Sunday, September 9, 2007

Plein Air Painting

September! My favourite time of year for some plein air painting. This is a term introduced by the French Impressionists who broke away from their studios to paint outdoors! Imagine - the nerve of those guys to break away from established rules of painting in your srtudio. The reason I love to paint outdoors this month is because of the light. During June, July and much of August, painting during the middle of the day(when it's warmest and comfortable to sit quietly for hours) gave you a sun directly overhead and very few shadows. Light and shade is what make landscapes come alive, so painting is limited to early morning and evening for interesting shadows. During September you get those beautiful long shadows all day long and the weather is still comfortable to sit out there. Usually it's not as rainy either, which is nice. October brings the autumn colours but you better take along some warm clothing! Al in all, we are in for some exciting outdoor painting during the next couple of months. Time to gather sketches and ideas for some winter studio painting. This was the usual routine of The Group of Seven: out to Algonquin Park or Great Lakes country to get some autumn material for their winter studio painting. A.Y. Jackson, one of the group, rarely painted in the summer as he quite disliked green! But we must give the hardy old boy his due because he often sat out in the snow drifts and painted during the winter. So, painters, let's take a lesson from The Group, grab your paints and get out there!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hazy but not Lazy

Hi, folks. Don't give up on my blogging just yet. I intend to get on this blog more frequently and my intentions are honourable! WE ARE BUSY with our gallery. The summer of 2006 showed a decrease in tourism of 40% on North Island, probably due to the sinking of the Queen of the North, the very popular cruise between here and Prince Rupert. This summer the visitors seem to be making up for it and showing up in unprecedented numbers. Today, a Sunday, was a good example - from 9 a.m. to after 6 p.m there was always somebody in the gallery! Often the parking lot was full of cars. It is wonderful visiting with everyone. The nicest people in the world walk through the door; everyone is in a good mood. They are on holidays and are interested in ART! They come from all over the globe but we are getting more visitors from B.C. than usual. I believe they have finally discovered the incredible beauty and tranquility of North Island.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Our gallery here in Nimpkish Heights becomes more busy as summer gets closer, with visitors from all over the world. It's only June and the Brits and the Germans seem to be here in full force. It is great fun visiting with them all. The nicest people in the world walk through our doors for when people are on holidays they are in a good mood and tuned in to having a good time.
As the weather warms, the great outdoors calls me to paint "en plein air" and I do a lot of pen and wash sketches that I often use to create larger paintings in the studio, but everyone, in order to stay healthy, must get some exercise, so we do most of our own gardening, keeping flower beds and an acre of lawn in some semblance of order. This time of year you can watch the grass grow and mowing is my main activity, while my wife, Ann, plants and tends to the flowers. We buy our hanging baskets each year from Carter's Hanging Baskets in Nanoose. This is their specialty and our baskets bloom from May to October! Here are some photos of what our yard looked like on June 18th.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Last week's "Odysseys"

Time flies!!! May 22nd to the 25th was 4 day workshop at the Fairgrounds in Saanich. A WIN WIN workshop- fun for me and fun, by all reports, for the "students". The end of May found me itching to do my "en plein air" thing and paint in the great outdoors of North Island. Where to go? Since there are hundreds of great places here, I usually decide to go where I have not painted for some time, mostly to see if there have been any changes.

Wednesday found me down a logging road that led to Ledge Point, a beautiful spot across the bay from Port McNeill, where I did a 12 x 16 in. oil on Canvas. While I was out someone had come into the gallery at home looking for something of Coal Harbour and found nothing. I had not painted there for nearly three years, so guess where I went on Thursday!

Coal Harbour was delightful as usual and I took my watercolours, ending up sitting on the old ramp on which they used to pull up whales and cut them up, during the old whaling days. From here I did a pen and wash sketch of the Government Wharf and some of the town. When you are out painting, there is often a side show that happens quite unexpectedly. On my way back home I saw a mother bear with three cubs, probably last years, since they stay with them for up to two years. Here is a quick photo of them.

On Friday I took some prints to hang in the office at Telegraph Cove and had a good chin wag with some of the staff, most of whom I've known for years. While I was there I did a pen and wash sketch of the business end of the Old Cove with Stubbs Island Charters and the New Bones Museum, as well as the Gikumi tied to the dock.

On Saturday, I went out, with my watercolours, to Hidden Cove to our old friends, Dan and Sandra Kirby's resort. I have had this picture in the back of my mind for years and decided now was the time to paint a view from deep within the bay and include Dan's sailboat, which has been anchored there for years, as well as the lodge. I haven't finished the 15 x 22 in. watercolour yet but it will be a toss-up where the centre of interest will be, the boat or the lodge!

Those were my odysseys this week. The rain has moved in now, which is a good time to finish off the paintings I started.