Blakeney Village Park is located a short drive west of the town of Almonte. It's a favourite destination for landscape artists, (watch for poison ivy), where the tumbling waters of the Mississippi River storm through ancient rock formations under a canopy of giant spruce and pine. I get that same feeling of insignificance every time I go there - mesmerized by fast- moving waters, and wishing I had the skill to paint the thundering sounds that echo from the rapids and waterfalls. Blakeney Magic 30 x 30, painted from an earlier sketch, comes closer.
Did I mention that I really enjoy painting outdoors? That's what we called it back in 1980 when I ventured out for the first time with my friend and mentor, Grant Tigner. Forty years later, I still get a big kick from plein air painting – as it is called these days.
So, just what, you may well ask, is so great about standing in a field in front of my easel and canvas, defying blinding sun and circling black flies? Given time and practice, artists at any level can learn to discern colour shifts and patterns in nature that is difficult to find in photographs and other sources, other than just being out there. We learn to take the time to listen to our inner selves and develop skills needed to record our instincts in our own creative genre. Break-through inspirations come unexpectedly, leaving us breathless at times, with the recognition that comes with surpassing personal expectations. When we fail, we learn by our mistakes. Fascinating!
There are other rewards of course: making lifetime friendships, sharing adventures and gaining knowledge from watching others paint, to name a few. They are high on my list of treasured memories.
The Art of Charles Spratt