Once a Month Blogger? I’m dreaming!


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Long, but interesting post follows, get a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or maybe even a seven course meal!

Small me1

Eight weeks, YIKES!

Back in August I decided to blog only once per month, but I’m not so sure if this is going to work.  Is waiting making the process more difficult?  I think it is.  Is it a bad thing to only post once a month? There are a few con’s to waiting:  I will have even longer gaps in keeping people informed on my artistic escapades.  My posts will be more like a novelette! Getting things together is a whole lot harder as well.  I’ve worked on this post off and on over the last 24 hours, probably more once I finally hit that publish button.  I hear that you really need to update more often.  But, living life is a big priority for me, so maybe I can just re-blog something from the past?  That seems so lazy somehow.  I doubt I will will ever be comfortable with rehashing old news.  Forcing myself to blog once a week and giving a monthly recap via my new email newsletter, might be the best way to lessen my work load.  If you’d like to sign up for my mothly newsletter please do so at this link:  http://eepurl.com/bvLs1j

The other thing that keeps me hopping is running the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists group.  I keep up the website, Facebook group and page, and the weekly emails.  This group keeps me, and other wonderful artists painting.  Without this group I’d be less motivated to put brush to canvas.  Painting en plein air is not only artistic, it’s social.  The public is always welcome to join us on location to watch or even paint with us.  It’s free!  Yes, you heard right, no charge!

So, enough with my woes!  Here’s what’s been happening in my world in the last (Egad!) eight weeks!  OH!  and two very important events for you!



On NOW – Plein Air Show at the Mudpuppy


Google street view Mudpuppy Gallery

I have four paintings in this Plein Air Show.  Opens on Wednesday, September 30th and runs until Sunday October 25th.
Reception  will be Sunday, October 11th from 2 – 4 pm.

Address (link to google map provided:
264 Dalhousie St.
Amherstburg, Ontario N9V 1W7 Canada

Hours of operation:
Wednesday – Saturday
12pm – 6pm

Sunday – Tuesday


Email address:

Future event: 


ARTILICIOUS – Fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation

Poster - finalI am participating with two tables of my art at this event.  Come to Caesars Windsor on November 3rd, from 5 pm until 8 pm, and see my new work, sample some yummy goodies, and help support the Kidney Foundation.

Sample unique and delicious food from at least 20 local eateries, shop local artisan booths just in time for the holidays, enjoy a selection of pastries, a McCafe coffee and much more! Tickets are $20 in advance at www.kidney.ca/WindsorEssex, or at Nancy Johns Gallery (4755 Wyandotte St. E., Windsor), and $25 at the door. Children 10 and under are free.

Like us at www.facebook.com/ArtiliciousWindsor for updates on featured restaurants, artists and donors!

Artilicious is proudly sponsored by Caesars Windsor, Infiniti of Windsor, Riverview Steel, AM 800 CKLW, Eyes on Windsor, Biz X magazine, Windsor Police Services, Unifor Local 444 and McCafe.

Past events:


Doors Open Event, Navy Yard,  Sept. 26 & 27

townofamherstburg_quarterv_winaug15-01Invited, with my group to participate in this event.  We had a wonderful weekend.  The weather was spectacular!  Costumed reenactors roamed the park, and even shot off a cannon.  The blasts made me jump every time!  I took a short video of the firing of the noon gun.


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River Canard Park  Paint out Sept. 14th

When our group paints at special weekend events we usually don’t paint on Mondays.  I’d had a busy weekend at the hawk Festival.  But, it was such a beautiful day!  Wendy called me at 8:00 a.m.  “Wanna go painting?”  Yep, I could not resist!  We decided on River Canard Park.  Then I quick put out an email, and Margaret managed to join us too.  This is why I love our group.  We keep each other hopping!

