At times when I’m alone in my studio, my thoughts turn to a question that is often directed my way: “How do you continue to get a charge from plein air painting after 45 years of doing it?” A short, quick answer can be found on my website Home Page.
"Four decades of painting, guidance from some wonderful artists and travelling a never-ending road to artistic improvement inspires me to paint every day."
A longer version: When I was forty years old and immersed in business and family responsibilities, a kindly gentleman named Grant Tigner introduced himself to me at a volunteer board meeting in Ottawa. He explained that he was a full time artist. In our conversation, he invited me to go painting with him one day. That simple act of kindness introduced me to the world of struggle and rewards of painting outdoors.
It was like a ‘calling’ for me. Through Grant’s guidance, I was introduced to other professional artists who helped me to get started on a journey of discovery. Along the way I painted with many struggling artists who became life-long friends, often meeting them on painting trips from Halifax to the West Coast. As they say “Thanks for the memories!”
Not having a college or university art education was a draw-back. Still, I was blessed to be able to learn so much from others. And when I was asked to teach watercolours and acrylics later on, I found a bond with other struggling artists: particularly in the area of plein air painting. While I have retired from teaching, I take pleasure in helping others through the Plein Air Ensemble program that ran four-day painting trips twice a year for 34 years until this year, and the MAA Plein Air program for artists each Thursday from June until the end of September.
Four years ago, I received a major dynamic energy boost when I was invited to join the Ten-Collective Art Show, held in Almonte in April. Then Covid came along and the show was cancelled for two years. However, I participated in 2022 and 2023 and I can say that the experience of meeting new and old friends and clients has been totally invigorating. I await with much anticipation to returning to my booth with new work in April 2025.
I am so grateful for the many years of painting and look for more to come; AND with my best painting effort yet, just around the corner!
The Art of Charles Spratt