Plein Air Ensemble at Westport
Just off my studio easel and signed - two works from my trip, two weeks ago, with Plein Air Ensemble, to Westport ON. On the left, Preparing for Winter 18x18 was painted on Foley Mountain and on the right, Westport Retreat 16x20 was painted near the Cove Inn, on the day following our first winter snowfall. I hope you can feel the energy and anticipation that I was experiencing as I set up my easel at each location to try and catch the moment: a priceless feeling.
Back in the studio after examining each canvas under studio lighting conditions, I spent time adjusting the colours and cleaning up each painting, being careful to preserve my original inspiration.
After two, four-day, painting trips to the Westport area, I feel that I still have hardly begun to discover the painting possibilities available. Love to go back.
Charlevoix 10x12 acrylic painted near Baie - St. Paul 2002
The other day I sat down at my computer, coffee in hand, to read the latest posting from Painter’s Keys, my favorite blog for art-lovers. The letter, first posted in 2007, entitled Conservative Tendencies - by Robert Genn, was all about artists and their art in the Charlevoix Region of Quebec.
I’m pretty sure Robert wrote that piece during the ten days, back in 2007, when we both were invited to participate in a special symposium in Baie-St. Paul, Charlevoix, called 10 (artists) -10 (provinces) -10 (days). The invited artists, each from their respective home province, were asked to demonstrate their painting skills by producing major paintings to be featured in a subsequent cross-country traveling exhibition.
As I read Robert’s blog, memories of painting in Charlevoix: a vast region located east of Quebec City and bordering the north shore of the mighty St. Lawrence River, made famous by artists such as A.Y. Jackson, Clarence Gagnon and others, came tumbling in my head.
When our group, Plein Air Ensemble – formerly Artists Painting with Artists – traveled to Charlevoix sometime around 2000, we met Bruno Cote there, a National Canadian icon known for his Canadian landscapes. Bruno’s work was represented by Galerie Art et Style, in Baie St. Paul, as well as fine galleries in major centers from coast to coast. Bruno immediately took a liking to our group and often painted with us whenever we visited the area. My work was accepted at Galerie Art et Style and I was represented there for a number of years. Tragically, Bruno Cote passed away in 2010. It has been some years, now, since our last trip to the Region.
Before my coffee was cold, I saw myself navigating the steep hills in a late spring snow storm while driving to Baie-St. Paul; standing transfixed on our hotel balcony, high above the St. Lawrence River, silently in awe of the brilliant sunset unfolding and watching the toy-like seaway ships plying their way too and fro. And I remembered, too, the incredibly blue mountain-range vistas; the quaint villages and artist studios that dotted the countryside; a truly remarkable place to visit and to paint.
The Art of Charles Spratt