Plein Air in Pastels

2018 PLein Air PEI

Had the opportunity to join a Plein Air group in Montague, Prince Edward Island, Canada the summer of 2018.  This was my second year doing so, and I decided to concentrate my work in soft pastels.  It was a great deal of fun.

These two were created in the Murry River area.  The one with a small skiff almost lost in the high weeds, the other was a beautiful section of country road.

The second day was in a French speaking area, and much more industrialized called Souris.  I chose to paint some small sailing yachts in dry storage.  The lines from the rigging, contrasting with the clouds excited my imagination as if the rigging lines were trying to constrain the freedom of the clouds.  The second painting was of the Souris lighthouse, windswept  among the grasses and lupins, as it stood above the open sea.

after the storm

The third day was one with gale force winds.  That made for quite the challenge.  I chose a spot just off the beach at Graham’s Pond, PEI.  I thought I would be out of the winds main force.  I was wrong!  With the wind swirling around I had to hold my easel with one hand and try to paint with the other.

Brudenell Park PEI

The forth day was at a place called Brudenell Park.  It was still very windy, so I got right down next to the water under a little bluff.  I was out of the wind, but the tide was coming in.  I had to work fast and still had to wade the surf to get out when I was done.

2019 Plein Air PEI

Continued the tradition of traveling to Prince Edward Island to participate in the Plein Air Festival in 2019.  As usual there was a steady sea breeze, but it was also unseasonably cold.  I only attempted one pastel a day, the results are shown below.

Souris_Day 1

Souris _ Day 1

Here I was overlooking the pasture land surrounding the town of Souris.  As I looked out past the graveyard I could see the patterns of life unfolding in the rolling fields.

North Lake Windmills_Day 2

North Lake Windmills _ Day 2

As an island in the St Lawrence seaway, wind is a steady commodity.  These windmills are located near the northern tip of the island facing the Atlantic Ocean.  It was an absolutely clear day, with full sun and steady breeze.  I found a sheltered spot, looking across a potato field towards the pattern of windmills strung out in the distance.  This was and remains one of my favorite paintings.

Murray Harbour _ Day 3

Murray Harbour _ Day 3

Where as the week started off unseasonably cold, this day was exceptionally hot.  Find a place to paint where I was not exposed to the brutal sun all day was difficult. I finally found this place, down behind a cemetery, next to the water,  While I had shade trees, I also had black flies and mosquitos!  It was a constant battle all day.  The aged tree had such a story to tell, as it stood majestically overlooking the bay and the sailing craft lounging lazily in its waters.

Cardigan Bay _ Day 4

Cardigan Bay _ Day 4

In plein air painting, one must be prepared for the weather.  This day was so windy, I could not find enough stones to weigh down my easel.  I think I had nearly 15 pounds of rocks in my stone bag and still I had to hold the easel with one hand while I tried to work with the other.  This was a small boat landing in the bay opposite the main Cardigan Harbour.

Trinity Church Georgetown _ Day 5

Trinity Church _ Day 5

This old church, in a sad state of decay, is found in Georgetown, PEI, and is a favorite subject that I have returned to for a second time.  I painted it a year earlier and was saddened to see how much it had suffered in one year.  The bright spot for me is that it is now considered a historic landmark (being the first church build on the island in the late 1600’s) and will be restored by the government.  That means it will be there for me to paint another day.

Each of these five painting were completed on board that I prepared in my studio, to give it much more texture, and painterly effect.