Tom Thomson Sketching Locations
Abstract: In addition to The Out-Side-In, there are several other sketching locations on Grand Lake. Most are an easy walk from The Out-Side-In. We believe these sketches to be from Grand Lake.
The West Wind is perhaps from Grand Lake.
Sketch for 'The Jack Pine'
This sketching location is well known. The Jack Pine Site is about a 10 minute walk along the railway tracks, east of the Out-Side-In. A walking trail has now been established leading to an interpretive plaque at the site of the sketch. However, The National Gallery of Canada still suggests that the location of this sketch is Little Cauchon Lake.
Pine Trees at Sunset
Spring Lake (Rocks and Water)
The sketching site is about a 10 minute walk west of the Out-Side-In along the railway tracks. As with many Thomson sketches, the regrowth of vegetation in the last 100 years has obscured the scene depicted. But in this particular case, it is possible to capture the various components of the scene separately.
The following figures compare parts of the painting with photographs from this location
So, while a single modern photograph cannot capture the painted scene, if you visit this location with a copy of the sketch in hand, you will have no doubts that this is the sketch's location; all of the components of the scene are there in the correct relationship. It points out that Thomson was not averse to altering a scene and omitting evidence of industry (and no doubt other distractions) when it suited his artistic intent.
And a minor quibble: we also believe that the sketch is a fall scene — late September, early October — rather than spring, based on the colours of the foreground bushes and trees on the distant hills.
Sketch for 'The West Wind'
We have not identified the following sketches to definitely be of Grand Lake - and indeed, at least one is considered to have been painted in 1915 - but they all have the correct 'feel'. For completeness they are reproduced in the appendix.
A tombolo is an island attached to the mainland by a narrow spit of land. The Grand Lake Tombolo is listed in the Algonquin Provincial Park Management Plan as a
Class II Special Management Area (SMA). It is an earth science feature of local significance. While the names of special management areas are included in the Management Plan, their locations and other details are not publicly identified. Operational guidelines for the protection of Class I SMAs are included in the management plan, but none for Class II SMAs. The Grand Lake Tombolo is the site of a cottage lease.
The "Death on a Painted Lake" website says, with respect to Spring Lake (Rocks and Water):
This image is very similar to a photograph taken by Thomson of the Scarborough bluffs, now in the Tom Thomson fonds of the Library and Archives Canada. If this is the photo being referred to, we have a very different understanding of the phrase 'very similar'.