Ambassador Bridge at McKee Park


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Had a lovely sunny day on Monday July 14th.  I found some more 8″ x 8″ canvas’.  I’m really liking the small square format.  Unfortunately, McKee Park is over run with Canada Geese.  They are quite bold, and will hiss at you.  I shooed them away, but geese can be quite aggressive.  My brother was attacked by domestic Geese when he was in his teens.  They left huge blood blisters all over his legs.  I was trying to eat my sandwich and they had me surrounded!  While I was painting, quite a few people came down and fed them entire loaves of bread.  Bread is not good for them.  People… don’t feed the geese!  Not only does it make them un-afraid of humans, they make a mess of our parks with their poop.  Did you know that one goose can poop out 1.5 POUNDS a day??!!  Do you know what that’s doing to our parks, lakes and streams?  When you cry that you can’t go in swimming because the ecoli count is too high, look around, are there geese on the beach?  I swear the Canadian Geese and the racoons are going to take over the world!  (Thank you Jack Miner, Walt Disney, and the bleeding hearts of the world.)  McKee Park needs to change its name to Goose Poop Park.

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Kingsville Lakeside Park


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It was difficult trying to get out last week.  Everyday the weather decided to do something new.  We ended up rescheduling our paint out from Monday to Thursday July 10th.   I headed out around 9 A.M. on a bright sunny day.  It’s an hour drive out to Kingsville, if you stop for coffee, and I MUST stop for coffee!  It was so sunny that I had to cover my left arm and face or I would have fried.  Looking ahead of me the scene was very different.  I was headed south to Lake Erie, and the clouds were dark, ominous and massive.  What to do?  It looked clear to the west, and that’s the direction the storms come from, so I continued.  I was also concerned that someone else might be headed out there too, as the leader I had to be there to greet them.

As I pulled into the parking lot at Lakeside park it was just sprinkling.  Maybe it would blow over?  Then it hit!  A deluge, I was thinking we may have to build an ark!  I started to text our members telling them it was a washout.  Most would be coming from the lovely sunny northern part of the county, so they, like me would be unaware of the storm.  One member, Wendy, was at the outskirts of town when the storm hit.  She had voice to text on her phone and told me it was not bad at the edge of town.  By the time she got to the lake it had blown over.  But the news she brought was a bit disconcerting.  She thought she saw a funnel cloud over the lake on her way to me.  Well, we found out later on the news she did indeed see a funnel cloud.  In fact there were several of them that touched down on the lake that morning.  They call them water spouts.  They pull the water up into the air and it can cause very bad flooding on land.  They are not as strong as a tornado, but can be dangerous to boaters.

We hunkered down in the park’s gazebo to paint just in case it started to rain again.

Monday, June 16 Painting Peche Island


Peche Island, Detroit River

Peche Island, Detroit River. Plein air painting 8 x 8 oil on stretched canvas.

Peche Island is located at the entrance of the Detroit River.  Monday was a lovely day.  There was rain in the forecast, but I was delighted that the weather network was way off on their predictions.  The day was sunny, warm with a bit of a breeze.  Some of my group had difficulty hanging onto their paintings, but I had no issues at all with my new Sienna all in one Pochade Box.  I have mixed feelings about my new box.  There are some great features, but a few drawbacks.


  • The price is great!
  • There is a lot of room to carry paints and brushes.
  • It’s well built.
  • It stores 2 wet paintings in the base.
  • It can be attached to a tripod.
  • It has a brush holder station that sits on the side of the open box
  • It has a large easy to clean wooden pallet that slides out to the right.
  • It has a suitcase type carry handle that doubles as a towel holder.


  • It weighs 10 lbs empty, add your supplies and it gets worse.
  • Because of the weight it requires a very sturdy tripod.
  • The tripod head must not be a ball type.
  • The tripod head should secure with a screw rather than a spring load.
  • The towel holder is useless and falls off.

I had to buy a new tripod to hold the box because of the weight. I thought I found the perfect tripod on ebay, but when I attached the box, the head could not hold the weight of the box at all.  Lucky though the head could be removed and I purchased a new head that ended up working out just fine.

Sienna All in One Pochade Box

Sienna All in One Pochade Box


The True Morels vs the False Morels

It’s spring again and we are hearing a lot about the morel season. This is one of my most popular posts. I hope you enjoy it. All photo’s are my own.

Elizabeth Gaye MacDonald Original Art

Ascomycetes – Morchella – The true Morels vs the False Morels

If I told you where these were,  I would have to shoot you! They are a spring mushroom, and highly prized. We also encountered some false Morels, which are poison. I’m grateful that I have my Dad’s mushroom books to help me identify them.

