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Plein Air painting in Prince Edward Island

30 Aug

Ahh… a week on Prince Edward Island… for my daughter’s wedding.  A week of celebration, of good company, beaches, vacation and fine eating.  Oh, and celebrating!  After we were there for a few days, I managed to break out my watercolours and complete over a dozen plein air paintings over the course of a few days.  It was interesting to see the paintings developed – how the sky changed as the day progressed and how very quickly the clouds changed shape!    Hard to keep up with.  The one lesson I have to re-learn every plein air session, is how very quickly you must paint!  This from a meticulous painting person.  Really goes against my first nature.  But it is truly the only way to paint outside successfully.

Oh, and we got to fly a kite as well.   We purchased it after a trip to Vancouver a few years back .  We stumbled upon a kite flying contest and demonstration for Father’s Day and well… I got it in my head I needed a kite!   This was the first time it was out of the plastic (shame).  This is a painting of Gary flying it!

And the beautiful bride with her handsome groom….

and one of my favourite photos of my daughter the beautiful the bride chilling after the ceremony!


A lonely visit to the beach of my childhood – Mispec Beach

29 Jul

I have a painting commission to do of shorebirds.  This is the right time of year for photographic reasearch as the birds are in the early stages of their fall migration.  I know there is a shorebird conservatory a few hours from here (Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Conservatory and Interpretive Centre), but I though I would take my chances with a beach nearer to home.  Also, I would never pass up the chance to head out to Micpec Beach located at the edge of Saint John.

The day was overcast, slight rain, no wind and 24 degrees. Perfect beach day for an artist with a camera.  When I arrived at the beach, I was taken aback.  I know a storm surge wiped out the trails and stairs a few years ago, but holy hannah I was not really prepared for what I saw.  An area of  parking lot was chained off – to keep visitors for f the edge that was compromised by the storm.  I felt like I was on a lost and lonely overgrown movie set.  The canteen was boarded in, there are paddlelocks on the washroom and the place is suffering from lack of repair and neglect.

The  photo above is taken from the look out area above the beach… only a few cars there and a few people walking on the beach.  Strange sense of loneliness.  And so I walked the on the beach towards the fast approaching tide,  happy just to be there, and wondering where the birds are.  Sure there were a few species of gulls – but no shorebirds, no phalaropes, no plovers and no sign of any sandpipers.  But worst of all , there were no sounds of children playing!    While making my way back to my car, ever looking for a piece of beach glass I noticed the litter.  Empty plastic cups, cigarette buts. Well makes me sad… mad… frustrated.  Even if the place is not longer a public place, I cannot imagine why anyone would think it is ok to leave their trash behind!  People!.    

So, back to the parking lot for a few last photos. I wanted to soak in the sounds and the scents of the beach.  The din was shattered! Jeepers, I heard a shotgun blast from the woods across the street – very close across the street.  Made me nervous enough to think it was time to bid farewell to the ever beautiful Micpec Beach and head for home. On the way to my car, the second holy crap kerpow sounded.  Well I left rather quickly.  The shots added to the all too intense sense of isolation. (So my friend Susan just let me know this is actually a police shooting range – phew)

So, at home I decided to Google the fate of the beach.  This is a link to a story in the Telegraph Journal  and this is a link to the save Mispec Beach Facebook page.  I just asked to join this  page – I hope you will also!

Plein Air painting – Bloomin Artists in Hampton this past weekend

25 Jul
Bloomin Artists
Pretty Potted Petunias
Smiling Sundrops
What a wonderful weekend!  

Painting plein air in beautiful gardens in Hampton.  Wonderful gardeners, mingling with artists and no appreciable amount of rain.

As artists, we are normally working solitary.  When we have a change to participate in events like this, we get to mingle and catch up and view the work that was produced.  Certainly gets my creative juices flowing.
Garden Tigers
I produced five paintings over the course of the two days,  A few are shared below – I forgot to photograph the honeysuckle vine.  On Saturday, the humidity was very high.  The excess moisture caused some softening or blurring of details while working with watercolor.  On Sunday, other than the threat of rain the main hazards were the blood thirsty midges.  You know, the little black flies that will even fly into your eyes and up your nose. Nasty beasties.  Distracting.  Irritating and annoying.
Sit a Spell
Ah, plein air painting.  I love it. And all for a good cause.

