Friday, 28 April 2017

Plein Air Ensemble Spring 2017 Painting Trip to Orford - Part 4

North Hatley

Blog 17

This is the fourth and last part of my travelogue of the Plein Air Ensemble spring trip to Orford-Magog from March 31 to April 4, 2017. Following is my travelogue:

Monday, April 3, 2017

We woke up to sunshine, which was the best weather possible. It was still quite cold in the morning, colder than the previous days, nonetheless we were on the road early. It was actually nice that the ground was frozen – less of a muddy ride.

We headed towards North Hatley on the Chemin des Cantons. Some of the group had gone the day before and were quite intrigued. Therefore, it was no surprise that we saw a whole caravan of cars with well-known faces coming towards us once we got out at the town centre. The town was very charming, but we did not get inspired to paint. Instead, Janis and I went to a little antique store to buy some gifts for our family at home.

We continued our drive towards Massawippi. On our way we saw many groups of deer. One was so brave that we could take a close-up shot. 

Just before the town we turned into the Chemin du Lac where we set up in the bright sunshine to paint a part of Lac Massawippi and the surrounding mountains. 

In the afternoon, we drove up the Chemin North in Hatley, then missed our turn to North Hatley. We continued our drive on the 143 and suddenly saw a sign for another covered bridge. It said the bridge was barred but we still kept on going and found a great spot to paint. However, once we had started we wondered what we were thinking. The composition was extremely difficult. We were joking that it must have been the magic bean salad that had us made so daring. At the end, both Janis and I went away with a painting that was not too bad.

Beppo, wool, 10" x 12"
Again, we just made it in time for happy hour – this time with a fresh baguette. We had our “Show and Tell”, the competition for the most creatively decorated name tag and another wonderful evening of music which encouraged many to sing alone. Some of us played card games. I finished my felted artwork of the dachshund Beppo.

my paintings of the trips - some still need some work
It was wonderful to see that everyone had a great time. Some beautiful art was created and friendships renewed. I am looking forward to the next trip which will be organized by a new team as Hélène and I are too busy with other engagements to keep looking for new venues and organizing the trips. Luckily, one of the couples in the group is taking on this job. I enjoyed the experiences of the work as an organizer, but it will also be nice to go there the next time without any obligations, just to enjoy the painting and the companionship.

Thank you for following my travelogue. I hope you enjoyed the ride. The Orford-Magog area is definitely a place that I can recommend for a trip in any season. “Music Orford” was a great venue. I am sure the group will go back at some time, maybe for one of the fall trips as the area must also look very nice with the fall colours. If you would like more information about “Orford Music”, please go to their website

Friday, 21 April 2017

Plein Air Ensemble Spring 2017 Painting Trip to Orford - Part 3

Blog 16

This is the third part of my travelogue of the Plein Air Ensemble spring trip to Orford-Magog from March 31 to April 4, 2017. Following is my travelogue:

Sunday, April 2, 2017

We were happy to see that the snow had stopped overnight. However, due to the snowfall, it was very hard to find spots where we could set up our equipment and paint safely. Janis and I decided to go back to the Narrow Bridge in Fitch Bay because we feared that the warmer weather would soon cause the rest of the ice on the river to thaw which would take away part of the charm of this winter scene. A couple of our fellow artists followed us.

While the others left around lunch time because they needed to warm up, we stayed a little longer. I was quite comfortable which might have had something to do with the fact that I wore heated socks. I did not really feel the heat, but my feet were not frozen. Janis even had enough time to finish a second painting. By the time we left in the early afternoon, the sun had come out and it was wonderful to soak in the sunshine.

We tried a second time to get to the quay in Georgeville but missed the small one-way street again. So we had to take a little detour to make it back. While the view was beautiful and we could see the monastery in St-Benoit-du-Lac, it was too vast an area to give a justice in a painting. We took some pictures then went up the Chemin de Lagoon Point. From there you could see the beautiful scenery through the rows of trees. It was breathtaking but again nothing you can capture in a painting. We saw a couple of deer that did not seem to worry at all about the passing car.

We were already on our way back down the road when we saw the beautiful barn on the Chemin d'Elephant that is now a gallery. We followed the road and we were just absorbing the beautiful landscape shining in the sun. When we returned to the barn, the light was just right to make the scene really inspiring. We did not have much time, but we could not pass this opportunity. At the end, we did not even have time to buy a baguette. We arrived at the house basically minutes before the start of the happy hour, setting everything up before we hurried to get changed.

In the evening, we watch a couple of clips of Robert Birch before our great musicians jammed for us. Some of us took the chance to practice their drawing skills. It was just a wonderful evening.

