Friday, 16 October 2015

Plein Air Ensemble Fall 2015 Painting Trip, Part 2

Blog 41

This is part 2 of the travelogue about the Plein Air Ensemble trip to Lake Clear.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I woke up early today, just after 6am. When I looked out of the window, I saw one of the most beautiful sunrises. The sky was just pink over the blue water of Lake Clear. Unfortunately, now, an hour later the sun seems to have disappeared. As long as we do not get rain, I am happy. It has been very windy since we arrived and looking for painting spots does also include finding a sheltered area.

Today, Hélène and I plan to go to the other side of the lake where we hope we will be sheltered from the wind.

Yesterday, we had a great painting day. Hélène, Janis, and I drove towards Combermere where we stopped at the Crooked Slide Rapids. We painted the marsh in the morning - Janis and Helene from one side of the river and I from the other side. After having slept only one hour the night before, I needed some time alone. However, the scenery was just too beautiful to lounge about. I got busy and even started a second piece in the afternoon. While Janis and Hélène painted the rapids, I decided to concentrate on another view of the marsh.

We had to come back to the cottage early because Janis was only able to stay for three days and wanted to be home before it got dark.

Hélène and I went for a small walk to find the marsh close to the resort. We only found the smaller one which is beautiful but fully exposed to the wind. After a time of rest, we prepared the “Happy Hour” where everyone was indeed happy, not only because of the wine, but also because they all had a great painting day.

After dinner, we were treated to a presentation from Kathy about her father, who was friends with A. Y. Jackson and painted with him on several occasions. He spent most of his retirement in the Arctic and painted until his death at age 88. It was fascinating and wonderful to see some of his original paintings.

Let’s see what today will bring.

By now, it is past 10pm. Before I go to bed, I want to write down today’s adventures. Hélène and I decided to stay close to the cottage as we had already done a lot of driving the past two days. It was still windy, so finding shelter was still important. As the day was mostly cloudy, the colours were not as brilliant.

After checking out the area around Manning Road, where we saw two beautiful horses, but did not find anything else that attracted our interest, we went further to Wittke Road where we spent the day painting two sides of a marsh. This does not mean that the view and the crystal clear water of Clear Lake were not absolutely amazing, but it is difficult to describe it in words and hard to translate it into an exciting painting.

We took our time for the first painting. Usually, Janis is the one who is finished pretty fast. Without her the two of us lost completely track of time. As it was already around 2 pm when we had lunch, we did not bother moving to another spot. We found out later from a passing driver that we were watched by a deer for quite a while. This is something different for a change. Hélène and I were so engaged in our painting that we did not even notice.

Back at the cottage, we put everything together for “Happy Hour”, then decided to rest for ten minutes. What can I say, we almost missed it. Hélène fell asleep and I was reading and not watching the time. I was close to falling asleep as well when suddenly my phone beeped. I am sure the others would have been not so happy if we two organizers had not appeared with the wine and cheese.

We were able to welcome one last participant who could only arrive today and who found the missing purse that was never left at a gas station in Ottawa but fell under one of the beds in the cottage. If only we had known...

On the down side, a new participant decided to go home without informing either Hélène or myself. We all were very welcoming to her but “plein air” painting is not for everyone. Even though we are very lucky to have had dry and mostly sunny weather, it has been cold. The wind has been strong for the past couple of days, which certainly is a challenge. I am glad for my snow pants, winter coat, wool socks and gloves.

After another delicious dinner (squash soup and vegetable or Caesar wraps), we had our game night with an art infused Trivial Pursuit. The game guarantees always lots of laughter and seems to be a crowd pleaser as almost all of the artists participated. One of the categories is “Canadian Painters including our Plein Air Ensemble painters”. Tonight, two of the picked images showed paintings of mine. It was not easy to keep a straight face. I was just glad that the comments were all very positive.

Despite the strong groups, we had a clear winning team at the end. I am sure we all also learned a thing or two about art history, materials, and techniques.

It would be nice if the weather cooperated tomorrow as well. It would be one of the few trips without snow, rain, heavy fog, extreme wind or arctic temperatures. We often experienced a combination of some of the weather challenges. It certainly would be my first dry trip.


To find out if the weather continued to cooperate and what we experienced the last two days please return to my blog next Friday for the final part of this travelogue.

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