Here’s wishing all my family and friends a very Happy Holiday and Blessed New Year.
I’ve managed to get out every week to paint, except for this week. I scheduled a paint out at Willistead for Monday, but the fog had other ideas. Many of our group members are from the county. The last thing I want is for someone to drive in that mess. It looks like December’s weather is going to continue to make things difficult for painting outdoors. We can paint in most weather, however, rain is a pain!
I’m happy to say we did get out and paint in the first snow of the year. We went to the Transportation Museum and Heritage Village. They were decorating the museum and village for Christmas. We had planned on a group breakfast in their 50’s inspired diner. Little did we realize that they had changed the diners hours for the winter. How disappointing! However, the kitchen staff was there cooking up lunch for the volunteers, so they kindly opened up just for us. We were blessed!
I painted a wee log cabin that day. It was originally owned by the Clark family. They were some of the original settlers in Essex County. The family still lives in the area, as do many who were granted land by the Crown. I went to school with the descendants of the family who lived in this tiny home. I had no idea that was the name of the cabin until someone mentioned it on Facebook. Funny thing, my maiden name is Clarke. Call me silly, but it made my day.
snow, oh no!
It was a chilly day, and while I was painting it started to snow. Regular oil paints would not be budged in this weather, but I paint with water soluble oils, and they don’t like to get wet! Like the Richard Harris song, you don’t want to leave the cake out in the rain. I had to quickly turn the painting upside down. I ran off to get my van and umbrella to try to shelter my work from the snow. I did manage to continue painting in spite of the snow. I wanted to complete it on site. Almost all of my work is done entirely on location. I live in a very tiny house, and as a result I have no indoor studio space. The great outdoors in my studio.
I made the painting into a holiday gif, that you can see above. That was NOT easy! I had to learn how to do it. I looked up the tutorials online and worked on it for days, in a free program called The Gimp. The Gimp is much like Photoshop. I struggled with the tutorials, and it just was just not working. Eventually, just did it my own way. Guess what, it worked! You can see the original painting without the snow below, and soon on my available paintings page.
On The Clark Cabin painting, as well as many of my paintings, I used a limited Palette. On the Clark Cabin palette included: Yellow Ocher, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow Light, Quinacridone purple, a dab of Cadmium red on the bow, and Titanium White. I’m sure those strange colour names can be a bit confusing; artist quality colours are generally named for their ingredients.
A limited palette is a challenge many artists impose on themselves. The goal is to see how well you can mix colour. For Plein Air Artists, the less paint you have to carry in your gear, the better. A back pack can get heavy very quickly. If you are flying with your gear you really have to watch your luggage weight.
I’ve taken up this challenge many times. I’ve not always recorded what paint I used. I’m embarking on a new habit of photographing my palette before and after the finished painting. A three colour plus white is the ultimate limited palette. This palette usually includes some form of the three primary colours of Red, Yellow and Blue, but there are many shades, and hues of these three colours and knowing how to work with them is the challenge.
In the slideshow above you can see the limited palette I used on the painting, Malden Hiltop, along with an on location sight size photo. Sight size is another very common method of painting which I will cover in a future article.
Other painting locations last month include: Studio, still life Pear Study, Lakeside Park in Kingsville, and McAuliffe Park, in Tecumseh. (Click on any image to see details.)
It’s always a great time when I get to spend some R & R with my family. One of my very best friends just happens to be my brother’s wife Darlene. We have many interests in common. My vintage Airstream trailer is on my brother’s property in Michigan. We spent almost two weeks there this month which included a couple of trips to see fall colours. Surprisingly both the trip up to NW Michigan and the River Cruse in Bay City didn’t yield much of a colour show. However, we did get a bit of colour in central Michigan. No paintings this time but some nice photos.
Road Trip up to North Western Michigan for Fall Colours
Sailing Trip up the Saginaw River out of Bay City
Long, but interesting post follows, get a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or maybe even a seven course meal!
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
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
ARTILICIOUS – Fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation
I 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.
Doors Open Event, Navy Yard, Sept. 26 & 27
Invited, 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.
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!
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.
It’s always wonderful to receive a verbal thank you, but when you receive a great thank you letter it just makes your day.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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!
Two Day Overall 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.
Above: 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
Acrylic, Art, Bible, Canada, Corporate greed, Death, determined, Disgrace, Do not go gentle into that goodnight, dogged, dying, dylan thomas, Forgive, Forgiveness, Genisis 1:28, God, Grandmother, indefatigable, insistent, Land grab, Landscape, life, Nature, Oil painting, Ojibway, Ontario, patient, persistent, Plein Air, resolute, Revive, Spiritual, Spirituality, staunch, steadfast, Strong, strong-willed, tenacious, Threatened woodland, tireless, Tree, unflagging, unshakable, unswerving, untiring, unwavering, unyielding, urban sprawl, Watercolor, Watercolour, Willow, Windsor Ontario, Wisdom
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.
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.
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.
Art, Beach, Birds, botanical, Botony, Campfire, Canada, Fire, Flooded farms, flower, Flowers, Food, Friends, Harbor, Harbour, Holiday, Jiimaan Ferry, Lake Erie, Landscape, Leamington, Nikon D90, Oil painting, Ontario, Pelee Island, Pelee Island Winery, Photography, Plein Air, Portrait, Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists, Wine, Winery
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
First order of business snacks! Chips, salsa and Pelee Island WINE!
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.
Monday’s sunset is an incredible light show.
Tuesday’s tour of the island saw that Monday night’s storms flooded much of the farmland.
A walk through the forest at the south west end of the island.
The southern most tip of Canada, which is the south west tip of Pelee Island.
The harbour lights signal we are home again.
Ok, it’s JUNE 1st! WHY do we have 15 MPH winds, and 53oF weather? Monday is painting day, and come hell or high water I go painting. Today, I dressed for winter. I wore leggings under my jeans, a sleeveless T shirt, turtleneck sweater, winter jacket, and a shop coat! I found a winter toque in the van and put that on under my straw hat. I did bring gloves and I wish I had worn them. By the end of the day my hands were so stiff I could not hold my brush. I may have looked ridiculous, but I was warm, except for my hands that is. In spite of the horrid weather it was a good day. Good friends, curious wildlife, many curious onlookers, and I did get a decent painting completed.