In my work I am drawn towards endangered wood lots, farms and historical buildings. I capture small oasis surrounded by an ever encroaching metropolis. Barns collapse, and I paint them to preserve their memory. Ploughed fields stretch as far as the eye can see. The expansive space of flat farmland and big sky are often subjects that lure my eye. Woodlots harbour trillium’s, Jack in the Pulpits, and Morel mushrooms. When I discover these precious gems, my heart skips a beat, and a lump forms in my throat. I must capture the moment in paint.
When working with watercolour, I am reminded that the outcome depends on my adapting to the unpredictable nature of the medium. In the process of deciding on my composition, I ask myself some questions. What captures my attention? What emotions do I feel? Does the scene bring me peace, awe, or joy? Is the scene dynamic? In Plein Air, it is sometimes advisable to edit what you see. Maybe you leave out that wind turbine, or add a bird in flight. These things can bring life and nostalgia into your image.
You have to be quick when painting on location. Light and shadow are constantly changing. Making the decision on when to capture the shadows, and light is very important. I am always aware of where the sun will be at any point during the day, and what effect it will have on the scene. My palette is minimal and consists of twelve mostly transparent non fugitive colours. These colours consist of one warm and cool version of each primary, two greens, and two earth colours. I leave room for a couple of convience or experimental colours. I feel it is important to master a minimal palette before branching out into designer colours.
I know a piece is finished when I start fussing with a small brush and details. I wish to preserve the loose immediacy of the painting that is only found in Plein Air. I try to use the best materials available. Archival linen panels, and light fast high pigment paints are a must.
When I paint en Plein Air I experience nature in an intimate way not experienced by the casual observer. The experience exhilarates me. I am also a photographer, but when I capture nature and life through a camera lens I feel more like a voyeur, stealing a moment in time. When I paint I become immersed in my surroundings with all my senses. I am alert, and the scene becomes a part of my existence. My heart yearns to interpret what is before me. By painting en Plein Air I go beyond copying that stolen moment in a photograph in the studio. I live the moment, I live the painting. The experience becomes a memory not soon forgotten. When people see my work, I’d like them to experience a bit of what it was like to be there.
Since 2009 I've run a weekly plein air paint out in my area. In the Fall of 2020 we increased our outings to twice a week. This I do completely free of charge. You can follow the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists at the link below. There is no greater joy for me then when I introduce others to painting en Plein Air.
To arrange workshops, private or group lessons, commissions or to view her body of work please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Plein Air group: https://wepleinair.wordpress.com/
When I paint en Plein Air I experience nature in an intimate way not experienced by the casual observer. The experience exhilarates me. I am also a photographer, but when I capture nature and life through a camera lens I feel more like a voyeur, stealing a moment in time. However, when I paint I become immersed in my surroundings with all my senses. I am enveloped in all my senses sight, sound, smells, touch, and even taste. The scene becomes a part of my existence. My heart yearns to interpret what is before me. By painting en Plein Air I go beyond copying that stolen moment of a photograph in the studio. I live the moment. I live the painting. The experience becomes a memory not soon forgotten. When people see my work, I’d like them to experience a bit of what it was like to be there. But... there is no greater joy for me, then when I introduce others to painting en Plein Air.
“The Barnes Farm, Wilberforce, Ontario en Plein Air”
The civic holiday weekend saw four members of the “Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Society” making a 9 hour trek (7 1/2 if you’ve a lead foot, and don’t stop to pee) to Wilberforce, Ontario for the third anniversary of the “Brush with the Highlands Plein Air Festival.”
Margaret, Mary and I stayed at the Bostonian Motel. This quaint motel was a bit older, but the units had full kitchens, which suited our needs perfectly. We especially liked the fact that the price fit into our budget, and it was very close to town. The owner, Roberta, was a lovely lady, who’s kindness and generosity won our hearts. Our fourth cohort, Patrick, arrived earlier in the week, and camped with the rest of the artists. He had to let us know that we missed a great evening the previous night.
Friday night, we had a great time getting acquainted with our fellow artists, at Tracey’s home. One of her friends provided her P.A. system, and extensive Karaoke collection. It’s been a long time since I sang, but I braved it and took up the mic. Luckily no one had any rotten tomatoes to toss my way!
Saturday night was the grand finale. Tracey’s friends cooked us the best bar-b-q ever, and they even had Portobello mushrooms, and a whole salmon for the vegetarians among us.
The evening finished up with the best bonfire ever! The judge and his wife were also very talented folk singers. Their jaunty ditties had our feet a tapping. I almost ran my battery out taking photo’s of the bonfire.