Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring = Plein air Season underway!... Well sort of !

Though the "Greening" is well behind places south of us... it is in the air and well underway ...finally!

T 'is the season again!.... No not for Christmas... It's Black Fly time!!! Though short in duration... it is much feared and respected by all of us ... gardeners... farmers... cattle... horses ... and horse's ass plein air painters... who love to work outside! This is NOT a lament... nor complaint - just another facet associated and accepted as part and parcel with life... north o' suburbia!!

Though the dreaded Black Fly is in the air, it is not yet at its customary horde level ... but rather at this time only manifesting its "in your face"... and nuisance mode for the outdoor enthusiast.That will all change within a week or so... when the hatches do in fact hatch out... and they head out in search of anything... or anyone warm blooded to bite and punish in unrelenting droves. Their time is short -lived... but the agony they inflict lasts as a memory for a very long time afterward.

I am now... and forever... significantly allergic to their bite... due to the over needless and foolhardy over dosing and cumulative numbers of assaults that I have withstood over my outdoor painting life. On one occasion in Algonquin Park... I was so engrossed in finishing my 36x48 canvas... that I failed to notice that the hordes had slipped under the protective netting covering my head... and that they were having a Sunday school picnic on the open and uncovered area on the nape of my neck.

The experience left me bleeding profusely and bitten... far too may times! By nightfall... my neck had swollen to such an extent... that one couldn't see my ears from the rear. The burning itch reaction that multiple bites cause can only be described as torture. Only massive slugs of antihistimines brought any form of relief.

Needless to say... I will not put myself into any position where such havoc can be inflicted. I do not relish another bout of "staph"... or the risk of an anaphylactic attack for the sake of a painting.

Today's' cheery spring... and yes... studio subject lies within a very few minutes walking distance of our Gallery and apartment... just on the periphery of the village and on out regular nightly stroll route. I call it affectionately... my "Lady in Red"... but in local lore it is simply Rumble's Feed and Flour Mill. It was the epicentre of commerce in Hillsdale for nearly a hundred years... but ceased operation in 1959 when its last owner, Jack Rumble became ill and locked the door behind him... and it ceased to be a mill from that moment on.

The Rumble family are great friends who have allowed me the run of the place... where I am free to enter the property and paint at my leisure - a great gift. They all have a Sherman view of the mill in various views and seasons. I plan an in depth "visual essay" style theme some day soon... whenever things fall into place... and I decide to kick start the project! Stay tuned!

Until then... all the usual sentimentality and romance that I usually inject ... and inflict upon you set aside... please do enjoy on particularly favourite site from my Home... and journey!

Good Painting!... and a Fly-less Spring to all!

PS Tips for the ardent fly time painters:

1. Avoid wearing light blue clothing such as denim... it attracts the female "biters" they say.

2. Avoid wearing any kinds of perfume... aftershave... or deodorant... they transmit tell-tale vapour trails that lead directly back to you!

3. Applied Skin So Soft Baby Lotion to hands ... neck and face is touted to be a good outdoor repellent. Keeps your skin soft as an added plus! HAHA!!

4. A sheet of fabric softener inside one's hat is claimed to discourage fly visitors around the head and face... where they really prohibit concentration and good painting conditions!


  1. Is part of the mill collapsing Bruce? That is kind of sad, no? So sorry to hear about the fly allergies. I find them mightily annoying myself, though I've not been known to have an allergic reaction to the bug bites. Anyway, this is a beautiful painting, as always!

  2. Hi Bruce,

    The blog is working again. Love your advice on what not to wear when plein air painting. Great painting as usual. Hope this takes.

    all the best to you,

  3. Thanks Joan!...Yup! That Blog Guy has been a-tinkerin' again for the past three days!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Dem black flies really are pesky! I'll try anything to ward them off... but find studio work is the best "repellent" on the marketplace for "Me"!! HAHA!!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  4. Hi Bruce,

    These Black Flies sound even worse than the Scottish midge, and that's saying something! I've followed all your tips, except for the one about a sheet of fabric softener: I'll have to try that one.

    All the best,

  5. Hi Keith!...I have never been "midged"... but I have been "black flied"... too many times!

    Their bites really inflict a burning itch... and due to their hordes... can inflict a great deal of discomfort in no time flat!

    Good luck with the midges up your way! Hope the fabric softener works! Worth a try anyway!

    Good (midgeless ) Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  6. I see my first comment must have gotten lost in the tectonic shift of blogspot being down. At any rate, this is a gorgeous mill and painting, Bruce. I am wondering if a portion is falling into the stream/river? I so hate when beauty of the past falls into disrepair. To me these historical sites just need to be maintained. Sometimes I get so forlorn thinking about how kids today won't have a clue about what a place like this did in the past or its historical importance. Or horror of horrors, not even know what this building was used for! 1959...the year I was born! I love that you revere such places just as I do!

  7. Hi Sherry!... I was in the process of posting my response to your earlier visit when the Blog became.... well... unblogged!HAHA!!

    Thank you for visiting and for your very interesting comments! It is indeed... simply mouldering away... every year losing more ground.

    The mill was a flour and feed mill and served the community and area for well over a hundred years. The appearance of large grocery stores and the production of flour in Toronto mills spelled the end for independent milling operations dotting the countryside.

    A shame to see it... and the heritage contained within disappear without honour. Time moves on...and pays little regard... or respect for the past it would seem these days.

    Thanks for your uplifting visits and support Sherry!

    Good Painting and writing!
    Warmest regards,

  8. You are brave to paint outside during May. It would have to be windy for me to face the black flies. Lovely painting--lucky you to have such a wonderful building nearby.

  9. Hi there Stephanie!... Thanks for visiting and for the encouraging comments re" Rumble's Mill!

    I am indeed lucky to have such great painting material all around me. Not far to travel for a view and inspiration!

    Loved your site and your wonderfully painterly touch! Nice to be connected!Let's stay in touch!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,