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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.”

What an incredible journey! This tiny town opened its arms wide to 47 wonderful Plein Air Artists. Tracey Lee Green, a young woman with vision, masterminded this brilliant festival.

Tracey worked tirelessly finding sponsors for prizes that totaled $1,500. She offered the grounds of her beautiful rolling wooded estate to campers. She also provided a list of accommodations for those who were not campers.

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. We’ve already booked this motel for our return next year.

On Thursday they had workshops for children and adults. We arrived just in time to register and hand in our paintings for the Dry competition.

I’m told by Patrick, the fourth member of our team, that we missed a great evening. The campers brought their guitars, and voices together for a fun time. We plan on arriving at least day earlier next year. In fact we may just come a week early, or stay an extra week so we can take advantage of more painting days.

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.

Sunday morning we had to be up early to hand in our wet paintings, to be judged. After we dropped them off we went to “The Algonquin Cookhouse” for breakfast. Many people we met highly recommended the place so we had to check it out. What a pleasant surprise. They offered high quality food, and drink at very reasonable prices. We dined here twice during our stay.

All in all, we had a wonderful time. The painting that accompanies this article was my first painting of the weekend, and I think it is one of my best ever. I will be posting more photo’s of the event soon, so keep an eye on this site for updates.

Via Flickr:
Marsh on the Barnes Farm, Wiberforce, On. First painting I did during the festival, Brush With The Highlands.