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Festival of Hawks, Painting Demo. Sept. 12-13 & 19-20

Our group was invited to participate by painting on location at the Hawk Fest.  This festival is a two weekend event where the ERCA, Essex Region Conservation Authority, bands and releases Hawks and other migratory birds.  Our region is a major flyway for many species including the Monarch Butterfly.  I was told that there were about 500 butterflies resting at the waters edge ready to take off across lake Erie.  I was so busy I didn’t get a chance to go see them.  Maybe next year!  I did however see a few flitting by as I painted.  Below are some photo’s of the event along with a video of a hawk being released.

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It’s always wonderful to receive a verbal thank you, but when you receive a great thank you letter it just makes your day.

Greetings Elizabeth,

I wanted to extend a huge thank you (and your crew of artists) for your attendance as demonstrators at this year’s event.

Over the two weekends in September, we welcomed well over 2,000 visitors to the Holiday Beach Conservation Area. That was in no small part due to the efforts of the many volunteers, vendors and educators that made this year’s festival possible.

Demonstrators like you play a crucial role in striving towards the goals that the Essex Region Conservation Authority has set out. Your presence at Hawk Festival was greatly appreciated as we engage citizens young and old in the natural environment. While Holiday Beach is world-renowned in the birding community, it’s important to engage the community and make sure it’s a top destination for locals and visitors alike. You and your crew of artists were a unique and interesting addition to this year’s festival, demonstrating both amazing artistry and appreciation of the natural environment.

Personally, as it was my first year with ERCA and first ever experience at Hawk Fest, I was astounded at the positive energy and fantastic attitude of everyone involved, and I look forward to working with everyone again in the future.

Please feel free to add your feedback to our event evaluation survey. We’re always looking to improve upon our events and your comments are of great value in achieving that. You can find the survey at this link, which you can share with anyone who attended the festival. http://goo.gl/forms/knhqG99HhJ

Please pass along this message to your fellow artists. Thanks again.


Alex Denonville
Events Planner
Community Outreach Services
Essex Region Conservation Authority
360 Fairview Avenue West, Suite 311 , Essex, ON. N8M 1Y6

~Used with permission.

Labour Day Paint out Sept 7 Ojibway

Every Monday we paint on location and we don’t normally take holiday’s off.  On labour day we painted at Ojibway Park.  There were quite a few visitors to the park on this lovely afternoon.  It actually was a very warm day.  The Ojibway nature centre is the hub of one of the most endangered wild areas left in Essex County.  Many are trying desperately to save the area around this tiny woodland.  It is my hope that it will be preserved.  I have a policy that with the sale of any painting from my Ojibway series, I will donate $25. to the activity program that is operated out of the nature centre.

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Malden Park West Paint out Monday, August 31st

Malden Park is a 175-acre park features the highest hill in Essex County. Naturalized biking and cycling trails wind up and down the hills and through paved and wood chipped trails.  This beautiful park is a wonderful spot to paint in, and is also close to the Ojibway conservation area.  This Monday the group met at this park.  Some met on the West side, where I was located and others met on the East side where there is a pond, and the welcome centre.

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Escape to Michigan!

Trailer & Tahquamenon Falls

After the Paint Dexter event I decided that because I was already in Michigan I might as well head up to our trailer.  I am fortunate to have a get away place on my brother’s property in Prescott, Michigan.  We have a 1976 31 foot vintage Air Stream Land Yacht travel trailer.  She’s in fairly good condition, but needed a bath badly.  There is a large oak tree that drops black sap all over it.  My brother recently acquired a power washer, so I worked on my baby for three days!  She still needs to be polished, but not this year!  Ouch were my muscles sore.

I love our trailer.  But, my red neck neighbors not so much.  There is a tree on their property that they started to cut down.  I suspect they stopped when they realized it was going to fall ON my trailer.  But… then they LEFT the tree half cut!  I need to get my trailer moved, as they are not responding to our pleas to get the tree down safely.  So, hopefully next week we will get it moved.  Just need someone who has a vehicle to help us pull it out of harms way.

