Sunday, October 18, 2009

Late afternoon, October

Late Afternoon at the Lake

The colors are beginning to really glow, in mid-October. The loess bluffs are their usual mosaic of greens, oranges, reds and yellows, but this time my eye was caught by the long shadows cast by the broken clouds and that intense light! We'd had clouds for days, so when they began to break up and I saw the trees light up, I needed to be out there.

The huge leaf is from one of the waterlilies that now choke the old oxbow lake, once part of the Missouri River. It's succumbing to the natural progression of eutrophication. Here's more on the process whereby lakes eventually become land. And HERE is a graphic that shows that process clearly.

The rich farmland of the Missouri River bottoms is an agricultural treasure, worth its weight in gold--or almost! There are fewer homes here now, due to flooding in recent years, and more land is given over to flood control, public use, and farming. This area was under water in the flood of 1993, but in the natural pattern of things, the resulting silt and mud that was deposited serves to enrich the soil. (At least if there's not too much pollution and heavy metals involved.)

This image is from Jefferson City, a bit downstream, but the area I frequent near Cooley Lake was as inundated. It was a sobering sight to see this vast inland sea where the state highway used to be!

I've drawn and sketched at this wildlife area many, many times--now owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation, it's an amazing place to explore.

From the MDC's information page: "Cooley Lake CA in Clay County covers 1,348 acres, including 335-acre Cooley Lake. Riverlands purchases added 310 acres to this area. It has 6.4 miles of hikeable river levee and a half-mile hiking trail. Walk-in fishing is available along a mile of river frontage. The area's boat ramp and privies are handicapped-accessible. Waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and birds of prey can be viewed from the area's four parking lots."

If you're anyplace in the area of Excelsior Springs, Missouri, I recommend a visit!


  1. Fascinating, and a beautiful image, Kate! Glad you were able to get out and enjoy it, and to share it with all of us!

  2. Such rich fall colors. Love that time of day. Great page!

  3. BEAUTIFUL rich colours Cathy. What sketch-book was this done in? I'm dreaming sketch-books these days - need to get a beautiful hand-crafted sketch-book with luscious pages...

  4. Thanks, all! Maree, I have to admit it's one of my hand-bound ones--the top one, here: It's Fabriano hot press watercolor paper, on that page...I bind several papers in one book.

  5. We don't often think of drawing waterlilies when they are waning in the fall. Great nature drawing and story.

  6. I like to draw the whole life cycle of things, Judy! Thank you...and thanks, Lisa!

  7. Wow, I love this it is beautiful


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