Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Victoria Falls", plein air watercolour and ink sketch

"Victoria Falls", plein air watercolour and ink sketch, 6 x 4"
Just for variety I did a pen and watercolour sketch. There was really no place to set up to paint in oils, and it was getting late -just enough time for a quick sketch. So ends day 3.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Cathedral Mountain from Opabin", plein air oil painting

"Cathedral Mountain from Opabin", plein air oil painting, 10 x 8"
This is the last painting from day 3, before the weather started to roll in. I haven't been able to paint in oils since I have been back (just taught a 3 day mixed media/collage workshop -quite a switch) but hope to do some more plein air this week, with this spell of Indian Summer. What I really would love to do is to return to gorgeous Lake O'Hara...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Lake O'Hara and Elizabeth Parker Hut

This is the sleeping area of the Elizabeth Parker Hut. Two 'shelves' with long mattresses on them, each shelf sleeping 8 people. Kind of 'concentration style' sleeping arrangements. I didn't know my neighbor to my right, but at least had my hubby to my left! Climbing that ladder constantly was a real pain, and the light was always very dim inside.
This is the fireplace for the hut -the fire box mounted in front of the original stone fireplace kind of ruins the effect, but really keeps the place toasty. At the end of each day we would put our masterpieces on the mantle and all around on the window ledges for all to admire...or not.
The evenings were spent eating! We had a wonderful chef from the famous Banff Springs Hotel on our trip and he volunteered to head up the kitchen teams (we all took turns dicing and chopping under the master's supervision). So dinners included such lush fare as filet mignon (done in a propane oven unfortunately), salmon and arctic char. That made the rough living conditions seem strange by comparison. The environment seemed to call more for Mac and Cheese! The night was capped off with singing, led by an incredible voice with a penchant for music from the 30's and 40's -couldn't believe I knew the words to "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"....
This is my wonderful hubby (and sherpa) Dave taking his turn doing the dishes. No running water, remember?
"Odaray Glacier", plein air oil painting, 10 x 8"
This is number five for the trip. This is the view of Odaray Mtn from the hike up to Lake Oesa. There were these great huge rocks left from various rockfalls that were covered with this lovely gray-green lichen -quite a contrast to the warmer rock ledge behind. Another amazingly beautiful day, no clouds in the sky at this time, which made painting the mountains SO much easier that if there had been shadows cast from clouds.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Opabin's Glory", plein air oil painting

"Opabin's Glory", plein air oil painting, 12 x 9"
This is the second painting from the second incredible day at Lake O"Hara. This is painted from Victoria Lake which is a small lake just before you get to Opabin Lake -you can see the snow on Hungabee Mtn. at the back of Opabin Lake in this painting. This is my absolute favorite painting from this trip. I just love the backlighting on these larches and the distant snow sits back where it should. God just smiled on me that day...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hike to Opabin Lake

"Cascade Lakes", plein air oil painting, 12 x 9"
Our second day at Lake O'Hara, and a steep hike up to Opabin Lake via the east trail. We had a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky and summer temperatures. I really like this painting! I was in total awe when I saw this site -the colours of the lake a nice cool temperature addition to the violets and greens in the painting, making the larch and the moss along the brook even more vivid. I might have to do this one LARGE.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Wiwaxy Peaks", plein air oil painting

"Wiwaxy Peaks", plein air oil painting, 10 x 8"

This is the second painting I did on our first day at Lake O'Hara. The afternoon light was lighting up the warm colours of Wiwaxy Peaks, and fading the cooler colours of Mt Huber behind it. This one was also painted from Schaffer Lake. I think it is so cool to see a plein air painting and know where it was painted from, and that's why I am telling you! The sunshine was so glorious and was just electrifying the golden larches, as well as picking up the cool greens of the evergreens.

The first photo is of the Elizabeth Parker Hut and the Wiwaxy Hut, where 25 members and friends of the Canmore Artists Guild stayed during the 5 days of our trip. You can see our water source from the brook which someone ingeniously connected to a hose (attached to the little bridge). Water had to be boiled for 5 minutes before drinking -no running water in the cabins. It was all very cozy, I will post more photos of it in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wonderful Lake O'Hara!

Cathedral Mountain, plein air oil painting, 8 x 10"
This is the first painting that I did on my Lake O'Hara hiking/painting trip. This view of Cathedral Mountain was painted from the shores of Schaffer Lake. I should have continued on to McArthur Lake as the day was incredible, but I was too wimpy to do the additional climb. By the end of the trip, I saw that this hike was the easiest one of the lot! The larches were turning to gold, the perfect foil for the violet shadows on the mountain.
Enjoy... stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Quirk Creek", plein air oil painting

"Quirk Creek", plein air oil painting, 10 x 8"
We went camping at Quirk Creek this weekend and I popped this one off in 1/2 hour as the sun was getting low in the sky -the fastest I have ever painted in oil on location. Haven't touched it since, but probably will resolve the gravel bar when I get time. Boy was it cold that night. We could see our breath as we sat around a blazing campfire! I slept with my 2 coats and hat on in my down sleeping bag, so I was warm, except for my nose.
I am off to a 5 day hiking/painting trip at beautiful Lake O'Hara so won't be able to post til I get back. Hopefully I will have some lovely paintings to show you then.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Leighton View -Late Summer ii"-plein air oil painting

"Leighton View -Late Summer ii "-plein air oil painting, 8 x8 "
This is the second painting done from the Leighton Centre last week, just 145 degrees turned around from the view shown in the last post. I tried to capture the long grasses on the hillside along with the wild flowers that were still in bloom.

