Friday, 28 September 2018

Trip to Kamouraska - Part 2


Blog 39

Every day, we have to make a decision about our destination when painting. By now, we have enough experience to know that it is best to stay in one spot, because once you pack up your gear and drive around looking for another painting spot, you lose a lot of time. Therefore, we try to find a picturesque spot that offers many painting possibilities. This is also helpful as we all create at a different speed. The size of the canvas or board certainly plays a role in this but so does the painting style. Some of us are rather fast while others take their time to capture their impression.

Following is the second part of my travelogue for this year’s trip to Kamouraska:

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Baby Bateau, oil, 8” x 10”

Before I tell you about today’s gorgeous day, I will quickly summarize yesterday’s activities. After I wrote my blog, I finished the painting of “Baby Bateau”, that I had started in 2011. While eating lunch, I discovered some issues with my paintings from the previous days and fixed what bothered me. 

Église Saint-Louis de Kamouraska, oil, 14" x 11"
After lunch, I started my work on another 2011 painting of some of the Kamouraska houses and the Église Saint-Louis de Kamouraska, seen from Rue Saint Louis that I finished after getting groceries and eating ice cream at “La Fée Gourmande” with Janis and Helene. Helene was Tuesday’s chef and served us lasagne and salad, followed by flan cake with custard, jam, and whipping cream.

Beautiful Weeds, oil, 5" x 7"
When we woke up this morning, we could hardly see anything through the dense fog. After it lifted, we all went to L'Islet-sur-Mer where some of our group had seen an old mill next to a stunning waterfall. Unfortunately, it turned out that the only spot from which you had a great view was from a bridge on highway Route 132, which was definitely not a safe spot to set up our equipment. We were quite disappointed, especially because we had to drive about 45 minutes from Kamouraska to get to L'Islet. Instead we spent a couple of hours painting at the side of the “Chemin du Moulin”. At the beginning, I did not really feel inspired (and I feel it shows in my painting) but I still painted a small section of the St. Lawrence River panorama that extended in front of us. After lunch, I created another painting of a fascinating wildflower that I discovered on the beach. Both oil paintings are only 5” x 7”.

Later in the afternoon, we went to “L'ange de Glaces” where we could have picked “Le Choix du King”, but were very happy with a well-deserved ice cream. Next, we visited the “Parc Havre du Souvenir”, from which you had a terrific view of the rock formations of the St Lawrence River at low tide.

As Janis had injured herself while climbing down to the beach, we decided to head back to the house. As it was still so beautiful outside but I did not feel like unpacking all my gear again, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the garden sketching a couple of wild roses with my watercolour pencils.

At suppertime, Marje served delicious fajitas with chicken and vegetables followed by date squares. Tomorrow, it is my turn to cook; therefore, my painting day will be cut short. As everyone before me, I can hardly wait to put this responsibility finally behind me.

I you enjoyed my travelogue and would like to see more more photos, please go to my Facebook page where I will post photos of this year’s trip in my “Photo of the Day” post for the rest of the month. Next week, I will continue with the third part of my travelogue.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Trip to Kamouraska - Part 1


Blog 38

September 11, 2018

This is already the third painting day in Kamouraska. Today is a rainy day, and so it is a perfect day to write my blog before working on some older paintings indoors.

I drove up in a convoy with my friends Janis on Saturday, with the car packed heavily. You need a lot of stuff for a one week painting trip. We were the second ones to arrive, and it was lovely to see and to greet everyone. After the long ride, we enjoyed sitting in rocking chairs in the covered veranda for happy hour while watching the breathtaking sunset. Later, Sharon served a delicious dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. The final course was mango with ice cream and chocolate sauce. As you can see, our trips are not only about the painting but also about spending time with friends, enjoying delicious meals, and not having to think about chores and responsibilities. Even the cleanups after our meals are filled with chatter and lots of laughs.

On Sunday, there was hardly any wind, which is uncommon near the river. We all decided to stay at Avenue LeBlanc and to set up right across from the house. The tide was out, and we were fascinated by the two boats sitting on the sand. 

Grounded, 8" x 10", oil

After lunch, we were ready to stay in the house sitting in our rocking chairs. However, it was too lovely to stay inside. We drove around a little bit in town but then set up another time at Avenue LeBlanc, just metres away from the first spot. By this time the tide was coming in again. Therefore the scene looked totally different.

An Afternoon in Kamouraska, acrylic, unfinished

At night, Janis spoiled us with pork loin, couscous with fruit, and salad followed by her blueberry grunt that we love so much that we enjoy eating it every year.

“Havre du Quai”

Yesterday, it was another windless day. When I was heading out with Janis and Marje, I mentioned that it would be the perfect day for St-Roch-des-Aulnaies. As it turned out that was exactly what Janis and Marje had also in mind. We painted at the “Havre du Quai”, a nice park overlooking the river, with great views all around. Often, it is so windy that you cannot paint there, but yesterday it was almost windless for most of the day. It was even warmer than on Sunday.

Rocky Shores, St-Roch-des-Aulnaies, 8" x 10", oil

We stayed the whole day, and I created three paintings. When we left around 4pm, I was exhausted and had a headache. Really concentrating and observing your surroundings for the whole day is demanding. If you add the fresh air, you can imagine how tired I was. I could have gone to bed at 6pm, which is very uncharacteristically for a night owl like me. Instead, I changed and took a walk along the river.

