Archive for the ‘Plein Air’ Category

Ile de la Visitation, Ahuntsic

August 18, 2014



The water was still high in June to get a good flume, though there is already a good channel where the water rushes through the abandoned millworks. Only the small night heron was dining when I arrived. By lunchtime, the tables were full, and it would have been a much livelier scene if I hadn’t left my painting to join the bistro patrons.


Dorval, June 26, 2014

June 26, 2014



If I set myself facing more to the right, I would have had a lake full of cute sail boats. Idyllic. Until I noticed they kept falling over. Eek.

Aha! A sailing school. I finally figured that out. It made me far too nervous seeing them fall over like that. So move to the left, the quiet park. In fact, someone was sleeping under that tree. How peaceful can you get?

Backpacking in my Backyard

June 9, 2014



Since my Plein Air set-up is a full studio with easel, I needed to compact it all down for days when I only have an hour for a quick painting. I got a good selection in one small pack, with mostly pens and oil bars and the delicate Unryhu  paper I love, cut to 6” x 8”. I had to test it of course before going out into the field. So I set myself up in my backyard and found a good spot by the corner of the house.  As it was, I did have to go back in to get a few more items. Now I think I have all I need. So, off to the woods! Or the Big City!


Wet-on-wet in wet Plein Air

June 3, 2014



The adventures of Plein Air.  They said the rain would hold off til the afternoon. They lied. This is as far as I got when the rain came down in buckets and I was hustling my gear away under my sun (?) umbrella and scurried off, hopping over muddy potholes to my car far away. Not very elegant.

       But before that, even as I set up on this lovely sunny morning,  when only a few of us showed up (the others are smart enough to know that weather news is lies…) I had a suspicion about this lovely day …. The mosquitoes were going crazy. The light was playing weird tricks on me. Then this Ginormous soft drink truck parks in front of me.  Pardon, Madame. Right.  I could still see enough of this weird place to throw some paint on. Though it looks like I picked up the staccato rhythm of the stone masons who set up their gear and started drilling out the old mortar.  Pardon, Madame. O. K ..

So I killed some time, working very wet-in-wet on Aquarius II paper (gessoed on the back). The rain drove everybody away. but alas, me too.  Now the question – do I try to repair this? Or keep it as a souvenir of my My Great Adventure Story of the Week?

Plein Air 2014

April 22, 2014

I am organizing plein air painting days in the Montreal area for what is now our 20th year! Every Tuesday through the summer months, we might be anywhere from 7 to 30 artists! While I realize most of you are spread out throughout the world, if you do happen to be around Montreal this summer, you are welcome to join us! Or, say, be inspired to form a club of your own. There is something so magical about painting in nature, with kindred spirits.

Plein Air 2014

Year 20! The Magic is still working, so we still after all these years don’t want to change much. We’ll return to many of our favourite sites. Same rules as before: there are none. We want only your camaraderie and your enthusiasm. You are welcome to come to as many or as few as you can.
. Open to all artists. Pass it around to your friends. Free. Sites with entrance fees are noted.
. Meets Tuesday at a new site, 10AM until the last one goes home.
. Your choice of medium, what you can carry, plus your lunch.
. No rain checks. Unless there is a weather warning to stay home – go for it. A 40% chance of rain means a 60% chance of sunshine. If not, paint the rain. We’re often very lucky.
. No reservations. If you plan on attending, just show up.

May 20 – Bois de Liesse the historic Pitfield House. We’ll go back to an old favourite. It’s still early enough to catch the spring perennials in bloom around the pond. Or the long sweep of lawn or the interesting houses down the lane, and through the paths into the woods. 9432 Gouin West, just west of Autoroute 13. Metered parking.

May 27 – Moulin Legaré, 232 St-Eustache, Saint-Eustache. Fabulous waterfall by an old flour mill, built 1762, good views along the footpath, rushing water or calmer pools that we like further down by the observation deck. There are heritage homes on the street worth painting. Public parking 100 yards from entrance. Cross the footbridge.

June 3 – Cap St Jacques, 21115 Gouin. The beach through the western entrance. The Chateau Goyer is very paintable, along with a few rustic houses and the beach itself. I thought it best to go just before school’s out, less crowded and no extra fees beyond parking. The canteen won’t be open yet, so bring lunch.
June 10 – Baie D’Urfe Town Hall. There is a beautiful rock garden here, with ponds and water plants. The Town Hall building itself is charming, and from here you could walk over to the park on the bay to view either the boats or Fritz’ Farm. Highway 20, exit Morgan road to the end.
June 17 – Parc-nature de l’Ile-de-la-Visitation. 2425 Gouin. Historical houses in the Old Ahuntsic area. My favourite spot is the mill ruins behind the Maison de Meunier * where some of us have lunch at the (very crowded) outdoor cafe. Past Papineau to Gouin [one-way] follow the signs to De Lille. *Best street side parking here.

June 24 – Sandy Beach, Hudson. There is an enchanting maze of footbridges and lookout decks over a meandering stream, with a panoramic view of lake of Two Mountains, and sailboats. Beach Road at Stephen Shaar Community Centre (washrooms, parking). The entrance is just past the tracks at the iron gates and the large map. If the parking is full, there’s more at the Jack Layton Park on Halcro road, keep right at the end of Wharf road.

July 1 – Maison Valois on Valois Bay. 331 rue St Charles, Vaudreuil Dorion. A small park with great views, especially from the smaller island (cross the small bridge). A wide open stretch of lake of Two Mountains with the bridge in the distance, even a view of the church spire, plus sailing boats and kayaks, terraced lawns and interesting houses, and water lilies in season.