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Leighton View -Late Summer i" -plein air oil painting

"Leighton View -Late Summer i" -plein air oil painting, 8 x 8"
The view from the Leighton Art Centre is one of miles and miles of farms all the way up to the foothils, which are full of cattle ranches. It is impossible to paint all of that, so this is another attempt to simplify that expanse while giving that impression. Might be a bit too simple, but it is only an 8x8" canvas...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Harvest Time -plein air oil painting

"Harvest Time", plein air oil painting, 10 x8"
This kind of landscape immediately surrounds the urban sprawl of Calgary, and makes escape from the city a wonderful treat. Fall is my absolute favorite season for plein air painting, only problem is that it tends to be very short here. We have already had a light frost, so the trees will be turning rapidly I suspect. As long as the wind holds off, we should have at least another month before we hit the drabs of early winter, then the LONG winter.
So enjoy it while its here!

"From Dead Man's Flats" -plein air oil painting

"From Dead Man's Flats", plein air oil painting, 10 x 8"
This was a really funny day. When we got to the campground at Dead Man's Flats, it was partially cloudy and cool, then it became rainy but warmer somehow, and then the sun began to peak out again giving a wonderful misty atmosphere late in the day (still haven't painted that one!) I couldn't believe how turquoise the water in the Bow River was. I really like how this little painting turned out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Spray Lake" -plein air oil painting

"Spray Lake", plein air oil painting, 16 x 12"
Here is one painted at the top end of the Spray Lakes near Canmore. It was a wonderful day (aren't they all when you are painting from life?) and even a golden eagle circled overhead while we were painting. This view changes almost every time I see it, the amount of wind and sun makes a huge difference.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Art In the Park Day

I had the pleasure of participating in the "Art in the Park" day at Bow Valley Ranch in Fish Creek park yesterday. There were about 20 artists and artisans there working for the afternoon and we had over 700 visitors! I was the only artist painting the actual scene, which is the porch of The Ranche restaurant. Thanks to Sandy, Elley and Jill for posing for me!
This is my friend Marilyn and I at the end of the day. We got quite cold as we were in the shade of huge fir trees across the walkway, and the warm sun never got through.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Great WORLDWIDE Paintout Continues!

I spent today painting at my friend Annie's studio and gallery in High River, Alberta, called Art & Soul Gallery. It happened to be Alberta Art Day as well, but I don't think they knew about the Great Worldwide Paintout - a coincidence?

"Annie's Place", plein air oil painting, 12 x 9"

It was a splendid day and I think I managed to capture the feeling of inviting warmth that I felt there. Enjoy!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Great WORLDWIDE Paint Out!

untitled, plein air oil painting, 14 x 11"
This weekend is the 'Great Worldwide Paintout' for the International Plein Air Painters, of which I am a newly added member. I went out with Lorna this morning and this is all the painting we were able to do before a storm moved in (the clouds were beginning to build at the start of this as I put the sky in early in the process). Will head out Saturday and Sunday and will post the results of those days also. Sorry for the glare in this photo, but I had to photograph it in the studio under artificial lights as it is still raining outside.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Fireweed Along The Elbow" -plein air oil painting

"Fireweed Along The Elbow" -plein air oil painting, 12 x 9"
I did this painting while sitting in deep shade under the bridge on a very hot and sunny day. I was actually very cold by the time it was done, so when I emerged all bundled up, the swimmers who were playing upstream of me looked at me like I was crazy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Mist Mountain" -oil painting

"Mist Mountain", 12 x 9", oil painting
This is another plein air piece that I went back in to simplify. (check post date Aug 18 to see the 'before' painting). I really think I am onto something -what do you think?

Monday, September 1, 2008


"Banded Peak Revisited", 12 x 9", oil painting
Remember this painting from July 12th? I was looking at the 28 oil paintings I have done on location this summer, and I had an 'ahah' moment where I realized what I wanted my paintings to look like. I am in love with high contrast and chroma on well designed, simplified shapes. To this end, I went back into some of my previous paintings and simplified them, boosting the colour where needed. I am much happier with this painting now, as I think it is less 'literal' and more me. I do tend to get caught up in all the detail while on location, so I guess I may just have to carry on this practice if I can't manage it while on site. May not be pure 'plein air', but that doesn't really bother me. It is the end result that matters. Hopefully I will be able to capture the feeling of the place as I have perceived it.