Saturday, September 29, 2012

Still Soaring... After Algonquin Adventure

"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And dance the skies non laughter-silvered wings...
                    .... to
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God."

No! I was not in the air flying in an aircraft during my too brief stay in Algonquin Park... but in every sense of meaning of the word... I was experiencing the very same exhilarating feelings and emotions which the poet-WWII pilot John Gillespie Magee so eloquently describes in his poem "High Flight."

I first was introduced to the poem in Grade Seven as a young school child... ironically by the a revered  teacher/mentor, Miss Mildred Hyde... with whom I had the great privilege and honour to team teach with many years later... for five years prior to her sudden passing. She taught me many lessons about living one's life fully... in service to others and the art of teaching. Even at that early age... I was deeply moved by those words and have carried them forward ever since into my current life.

Autumn colour and a Park experience never fail to ignite those feelings and to kindle my artistic fire into action. This year was no exception! I realized that the colours in the highlands of the Park were at their peak, even before entering the East Gate entrance. The tamaracks were well on to their change from green to fiery ochre... well before their usual late October to early November schedule. The reds, yellows and golds.... everywhere one looked... were dazzling... waiting to be painted. And paint... David and I did!

We drove immediately to The Visitor Centre to take care of ECOAA business first, thus leaving the remainder of the afternoon to get "out there." We deposited our three entries for the juried exhibition... and quickly left the Centre and judging arena for a quieter place on a nearby roadside bog we had scouted out on our way further into the Park. We both jumped quickly into action... and in a bit over two hours we both had our first 16x20 canvases in the truck... and headed back to Whitney for a quick sandwich.

We then back-tracked to a favourite "honey hole" on Opeongo Lake Road... where we hoped we could escape the milling crowds of birders and photographers along the road everywhere. Our site was indeed vacant... so we dropped down to water level and set up "side-by-each." The evening light was beginning to fail rapidly... so we both knew that speed was essential. No time for walking about... or contemplation. Just jump in... and let the paint land where you first think it belongs... and hope for the best. Both of us came away with satisfactory results ... given the hour and a bit we had to lay in the 16x20 inch sketches both on panels.

I will shift away at this point in this point from the "word part"... and will inject jpegs which better illustrate the majesty and awe of this year's first Algonquin Autumn experience. I will add in my modest... but earnest and  untouched sketches... "impresssions"... raw from the field  for comparison. One can never hope to fully capture nature. At best... one hopes to pass along the emotional  feelings... deeply felt. I hope that you might feel and agree that I have! Enjoy!

Good Fall Painting to ALL!

PS Out to the Gallery to add a few strokes... hopefully...  not too many.. to close each sketch out! I' ll post those and other jpegs on a later post.

Stay tuned....

A Photographic Montage of Algonquin Colour

Painting "Impressions" ... painted en plein air on two glorious Autumn days... back-to-back!

"Algonquin... A Prima Vista"  (First Sight of)- oil sketch on canvas 16 x 20 inches

"Algonquin... Aglow!, Opeongo Road" - oil sketch on panel 16 x 20 inches

"Madawaskan Crescendo... Into Autumn" - oil sketch on panel 20 x 16 inches

Post Script - Sunday, September 30th
Retouched Versions completed the day after coming home

I find that at a certain point in the initial outdoor sketch, one reaches an impasse where either applying further pigment results in greying down the first rich colour values... or one gets caught up in looking for too much detail. I prefer to bring the sketches home ... away from the actual setting and to add these touches from memory... or more likely, just from my imagination. In either case... I did sit with a coffee and carefully consider what I thought might add to each sketch... savouring the coffee... the warm sun... and the memories of the day.

I most always choose to  use the term "sketch" in reference to the initial field work... simply because I have not reached the point where they have a finished feel for the reasons stated above. After the sketches have been reconsidered... and are selectively retouched with further strokes and passages...  the sketch, in my own mind can then be considered a painting. A painting... with the freshness of a sketch - that's important to me!

I am pleased with the results... and I hope that you might see those changes and agree!