Before & After Cleaning the Airstream

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The trip was not all work though.  My sisters (in-law) and I took an overnight trip to the upper peninsula.  We stayed at Blaney Lodge, and took off early the next morning to explore Tahquamenon Falls.  I did a quick watercolour sketch of the falls.  It was not easy as people were jostling to get a view of the falls.  I tucked myself into the corner of the guard rail, trying not to hog the premium viewing space.  Later we stopped at Whitefish Point Light Station.  There was a very windy beach, and it was pretty cold.  While my sis-in-laws toured the lighthouse, I found a sheltered spot on the beach and painted a quick sketch of a mother and daughter rock hound duo.

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August 17-22 Paint Dexter. 

Wow!  This seems like ages ago!  Once again Dexter proved to be a wonderful experience.  There were 70 participating artists.  That’s a LOT of artists!  This year the organizers split the categories into professional and emerging artists.  This would give the emerging artist a better opportunity to gain experience.  I entered the professional catagory.  But, for me it’s not all about the competition, it’s about meeting and interacting with the townspeople while you paint their local landmarks.  The person that I’m competing against is myself.  I go into this type of event because it challenges me to give my very best.  Winning an award is a bonus.  If you are so lucky to catch the judges eye.  This year I didn’t catch his eye, but I did catch the eye of two collectors.  Two paintings out of the three I was able to submit sold.  I painted a total of 6 paintings at this event.  Painting this many in a short period of time is good practice.  Painting under pressure is also good practice.  Here are some of my paintings from the Dexter event.

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All done!

So, there you have it.  What I’ve been up to over the last eight weeks.  I’m off again to Michigan to visit family and celebrate Thanksgiving with a Fall Colour Tall Ship Cruise out of Bay City, Michigan.  Stay tuned for more fun!  Living the Dream!

Walkerville Art Walk Voting Results


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show visitors

My show at ArtSpeak Gallery during the Walkerville Art Walk & Rock was a great success.  Everyone had great fun voting for their favorite painting.  It’s hard for me to believe it’s been a couple of weeks since my show.  I took the week after my show to get away and see my family. Now, I’m back at painting and preparing for future events.

I promised I would let the show participants know the outcome of their votes. There were a total of 419 votes cast over the two day event. I’ve separated them into three categories by the day and over all. Here are your favorites!

Drum roll!!!

Two Day Overall winners

Friday’s winners


Saturday’s winners

I think the next time I do this I will have people cast a ballot so that others are not swayed by the popular vote.  However having said that, the final first place winner Roseland Water Hazard came out with a high count on both days.

Updates for August 2015

On Monday August 3rd, our weekly paint out location was at on of my favorite locations, Brock Park, Windsor, On.

I forgot my good camera, so I had to do my location shot with my less than stellar camera phone.  Every painting I do is accompanied by an authenticity certificate and a photo of the work completed on location.

On Sunday August 9th I spent the day demonstrating Plein Air Painting at the Lost Arts Festival at the John R Park Homestead. The homestead is located on the north shore of Lake Erie just east of the village of Colchester. The day started off sunny with a warm breeze coming off the lake. Around 3:30 the weather started to cool off and the clouds rolled in. From noon until 4:00 the festival goers roamed the grounds learning how the voyageurs lived their nomadic lifestyle. There were spinners, weavers, tanners, and even paper makers demonstrating their skills. I will be writing an article about the event on my blog later this month, but for now here are my efforts of the day.

What’s in store the for the remainder of the month?

On Monday August 17th, I will be heading over to Dexter, Michigan to participate with 77 other professional and emerging Plein Air artists in the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival.  This is a live friendly competition among outdoor painters.  These festivals are a big thing in the US, with some events only being open to invited artists.

Last year I won second place in the quick paint of the Dexter event.  The quick paint is a timed event where the artist has 3 hours to complete a framed work of art.  The judge for last years event was the President of the Oil Painters of America.  I painted 5 paintings during the event, and every one sold.  I can only hope to do so well this year.  It’s great to represent Windsor and Essex County in Michigan!  I’ve also represented our area in Beloit, Wisconsin in 2013.

