Friday, 25 October 2019

Plein Air Ensemble Fall Painting Trip 2019 - Part 3

Blog 32

We are at the end of October and due to the Plein Air Painting trip, it was another productive month. Following is the last part of my travelogue and a special invitation at the end of the blog.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Camouflaged, acrylic, 5" x 7"

Slowly Falling Apart, acrylic, 7" x 5"
Despite the cloudy morning, we were determined to paint at the abandoned farm we had discovered the previous day. While we were painting, the sun came out, and it got so warm that I took off my winter coat. It was only a short treat! Soon the sun hid behind the clouds, and a cold wind made us feel quite chilly. There were so many beautiful sights to paint on the farm, that Hélène and I created two and Janis even three paintings.

In the early afternoon, we needed a break and drove to Chris Peltzer’s studio, which is on the same road as the Opeongo Mountain Resort. After sitting together for tea, she took us on a tour of her property that has access to Lake Clear. It was a beautiful walk through fields and treed areas. She does not even have to leave her property to find sights to paint, but maintaining such a big property is also a lot of  work. 

As Hélène and Janis did not want to paint anymore, I created another “Memory Painting”, similar to the previous one. This time, I used watercolours. It was interesting to experience the difference between the two mediums.

Instead of the regular Happy Hour, all participating artists showed their works from the trip. I love this mini-exhibition. As one of the artists was a photographer, he showed us a slideshow of a selection of the photos he had taken over the past couple of days. The beauty of these images was inspiring, but outside a feast for our eyes caught our attention. First, the evening sun created an amazing light show, putting the spotlight on the colourful mountains. Then, the breathtaking clouds and the sunset produced a beautiful reflection on the water. We could also see a straight rainbow on the other side of the lake. At the same time, a grey heron was fishing for food without paying attention to our presence. Beauty is everywhere if you keep your eyes open.

The last item on the agenda was the exchange of the “Memory Paintings”. As my name was picked very early, I was not only able to choose a beautiful watercolour painting of a farm, resembling the one that we had painted earlier, but also won a frame for the painting.

Dinner consisted of amazing zucchini zoodles in Alfredo sauce, salad, garlic bread, and ice cream. After the productive days, we all were happy. These were perfect days in the lives of artists, but now it is time to go back to our regular duties. Even though most of the members of the group are retired, everyday life requires us to deal with many ordinary chores. On the other hand, this is what makes the painting trips so special: the retreat into nature to do what we truly love, without interruptions, and in the company of friends.

This was my last painting trip of the year, but I hope to meet my painting buddies for some local painting outings in the upcoming weeks. October and part of November are often quite pleasant for outdoor painting.

If you would like to see my new paintings, please come to my 6th Annual Open House and Customer Appreciation Day on November 9, 2019, from 10 am to 3 pm. As a special thank you for your support, I would like to invite a small group for coffee/tea and cake at 3 pm. Please send me an email to, if you would like to attend the kaffeeklatsch. I will be able to accommodate up to 10 people for this free gathering.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Plein Air Ensemble Fall Painting Trip 2019 - Part 2

Blog 31

I hope you enjoyed the first part of my travelogue of the Plein Air Ensemble painting trip to Lake Clear. This time, I write about the second and third day of the trip.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Mirror Mirror..., acrylic, 7" x 5"
When we woke up the lake was cloaked in fog. Overnight, we had the first frost. After the fog lifted, a beautiful blue sky and sunshine appeared. There was not a single cloud in sight, but it was windy and even colder than on the previous day. We found the perfect marsh on Rosien Road. However, by lunchtime, we were all frozen.

We decided to go for a ride to Balaclava, where we admired the beautiful mill that is slowly falling apart. As there was no secure place to set up our easels, we continued to the Fourth Chute in Eganville. On the way, we stopped to take photos of three beautiful horses, a cute donkey, and several Highland cattle that were grazing together on one meadow. At the Fourth Chute, we did not stop for a long time, as it was clear that the beautiful sunshine was attracting a large number of visitors, which is not very appealing when you want to paint on location.

unfinished, acrylic, 8" x 10"
Instead, we returned to Buelow Road, where we finally painted Big Rock. It was still very windy, but in the sunshine, temperatures rose to 15 degrees. We had so much fun that we did not mind that we were late for Happy Hour, even though we missed part of the beautiful music of the multi-talented musicians of the group. A hearty vegetable pasta dish with salad, followed by ice cream gave us energy for the evening’s Jeopardy art game. One of the three groups won with a lead of more than 3000 points, winning half of the maximal points.