Monday, September 24, 2012

An Autumn Pause... for Algonquin Reflections

The words 'Autumn' and 'Algonquin' do in fact... share common first letters. They are always capitalized in  my usage of the two words. In my own my own artistic vocabulary, they are even considered by me to be synonymous in meaning. During my almost forty year relationship combining these two, I have been blessed to enjoy plein air painting in this unique and beautiful-beyond-words wilderness Park, I have always been able to return to "Her"... in every season... but most particularly in Autumn and find myself continuously inspired to paint and moved to higher levels of awe by her beauty and unchanged solitude.

During those forty plus years en plein air there, The Park has greatly advanced my development as an artist. "She" has revealed to me... in seasonal layers of knowledge, her secrets  which have helped me to better understand Creation... and my place in it. "She" has taught "Me"...  a greater and more lasting respect for the magnificence of Creation ... and for all living things within The Circle of Life. "She"has, as well... on more than a single occasion contributed to the healing of my soul through the administration of the sweet salve of her silence and peace during troubled times. "I" always returned feeling uplifted... more whole!

As I prepare to meet "Her" later on this week, my anticipation has already built to a crescendo of anticipation to be once again unfettered and free to walk... paint...  think and commune in solitude... as "She" presents herself to "Me." After the "Mystery in the Park Exhibition" jurying part of the foray is completed, I will hitch up with my long time painting pal, David Kay (who lives in Whitney at the East Gate entrance to the Park) for a day or two of early fall painting... just before the "Leaf Creepers"... hordes and bus loads of "from away" visitors swarm at the zenith of the annual colour change.

They are indeed necessary, and welcomed participants in this annual Pageant of Colour, simply because they infuse necessary dollars and income into an otherwise very remote area...  which quite literally hibernates with many of its resident fauna for the rest of the long, cold winter months- save for the noisy snow machine operators who ply the numerous well-groomed trails in and around the Park. Folks in the Park area depend upon this final injection of tourism after the high summer activities like camping, hiking and fishing have ceased... and a time when many of the summer Park facilities are either halted limited or closed during the winter months. Many areas are simply inaccessible in the winter because of snowfall conditions.

I am offering pot-pourri collection of my favourite Autumn in Algonquin paintings from over the years... to whet your appetites for what 'might' come out of this trip. Judging by the overwhelming interest in ... and response to past Algonquin posts on my blog... it would appear that I am not the only one smitten by "Algonquin's Magnificence ... in All Seasons! I hope that you enjoy this bit of "rewind"...or time trekking back through my past trips to The Park!. Please... stay tuned...

I'll be back in a flash... with another Algonquin stash! HA HA!!

  An Autumn Technicolour Dream Coat Collection - Both small and large!!!

Magnificent in all seasons!

Still clear evidence of early life and settlement...

A tangled garden of colour  and texture...


Subjects everywhere to be found... and translated

Drama and exquisite light effects...

Ceaselessly babbling brooks...

Empty lakes to have to oneself...

Water Music!... Noisy rapids... a challenge to be captured

Quiet pools... away from the din of humanity

Private River-side studio spaces...

And moments of hush... when all of Creation seems to come to a standstill! Solitude!

Good Fall Painting !... to ALL!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Part #3- A Plein Air Painter's Paradise

My apologies for my earlier "groan n' grinch" rant...  over demo speed bumps! All part of the trip as well... when you agree to take the helm! All of that aside... I would like to share with you the painting highlights and experiences that were mine as a result of my taking part in the 2nd Annual Rockport Plain Air Paint Out... and let you simply enjoy some of those moments that I will always carry with ""Me" because I was ... "out there"!

Friday's Activity

I had my painting class pal Robin and a lady visitor to the Gallery... who at my urging made the effort to come and experience her first ever plein outing with us to start out the weekend. I stressed the fact that I would be moving about painting... more or less on my own after that first day... but they were more than welcome to join me if they wished.

Because I realized that being under public scrutiny in the beginning would be distracting for them... I chose a less travelled village site well away from the usually travelled paths of visitors. It was one where I had made a good painting... unmolested and one which contained  strong elements and easy to interpret structure to lay in a good first start. Bina arrived late, but was able to get to the lay in stage... and was thankful to do so. She has had experience in the interior design field... and rose to the occasion quickly without any difficulty. She felt that she had enough on her canvas to leave it... and complete it back in Ottawa later. I finished mine and haven't touched it since bringing it back to the studio. C'est tout fini!
                                  "The Grouts' Garden Solitude" - oil on canvas 16x20 inches

I had long completed this first painting of the day, so I decided that rather than moving elsewhere... I would encourage both of my painting pals who were push further with their own first efforts by simply remaining close by. I simply turned my own easel a full 180 degrees to face southward... and began a "run-for-the-sun thirty minute study looking through a group of willows to the tip of Club Island. I have titled it "Willowview, Club Island in September" - oil on toned 8x10 inch panel.

