At “The Lake” (Lac Courte Oreilles), a favorite spot to explore is Point O’ Pines. This point juts out into the lake just down the shore from my family’s cabin. Each summer, we’d walk down to the Point or boat around it into the bay. The tall virgin pines make a perfect refuge for bald eagles. One of my favorite memories is of encountering a male eagle who was quietly sitting along the shore early one morning, only about 20 feet away from where I stood on the dock. My quiet approach had not disturbed him, and he stood elegantly on shore for a few moments before taking flight. It is difficult to comprehend the size and majesty of these birds…without the actual experience of being near one in the wild. My son was months old at the time – his first visit to a place his family has frequented for generations – and for the whole trip, he slept horribly. This particular morning, he had been up since 4 a.m., and my morning walk was an attempt to quiet and soothe him. While some extra sleep would have been nice for both of us, I treasure this quiet moment we had together on the dock. Getting a close-up view of that eagle definitely made up for my sleep deprivation!
Here is a four-part progression of the painting. Taken with an iPad under less-than-ideal lighting conditions.