I still had enough energy to update the travelogue before continuing with my felted apple blossoms. What a great life of creativity!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sleeping Dragon, watercolour, 9" x 12"

The forecast showed a high probability of rain. The sky was dark grey when we woke up. Janis, Hélène and I stayed close to the cottage and decided to paint the dramatic sky and Lake Clear until the start of the rain. I picked up my watercolours for a quick sketch instead of bothering to get out all my painting equipment. However, the sky turned bluer and bluer. It did not take long until the sun came out. This changed the colours of the whole landscape, but it was so wonderful to soak up the sun.

Big Rock, acrylic, 8" x 10"

I went back to the cottage to get my acrylic paints and created another painting of Big Rock - this time from the other side. It was past 1 pm when the sky got very dark again. We had our lunch break and waited for the rain, but it stayed dry. Therefore, we headed out once again to Rosien Road. We stopped to take pictures of an abandoned barn before driving further up the road. We continued to Fire Tower Road, which became so rough that we decided to turn around.

unfinished, acrylic, 8" x 10"

Finally, Hélène and Janis painted a dirt road that was framed by beautifully coloured trees, and I set up in front of a big dark rock. We had assumed that it was a quiet road but many cars, an ATV and even a group of hikers passed us. It was almost 4:30 pm when the rain finally started. At first, I did not even notice it because I was so immersed in my painting. Back at the cottage, Hélène and I still spent some more time painting. As I had not thrown out my palette, when I packed everything into my bag, the folded paper showed a beautiful design. I liked it so much that I printed it onto one of my watercolour papers. It’s a beautiful abstract painting.

Fall Trees, acylic, 7" x 5"
At the beginning of the trip, the organizers gave everyone either a 5” x 7” paper or canvas board to create a “Memory Painting”, a painting that was to be created strictly from memory. I painted a couple of trees in colourful fall foliage and was so absorbed in the process that I missed Happy Hour and hardly made it to the restaurant in time for the turkey dinner and pumpkin pie.

This evening was caricature night, and it was a lot of fun. With permanent markers, we took turns to create a portrait of the person facing us. Despite all the laughter, most of us had a hard time to stay awake until 9 pm. The fresh air and the constant focus on the subject in front of us, while we are capturing the view, are as exhilarating as they are tiring.

Next week, I will publish the last part of the travelogue before going back to a bi-weekly blog schedule.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Plein Air Ensemble Fall Painting Trip 2019 - Part 1

Manning Road Marsh, Acrylic, 8" x 10"

Block 30

I am back from my plein air painting trip to Lake Clear in Eganville, where our group of painters - this time including a photographer - enjoyed four wonderful days capturing the beauty of the fall landscape. To learn more about it, please read the first part of my travelogue.

Friday, October 4, 2019

My last painting trip with the Plein Air Ensemble was already two and a half years ago. Therefore, I was excited when I was able to arrange my work schedule to meet the fellow artists in the beautiful Lake Clear area again.

Hélène, Janis and I enjoyed a very pleasant drive through the beautiful fall landscape. For lunch, we stopped at Sandy's Deli Diner, an old-fashioned family restaurant in Renfrew, that looked like it was a gas station at some point. Inside were lots of antique signs and toy cars, even an old gas pump. The restaurant was packed and the food quite good.

After unloading our car, we had to do some “redecorating” in the cottage. We have a two-bedroom cottage. Janis and I were supposed to share the room with the bunk bed. However, there was no way for either of us to climb up the small ladder and opening into the bed. We decided to switch rooms with Hélène who had the room with two single beds. Unfortunately, the second bed in the room did not have a mattress cover. Therefore, we decided to put the cover from the upper bunk bed on the single bed but were not able to remove it. Instead, we transported the whole mattress from the upper bunk bed onto one of the single beds. Janis slept sleep like a princess in her extra high bed during our trips. Next, we had to figure out whose bed sheets would fit the different beds. You can imagine that we laughed quite a lot during this endeavour. Finally finished, we had about an hour and a half of painting time before the Happy Hour.