Kenneth Cadwallade President Oil Painters of America and Elizabeth quick paint 2nd place Win at Dexter Mi 2014Above:  Judge for the Dexter Plein Air Festival, internationally acclaimed artist Kenneth Cadwallade, current President of Oil Painters of America, and Elizabeth MacDonald with Elizabeth’s 2nd place winning quick paint entry “Paint Your Wagon”

For more on the 2014 Dexter plein air festival visit my article on the event here:  http://paintpleinair.ca/2014/08/20/paint-dexter-plein-air-festival-2014/

It’s hard to believe it’s August and the schools will soon be a buzz with kids again.  I hope you enjoy these wonderful days of warm weather.  I will be sending out a monthly newsletter so that you can follow my painting journey.  Should you subscribe, You should expect the next letter to arrive in your inbox sometime in September.

Subscribe here:  http://eepurl.com/bvLs1j

To purchase a painting, order a portrait of a house, pet or loved one visit the commissions page of my website.  I accept cash, and major credit cards.  Shipping to the U.S. and Canada is available.  For other inquiries call  me at 519-977-5687, or email me at PaintPleinAir@gmail.com.

Have a wonderful August!
Elizabeth Gaye MacDonald



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WelcomeDSC_9848I’m excited to get my new domain PaintPleinAir.ca.  It will match the email, PaintPleinAir@gmail.com that I’ve been using for sometime now.  The name is also more in line with what I do.  Honestly, I’m surprised I was able to get it at all.  You would think the Plein Air art organizations would have snapped this one up by now.  I guess I’m just blessed!

Have a great day, and point your bookmarks to PaintPleinAir.ca!

Historic Gibson Gallery


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The Gibson Gallery 8 x 10  Oil on Ampersand gessobord $275. framed.

The Gibson Gallery 8 x 10 Oil on Ampersand gessobord $275. framed.

Painting the gallery on location .

Painting the gallery on location .

Say hello to my latest plein air piece.  This is the lovely Gibson Gallery located in Amherstburg, Ontario.  My group, The Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists group exhibition “Painted on Location in the Great Outdoors.” is currently on display there until August 2nd.  This painting will be one of over 35 paintings featured in my solo exhibition at ArtSpeak Gallery in Windsor, Ontario.  This exhibition opens on Monday July 20th, and runs to Saturday July 25th.  ArtSpeak Gallery is located in the historic neighborhood of Walkerville.  It is my extreme pleasure to be showing my work in the gallery during the 13th annual Art Walk & Rock Festival.  This festival is one of two annual art walks, and by far the best attended.  There will be dancing in the streets to the rock bands. and foodies in the cafe’s sampling local wine, and craft beer.  An event not to be missed!

…This former Michigan Central Railroad Station, ca. 1896, has been renovated to its original Romanesque glory featuring towering ceilings, hardwood floors and beveled glass windows. A full season of exhibits showcasing Essex County artists, traveling exhibits from Ontario museums and galleries and an unique Artisan Shoppe make this heritage building a vital center for the visual arts, offering art and craft lessons, an artist guild and three needle art guilds. A railroad museum, featuring artifacts and memorabilia, is housed in the attached caboose. ~Gibson Gallery

Solo Show Windsor & Region Arts Council, Art Speak Gallery during the Walkerville Art Walk & Rock

Solo Show Windsor & Region Arts Council, Art Speak Gallery during the Walkerville Art Walk & Rock

One Tree Three Times


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I’ve actually painted this old willow more than three times.  I’m continually drawn to it.  It’s tenacity to remain upright no matter how much the storms and age try to take it down, intrigues me.  With broken limbs, and burled trunk she sprouts new leaves every spring.  Each time I set up in front of her, I study her many bruises.  I think how much we also get bruised and battered in life.  Hopefully, we hang in there like this strong tenacious willow.

She is respectfully known as “The Grandmother” by the Ojibway natives.  She resides at the beginning of the northern trail at Ojibway Park.  She, maybe broken, but her spirit is strong.  No one who passes by, can ignore her.  This park is currently threatened on all sides by urban sprawl.  Stand tall Grandmother.  Stand your ground.  Speak of all that you’ve seen in your long lived years.  Speak to the world a wise word of warning.