My goal was to treat this panel loosely... as a study... looking only to grasp essential bits and colour... with little or no intention of adding extraneous detail. I fully achieved that goal... and packed it away when  in my mind it felt finished.

Strangely enough, my art historian daughter Allison selected this small sketch/study as her personal favourite of all the works I had completed. That pleased me... because she cited her reasons as the very goals that I had sought to achieve as the elements that she preferred.

Deb intensely disliked the same piece saying that it seemed too smooth and "unfinished" for her eye. Both reasons are acceptable to me... for they are based upon what I consider is the only  true measure of the value of a piece of art. Firstly... it should elicit a strong, but rational response by each viewer. The viewer then becomes an active part and contributor to the painting process in tandem with the artist. Why else do we exhibit what we paint? Are we not always putting forth the question: "Well... what do you think?"
I'm totally satisfied with a "split decision." At least I wasn't KO'd anyway!

Saturday's Painting Foray to Pine Island... A Day in Paradise !

I had been waiting for Saturday to arrive. When we had  first moved to Rockport back in mid-April
I was given a book to read entitled : "Of Time and an Island" written by respected US journalist, biographer, historian and social critic, John K Keats who had purchased this very island as a summer retreat for he and his young family from hectic citified life. He fell under the spell of The River Goddess... who has captured and owns the souls of all who come under her spell, and finally quit  his "job" to pursue a lifetime of "work" conducted wholly and gleefully on this very Pine Island Paradise. His family, now grown and widely spread out family of children continue to arrive here each summer... and until late fall each year... with the predictable precision and instincts of the Canada Geese who as well, claim seasonal residency in these Thousand Islands.

I have been so effected... no moved by this book, that I have purchased it for winter reading and for further inspiration in my painting. What an honour it and privilege it was to paint alone on a section of this small piece of Eden... looking along the very path that Keats had passed to and from his writing refuge... to work in a small white frame cottage looking up river towards Club Island. During the course of my three hour interlude, I surely felt his presence and hope, that in some small way that our being there doing "our work"... might have caused he and his beloved wife Margaret to look down... and smile contentedly. 

Pine Island remains the same refuge and womb for play and creativity that he worked hard to create for both he and his family. It surely proves... and gives credibility to my own belief that "Art Matters... in all of its varied forms. So does the life and service one offers to those with whom they share their journey. This first of two canvases done on the island Saturday I hope captures that idyllic and still rustic "River"cottage feeling of belonging which I enjoyed along with folks like Keats for the better part of my early life close to Rockport.

In Rockport... where we currently reside we have been most graciously accepted as the "newcomers" which we most certainly are. We will forever remain as "guests"... people who are always made to feel welcome, but never as fully vested,village born and raised members. In that sense, we understand... accept and take no exception to the fact that we will always have the status of being... "from away". This in no way offends us. It is merely the fact that birth most often determines place and rank in every place that I have chosen to live in.

But on this morning... and on the Keats Pine Island family refuge, I feel "at Home"... in every sense of the word. I feel totally removed from the threats... chaos and discouragement of a too fast moving society that I know longer feel a part of. I feel alive... unfettered... at peace with my thoughts while the pockets of noisy flitting warblers visit my easel unafraid of my presence. I feel the wind which still sighs in the great white pine.. still guardian of this sanctuary. His shade and woodwind musical accompaniment soothes my senses... just as it did for Keats so many seasons now passed. 

How could I not paint a good painting? And paint a good one I did! Good enough to be awarded one of the four People 's Choice Awards at the conclusion of the event. It was NOT the technical qualities of the painting. Rather, I believe that it was the essence of the strongly attached emotional feeling just described which  I was able to transcribe on to the canvas. Others thought and felt so as well. That pleases me beyond the value of any award recognition. In my own story telling fashion... using paint... I have passed forward the very special legacy and gift of two very special River People... perhaps beyond my own time. Is that not a reasonable level of... "Immortality"?.... "I" wonder....