We drove around for a while as it was pretty cold, cloudy and quite windy. The first stop was at a beach from which the view of Big Mountain was still impressive, but without sunshine, the shapes looked very flat. In the end, we set up at a marsh at Manning Road. It was so cold that I was dressed in a winter coat, hat and gloves. However, from time to time, when the sun came out, it got very warm. Hopefully, this is a good sign for tomorrow.

Around 4:30 pm, we went to Kathy Haycock’s studio for the Happy Hour. Kathy lives only minutes from the Opeongo Mountain Resort. Last weekend, she took part in the Madawaska Valley Studio Tour, and her studio was busy with people, both tour visitors as well as the other members of the Plein Air Ensemble. I am sure almost everyone was green with envy at the sight of Kathy’s studio. If you are ever in the Eganville area, visit her studio. It is the perfect place to display her beautiful landscape paintings. I felt reminded of the Group of Seven. Probably not by chance, as her father Maurice Haycock painted with A. Y. Jackson for many decades.

We had our dinner at “The Moose on the Beach”, the restaurant of the Opeongo Mountain Resort. After a delicious pumpkin soup with cheese curds, we enjoyed Ceasar chicken wraps and chocolate cake.

That evening, despite feeling tired, I finished my felted water lily scene and continued my felted apple blossom artwork. As I had just received a delivery of different hues of green wool, I was eager to see the image come together.

The next part of the travelogue will be published next Friday. Please share my blog with family and friends, who might be interested in my stories.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Painting Trip to Kamouraska 2019 - Part III

Wild Roses, acrylic, each image is 4" x 4"

Block 29

When this blog post is published, I will already be in Eganville, Ontario. I was very excited when I received the invitation from the Plein Air Ensemble organizers for the fall trip to Lake Clear and realized that I would be able to join the group after I missed the trips for two years. I will share a cottage with my friends  Hélène and Janis. I am happy to see my fellow Plein Air Ensemble painters again. This is my third fall trip to the Opeongo Mountain Resort and I have a feeling that the fall colours will be at its peak this time. Following is the last entry from my Kamouraska travelogue. I will tell you all about the Lake Clear trip in my blog of October 18, 2019.

St. Lawrence Riverbed, acrylic, 11" x 14"

Friday, September 13, 2019

Today was the last day in Kamouraska. The weather was great with lots of sunshine, even though the temperatures were a little cooler than yesterday. We started with a stop at the bakery, where I was too busy taking photos of two cats, one looking like a lion and a little black and white kitten.

Sweet Peas, acrylic, 5" x 7", unfinished
Hélène, Janis and I decided to stay in Kamouraska to paint the flowers of a private garden on avenue Chassé. After we finished the flower painting, we went to the new Champagne and Paradis Art Gallery where we looked at the current exhibition. The next stop was the Magasin Général Du Kamouraska, where I bought some gifts for my family. We enjoyed lunch at one of the picnic tables at avenue LeBlanc where we looked right out to the St Lawrence River. We decided to stay for painting. As the tide was out, I wanted to capture the image but it was an impossible race against time. The water came in so fast that my landscape was quickly underwater. I could hardly believe the quick changes of the water level. As it was so beautiful where we were, we stayed there for the rest of the afternoon. I created two more 4” x 4” paintings of wild roses so that I can have the three pictures now mounted as a set.   

We were back at the house at 5 pm. I changed and decided to go on a walk with Leslie. After a walk on Saturday that was cut short by the rain, I had not been for a walk the whole week. Leslie and I walked down the Avenue LeBlanc and watch the peaceful evening sky. Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in so that we were not able to see a sunset. At least it cleared up later so that we could see the Harvest moon.

In the evening, the owners of the house came for a personal vernissage and were impressed with the beautiful works we created during the week.

While the others plan to come back next September, I already know that I will not be able to join them in 2020, as I will go on a trip to Barcelona in Spain. I will miss them and hope to be back in 2021. Au revoir, Kamouraska. À la prochaine fois!