Genesis 1: 29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.  ~NIV

God help us.  What have we done?  Forgive mankind for our disrespect of your precious gifts.  I pray it’s not too late.


Battle Scarred, Image size 7 x 10 1/2 Watercolour Framed $125.

Battle Scarred Two.  12 x 16 Acrylic on Canvas  $150.

Battle Scarred Two. 12 x 16 Acrylic on Canvas $150.

Rain on Me, Painted en Plein Air in the rain at Ojibway Park 8 x 10 Oil on Ampersand panel$275 framed. (On display at Arts Council July 2015)

Rain on Me, Painted en Plein Air in the rain at Ojibway Park 8 x 10 Oil on Ampersand panel$275 framed. (On display at Arts Council July 2015)

Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

A Few Paintings I Missed.


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Chance Encounters of the Marine Kind at Gil Maure Park, LaSalle, On. 9 x 12  Oil on Canvas panel. $350 framed.

Chance Encounters of the Marine Kind at Gil Maure Park, LaSalle, On. 9 x 12 Oil on Canvas panel. $350 framed.

Through the Ravine at Ann's  8 x 10 Oil on Ampersand panel$275 framed.

Through the Ravine at Ann’s 8 x 10 Oil on Ampersand panel$275 framed.

Shores of Tecumseh, Lake St. Clair. 9 x 12 Oil on Panel $350. framed.

Shores of Tecumseh, Lake St. Clair. 9 x 12 Oil on Panel $350. framed.

One thing preparing for a show will do for you is get you organized.  Seems that these paintings were not on my blog.  I seemed to have missed one from Fall, Winter, and Spring.  So here you go, enjoy!

July is Crazy! Especially this year!


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So many things happening this month.  Oh the EXCITEMENT!!  I’m finally having my first solo exhibition!  Next week should be quite interesting.  Over a year ago I booked our local Art’s Council.  I actually booked last week, but they called me and said they had to move me one week ahead, did I mind.  Actually, I did mind as there was another event that I like to attend every year,  Explore the Shore.  Moving the date would mean missing that weekend.  There were no other openings, so I had to take it or loose out on the gallery all together.  Little did I know what would happen.

Every year the neighborhood of Walkerville has an Art Festival.  I happen to live in this great historic neighborhood.  This is a pretty exciting weekend.  They close down the streets.  Rock bands play, patio’s fill up and there is a great deal of excitement.  You never know what weekend they will choose.  Well, what made this so exciting is that my show just happens to be running during on the weekend of this great event!  I did not plan this, but mind you, I had hoped.  This means that the traffic in the gallery will be quite high.  So, think of me next week, and come visit me at the Artspeak Gallery.  My show runs from July 20th until July 25th.

ArtSpeak Gallery,
Arts Council Windsor & Region
1942 Wyandotte Street East
Windsor ON N8Y 1E4

Solo Show Windsor & Region Arts Council, Art Speak Gallery during the Walkerville Art Walk & Rock

Solo Show Windsor & Region Arts Council, Art Speak Gallery during the Walkerville Art Walk & Rock

So what else is happening?

As you may or may not know, I run the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists group.  We have a group show in the lovely town of Amherstburg at the historic Gibson Gallery.  The show has 12 fantastic artists participating in it.  The work is simply phenomenal.  Our opening was a great success with a full house.  We have been asked to hold the show over to August 2nd, and we are planning a closing reception on that Sunday afternoon.  So if you missed the first reception, you have the opportunity to attend the 2nd.  Join us from 2 until 5 at the Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg, On.

the Gibson Gallery
Fort Malden Guild of Arts & Crafts
140 Richmond Street
Amherstburg, ON N9V1G4

Month long Windsor & Essex County Group exhibition at the Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg.

Month long Windsor & Essex County Group exhibition at the Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg.

Lavender Festival


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The Lavender Festival was a two day event.  Our group was supposed to paint on location in the lavender beds on Saturday, but mother nature decided to dump torrential rains on us once again.  Will it ever end?!  I know California could really use some of this rain.  Fortunately, Sunday was a much better day.  It was a bit windy, but their were bright fluffy clouds, and beautiful sun.


