Painting plein air – spring comes to the mountain.


I was in Ellicotville NY last weekend and spent some time painting in the mountains. Armed with a stack of small panels I headed into the countryside from the inn that we were staying at. Every direction I looked wanted to be a sketch. The snow was leaving the woods revealing orange leaves, red mud and dark green streams of snow melt. The low mountains were purple and blue against a bright sky. The mornings were cold but the afternoons warmed to above freezing and I was able to paint until the light left. I find that a painting done outdoors has a quickness and freshness that is sometimes a challenge to find in the studio. I was working small (6 x 5) – a great size to capture the moment quickly with not a lot of room for detail.

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mountains 2

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Following our return I had paint left on my pallete so I spent a morning at Heber Downs painting the last of the deep snow in the woods. But as so often it happens, it is snowing again. Perhaps we are not through with the snow.

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Back after being north.

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Back after a busy time – It’s been a hectic 8 weeks. I have been absent getting ready for a book launch as well as completing a number of paintings for a big show at Artworld of Sherway. The event was a great success and the paintings looked great on the wall. I was really pleased how Donna, and the gallery team organized the show (and book) by seasons.

All of the work revolved around the theme, “Northward”. All images of Ontario, and Quebec, all rural or the wildness. These are classic Canadian landscape motifs and I was happy to focus my attention there for a number of months in preparation.

My hope is that I was able to produce work that was fresh, original, and at the same time familiar to all who live here.

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I completed about 20 sketches in preparation for the larger pieces – I was primarily gaining practice at painting trees in various light, specific snow effects, and sunlight on rocks and water.

Of special interest during this series of paintings was the effect of bright sunlight. I have found that this can be a challenge. I wanted to do paintings that conveyed the feeling you get on sunny summer and fall days out of doors. This light can vary through a range from hazy to sharp and I really wanted to see if I could capture it.

As the subject was the North, I also wanted to really to work with greens, using various tones to convey shadow and light. And, as with all of my work – keep it loose and spontaneous.

The opening night was terrific and as always great to meet the people who purchase and enjoy the work that I do. It is really a pleasure to meet with you all and talk about art over a glass of wine.


I am working right know on a number of views of the Toronto harbour using some of the ideas I developed in the Northward series. And I am off to New York this weekend to paint in the mountains for a couple of days – I will post them next week as a preview.