Friday, 6 November 2015

November Paintings

Ottawa River, Rockland

Blog 44

We are already at the end of the first week of November and the weather of the last couple of days was just spectacular. When I made the schedule for 2015, I had planned to write about a different painting for this week, a painting that is part of my “Winter Wonderland” exhibition which I will hang this afternoon at Tyros Shawarma Lebanese Restaurant at 5929 Jeanne d'Arc Boulevard South, Orléans, ON K1C 6V8. The exhibition runs until January 8, 2016.

However, the warm temperatures reminded me of November 12, 2012 when I spent a very mild late fall day in Rockland with some of my painting buddies. From the grounds of the retirement residence Jardins de Belle Rive, we painted the beautiful view of the Ottawa River. I worked on the 14” x 18” oil painting “Ottawa River Islands” and the 11” x 14”oil painting “Ottawa River, Rockland”.

Ottawa River Islands

When I started painting “en plein air”, I took every opportunity to paint outside, especially when we were on painting trips. My friend Janis and I went outside even if the temperatures dipped below 20 degrees Celsius. Nowadays, I am not going outside anymore when the temperatures are below -15 degrees, even if it is one of the brightest and most beautiful winter days.

As I drive my daughter to dance school to Rockland most of the year, I pass the little islands in the Ottawa River regularly. It is one of the places where you can see some of the most magnificent sunsets. I always wanted to paint those little islands, and on that mild November day in 2012, I finally got a chance. We all were really excited because we do not get out too often in the late fall and winter months.

In November, the landscape often starts to look rather monochrome and sad after the last leaves have fallen and before the snow puts a crisp white blanket over the land. The rainy and grey days do not help to lift the mood. On the day we were painting, however, the sun brought out the warm golden reds and ochres of the vegetation on the islands and the purple of the distant Gatineau Hills on the other side of the river make them seem even brighter.

Unfortunately, I was not able to paint outside this week but I am glad I created those two paintings. They are so much more than just two paintings of the site I saw and always wanted to paint. They contain all the memories I have of that day. I would probably not have remembered this particularly mild November day otherwise. No matter whether my plein air paintings turn out successfully or not, every painting I created is like a journal entry. The ones that do not turn out the way I had hoped are a memory of the struggles I faced. Maybe, I was tired that day or my mind was not fully engaged in my painting process, maybe the cold or heat distracted me. The successful ones help me relive the glorious feelings I had on site.

Which means do you use to keep your memories alive? Do you enjoy filling scrapbooks with photos of precious moments or do you write down special moments in a diary? Do you collect souvenirs that remind you of a special day or place? I am sure there are many other ways to keep your memories alive. If you would like to share yours, please leave a comment.

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