What do you think? I 'd be interested to hear from you!

"Sunlit Path to John Keats' Windswept Refuge" - oil on canvas 20x16 inches

"Looking North Over the Keats Windswept Studio" -oil on canvas 10x8 inches

Right after lunch, the sky greyed up and threatened menacingly to bucket down on our painting troupe. I quickly grabbed a black toned 8x10 inch canvas from my kit and booted it to the top of the hill which gave a panoramic view over the studio directly northward towards Rockport. Sensing the urgency of time... I quickly dashed off this twenty minute study of the studio... swaddled, as it remains today in masses of stag sumac... resting for the final b;lazing fanfare of autumn seeming to be awaiting their cue to perform colourfully in the grand pageant of colour here in the Thousand Islands. Piny Woodwinds... supported by the first strains of soaring brass of autumn... it is indeed an intentional portrait of those grand opening bars of Autumn's symphony of colour. Over-the-top capital "R"  Romantic you say? Absolutely... and no apologies offered! Music and  poetry exist and play continually in my mind and soul, wherever mood...colour... harmony and and solitude come together in my journey. "I" am truly and proudly... a capital "R" Romantic.

Back on Land- Saturday 4:15 pm

When I arrived back from Pine Island, Deb told me that a number of visitors had dropped by looking for the "working artists" who were supposed to be in the village painting. There were none on Front street... which is action central for the main throngs of visitors by car...  or those from tours... either prior to boarding or after their boat tour. So, I quickly grabbed a small 5x7 inch toned panel and my paint box... nothing else and headed up the street towards this site close by which never fails to interest me. I quickly found a place out of the way behind a telephone pole...sat down... opened my box... selected a 1/4 inch sable bristle brush and began furiously painting the panel held vertically in my bare hand. 

"Up the Lane to the Cornwall Pub and Grill" - oil on panel 7x5 inches

... Not a stone's throw from home!
This mini-painting was completed in just fifteen minutes... no solvents... just a rag to somewhat clean the brush. I decide "just to let things hang out"... and for one of the very few times when I paint... I truly set out to create as a painting as abstract as my impressionist temperament and habit would allow. I am thrilled with the result. It "says so much... with so little"... and there was absolutely no feeling of restriction or feeling at all cramped or pressure by time and space. Wish that I could come at painting more often in this fashion! Hey!... What a great idea!

Sunday Morning... Not a Stone's Throw From Home!

I had decided to get "out there" as quickly as possible... to be alone and to find a spot and settle into painting quickly. I wanted to escape the distraction of the crowds of visitors who mill about and wander wherever they wish, so I chose another site where this would be possible. I had long admired this quaint house in the village and I have known its owner Margot Miller for quite a long time. She has a long-established and respected reputation as an artisan, painting fashionable items of ladies clothing with colourful acrylic washes.

The dappled light erratically flooding  through the nearby trees created interesting patterns, both on the simple white clap board home itself and on the various planes of ground, road and shrubbery as well. Here was such an opportunity "to let 'er fly" with this painting as well..To paint rapidly tying shape to shape... shadow to shadow... interlacing these with the rich, bright light which presided over this idyllic scene. I began the painting at 10:15 am... and packed up and returned home at 11:00 with what I feel was my most enjoyably energetic painting of the weekend. What an uplifting finish for such an exciting plein air experience!

"Dazzled by the Margot Miller's House" - oil on canvas 14x18 inches

Our event came ceremoniously to an abrupt but welcomed end at Caiger's Resort with an informal Wine and Cheese get together and opportunity for the public to mingle with the participating artists who were anxious to share their weekend painting results with the other artists... and the public Folks attending  were given a single vote to be cast for their favourite painting in the collection. The focus and goal of this artist-friendly annual event is to paint... share time and ideas and simply to have fun together. It is not about "prizes". It was our intention and sincere hope... that everyone attending would return home... "a winner." Judging by the paintings and the comments of all artists there.... everyone did so! The 3rd Annual Rockport Plein Air Paint Out should likely attract many more painters and visitors, all anxious to repeat their success!

Good Fall Painting to ALL!!

My next post will come to you after my trip up to Algonguin Park! Stay tuned... the colours are on the move... and so is "Yours Truly!

