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. 😁

Antique Shop, Halls Harbour

Antique Shop Sketch

Life felt a little more normal today. Susan and I arrived separately at the paint site. She found a nice sunny spot out of the wind while I wrestled with a cold stiff breeze that quite quickly destroyed my easel. I changed tactics to paint sitting but even then my brush holder went flying along with scrap paper and paper towels. Everything was collected again and I managed to knock this off in two hours. It could be my imagination but I think the weather distraction kept me from overpainting.

Garden sketch

Since we haven’t been able to have our usual outings, a few folks from the painting group got together on Zoom today, to share our work and get/give feedback. It worked pretty well. We discussed each other’s work as it was shared. After including the group’s suggestions along with a few of my own adjustments I’m much happier with this whimsical sketch.

Sunrise Minas Basin

Sunrise Minas Basin 8.5×11 watercolour

It’s not often I get up before the sun. It looked liked a glorious morning so I took a photo to paint in the studio later. I had the luxury of time to plan each layer between washes. A slower approach was successful. It preserved sense of calm in the artist and captured the one that’s present just before the sun rises.

The bushes and trees were done by scratching through the layers followed by a dark wash with the excess lifted off. It’s an effective technique for fine lines which I often forget to use when I’m outside.

I may remove the small cloud on the horizon by the left shore. I’m undecided whether or not it’s a distraction.

The glow of light in the water was added by rewetting then touching it with sky colour. Again, lifting off the excess to achieve the correct value.

I can’t say I am thrilled with my paper choice — Fabriano Artistico 140lb cold press 100% cotton. It’s a struggle to work with when thoroughly wet and I find the pigment settles into ripples even though I have the paper stretched. If someone has a trick to getting it to behave I’d appreciate it.

I’m happy with the final painting and achieved the goal I set out with so I really can’t complain. As always, hope you like it.