Recently, I went out painting with a group my friend Elsa Bluethner and I started up – “Gabriola Plein Air Painters”. I did two paintings that day. This was the first, then we went for a quick swim, then another painting. What a lovely late summer afternoon!
This was the second painting looking towards the left of the first one and into the almost blinding sparkles on the water. I was pretty pleased with how I captured the feeling of the light in this one.
This painting was inspired by our recent trip to the Sunshine Coast. On the day we left (by sailboat) the mist and clouds had crept in, the rain was starting and the wind was picking up. The crossing of the strait ended up being quite uncomfortable! However, the view looking back up Jervis Inlet definitely made up for it. Photos really don’t do it justice. This is definitely a case where it is wonderful to be a painter instead of a photographer. I was able to paint it as I remembered the view with just some photographic reference. Although the colour palette might look fairly monochrome, there is a surprising range of colours in it.
We recently went on a trip to the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. It’s not so far from where we live but it was still very different and a real holiday. We stayed at a place near Egmont. This location allowed us to do a boat trip up Princess Louisa Inlet – which is gorgeous! – and to see the Skookumchuk narrows – which was fascinating. The tide there runs the second fastest in the world at up to 19 knots creating tidal falls and enormous whirlpools.
This view however, was painted plein air one evening just looking out from the cabin we rented. There will be more paintings inspired by this trip later…
I hadn’t painted a mini in a while and for some reason a banana slug seemed like a good idea! They are a distinctive creature that we have here on the West coast and while some may just find them slimey, I think they’re rather …well, actually beautiful with their varying shades of yellow, dark spots etc. This one is nicely contrasted with some soft green mosses.
A last plein air from this past summer. As you can see, another gorgeous day, sunny and a bit breezy out in the bay. This view takes in Entrance Island and the mainland to the east. In the foreground some of the curious and fascinating limestone formations that are a common sight here.
Here’s my setup with the under-painting layer already done. In the photograph it’s harder to see the island and distant mountains than was actually the case. You can get a good idea of the rolling limestone “dunes” with embedded limestone rocks though. I’ve been a bit intimidated about trying to capture these formations but I think it turned out quite well!
A sunny day back in the spring. I was perched rather precariously on a large rock with my setup. It doesn’t look too bad in the photo, you’ll just have to trust me on that! 😉
The sea looks different every time …and the scudding clouds and the distant mountains too. Looking at a plein air painting always takes me back to the feeling of being in that place at that time, with the feel of the breeze and the smell of the ocean. Looking at this I just remembered I was visited by sea lions while I was painting this one. If they had come much closer, I would have packed up but they stayed down on the rocks off to the right of the frame of this painting. It was pretty magical.
A pleasant day in late March. The local buffleheads were out – that’s a kind of black and white duck. Plein air painting can be such a wonderful way to connect with the world. Looking at a painting I have done in nature always takes me right back to that moment.
Tom wrote a haiku for this painting celebrating spring …and buffleheads!
bufflehead breezes wander down island narrows ruffling spring waters
Another plein air piece from July. There is a wonderful park along the ocean that I hope to paint many more times. The mood of the sky and water is different every time. This day, the tide was somewhat low showing shallow rocks extending out from shore. A leaning tree, some wave action and a calm sky complete the scene.
Tom wrote another haiku for this one encapsulating in words my memory of painting that afternoon.
somewhere to the south beyond warm summer mists passage to the sea
Wow – what a long beautiful summer evening that was! I painted this en plein air from the deck of our sailboat just a couple of days off the solstice. I thought I would get some wonderful sunset colours but I would have had to wait longer than I felt like. Anyway, the subtle tones are lovely too, I think.
Tom wrote a haiku with an appropriately Zen feeling for this one!
ten thousand years hence
this long summer evening light
will still be here now