I have painted plein air at this location a few times now and every time it’s so different. The level of the water and the direction of flow of the tide …the colour of the water …and the sky, the quality of the light – so much can change by season and by time of day. Of course things are changing even during the time it takes to create a small painting. On this day, the tide was coming in quite quickly but I mostly kept the original water level. I loved the colours in the shallows and on the wet sand.
Back in April, Elsa Bluethner and I gave a workshop on plein air painting at a local festival. It took the form of information sharing especially about approach and equipment and then we each did a demo. Mine looked towards the south showing a pretty gate to a community garden. This spring has been very cool and things are taking a long time to bloom. The small fruit tree in the foreground was just trying to start opening its buds.
Despite the cool grey day, everyone seemed to enjoy the event. I think we may be starting up a plein air club soon …as soon as it finally warms up!
I went out plein air painting with an artist friend early in April to a protected bay on our coast. Lucky us that’s only about a 15 minute drive. There were a few boats moored here but I decided to focus on the fleeting sky and cloud structure and the effect of that on the water. Especially happy with the sky!
I didn’t want to start another 8×10 but my friend was still painting and had a 6×8 linen panel she was willing to give me to try. So here’s the second painting of the afternoon looking another direction. We were getting rather chilled so I ended up tweaking this one back in the studio.
Once again, I decided to focus on the natural aspects of the scene – the lengthening shadows and new green of the spring trees while mostly ignoring any man made structures.
First plein air painting of the year. It was a lovely day to spend an afternoon outdoors painting. For a change I went with another painter friend which was pleasant and interesting. I paint quickly but she paints even faster – very useful when the light keeps changing. She did two paintings the same size as mine in the time I did one – and yes, beautiful work. Check out Elsa Bluethner’s website!
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!
Another of this summer’s plein air paintings …and another beautiful sunny day but I was able to stand in the shade while painting this time. As I was painting, the water was rising and the small puddles gradually joined together. I just had to decide on a moment and stick with that. So I picked a moment when the great blue heron was fishing on the flats.
In this setup photo I have just finished the under painting and cleaned up my palette before starting to mix paint for the next layer.
What a lovely day that was! I feel so very fortunate to be able to spend time in this beautiful place celebrating it with my brush.
This is another of my plein air from this past summer. It was August and although the “heat dome” had passed, it was still very warm that day. So the title reflects the time of year and the heat as well as the wonderful red-orange of the cascading crocosmia. This view could only be painted while I was standing in the direct sunshine so I had to take breaks in the shade every 15 or 20 minutes. Well worth the experience …and I can still feel the heat when I look at this one.
About a week after my first visit to Nola’s pond, I had the chance to go back and focus on the now blooming waterlilies. What a treat. There is something about painting waterlilies …I guess Monet was onto something!
Another lovely day in late June spent painting a garden. I was so pleased to be able to create this piece which ended up having quite a personal resonance for the owner.
And here is the setup in the strong sunshine we had that day.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy my plein air set up? It’s a Coulter Easel, and I have been using it for a couple of years now both for plein air and often (at least for smaller paintings) in the studio too. It is compact and very ergonomic with the palette and painting held at the perfect heights for working …and in cases like this with sloped ground, it is very easy to adjust a leg of the tripod to compensate for the terrain.
Another friend/neighbour invited me to paint their lovely garden. I really enjoyed the pond here! A chance to get into the shadows and reflections in the pond as well as the varied planting around (and in) it. In June, the irises were still blooming and the waterlilies were just starting to show some colour.