Morchella The True Morels

Gyromitra, Helvella, and Related Species of the False Morels

Gyromitra, Helvella, and Related Species of the False Morels

Gromitra Brunnea Underwood

Cap large 5-15 cm broad, often saddled-shaped, lobed, often veined, chocolate-brown, white beneath, Flesh brittle, white. Stalk large, 16 – 15 cm long, 2-5 cm broad, Slightly larger base, somewhat ribbed to smooth, white, nearly hollow to cottony inside. Spores 28 – 30 x 12 – 15 elliptical, finely warted.
Single or several under hardwood forests in eastern North America in early Sp. Causes severe illness from high levels of MMH. (Group V toxins). G. fastigiata (Krombh.) Rehm (394B) is similar but looks…

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Not all Paintings are Winners


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So, having said that I have to say that this month got off to a rocky start with my plein air paintings.  Two for the trash bin!  But, I did make up for it with a couple of great portraits that are headed to the Julia Kay Portrait Party exhibition in Lapeer, Michigan.  I’m also had happy with two of my plein air paintings in May.

As for plein air this week at Malden Park was a good painting, but I ended up getting into the ticks.  I’ve got the heebee jeebies!  I found two crawling on me when I got home on Monday.  I thought I was clear of them when last night I reached behind my ear to feel a lump.  You guessed it, a tick was imbedded behind my ear.  Well… it would have been great if I’d noticed it earlier in the day, but no it was past midnight!  So I called telehealth a service by the province of Ontario.  The service gives you access to a nurse that will help you with making a decision on if you need to go to emergency, or if it can wait till  morning.  Well, unfortunately since the tick was probably in my ear for over 24 hrs it was important that I get it out asap.  I didn’t trust  my hubby to take it out, so off to emergency we went.  Even the ER Dr was squeamish.  A nurse practitioner got the lil begger out.  So now Freddie the Freeloader is headed off to the public health unit to be tested for Lyme disease.  Yes, I named the tick.

May fifth was a freezing cold day.  I started dropping my brushes because my hands wouldn’t work.  But the painting I did at River Canard Park I’m happy with.

Catch up on Recent Paintings

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything to my website.   Here is a bit of catch up on some 2014 & 2013 paintings.

A selection of 2014 Paintings

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A selection of 2013 Plein Air Paintings and sketches

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A Time Away

This post is the hardest one I’ve had to make in my life.  If you follow me you would notice that my posts became few and far between in 2013 and the beginning of 2014.  I walked away from a lot of things in my life.  My blog being one.  I however did not stop painting.  I clung to my painting as a drowning man clings to a life preserver.

While I was in Beloit, Wisconsin at the Edge of the Rock Plein Air Painting Festival last year my younger sister was diagnosed with cancer.  The day I found out I sat in the garden of the Angel Museum, and painted with tears streaming down my face.  The museum was closed, and I was hidden from view, so I didn’t have too many visitors.  It was there that I painted this painting.

Sad Puto. Painted for my sister.

When I returned from Beloit,  I started to clear away everything in my life that took my time and energy.  It was not easy to say no to people, and to step away from my many responsibilities.  I will never regret saying no.  I did not give up my painting group.  I thank God for my painting group for they give me hope that things will get better.  When I’m with them painting on location the sadness does not consume me.  Painting is, for me a form of meditation.  I’ve changed my priorities in life since she passed.  I will learn from her.

At age 58, she wanted to learn to ride a motor cycle, and she did.  Hours after her final chemo treatment she insisted that she was going to attend the September Friday the 13th, 2013 motor cycle rally in Port Dover, On.  It was a 300 KM ride!  There was no stopping her.  She was going to go no matter what anyone said.  So, her husband and friends joined her on the ride up.

When they arrived they pulled into the Holiday Inn.  They had no reservations as this trip was on impulse.  As they stepped up to the reception desk, the attendant just put down the phone.  He announced to them:  “This is your lucky day.  That was a cancellation.”  Getting a room during Friday the 13th without a reservation is a real miracle!  They have 140,000 people descend on this small town!  Later a friend of theirs, who had a suite all to himself invited them to stay with him.  Now, the trip did not go perfectly.  She did get very weak and have to go home, but she made it there.  Her daughters brought the trailer up to Port Dover to bring her bike home.  Was the family scared?  You bet.  But, they helped her to live her last days to their fullest.

During her battle with that horrid disease, I was able to spend many days with her.  There was the kemo, and many emergency stays at the hospital, and at her bedside at home in her final days.  We prayed, we cried, we loved her, she loved us.  She wanted us to know she was not afraid.  She wanted us to be happy.  I held her hand the day she passed away February 3rd, 2013.  Listening to her laboured breathing was heartbreaking.  She was at home surrounded by family.  She was only 60, and was so full of life.  She was loved by so many people.  I am still morning her loss, and it is a daily struggle to put one foot in front of the other.

She was so full of joy.  She gave joy to others, and taught me a very good lesson.  That was to be happy, surround yourself with wonderful people, give of yourself, but most important give TO yourself that what you love most.

I love my sister Patty, and I will miss her until we meet again in heaven.

The CMC motorcycle club made this tribute to her on Youtube.

Grade 8 graduation.  Soulmates.

Lovebirds, Allan & Patty Kotow.  Friends and lovers for 49 years.