Paddle Art Contest – Walt Klisht
Canoeing takes me back to the summer ‘73, to the age of seventeen when I was a Junior Forest Ranger with the Ministry of Natural Resources stationed in Camp McGowan east of Kapuskasing in Northern Ontario.
Summer evenings were spent back country canoeing with good friends, taking in the view from the water and fishing for pike and pickerel. The camp chief said if we returned with a 36” long fish he would cook it up. We accepted the challenge and casted our red devils though the reeds. Pike and pickerel were striking unlike anything in my experience and still impresses me today what was released.
While on one of the two week assignment, our crew was flown north by bush plane to land on a lake and dropped off to a make shift bush camp with canvas tents and a clear bush trail. Cooking was over an open fire, enjoying the northern lights in the evening star light sky. On our weekend off, we caught and grilled over an open fire the largest pickerel catch that day, and slept on the liana covered rocks under the open heavens.
It was an experience I will always remember. So much so, that after receiving a modest five dollars a day from the Ministry, I returned home and used it to purchase my first canoe at the Fall Fair. This canoe took me on many more journeys through the back country with friends and family through Algonquin Park, the French River, and Muskoka and water fowl hunting in the fall.
Painting paddles is my Folk Art; creating an image to feel as though it is reflecting from the paddle as it was drawn from the water to help transport the viewer to the refuge of a peaceful canoe.
I continue to create these art pieces to invite others take the opportunity to enjoy our natural wonders from the lake’s perspective and I hope that my art will inspire others as the images and experiences have inspired me.
Now retired, I continue to enjoy our natural beauty and capture these images on canvas and paddles (fifteen paddles to date), hanging from family rooms across Ontario and reaching out as far as the Maritimes.
I do enjoy my personal collection of canvas and paddles.
Individuals can view these and other canvas and paddles through my Facebook Page listed below.
Walt Klisht, Paddle Online No. 145