"Oh ... I have slipped the surly bonds of earth... "

"High Flight"
John Gillespie McGee, Jr

RCAF Pilot, Killed in action in WWII

Friday, September 21, 2012

Post Plein Air and Demo... Somewhere Between Elation... and Exhaustion - Part #2

All of the painters have long departed. All of the raw excitement of the moment has (almost) faded. Life has begun to return... "to normal." Painting en plein air... in large doses in itself is a very tiring... energy-depleting exercise. On most occasions... my usual routine after a full day out in the fresh air... most always tramping over uneven ground involves a long and hot soak in the tub... beverage at the ready for a full hour. By the end of this ritual.. body core is back to normal... aches are on hold... and the mind drained from being locked for too long in the creative zone. In short... creative overload of both body and mind!

However... on this occasion following  that routine was not possible because it fell to me to do an oil demo for each evening after supper. Both of the expected speakers were at the last moment unable to take part for very valid personal reasons. So  a replacement solution fell to our committee to fill that time slot with some activity which suited the occasion and situation. What better activity than a demonstration of plein air painting.

Only problem was that I was the only demo man volunteer. It was an honour to present and not terribly stressful to quickly prepare for because I am frequently asked to present one.I usually feel very comfortable in doing them. It only became stressful on the occasion of the second demo night... when my tank was truly "running on empty"... after two successive full days of being outside.

At best... my  main objective in offering a demo is to try and present an indoor facsimile of the outdoor  experience. That means painting a subject that has been well-considered beforehand... in a rapid fashion... as is nearly always the case en plein air.This is done in the field  to accommodate rapidly changing lighting and weather conditions. I always stress to the audience the need "to own" the painting process.

By that phrase... I mean ... paint what you feel using all of your senses simultaneously, as opposed to painting using only what is visually in front of you. The truest act of creation comes out of being in fully charge of one's actions and learning. Being en plein air... alone with Creation itself affords that wonderful opportunity to pass beyond "reality" and to enter a creative world... where the only rules are the ones that you choose to follow.

During a demo... I always stress that every stroke should be laid with forethought and that it should be left untouched until after the total lay in part is completed. My belief is that value and shapes can be adjusted in oil whenever the decision need be made, or is thought necessary. The joy in filling the blank canvas with "information" to guide your learning is a HUGE motivator to encourage the search for clearer definition of one's  "impression" of the subject. I stress that "an  impression" should be the goal... not replication when painting. That is a daunting challenge each and every time I paint en plein air... and I do not always achieve that goal as fully as I'd wish to on most occasions... even though I set out to do so on each and every occasion. That again is a facet of plein air painting. Every trip "out there"... is a wholly new experience and adventure!~

Plein air painting is somewhat like fishing. "The BIG One"... you feel ... is always "out there"... and the only way to catch it... is "to fish".Cast after cast... honey hole after honey hole one searches the illusive. And when at last you do hook into that denizen... struggle with it... and finally carry home the trophy... the Self will always be primed to look beyond today... for a bigger one. That's fishing! And... also... it's painting! It arises out of an inner urge and passion to pursue and capture... in the case of painting a visual image unlike that of any other painter.

On the negative side... conducting a demo is to "Me"... an act of "performance art" because of the imposed time restraints... usually poor lighting... and those right brain distractors... who talk better than they listen, or think of offering distracting personal anecdotes of their own successful strategies... which you might try to help you. I don't perform well. Never did... when the goal was to achieve a purely artificial effect. Painting has been the one area of my life...since childhood which I control. Seldom... have I permitted intrusion into this deeply personal area of my life which governs my actions... or learning.

I have reasoned... in the past, that doing demos permitted me to reach out and to share my knowledge and my deeply held passion for painting. I have done so on may occasions with large groups... with individuals young and old... each of my children and all of my learning classrooms over my entire lifetime. The joy comes out of seeing knowledge  being passed freely. In watching that sacred "Aha" moment... when for the first time, an individual comes face-to-face with their own Creative Self. This has justified being a part of these exercises.

Perhaps at this time... it is time to step back and to evaluate where... or if,  I should continue to get involved in offering public demos  from this point in my life. Allowing oneself to become vulnerable... as one must become in this situation... is very draining. Rarely, do I feel good about the painting when I am finished because it has been rushed and  parts of my painting have been influenced by distracting comments... which I always paint out when I return to the studio anyway. Lately, I seem to face many more of those who wish to derail the presentation, making it difficult to focus... and to remain positive about giving the demo.