Horseshoe of Rocks, 8" x 10", oil

Bill served us Shepherd’s pie and coleslaw for dinner, followed by an assortment of strudels from the local bakery with vanilla ice cream. To keep us all awake, Sharon entertained us with with the origin of some famous sayings. We laughed so hard that our bellies were hurting.

I hope you enjoyed the first part of my travelogue. If you would like to see more photos, please go to my Facebook page where I will post photos of this year’s trip in my “Photo of the Day” post for the rest of the month. Next week, I will continue with the second part of my travelogue.

The Red Tree, acrylic, 8" x 10"
If you would like to learn how to paint a fall landscape, I would like to invite you to my workshop “Painting a Symbol of the Canadian Autumn”. We will study A. Y. Jackson’s painting “Red Maple” and create our own 16" x 20" painting. No experience is necessary. All materials are included in the registration fee of $35. Please register by September 24, 2018 at 6pm by sending an e-transfer to

Friday, 14 September 2018

Painting the Same Scene

Kamouraska, Acrylic, 24" x 18"

Blog 37

When this week’s blog is published, I am at the end of my painting trip in the Kamouraska region. When I was sitting down to write this blog, I realized that this is the ninth time that I go together with the group. Four of our group of six or seven artists have been the same over the years. Others had to miss out due to illness and other responsibilities. Some of you might wonder why we continue to go to the same place year after year. It is not just that the members of the group get along so well or that the house is just perfect for our group, but rather we are drawn back to the ever changing landscape along the St. Lawrence River.

It is fascinating to discover the area again every year. Sure, there are some favourite spots that we have painted a couple of times, but the scene and the paintings never look the same. The light changes not only depending on the time of day but also dramatically depending on the weather. For the St. Lawrence River, the changes of the tides give you very different views of a certain area. An area that might have been inaccessible during high tide might provide a fascinating view at low tide. However, it is crucial to watch the incoming tide as the water moves in quickly, and you want to be able to make it back to shore in time.
Painting a scene for a second time is similar to watching a movie for a second time; suddenly you see something you missed during the first time. You concentrate on certain aspects because you already know the plot. You are attracted to different aspects of the scene. Painting en plein air certainly heightens your observation skills and forces you to make a decision with regard to the moment that you want to capture, because your view changes constantly. If you want to keep up with the changes, you either have to be extremely fast or satisfied to capture a certain moment. Otherwise, you would constantly change the composition and colours on your canvas.

I hope you enjoy the variety of works from past trips:

I will have lots of new for you next week.

If you would like the art of the Group of the Seven, I offer the following workshop on September 28, 2018, 2pm - 4pm at 1270 Kinsella Drive, Cumberland, ON, K4C 1A9:

Painting a Symbol of the Canadian Autumn
We will study A. Y. Jackson’s painting “Red Maple” and create our own 16" x 20" fall landscape painting inspired by his painting. No experience is necessary. All materials are included in the registration fee of $35. Please register by September 24, 2018 at 6pm by sending an e-transfer to Please do not hesitate to contact me, if you would like more information for this workshop or have any other art related questions. To see a full list of my fall workshops and courses, please go to

Friday, 7 September 2018

Creating en plein air

Blog 36

When you read this blog, I am getting ready for my painting trip to the Kamouraska region. I will be away from September 8 - 15, 2018 for a week of uninterrupted painting time with some of my painting buddies. After my return, I will hopefully have lots of new material to share with you.

I am slowly getting back in the rhythm of painting. I continued with the tree painting from my workshop in May. However, I hit a roadblock and have to let the painting sit for a while before I will continue. I don't like the red leaves in the foreground. I am debating whether I should add more roots and leave the leaves out.

During a painting demonstration at Da Artisti Studio & Gallery last Saturday, I spent more than three hours painting a scene from our trip from Toronto to Vancouver in 1995. It is the first painting in a row to accompany my journal entries from the time. Unfortunately, during the trip, I was not in the habit of taking a sketchbook along. While I have two photos that show me painting during that trip, I was not able to find any sketches. Once I have created enough artworks to accompany my stories, I plan to put the travelogue and the paintings together in a book.

Nowadays, I have a sketch pad with me in my purse all the time. There are so many occasions where my little sketch pad has helped me to bridge some waiting time or to capture a certain moment. This summer, I also took every chance I had to spend time painting or sketching with some artist friends in the vicinity of our houses. You do not have to travel far to find interesting spots. If you are in the right mood, you can find something to draw or paint right in your house or backyard. The problem is that we are often too ambitious and look for the perfect spot instead of finding pleasure in the little things around us, like a beautiful flower, an interesting tree trunk, or a piece of fruit on a plate. I hope you will grab your equipment of choice and study the world around you.

If you would like some help, I offer a drawing beginner drawing course at François Dupuis Recreation Centre starting on September 17, 2018. As soon as I have my fall work schedule, I will also offer additional workshops from my studio. If you would like to receive information about my upcoming courses, workshops, and exhibitions, I encourage you to go to my website to subscribe to my monthly newsletter or you can find the information on my website at