John Beaton’s Boat Shed, Mabou, CB

John Beaton’s Boat Shed, Mabou, CB

While the others went hiking, or worked, I spied this shed near a rail trail in Mabou. A gentleman pulled in named Don Beaton to see what I was up to. He was glad I had included the shed in my sketch. Apparently, it was his father John’s and had been restored by John’s son’s and Paul Rankin. He corrected my pronunciation of Mabou (the accent is on the first syllable) and made sure I knew it was a boat shed not just a shed. We exchanged names and I told him where I was from. I thanked him for the story and promised I would get it right. I think I did.

Chimney Corner

Chimney Corner, Inverness Co., Cape Breton

It’s always a bit of a challenge to find time to sketch when you’re traveling with friends. After a couple of stops we settled here on a slightly more popular beach. I hung back with my pencil and sketchbook while they wandered to the water and in about 20 minutes captured the essence of the rock formation the beach is named after. Happy to get a sketch in for the day,

The castle wall

Dunboy Castle, County Cork, Ireland
16”x20” oil on canvas

Just putting the finishing touches on this work in progress while taking a class in Ron Hayes studio (The ArtCan Gallery). It’s a self portrait of sorts. I’m standing on the last remaining wall of the original O’Sullivan Castle in Ireland with mixed feelings. An ancestral home, Dunboy Castle was lost to the English during a brief battle on December 24, 1601. Learning about it was a reconnection to the roots of my family’s past that we had lost. Was it reverence, quiet awe, or a sense of completion I felt? Hard to know. Though I’d only found out about it, on some deeper level, it felt like I was home.


Harbourville in the mist

Harbourville is a sheltered fishing village on the Bay of Fundy. There are several cottages, boats, and wharves begging to be painted. But, for some reason, Susan and I turned our attention to the beach and the cliffs that line the shore. The rolling waves were soothing and the temperature when we arrived was 15 degrees. Not the 26 (feels-like-36) sauna back home. Cool but not cold. The mist came and went while we painted surrounding the shapes of driftwood left at high tide, And, while I faced the same challenges I always do, I had some measure of success with the waves and other bits, and I’m pleased to say my new easel worked perfectly. 😁

Cherry Tree sketch

Cherry Tree at Sunset

I sketched this while sitting at the fire pit yesterday. The plan was to practice a single tree but my brush took up the challenge to race against the fading light. First, the pink hues of the sky, then North Mountain in the background. The tree line at its base followed while reserving white for the estuary. At this point I had to work quickly from background to foreground. The definition in the yard was getting dim and the values were darkening. The trees on the near shore were scrubbed in, and finally, a few strokes suggesting the garden. It was too dark at this point and I could barely see the painting. I packed it in. A quick touch up this morning to keep the soft light of the evening while adding some shadow gives it the definition it needs for a decent sketch.

Flower Practice: Iris

Watercolour Sketch Iris

I would like to say this was done en plein air. The Irises were perfectly backlit, but it only lasted long enough for me to take a reference photo. So, I sketched and painted these with my phone sitting in front of me. There was a lot of squinting. I had some success with letting the paint do it’s own thing. The light came through nicely and that’s really what I was going for, so a good practice in the end.