Bill Mason was a Canadian naturalist, conservationist, author, filmmaker, and artist who was mostly known for his popular canoeing books. Mason decided to embark on a journey by canoe into the Ontario wilderness. There were no wild animal attacks and he didn’t get robbed by bandits, as some would expect.
He started off on Lake Superior, which he described as the biggest and most spectacular lake in the world. Then he explored tortuous river waters to the meadowlands of the river’s source. As he journeyed, Mason paused to paint scenes that captured his attention while at the same time he pondered his love for his artwork and his own sense of purpose in time and space.
Mason stated that for as far back as he could remember canoes fascinated him. His love for canoes reached the point where as a kid he would spend his time drawing pictures of them. At school he was classified as a slow learner, but the reality is that he wasn’t the least bit interested in anything they wanted to teach him because he already knew what he wanted to be.
Bill Mason described the feeling of not being tied down to a strict schedule as the greatest freedom of all, even if he misses his family.
Mason started painting and photography as a way to share with a much greater audience all the things that he was learning. He preferred painting with palette knives, because he believed painting with brushes makes the end result very predictable.
Mason also used this film as a commentary on the connection between God and nature. In our culture it’s not easy to talk about spiritual things because most people become defensive immediately. It seems like almost everybody is afraid of getting preached to. As he observed the colors, textures, and designs he got the feeling of being in an art gallery where God is the artist. Mason was awed by the fact that we have been given the ability to enjoy everything in nature and to explore our own creativity.
The documentary features a musical score by Bruce Cockburn and includes many breathtaking scenes along with exciting whitewater footage.