Usually... I set out to rework and re-think demo pieces as soon as I get back into the studio... using the structure of what I was able to create in the compressed moment and under the stress of  "performing". I often find that my deviation from a game plan is as much self-imposed as caused by external influences. I am only able to feel good about these demo works after this refinement process is completed. Such was the case after the Rockport Plein Air event just passed. Two days of playing...making new decisions away from the initial sources... and I feel satisfied to post the results. I will as well post with them the "originals"... to show comparison. You be the judge... I'd be interested in hearing.

To demo... or not to demo
That is the question!...
I'll think on it!

(Sorry... William!.... artistic licence! But you'd understand... You played to audiences for a living... and we're still grateful that you hung on!)

I'm off to Algonquin Park Thursday of next week for a few days. I have to take my three entries up... hopefully to be included in the annual ECOAA "Mystery in the Park Juried Exhibition. David reports that colours are a-changin! Panels and canvases are primed and toned... ready for fall pigment!

Stay tuned..... hope to bring back a few keepers to share!

Stroke-by-Stroke Commentary:

Friday Night Demo

I chose a river theme... one that was highly recognizable and one that I played around with during my painting classes this August... "Sunken Rock Light, Alexandria Bay, NY". I used a toned 24x20 inch canvas... and used it vertically to emphasize the height of the light. I used my earlier water colour 14x10 inch sketch for initial reference... but immediately discarded it to demonstrate a purely intuitive approach... as opposed to copying. Although the demo moved along smoothly... with good colour and design... I realized the next morning even before  I had the opportunity to revisit the sketch reference that there were glaring misinterpretations which disturbed me. So, I immediately stepped back to the easel in my studio and in about a half hour managed to bring the piece back to state which I could live with. The reworked version will remain... "as is"... I think! HA HA!!

Note the differences between the original and reworked versions...

Original version

Reworked Version

Saturday Night Demo

I purposely chose a smaller canvas, an 8x10 canvas... toned in black acrylic and used vertically. As my subject, I chose my final half  hour sketch completed on Pine Island that day. I used this painting set up to introduce the notion of using negative space to develop the painting in its initial stages. It is my belief that this approach encourages the use of the right side, or more imaginative lobe of the brain to inspire and direct a playful approach to composing the framework for the painting.

I began the demo by painting the sky area around the dark black shape of the leaning white pine... using a light greyish wash for the sky colour... leaving the ragged edges of the pine almost cooky-cutter shaped. At this point, I handed the original sketch out to the audience to look at closely... while I continued to paint on relying totally upon memory for direction. Risky... but worth the challenge.

I did the same for the triangular shaped roof area of the small studio-cottage. I quickly added very loosely interpreted green areas to approximate the shapes/masses of the stag sumacs and the birch clumps. I added the lightly stained water area to complete the laying in of the basic shapes or masses. All of this was accomplished using a one quarter inch flat sable brush. The remainder of the painting... or details were completed briskly in about 5 minutes using a rigger... with no real attempt at accuracy. It was simply a quick impression... and note the strong resemblance between the two. Note however... that my interest shifted dramatically away from the tree and cottage in the original sketch to the sky to the left... and its effects on the cottage. A reversal of focus... and a very different feel!

Original sketch on left... reworked demo version on the right

     Actual view for both sketches... the writing studio for journalist/novelist JK Keats on Pine Island

Tomorrow.... Part #3 The other five paintings that came out of the 2nd Annual Plein Air Paint Out that I managed to share with all .

Stay tuned...
Good Fall Painting to ALL!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Post... Paint Out - Part One

The 2nd Annual Plein Air Paint Out is today... in the rear view mirror... or... it's history... as the saying goes! As with all planned well in advance outdoor events... involving some experienced and other inexperienced participants, much of the success of the event hinges upon good weather. September...  in these parts at least, can be unpredictable at best and downright nasty in the worst scenario. Planning and providing for unforeseen unfavourable circumstances keeps organizers on pins and needles until the event is over.

We were, again this year very fortunate to have the weatherman in our corner... with a huge storm and torrential rains occurring after all participants were inside the dining establishment and site for the evening demo. We were indeed fortunate to have avoided the distinct possibility of having had people on island sites... rather than in Rockport.

As with all undertakings... there are "hitches n' glitches" than come at you from nowhere... and last minute adjustments are the order of business to cover the bases.  Both of our scheduled presenters for both night were forced to cancel for health and personal reasons... leaving the after evening meal entertainment gas tank measuring... empty! I volunteered to do a painting demo in oils... and ended up doing a demo and talk based on plein air preparation on both evenings.

The evening meals were excellent at The Galley Restaurant here in Rockport and at Caiger's Fishing Resort located a few minutes east of the village on The Parkway. I think this fact greatly helped both my delivery... and the reception of my offerings on both occasions. Put that with my committee duties and three consecutive days of outdoor painting... and you will accept that this morning... I'm feelin' a little "out of gas" myself!

All of the attending artists reported enjoyment on each day... amazement at the unique beauty of The Thousand Islands... and for many... their newly found joy in having painted... "out there"... en plein air! Judging by the wonderful and varied results of their joint efforts displayed at the closing wine and cheese reception hosted by the Rockport Development Group... all left for home not only with good memories... but with paintings that indicated new and exciting growth for each!

I am certain after my discussions with each participant...  that our numbers should swell further from 24 artists for the 3rd Annual Rockport Plein Air Paint Out. I will treasure my own time spent
"out there"... partly with students and new friends and for the most part... alone as I prefer painting the glory of Creation as I "see" and feel it. My day on Pine Island spent mostly on my own... painting a site that I only became aware of as a result of reading "Of Time and an Island"... a novel written years ago by the now deceased owner of this island retreat... JK Keats. Keats was a respected political journalist who "packed in" city life... and his "job" in Washington... to live on Pine Island year round with his family... still "doing his work"... writing as a free lance contributor to travel and sporting publications from his "office/refuge" on the Island.

As migrating warblers tweeted and visited... I painted his office... and a path he must have followed to his "work" many times. I  felt his presence throughout my day there. It was a high honour to have the permission of his three children to paint and sojourn here. I think that JK and Margaret both... wherever else they are presently... in the Universe might have smiled and have been pleased to see their rich and private legacy being shared... by so many complete strangers. But then again...perhaps we're not really strangers at all. We are simply sharing parallel journeys only at  different time planes. Thank you Keats Family!

My thanks to Wendy and the other committee members for a great experience... and to the many village folk who also shared their properties with us during the course of the weekend. Thank you too... to the restaurant owners and servers for making our event this year ... HUGELY successful!

A pancake breakfast kicked off the event on Friday morning on the lawn at Wendy's . What a meal and view to get the taste buds into action for a grand day of plein air painting!

 The view of Fancy Rock Island from Pine Island... a favourite subject for many participants.

 Isolde and friend Pat painting... (comfortably) in style from the dock on Pine Island.

The result of my Friday evening demo and talk about the value and hows of plein air painting. An oil version of the water colour sketch I did in one of my painting classes in August... up scaled from 14x10 inches to 24x20 inches. "River Sentinel, Sunken Rock Light, Alexandria Bay, NY- oil on canvas.

"Wind Swept Refuge on Pine Island", a 10x8 inch black toned canvas completed quickly with one brush in about 40 minutes. It would serve as the subject for the evening demonstration to show the value of a sketch in developing a strong appreciation of the structure of a subject in one's mind.

Hard at work at the 10x8 oil demo on black canvas... using positive negative relationships and masses of colour only to replicate a sketch done on the Island in the afternoon. Done from memory... no  reference used.

The result of that exercise is a reasonable... but very different interpretation of the original subject... focussed more on sky effects than the foreground interest in the first!

 Isolde... deep in thought while she sketches in the village.

Group interaction at the final Wine 'n Cheese reception  to which the general public and the artists met... mingled and shared impressions of the event, People's Choice "friendly" ballots were cast... selecting four favourite paintings for awards of excellence.

These were the People's Choice award winners for this year's event! Big smiles... Guy and Gals!

Thank you to all participants for their fine spirit and and camaraderie! What a fine weekend we all shared together! New experiences... new sites and new friends! See you next year!

Till next year... Good Painting to ALL!!