Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Autumn... On the Gallop!

The 3rd Annual Plein Air Paint Out in Rockport is now History! Even the cold and damp weather on Friday... did little to dispel the festive mood of anticipation, or the painting spirits of the more than twenty artists who came to Rockport this past weekend to paint on... and beside this marvellously beautiful St Lawrence River.

Friday, September13th

After a breakfast of pancakes and sausages, I toured a group of ten very ardent fellow painters aboard the Rockport Cruise Line's Chief Shingwauk to Boldt Castle, located on Heart Island in New York State. There... we spent the complete day painting at that world-famous tourist destination. Needless to say... there were fewer touristas on the island... so we artists were kings and queens of the Castle for a day!

My long time painting pal, Frank Edwards and I wasted neither valuable painting time, nor energy searching out a painting site. We set up immediately... out of that nasty wind and painted the power house from a very picturesque vantage point. I had eyed up/scouted out... on my two earlier visits to the castle this summer. I had chosen a rather largish canvas format of 30x24 inches for the day, so I had a lot to deal with... in a very short period of time. I was pleased with the result however. It required only minimal work back at the studio to the bottom foreground area to close it out on Sunday morning before the exhibition.

In the evening, all of our group gathered for a social hour and sumptuous dinner at The Boat House Restaurant... once the site for the the first business in Rockport, The Cornwall General Store. This relic and architectural jewel of Rockport, was established in the 1840's by Charles Cornwall, a US citizen from upstate New York. His brother had a stone general store... still up and running directly south of Rockport in Alexandria Bay, NY. Our after dinner speaker, Brian Phillips shared an interesting historical power point presentation based upon the Cornwall heritage in Rockport to close out the day's activities. My bed sure felt comfy... and sleep came easily - a fitting end to a highly productive and thoroughly enjoyable day with my ol' sidekick Frank!

This view shows the bow of the Chief Shingwauk in the fore... and the Boat House Restaurant and Inn directly behind

Saturday, September 14th

All artists were required to paint within the village to offer the invited public to visit the village, to watch the plein air painters fully in action and to visit local businesses and eating establishments. In many cases, this was their introduction to Rockport and to the plein air movement. Everywhere one went... one could feel and hear the connection that folks were making with artists and many permanent village residents... who had generously opened their properties to artists and the public for the weekend. Win-win ... for everyone involved!

After the full day of painting... artists, their guests and interested public observers met on the dock at The Rockport Cruise Line and boarded the Ida III for a complimentary one hour Sunset Cruise into the Islands... courtesy of The Rockport Cruise Line in generous support of our weekend adventure. Mother Nature... put on her best dress and bathed us with the beauty and light so characteristic of Autumn in The Thousand Islands region. All aboard were smitten with the golden ambiance of this initial entry of Fall into the region. Plenty of  "oohs and ahs"... and a barrage of steady camera clicks filled the cool night air. It was a wonderful end to another days together... "out there"!

Here are some pre dinner visual "hors d' hoeuvres" we enjoyed...  leading up to another evening get together at The Cornwall Pub and Grill

The Boldt Castle Power House and bridge... "at ease" after a hectic day

The Castle Dock and Facade

The Triumphal Arch and Children's Play House...

Sunken Rock Light ... guarding the treacherously narrow International Seaway Shipping Channel

The "Skull and Crossbones Secret Society " Fraternity summer house on Deer Island. George W. Bush was a member. Wonder if he ever partied here with the other many "Yalies" who have visited and stayed on the island over the years?

Two magnificent summer houses located on world famous "Millionaire's Row" west of A-Bay!

A modern replica of the gaiety and High Victorian grandeur of "The Golden Age" in The Thousand Islands

After filling our bellies with "whatever we pleased"... our artistic spirits were satiated and uplifted by a wonderful water colour demo by my new painting friend, Paul Taylor, who hails from Henrietta, NY.... a suburb of nearby Rochester. The presentation not only enriched the thoughts and imaginations of the water colourists present... but for everyone else too who enjoyed watching this creative individual sharing his passion and his skills. Thank you Paul... for your presence and your contributions to the success of our Rockport Paint Out!

Paul... on location at Fish Rock painting the tug work boat Ishpeming

Another maritime theme... from "the other side" of the River... subject for his evening demo piece

The demo at closing... structure there... can be finished at any time

Sunday, September 15th

The sun continued to shine... and spirits ran on "high beam" as well. Artists finished up some of their works while others chose to add another small one before the noon deadline for submission of works to the Patio Deck Restaurant location for the final public Reception and Exhibition scheduled for 1:00 pm.