Pelee Island Plein Air with Friends


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It was my first trip to Pelee Island, Canada’s most southern Post. I am so blessed to have good friends. My Plein Air group the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists is chock full of wonderful people.  I could not be more grateful.  One of our members and incredible artist Vera Graham, invited the group to spend the night at her cottage.  Two of us, Kathy Hudak and I, were able to take advantage of her generous offer. 

A large backhoe barely fits in the Jiimaan hold.

A large backhoe barely fits in the Jiimaan hold.

It was an early day Monday.  We had to be at the Leamington dock by 9:00 to board the Jiimaan Ferry to the island.  It’s amazing what this vessel holds!  A huge backhoe on a trailer bed, large trucks, a garbage truck, a cherry picker lift, and many other smaller vehicles. 



Life jackets ... check Life boat ... check

Life jackets … check
Life boat … check

It was a full and heavy load.  The ferry listed on the Port side from the incredible weight of the trucks.  I’m sure she was never in any danger of capsizing, but I was very grateful for calm seas.    Just to be sure I made note of the life jackets and lifeboat locations! 




Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

Once we’ve boarded we headed up to the deck to watch the boat leave the harbour.

The one and a half hour cruse was pleasant.  The brisk breeze was refreshing.   I could hardly contain my joyous anticipation of what the two days ahead would hold for us.


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OOps!  We got into a bit of trouble.  We walked down a set of stairs into a restricted area.  Well they didn’t have any signs, and the steps were not roped off!  How were we supposed to know?  The equipment was just so COOL!

OOps!  Ship's hand chased us out of here, but not before I got this great photo of a huge winch.  They need better signage!

OOps! Ship’s hand chased us out of here, but not before I got this great photo of a huge winch. They need better signage!

We reach the Island docks.

We reach the Island docks.

First order of business snacks! Chips, salsa and Pelee Island WINE!

Relaxing on the beach.

Relaxing on the beach.

Then off to paint.


The rest of our 2 day painting holiday was filled with a great beach bonfire, nighttime thunder storms, hiking on the beach, hiking in the woods, sack lunch at the winery, snacks at the cottage,  and good friends.

Chairs positioned to catch the last rays of the day.

Chairs positioned to catch the last rays of the day.

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Monday’s sunset is an incredible light show.

No trip to the cottage is complete without a good campfire.  One on the beach is the best!

No trip to the cottage is complete without a good campfire. One on the beach is the best!


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Tuesday’s tour of the island saw that Monday night’s storms flooded much of the farmland.

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A walk through the forest at the south west end of the island.

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The southern most tip of Canada, which is the south west tip of Pelee Island.

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The harbour lights signal we are home again.

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DSC_9600A beautiful end to a wonderful 2 days.  Sunset on the north shore of Lake Erie.

Published Again!


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Earlier this year the University of Windsor Alumni Magazine contacted the Alumni and asked them to submit articles for publication.  They published my article in its entirely.  I guess that makes me a published writer now?

My article published on the UofW alumni page June 26th, 2015 http://www.uwindsor.ca/e-soca/23/visual-arts-alumni

My article published on the UofW alumni page June 26th, 2015 Article source http://www.uwindsor.ca/e-soca/23/visual-arts-alumni

Or read it here or go to the source:

Elizabeth Gaye MacDonald, BFA ‘01March2ndPainting at Ann D
I’ve had a wonderful 2014, and 2015 looks to be a great year as well.  I am an extreme plein air painter, currently working in oil.  Extreme, in that I paint in all weather, even sub zero temperatures.  There are no bad weather days, only bad clothing choices.  I make sure I dress for the weather.  I rather paint in cold weather than in extreme heat.  You can always dress warm.  My dream is to paint in remote areas.  However, getting to these areas is a challenge, due mainly to the cost of an expedition of this sort.  The biggest cost is camping gear, canoe/kayak, and 4 wheel drive transportation.  The other challenge is convincing my loved ones that this type of extreme expedition is safe.  There are many dangers in the wild.  I grew up extreme camping with my family.  I don’t live in fear of the wild.  I embrace it.

