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Category Archives: Lake Huron

Everything has a voice

I was visiting a friend who was teaching in a relatively isolated northern community in British Columbia.  They had piped water but no electricity and the nearest gas station was an hour’s drive away.

One of Coby’s students came to her cabin for breakfast every morning. We were all sitting at the table, Coby and I still catching up when her young friend said, “Shhh, I need to hear my cereal”.

One of the things I have always believed is that everything has a voice, yes even inanimate objects.

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Although I have lost sight of the lake from here the sound still carries. It roars, bangs, crashes and howls depending on the season. It is a noise that lodges at the base of your skull, a sound that permeates skin and burrows into bone. At first exhilarating but after a few days the experience wears away your sense of self, no longer knowing where the sound ends and I begin.

How did Turner survive his contact with the sea, being bound to a mast through a dark night of storm and high seas? Maybe he was deaf.

Turner’s paintings are remarkable, his ability to render light unparalleled, a feat of observation with understanding often overlooked in today’s world.

J.M. Turner b.1775 d.1851

British Painter

How can a lake howl? In winter with ice built up to six feet on the shore line the interaction with water creates caves and tunnels, that eerie noise somehow emits from there.


The water looks denser since the season has changed from summer to fall.

oil paint on board done with a palette knife 6 x 8 inchesoil paint on board 6 x 8 inches

Is this illusion?

The lake (Huron) has the appearance of moving more sluggishly. Even after heavy winds the waves appear fewer and at the shoreline smaller. On my last annual swim, Thanksgiving weekend, the water temperature was 61 degrees F. In high summer it might hit 80 degrees.

Surely that is a small difference in temperature for such a large body of water to change its character?

These small works were painted with my back to the fire one bitterly cold winter. The world that month was white on white so these were conjured from imagining the memory of the view out my studio window.

It is a view I no longer possess (if you can possess a view?) from my second floor eyrie. Between trees growing big and big houses sprouting the lake is now invisible.