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Juanita Bellavance, Gliding by on the Chestatee, From the Chestatee River portfolio, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches


All of my Chestatee Rive portfolio in 2021 had been of views from the bank of the river. There was a limited walking distance so I couldn’t see the terrain of the banks of the whole river. One day I decided to kayak so I could take photos of the banks on both sides from the middle of the river.

I had put off the kayaking idea since I couldn’t seem to find anyone to go with me. It turned out it was safe enough to go alone as the river is no more than knee-deep in its entirety. That surprised me in a ticklish sort of way. I had only been on more daunting rivers in the past, including the Chattooga and the Nantahala Rivers.

The Chestatee is a lazy river and is very relaxing to glide along on with a kayak. I enjoyed that I could peacefully snap a picture here and there without risk. It was also enjoyable to know whether I paddled or not, I would eventually end at the take-out spot. Flatwater isn’t very exciting to paddle across and there was some of that. I did paddle most of the time just because I wasn’t up for a two-and-a-half-hour ride that particular day.

This painting is a zoomed and cropped spot where I enjoyed seeing the mossy rock and shoreline that seemed like a section separate from the shore really with tufts of grass. I’m thinking of doing a portfolio title, “Dissecting the Chestatee.” The textural details up close very much intrigue me.

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