July 8 – Centre de la Nature Laval. 901 ave.du Parc. There’s a colorful mini-town at the Village des Arts but my favourite is still the rock gardens, the swan and geese in the pond, the gazebos and paths up by Parking Lot #4. rte 440 to 125 south.

July 15 – Greenwood, 254 Main Street, Hudson. A beautiful historic home built between 1732-1860. Now a Centre for Living History. Their famous phlox should be in bloom this week. Rte 40, direction Ottawa, exit 26, right on Bellevue, left on Main. Entrance fee $5. or annual memberships.

July 22 – Coteau-du-lac National Historic Site. One of our first favourite places. Rolling hills overlooking rapids, ship skeletons and fishing holes, with a neighbouring millhouse, a terrace overlooking the falls. A famous hotdog stand Le Caveau on the corner.20 West Exit 17, south to the end, turn right on Chemin du fleuve, to 308A on the left. $3.40

July 29 – Ste Anne de Bellevue Canal National Historic Site. There is so much to paint: the boats, the locks, the bridges, the roof lines of the clustered shops and restaurants and tourists on the promenade. A good viewpoint is at the park itself, across the locks. Or the small park near Christie street. Highway 20, exit Ste Anne de Bellevue.

August 5 –Pointe du Moulin. Ile Perrot. There is still so much to paint here. On highway 20 to Ile Perrot turn on Don Quichotte right through to the very end. The mill is difficult to paint – it has become a challenge that draws artists back every year. Free on Tuesdays.

August 12 – The Lachine rapids, in Lasalle. The best view of the churning rapids, in a well-groomed park with small bridges through bird sanctuaries and gnarled trees, against the backdrop of the city. Take the river road. It becomes Lasalle blvd, and just east of Bishop Power is the parking lot, between 5th and 6th ave.

August 19 – Ile des Moulins Park in Terrebonne. A picturesque island setting with a cluster of old stone buildings. Stroll by the river for the rapids, or the historic lane now the hub of gourmet restaurants. Autoroute 25 north, exit 22 E to rte 344, chemin St Louis. Well sign posted. Note: rte 440 in Laval merges with highway 25.

August 26 –Paint and Picnic at Cap St Jacques. 20099 Gouin West, drive all the way to the last parking lot, by the Ecological Farm and the Maison Brunet. Bring your own lunch and/or “pot luck” if you’d like. The ruling is “alcohol permitted as part of a picnic with meals”. Bring a “Show and Tell” of your favourite plein air work (which doesn’t have to be this year’s and might not be a great painting but have a great story to it.).

Baie D’Urfe yacht club

February 5, 2014




Dreaming of summer on this snowy overcast day.

I left this one a bit sketchy. I seem to recall it was a very hot day, and there was a great lunch waiting for us at the yacht club, and I was the only one left outdoors painting.  So I left it as is. I know that when I rush to finish something, that’s when I ruin it.

What I love about Plein Air is that no matter how happy (or not) I am with the painting, I always remember the day and the wonderful feeling of sunshine and fresh air and that special magic of being outside painting with kindred spirits.

This is going to be our 20th year as the Plein Air Club!

Maison Chenier Sauve

December 9, 2013


Ah! A summer painting, a great time to start blogging this book. I have to go out into the cold and wind to shovel as soon as I finish this.

We were painting en Plein Air and I recall it was a blazing hot day. I found a spot in front of the beautiful old house, which I’ve painted before. It might show up in these blogs one day.

The church in the background has a famous story with a twist: a soldier accidentally set off a shot and a great war was won. It’s a lot quieter now in a sleepy town on the north shore of Montreal.

The writing is an extract from the program that I send around to the Plein Air Club. On the left is an old label from a Poire William eau-de-vie, a great drink on ice and a splash of water for a hot summer day.

Maison Valois

August 31, 2013



It was one of those memorable Plein Air days, where we set up on a small islet off the park in Vaudreuil, west of Montreal.  The small bay tucks in behind the larger expanse of water which most of the artists chose for the view of the distant bridge and church steeple. This scene enchanted me. Just like in the story books. Yup, a bullfrog of my very own. For 3 hours I sat and listened to this poor lonely bullfrog, never hearing an answering call. Course, I don’t know if there’s a lady bullfrog and if her voice is so, er, enchanting. 

Plein Air–Ste Anne de Bellevue

August 31, 2013



It’s been so long since I posted. I miss it so! But summer took a crazy turn, and I’m almost glad to say it’s over. Almost.

So here I was, the day after I returned home from  a crazy wild camping festival, too tired to even finish unpacking the car and riffling  for art supplies under bags of recycling and a badly packed tent. So tired I had to sit to paint instead of my usual stand at the easel. Things look different from down here. Though that doesn’t explain why I forgot the bottom half of the lamp post.  Blame it on the delivery truck that parked in front of me, leaving the engine on and choking me in diesel fumes. Glad summer’s over, almost.

Welcome Home

July 10, 2013


After 19 years of plein air painting once a week through summer, I guess I have landscapes in my artist’s vision. This collage started out as a pure abstract, but no sooner did I put it at arm’s length from me then I saw a landscape. I added just a few lines in the lake in the background and bit of “tweaking” on the tree. Now I see those foreground shapes as a young girl with arms outstretched to a larger woman, dressed similarly, coming out of a house, saying “welcome home”. And no matter how far I venture out into abstracts, I always end up back home, in landscapes.