For the last several weeks, I have been riding my bike along the Ottawa river parkway at least twice a week. Each time I come to this one section, I observe with wonder the stone sculptures. I take a brief pause and watch the artist do his work.
Today, I choose to get off my bicycle and read the sign. The artist was standing near the sign adding some sculptures to the platform with the sign. I said "hello" and we had a delightful conversation. He has been creating these sculptures at this location for over 20 years. For the last 7 years, the National Capital Commission (NCC) has been contracting him to maintain the sculptures throughout the summer.
The main sculpture (the one to the right in the photos) is the signature sculpture. The sculpture appears on the information plaque. The artist mentioned that he is drawn to recreate that sculpture every year. One year, he consciously tried to not create it, but found himself constantly drawn back to that area. The center-piece has the same concept every year, but with slight modifications each time it is re-created. It will be interesting to compare next years with this years :).
The artist uses just stones to create the sculptures. The larger stones are balanced and "wedges" of smaller stones are used to ensure the balanced rocks stay in place. They are very easily disturbed. The artist commented that the seagulls will often knock over sculptures when they take off (landing is often down with enough elegance that the sculptures remain undisturbed, until the bird decides to depart).
Another passer-by asked the artist about what happens to the sculptures in the winter. The artist said that he allows them to go the way of Zen … that is, back to nature, such that new creations can be built the next year.