The event was formally opened by Chair Person Wendy Merkley... assisted by Township Mayor Frank Kinsella who passed out the Awards to the winners. Since our event is deemed an "artist-friendly" event... all awards were based upon "People's Choice" principle, and were decided by public voting.

Surprise!... Surprise! The Grand winner was.... Paul Taylor for his acrylic painting "Ishpeming" shown below! Congrats Paul!.... Well deserved!

A sunny... sparkling... loose portrait of Ishpeming (Thundering Waters)... a plein air  Gem!

I will close out my post issuing my thanks to all of my fellow friends and committee members for their hard work... to Kathleen Allen, President of The Rockport Cruise Line and all of her staff for their friendliness and generous contributions to the success of The 3rd Annual Rockport Plein Air Paint Out. Thank you all! Thank you to the Rockport Development Group non-artist members, who  generously offered their time and energy to the event's success! Thank you too... to Frank for joining me this year! What a blast to be "side-by-each" again!

I will add one sentence ... borrowed from Paul Taylor's web page. It is a quote he feels and obviously adheres to strongly in his own work. I deeply believe this mantra to be true as well. It derives from Edgar Whitney, a revered and charismatic American water colourist... now deceased:

"[A] Painting must be a love affair - you cannot paint half-heartedly."

No one that I watched did less than that during this painting adventure! Thanks for participating all!  See you  next year... I hope!

Good (Plein Air) Painting!... to All!

PS Despite my responsibilities... I managed to complete two nice paintings 

Time ... at a Stand Still... on Heart Island - oil on canvas 30x24 inches

The Loner and Tonto... reunited... en plein air

Ishpeming... At the Ready - oil on canvas 24x20 inches


  1. Btuce - sounds like the best of week-ends. Loved seeing all the lovely scenery too. Your beautiful paintings will certainly remain a wonderful reminder of time well spent in the fellowship of other artists. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a beautiful day.

  2. Hi there Wendy!... You're absolutely right! It was a great kick start for the brief... upcoming fall plein air painting season... soon to be fully underway!

    It is a beautiful sunshiny day now in Rockport... but it was near the zero mark overnight! Very chilly... but great for sleeping- which I did.

    It was nice to share painting time with Frank and other friends... and to catch up!

    I have another plein air event scheduled for the first weekend in October that I have co-organized with a manager of a local winery. It looks like another weekend winner!
    Stay tuned....

    Goodd painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Hi Bruce, it sounds like a great time was had by all, artists and visitors alike. I'm glad you were able to find some time for yourself, and make such good use of it. Your paintings both have the feeling of river and island life that you describe with your words and photographs.

    All the best,

  4. Hi there Keith!... I was indeed busy... but did manage some very special time with Frank, Paul and other old friends! We all enjoyed each other's company thoroughly... and everybody was able to make some great paintings!

    I agree... that both do capture a river feeling and painting them was a very pleasurable experience!

    On to the next plein air project at The Eagle Point Winery in early October. It should be another great time!

    Stay tuned!... Thanks for dropping by with your encouraging comments Keith!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Bruce, I don't know what it is about your style of painting but I sure do love it. You seem to inject whimsy with each brush stroke...maybe it is your personality that shines through each beautiful piece. I love each of these and I'd sure be happy to live in that little pump house! Such a beautiful area!

  6. Good morning Sherry!.... Thank you for your very kind comments about these paintings! I much value your opinions.

    Your description of the "whimsy" in the work is likely quite correct and can be attributed to my "romantic nature" and my strong need to be spontaneous in both my speech and my painting process. I'm a born "rule breaker", I guess. HA HA!!

    Add to this... that each of these subjects (in my mind) could well be found in children's literature... "The Little Tug That Could"... "Princess Louise and Prince George's Castle"... (Deb's wee grandaughter's words... not mine).

    A lot of "The Child Within"/ Peter Pan comes out to play when I paint... It's Neverland really!

    Glad that you enjoyed the post Sherry. I write... and paint to share with Friends like you!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  7. Greetings Bruce, great to see your lovely sun filled painting and photos of your painting trip.What a fabulous location it will inspire you and fuel you for the winter days to come.

  8. Hi there Caroline!... Primed... and ready to go for the Fall painting season. The colours are rising quickly by each day. Should be perfect and likely peak within the next week or so!

    Thanks for your complimentary remarks and visit!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,