Artists-by-the-Sea, St.Andrew’s NB, 2011 in support of Hospice, Charlotte County

12 Jul
Gonna Rain?
King of the Commons
unfinished – have photo to complete it
This was one to write home about.  In spite of the torrential rain dropping 50mls of water in the area on Saturday, we were still able to produce paintings.  A few of us were able to hunker down on the verandah of the Algonquin.  Fortunately, I had the where with all to grab some photos that I had of the St. Andrew’s area from last years event.  I know the whole point of painting plein air is painting what you see outside in front of you – but heavy rain is heavy rain and I opted for the photo route.  
Tide Going Out
Will touch up the little house
During the course of the day, Alma Campbell and I each completed three paintings.  John Colwell was a machine and completed a number of his whimsical acrylic florals with that thick delicious paint.  And it was wonderful to connect with Morag Walsh as well.  She managed to get a few plein air pieces done and completed a few more as well.  The company was wonderful.  Overall a really good day.  
Did I mention the skies parted and the sun came out about 4:00 as we were wrapping up for the day? 
Obviously from a photo
Standing Tall and Proud
Sunday was a scortcher.  Hot humid and 32 degrees.  Complete opposite of the previous day.  We were painting down on the wharf.  Donned sunglasses, sunbrella (neat word – wonderful tool), slathered sunscreen, downed tons of water and decided our next painting would have to be painted in the shade!  Unbelievable, we are so accustomed to foul weather that we cannot tolerate a lot of humidity and heat.
Spent the afternoon on the St. Andrew’s Commons – under a tree. Ahhhh!  

Artists-By-the-Sea, St. Andrews

4 Jul
Wondering About Supper

Weather Uncertain

 July 9th & 10th, 2011

Could Clear up – Could Rain
The annual fundraiser for Hospice Charlotte County takes place this coming weekend.  

In addition to offering the Plein Air paintings that artists complete around St Andrews during the event, the organizers have requested that artists bring along some small works with them – to kick start the silent auction process.   I have been very busy this holiday long weekend getting ready.  
Lone Sentinel
Coming In or Going Out
These are a number of the small paintings (5″x7″ matted to 8″ x 10″) I that I completed for this event.  Hope to see you there!

Plein Air painting in PEI

3 Aug
.August 1st in PEI
Such a beautiful day. Hot, humid and under threat of rain.  And so, I set up my waterclours.  These are scenes from Howe Point looking at Durell Point.  I seem to be developing the habit of painting outside on days like this.  The humidity causes the paint to act up – makes it difficult to get a clean line and the colours seem to dissipate into the paper more and fade out.  Frustrating.  But I seem to be getting good at painting in these conditions.  My philosophy is to seize the moment.  If opportunity presents itself then I just have to go with it.  The first painting is when the rain was threatening.  The second painting you can see the rain approaching.  I had to back under the eaves of the cottage to complete it.

Plein Air painting with my daughter Jenn

25 Jul
We braved the sun and heat and took the watercolours outside.  The first painting I did (8 x 10) is a little stiff – takes awhile to get the cob webs out when you paint outside.  The second painting of one of our grapevines  is a little larger and more free, so I feel more more satisfied with the results.  A freer style as we were racing with a rain shower. Raing and work on paper – well really mix.  On damp days like this was, it is difficult to get crisp lines

Painting in St Andrew’s this weekend – Artists-by-the-Sea, July 10th & 11th

9 Jul
So this delicious fella was the guest of honour at our Farther’s Day Dinner earlier this year.  We cooked up quite a batch – and I photographed every stage.  I see the next series of paintings to follow.  I said red – gotta see see some other colour than lilac for a few days!  Artist’s by the Sea have asked us to bring with us a few small pieces to get the auction started while we are all out painting in the community.  So, this is one of my small pieces to get tthe day started.
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