Stewart Mountain Road

Stewart Mountain Road 8×11 watercolour

I’ve been busy with the new gallery space and renovations and haven’t been able to post for a few weeks. With our plein air season officially over today, there’ll be lots of time to catch up as the weather gets colder. This was from an outing last week. I tried to keep it loose.

Stewart Mountain Road is an unpaved road in Kings county which crosses the 221 to Blomidon and runs up to the top of North Mountain. Behind me was the ocean and the receding tide on Houstons Beach, but the fog hanging over North Mountain expressed a somber vibe which I wanted to capture.

I’m very happy with how the road turned out. Also, I managed to keep the background soft which is a big win. The trees might be better with a little more separation. Once framed, it will be in our upcoming Art Show and Sale in the Lion’s Hall on November 3rd and 4th along with about 20 other watercolours from my efforts over the past two years.

Lost & Found Farmscape

Farmscape 6×9 watercolour

This little practice piece was done more than a few weeks ago and was carefully tucked away so it didn’t get damaged in house renovations. Then I promptly forgot where I put it until I saw it again safely pressed between the pages of a gardening book. It was done mostly wet in wet. Basically, I was tired of working with green and wanted an autumn palette. I established a horizon line and allowed the colours to spread out from there. I was careful not to go into the whites in too many places and relied on my imagination to pick out details. It’s a dreamy and warm landscape that turned out better than I expected. It was a satisfying exercise I recommend trying.

To crop or not?

Uncropped
Cropped 1
Cropped 2

Our group painted the Habitant estuary this past Thursday. I felt the sketch I finished suffered from too much green. That was also the consensus in our group critique. So, I used a simple editing tool to crop the image. I like the first crop because for some weird reason I have a penchant for putting barriers at the base of all my paintings as if I were looking over a window ledge. The second crop takes away the excess green, the barrier, and invites the viewer into the mid ground which was the original subject of the painting but I feel some of the distance is lost. That could be corrected with a darker foreground on the final cut. Each version has its pros and cons. I’d be interested to hear which one you think works best?

Hennigar’s Farm

Hennigar’s Farm
8×11 watercolour

While the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona has devastated some and left a wide path of destruction here on the Atlantic Coast, my small silver lining (while my husband was out with the chainsaw helping neighbours clear fallen trees) was to have several hours with no distractions. I was able to complete this plein air watercolour I started on Thursday. There is little chance these sunflowers are still standing today but they were beautiful. Sending out good vibes to everyone who is struggling with Fiona’s impact. And thanks to the crews from Nova Scotia, Maine, Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick who are working hard to bring the lights back on.

The Sheep Pasture

Sheep Pasture
8.5 x 11 watercolour

Painting at Gaspereau Valley Fibres is always a highlight in our Plein Air schedule. The owners are very gracious and allow us to wander their beautiful farm. They raise their own sheep, spin the wool and sell it (along with farm fresh eggs) in the well stocked, on site shop that would meet any weavers, knitters, or fibre artists needs. It’s about as pastoral as it get’s here in the valley. Hopefully I’ve captured that feeling in this painting of one of their sheep pastures. For those closer to town they sell their lovely products at Wool ‘n Tart on Main Street in Wolfville. SOLD

Dyke & Farm along the Gaspereau River

Dyke & Farm
8×10 Watercolour

We were supposed to paint in Bear River on Thursday but a portion of our group decided it was too far this year partially because of the price of gasoline. There’s a spot along the Gaspereau River where fishers cast their lines near an old bridge abutment. To the right, the dyke drew my eye in a lovely S curve up to the nearby farm. It was a great practice in perspective with a shout out to Anne Wedler who suggested connecting the dyke to the focal point. Taking a minute to do that made a world of difference. One of the best things about painting in a group, in addition to the friendships you make, is the sharing of tips and tricks.

Toning it down

Grand Pré
8×10 watercolour

One of my best friends has been visiting this summer and has taken up watercolour sketching. Having just added Payne’s Gray to my palette, I wanted to revisit some places I’ve painted in the past. Since we planned to spend the day together, I took her to the Grand Pré look-off where we sketched for a couple of hours while chatting, near the end, with a photographer who stopped by. He did show me quite a few photos in the hopes I would want to buy and paint one. In truth the quality of his images were top shelf but I wasn’t in the market. On the other hand I think I’ve achieved something with this painting that could be considered good. The Payne’s gray had a lovely softening effect all over and the simple composition gives it a dreamlike quality.

Benjamin Bridge

Farm near Benjamin Bridge Winery
8×10 watercolour

Sitting in the gallery in Wolfville putting the finishing touches on a couple of watercolours I painted yesterday at Benjamin Bridge Winery. It was the morning after a rain and the clouds were putting on quite a show. It’s the first time I’ve used Payne’s Gray in lieu of indigo or mayan dark blue which are my usual go to pigments for dark sky and shadow. I was surprised at the versatility. It flowed well and was easy to get tonal variations. It’s a frowned on pigment for some purists but it worked great for these.

Side Road Benjamin Bridge Winery
8×10 watercolour

Paddy’s Island from Delhaven

Paddy’s Island
8×10 watercolour

I did this painting of Paddy’s Island from my friend Rachel’s property in Delhaven. I’ve painted it before and will likely paint it again. It’s such an iconic site in the Minas Basin. Everyone who knows it has a different story to tell. It will be up for auction as part of the Bold Brush Challenge this August in support of the Kings County Museum Fundraiser.