to light up many of these islands.  I shot pictures with my phone as we drove, which captured blurry pictures of the complex island shapes, but I reproduced the colors here from memory back home in my studio. 

 Seney, Michigan, in fall.  2017, oil on canvas attached to panel, 11 x 14 

Seney, Michigan, in fall.  2017, oil on canvas attached to panel, 11 x 14