Did you know that you can use pine needles to make your own art? The long and soft needles of the eastern white pine make a perfect paint brush! Gather a few different bundles of needles, set out some paints and paper, and make your own great Canadian art!
It’s Art in the Park this weekend, and we’re all excited here at the biosphere! Artists in the Georgian Bay have so much beautiful scenery to be inspired by, and today we’re going to focus on one of our most famous symbols: the windswept pine!
These distinctive trees along the coast of the Georgian Bay grow mostly to one side because they’ve been buffeted by winds coming off the bay since they were saplings, and the branches are growing in the path of least resistance: the direction the wind is blowing. As a result, they’ve got a permanent lean! You can see art of these pine trees all over, including on our logo!
The Georgian Bay Biosphere Logo, showing the windswept pine
But what are they? These windswept trees are mostly eastern white pine!
Eastern White Pine are found all over eastern Canada and the United States. The easiest way to tell them apart from other pine trees are by looking at their needles. Eastern White Pine have long, soft pine needles that grow in groups of five.
However, if the long, soft needles are in groups of two, it’s a Red Pine.
A handy way to remember the difference is that the word WHITE has FIVE letter, and white pine needles grow in groups of FIVE!
If the needles on the tree are short and separate in a ‘V’ shape, it’s a jack pine!
Pine trees and the natural beauty of Ontario have inspired countless artists over the years. Some of the most famous are the Group of Seven: a group of artists from the early 1900s who mostly painted Canadian landscapes. You’ve probably seen some of their paintings! The West Wind, painted by Tom Thomson in 1917, shows off our windswept pines.
The West Wind, Tom Thompson
Three cheers for artsy pines and beautiful signs!