What is Plein Air Painting?
It never surprises me when people ask me what I mean by Painting en Plein Air.  En Plein air is a French expression which means “in the open air”, and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. I often think that many know to whom I’m referring when I mention Canada’s plein air “Group of Seven.” The reality is that many haven’t any idea what or whom I’m talking about. Happily, Plein Air Painting is currently celebrating a revival around the globe.  Just do a Google search on Plein Air Painting and you will get over 3 million hits, and the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists won’t be very far down the first page.

Plein air painting is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding. First off, being outdoors, in itself, is the best reward.  When painting outdoors, you learn to work quickly.  Light and shadow are constantly changing. You can’t chase the light, you must make a decision on when to capture that one moment in time.  The artist must always be aware of where the sun will be at any point during the day.  How will the sun affect the scene?  Then again, you might be painting at night or on a cloud covered day where shadows are scarce. That’s when Plein air gets really interesting.  What effect does the available light have on the scene?  Can you recreate the mood? Cloudy days are difficult, night time is near impossible.  How do you even see your canvas at night? I have a head mounted LED light that helps me to see the canvas.

You maybe a studio painter and think that Plein Air painting is not for you.  However, the act of painting from life outdoors will improve your studio work. I must warn you that painting outdoors from life may just spoil you from ever painting from a photograph again. The experience becomes a memory not soon forgotten. Ask anyone in our and they will tell you that there is no greater joy for us, then when we are able to paint outdoors.  But, introducing others to painting en Plein Air is a joy in itself.

2014 – 2015Kenneth Cadwallade President Oil Painters of America and Elizabeth quick paint 2nd place Win at Dexter Mi 2014
2014 gave me the opportunity to paint in some great locations.  In August, I painted at the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival.  This is one of many week-long painting competitions available throughout the U.S.  There are a few in Canada, but nowhere near as many as in the states.  There were two categories judged during the Dexter event.  The judge for the Dexter Plein Air Festival was internationally acclaimed artist Kenneth Cadwallade, current President of Oil Painters of America.  The first category was for work completed on location during the week, the second category was a quick paint.   The artists had 3 hours to paint, frame and submit their work for judging.  The quick paint is nerve wracking, but I thrive under pressure.  It forces me to transcribe what I see as quickly as I can.  Painting quickly tends to loosen my touch, and I record only what is necessary.  Because I paint outdoors regularly, I feel I have an advantage others less practiced artists.  To my joy, I placed 2nd in this category.  I also sold all 5 paintings that I produced during this event.  I am looking forward to participating at the event again in August of 2015.

In addition to the Dexter event, I spent the month of September painting in Seattle, Washington.  I had the opportunity to paint with many different Washington based artists.  There is camaraderie amongst Plein Air Painters.  The common bond of painting outdoors joins us across miles, generations and social stature.  Another significant event in 2014, is that my work was featured on the cover of the publication Important World Artists vol 1 https://wwab.us/shop/publications/important-world-artists/  In 2015, I was accepted as an associate member of the Oil Painters of America.

Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Society Windsor & Essex County Plein Air ArtistsWECPAAlogo

In 2009 I co-founded, and run the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Society.  We’ve recently changed our name to the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists.   We have missed only a couple of weeks in the last year, due to rain.  I’ve even managed to paint in the rain under the shelter of a plein air umbrella.  Please feel free to visit the group website:  https://wepleinair.wordpress.com/  Here you will find a blog post for every outing we’ve done since September 2011.  The full list of outings dating back to 2009 can be found on our Facebook group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/WindsorEssexPleinAir/events/?past

About the group
Our group, The Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Society, was established in 2009, and is devoted to educating and promoting plein air painting. The core members of the group have painted together since the mid 1990’s. We meet weekly on location, usually on Mondays, at various locations throughout Windsor, and Essex County. The group is open to anyone, and is free to join.  For more information email:  PaintPleinAir@gmail.com

Twitter:  @PaintPleinAir
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/photographerpainterprintmaker