Malaspina Galleries and Descano Bay – November

Malaspina Galleries (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

The best known tourist attraction on our small Gulf Island is called Malaspina Galleries. This natural sandstone formation dramatically creates an arched room open on the ocean side. You can see there are trees growing on the “roof” above. Some late season fine weather meant I was able to go out painting one afternoon in November with a friend. She had painted here many times before but it was a first for me. It was quite challenging to catch this quirky spot in a painting but I was quite pleased in the end.

Descano Bay – November (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

It was too nice to just head home after that first painting so we went to another spot nearby. Here, I really wanted to capture the sparkles in the water even though it was pretty blinding! I had to take a peek and then paint for a while then peek again. I was delighted when a family of three paddled into view and stayed around for long enough that I was able to add them to the piece. The canoe and people give a sense of scale and add movement to the scene.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer


Descano Bay, Fall

Descano Bay, Fall (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Another plein air painting that I did just before the weather changed to “real fall” and started raining most days. It was a hazy day though and I tried to capture both the aerial perspective of the further shore as well as the reflections, shadows and transparency of the water. The white structure is the ferry dock which locals would recognize.
Feeling deeply grateful to be able to spend time in this beautiful place trying to capture some of that beauty in paint.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Degnen Bay – October Sun

Degnen Bay – October Sun (6″ x 8″ oil on panel)

Catching the late afternoon light while out plein air painting recently. The weather was unseasonably sunny and the lovely slanting light and warm autumn colours made for a pleasant scene. Painting outdoors is one of the most enjoyable things to do – for me anyway – and on a day like this even more so.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Back Eddys View

Back Eddys View (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

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…

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

North Garden Path

North Garden Path (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

The second day I painted plein air at the festival, was overcast and rainy. The quality of light was completely different as a result. It was an interesting challenge. The above view was looking past the gate I painted the day before. This one was cropped in much closer to showcase some of the flowers and structures inside the community garden. It’s quite a charming place!

The Banjo Player (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

I decided to paint one last piece but started it just as the banjo player was finishing up his set. So it ended up rather sketchy/blocky but I rather like it. When I started there were people standing watching but I wasn’t fast enough to catch them. However, I did manage to catch the banjo player twice! The seated figure is also him as he was starting to pack up his instrument. 🙂

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Gabriola Cultivate Festival

Gabriola Cultivate Festival (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

I was invited along with some other artists to paint plein air at the Cultivate Festival here on Gabriola. This festival features theatre, music and art as well as having vendors of all sorts of crafts and food. I painted two afternoons and did four paintings. The above was the first one. I wanted to capture some of the energy of the event with people stopping to look at some of the booths and others chatting or listening to the live music. In the background are tall firs and cedars that surround The Commons.

The North Garden Gate (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

The second view I painted that afternoon was looking in the opposite direction at the gate to some of the community gardens. I really like the drama of the sunlit gate with the dark forest in the background beyond the garden.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Summer Glow and A Warm Light

Summer Glow (6″ x 8″ oil on panel)

I just got back a few days ago from being away for a couple of weeks. I was feeling a bit rusty and maybe even a little resistant to getting my oils out when a friend invited me to her place to plein air paint together. She has a lovely garden with a great variety of textures and colours so it was a lot of fun. I definitely feel back in the groove now! I did two little paintings. This first (above) was really loose and abstract inspired by the California lilacs and other shrubs.

A Warm Light (6″x 8″ oil on panel)

This second one was looking in another direction towards the orange door to her studio and the pots of flowers on the small deck in front. While I left the first one as it was, this one I tweaked in the studio slightly to enhance the dark/light contrast.

Which do you prefer??

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Twin Beaches – May

Twin Beaches – May (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

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.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

The Commons – Waiting to Bloom

The Commons – Waiting to Bloom (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

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!

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Degnen Bay Plein Air

Degnen Bay – Cold Spring Afternoon (8″x10″ oil on raised panel)

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.

Degnen Bay – Evening Light (6″ x 8″ oil on linen panel)

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.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer