At Dinosaur Park this June with Sagebrush Arts Society, I just had time for a few watercolour sketches. Curiously shaped hoodoos and colour in the sandstone, ironstone and mudstone layers of the badlands are visually compelling. During August I paint with an ad hoc group of artists from all over the province. Although the week-long plein air retreat was established decades ago by members of the Alberta Society of Artists, it is open to anyone so please feel free to contact me if you are interested. The region chosen this year was southwest of Calgary in the Turner Valley area. Our time was largely frustrated by rainy weather. The image here is an oil I completed by the side of a road near Millarville. A storm was moving in from the Rockies. I am heading into the Castle wilderness area soon for a few more days of painting outdoors and late September should see me painting outdoors again somewhere in downtown Lethbridge to celebrate Alberta Culture Days.
An alternate title for this blog post might be “painting on the rainy west coast”. This atmospheric oil study looking toward Meares Island from Tofino was one of two I painted recently on Vancouver Island. Compelling for me was the subdued colour and haunting softness of edges found in the morning’s light rain and heavy cloud. I wanted to capture this sensibility quickly, before the light changed. This quick plein air was completed in under an hour using just a palette knife. Initially I wanted to include some of the foreground harbour boats but ultimately decided to leave the detail for a studio work-up. Having lived on Vancouver Island, I knew that rainy weather was likely to be an issue. Fortunately I did capture many evocative photographs from Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and surrounding regions such as along the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet. So, although I painted very little, I consider the trip a success because I have lots of new, inspiring material for studio work – some likely destined for the Federation of Canadian Artists gallery in Vancouver.