River Vista, New London, PEI

We’ve rented a cottage in New London, PEI, from friends with a beautiful river view. There were a lot more trees and some weathered trunks that didn’t make the picture because the session was interrupted by visitors who turned out to be the previous owners.

They had travelled from England and were hoping to see their old cottage again.  They told us how, over the nine years they owned the cottage, a tree was planted to honour each new family member. 

By the time they left it was lunch time. After fresh mussels, trips to Cabot beach & Cavendish beach, and supper with friends again,  there was no energy left to paint.   

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Near Brackley Beach, PEI

I’d like to give this quick 8×10 sketch a more romantic title like Wind in the Dunes, or, Under the Dunes, or, Over…  I haven’t quite captured all the elements at play that made this such an uplifting piece to paint because it seems rather simple as paintings go. It may have been the ocean breeze, or being with good friends, or the herring gull that sailed over to inspect what I was doing. Whatever it was, I felt like I was in the zone, which allowed a certain degree of loose play with my brushes.

Prince Edward Island’s gift is in its beauty; I wonder why I always wait so long between visits?

Clementsport, NS

This is where Moose River flows into the Annapolis Basin at Clementsport, Nova Scotia. By the time we finished painting, the fog bank at the mouth of the river vanished to reveal hills on the far shore and the tide had receded leaving a lot more sand and dirt.

Painting en plein air is like painting in multiple realities at once. There is the reality you see in front of you and there are the memories of what you saw in the moments since you started. The scene changes from moment to moment and you ask yourself, what do I keep and what do I leave behind. As time passes the choices are made and as your options disappear everything resolves into a finished painting.

Grande Pré & Cape Blomidon #2

This 11×14 commission is of one of my favourite views of Grand Pré with Cape Blomidon.  The original painting found a home in Ireland last year.  I did this one at the request of the same buyer and it is heading out west. I’m delighted she likes it as much as I do!

I’m tempted to do another in a full sheet version.  It would be my largest watercolour to date.  What do they say; Go big or Go home!?!

Cattle crossing 

This was a quick en Plein Air. There was some shuffling around a bit during the sketch but halfway into it they all walked away and laid down in the shade. 

I don’t blame them (full sun at 30 degrees).  I wanted to follow and catch them reclining but decided to throw in some darks and pack it up without trying to finesse any detail or attempt another sketch.  

It has potential for a later painting and the artists in the group offered some good suggestions for improvements but they’ll have to wait. August looks like it’s going to be as busy as July was.

MacDonald Cottage, Huntington Point 

The Charles MacDonald society held a painting event today that brought out a few dedicated painters and several mom’s with small children (some with fairy wings. The mom’s set up blankets on the grass picnic style and handed out art supplies and snacks. There was a bit of painting, a bit of running around, several trips to the facilities which one little girl called a “pee party”, and lots of community catching up. 

Eventually, once snack and attention spans disappeared, and babies were nursed to sleep, the mom’s packed up as if on queue, followed by the other painters, and then us.  

It was an enchanting morning.
A bit of cottage history–after having a successful concrete business during the First World War, Charles MacDonald continued to employ several people through the Great Depression by enlisting them to build a series of cottages using concrete.  The buildings are quaint and storybook-like. Charming on the outside and very rustic on the inside, it would be an interesting stay. If you become a member of the society and make a substantial donation you are permitted to stay for a week.    Certainly not everyone’s cup of tea as there’s no cell phone coverage nor several other amenities. The builders were creative though and the lack of  straight lines made it fun to paint.

If you’d like to know more about the concrete house and cottages you can check out their facebook page. https://m.facebook.com/Charles-Macdonald-Concrete-House-Museum-424816460875210/

Many thanks to the Charles MacDonald society for permission to paint the cottage. 

Garden Shed


Wednesday’s Plein Air session was in our neck of the woods. In fact it was so close to home that a couple of us painted in my backyard. 

My loose attempts were met with more or less success. Overall I feel the picture has a nice glow.  

It was a fast and fun little painting.

Coming up next is the ArtFestival in Wolfville on Saturday.