One of my favourite locations to paint is Spencerville, Ontario, an hour’s drive south of Ottawa. Our MAA Plein Air group has been there numerous times. The first thing that strikes you as you enter the Village is the South Nation River, flowing over the dam at the historic Spencerville Mill.
I was there a couple of weeks ago.
Before getting my paints and easel out of the back of my beloved van, I spent some time walking around the Mill, just getting the feeling of the day. First, I checked out the river flowing lazily past my feet, feeling the power there that has energized the Mill for generations. Soon, my attention is drawn to the mirrored effects in the water. The more I look, the more I am engrossed with the depth of the colourful dark tones in the water glazed over with sky blues and slashes of reflected warm sunlight. I see myself standing before my easel, brush in hand, wondering how I can do justice to this experience. Then I know it’s time to setup and paint.
Later in my studio, I exchange distractions of changing light and shadow outdoors for the steady light and peace of my studio. I pick out a larger canvas and using the design from my plein-air sketch and fresh images in my head, I begin, influenced as well by years of observation. I paint, content knowing that what I am painting is my work and trusting that it will be the best that I can do.
Finally, I sign it.
We were painting in the village of Oxford Mills last week. I drove passed the well-known Brigadoon Restaurant. I have great memories of meeting friends there to enjoy the wonderful food and ambiance, including my wife and I sharing a memorable New Year’s Eve dinner.
The Brigadoon looked like it was just waiting to welcome guests, with colourful flowerpots hanging from every post on the long verandah; the beckoning entrance bathed in noon-day sunshine contrasting with the doors and bay windows in shade.
We hope it will be alive with conversation and laughter again soon.
Spring Comes to Blakeney is a 30x30 canvas just finished in my studio from a second sketch painted at Blakeney, ON on the Mississippi River. ( Not to be confused with the mighty Mississippi in the USA). Sadly our Manotick Art Association group outdoor painting trips have had to be postponed until some later date when the coast is clear from the Corona-19 virus threat. I have now painted several times outside always driving by myself and observing the required social distancing.
The large canvas format gives me the opportunity to use larger brushes and make improvements to the original composition. This painting has the feeling of early morning sun lighting the rushing rapids. I wish I could paint the sounds too.