To read the last part of my travelogue please return to my blog next Friday. If you know think anyone in your circle of friends and family members would enjoy my blog, please forward it. Thank you for helping me to increase my audience.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Plein Air Ensemble Spring 2017 Trip to Orford - Part 2

Blog 15

This is the second part of my travelogue of the Plein Air Ensemble spring trip to Orford-Magog from March 31 to April 4, 2017. While Janis and I had already arrived a day early to get organized and were able to paint on the Friday, the rest of the group had their first painting day on Saturday. The following is my travelogue:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Unfortunately, it was no April Fools' Day joke. We woke up to heavy snowfall. As there was no way to paint outside, Janis and I drove around to check out possible spots to paint, hoping that it would stop snowing at some point. We started out on the Route 141 towards Ayer's Cliff, then continued to Stanstead, Rock Island, where the border to the US was in the middle of the town, Beebe Plain and then the Route 247 up again, passing through Fitch Bay.

We stopped in Fitch Bay to look at the Narrow Bridge, a covered bridge with a beautiful view onto the partially thawed water. However, you could only guess the background as the mountains in the background were almost invisible in the mix of fog and snow. While we were taking photos, a pair of Canada Geese were swimming in the water and an otter stuck his head out of the water. Unfortunately, the sides of the bridge were totally closed and the inside of the bridge too dark to paint from there.

After a look at the Witch's House we continued our drive to Georgeville, a small town which we missed because there is only one small one-way street through the town centre.

The landscape was absolutely gorgeous, even though everything was white and visibility diminished continuously. The tree branches were hanging down from the weight of the heavy snow. Driving was difficult at times and we were glad that Janis' car had four wheel drive.

We had to accept that we would have to paint indoors if we wanted to paint at all. Reluctantly, we dragged our equipment into the meeting room. Janis painted the beautiful flower bouquet of daffodils and iris she had brought, while I decided to do a sketch of the woods around us.

When it stopped snowing around 3pm, we went to the entrance of “Orford Music” terrain and painted the pond with Mont Orford in the back. We met our friend Bob there who was already busy creating watercolour sketches. We did not get far before the snow picked up again and forced us to head back inside. We would not have had much more time anyway because Janis and I had to prepare the happy hour.

In the evening we enjoyed a wonderful chilli – very appropriate for the wintery day. We finished the day with a game of Trivial Pursuit Art, a version that our friend Helene had prepared investing a lot of time with questions to art history, painting techniques, and art theory, as well as photos of paintings from Canadian artists, the Group of Seven, and international artists. We were laughing a lot, especially trying to figure out the Canadian artists which also included paintings of members of the Plein Air Ensemble. We all realized that we should visit the National Gallery more often to study especially the international artists.

To read the third part of my travelogue please return to my blog next Friday. If you know think anyone in your circle of friends and family members would enjoy my blog, please forward it. Thank you for helping me to increase my audience.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Plein Air Ensemble Spring 2017 Trip to Orford, Quebec - Part 1

Blog 14

When I wrote this blog, I was in Orford, Quebec, for this year's spring Plein Air Ensemble trip.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Janis and I arrived in the late afternoon at “Orford Music” after a good drive. The sun was shining from the sky and it was really warm in the car. Outside, the landscape changed too. At some point I realized that there was hardly any snow left. Here in Orford, the ground is still covered with snow but definitely less than in Ottawa. However, the snow system that will hit Ottawa tomorrow, will also come to this area with about 10 cm of snow from Friday evening to Saturday evening.

After we arrived, we got the groceries and had a nice dinner in a pizzeria with a wood burning oven. Now, we are enjoying the quietness of the our house at “Orford Music”. The centre is in surrounded by trees, paths and a small lake. Right now, Janis and I are the only guests of the centre. This will change tomorrow, when the rest of our group as well as another group will arrive. We will have a great time because our group has one of the buildings all to itself. The rooms are basic but comfortable, and we have a big kitchen and a huge meeting room to paint and host our happy hours and evening activities. Fantastic!

Friday, March 31, 2017

When we woke up the sun was shining beautifully but was already hiding behind clouds after breakfast. The lack of sun made everything look rather flat. We decided to check out the Marais de la Rivière aux Cerises, a marsh in downtown Magog offering 6 km of year-round trails that lead through a range of ecosystems. Due to the milder weather, the paths were very muddy but the bog walk was dry and a perfect spot to create our first painting of the trip. We were facing the Mont Orford. For a while the sun even looked through the clouds again, but soon the wind picked up and you could really feel that snow was on its way.

The snow held off until the late evening. By then, we had already greeted the group of painters and enjoyed a nice meal at bistro of “Orford Music”. It is always nice to see each other after half a year. There is always lots to catch up on.
After dinner some of us played cards, others chatted away while we listened to our musical members play jazz and blues. It is always lovely to have them provide entertainment for all of us.

Where we are going tomorrow depends on the snow. If it is really snowing the whole day, we will have no other choice but to paint indoors – either from inside our cars or from the meeting room, but maybe we will find out that the 10 cm of snowfall forecasted were only an April Fools' Day joke.

To read the next part of my travelogue please return to my blog next Friday. If you know think anyone in your circle of friends and family members would enjoy my blog, please forward it. Thank you for helping me to increase my audience.