Minas Basin

A quick plein air today to make up for yesterday’s rainy weather cancellation. Sketched from Huston Beach looking across to Paddy’s Island with Grand PrĂ© in the distance. Visitors included a couple nearby who were listening to country music, three sweet homeschooled kids who were very fascinated (I suggested their mom include art supplies in their “classroom”), and a couple of flounder fishermen who were less interested in me than I was in what they were catching.

The edges got away on me a bit but I think it conveys the sunshine after so much cold and rain. Thoughts going out to our valley farmers.


The Look-off and Huston Beach

It was a big day of painting! First stop was The Look-off. To the east is the Minas Basin. To the west is the Annapolis Valley. The views are spectacular. We had a lot of visitors including one couple from Switzerland who will be travelling across Canada for the summer.

The second stop was at Huston Beach where once again I was drawn to cows and barns.

For both paintings I did a practice sketch to work through some colour choices. I always like the looseness and spontaneity of the sketches almost more than the finished pieces.

Twin Oaks Road

Today is the first chance I’ve had to get out for a session with the Plein Air Artists of the Annapolis Valley. I spent some time sketching and rearranging the elements into a stronger composition then worked on trying to establish hard and soft edges. And, despite accidentally painting the barn roofs dark and having to go back in with white gouache, I’m pleased with the results. Those critters are cows btw.

Watercolour Workshop photos

Artist at Point Prim – Photo credit Bernadette Leblanc

This is a shot of me painting on the edge of the cliff at Point Prim last week during Poppy Balser’s workshop.

Below are several more shots from the workshop for anyone who’s interested.

The workshop had some very talented artists from all over North America and it was a pleasure to meet and paint with them.

A quick study by Poppy – boats with reflections
Poppy demonstrates her magic at the Digby Marina!
Gentle group critiques were encouraging.
It was a cold wind
The Lighthouse at Point Prim

Anchoring against the wind
The ferry to New Brunswick leaving Digby

The workshop attendees getting some tips

Poppy Balser Workshop Day 3

This is as far as I got on the Point Prim location today. I tried to use all the colours and methodology we’ve learned so far and a few times I thought it was a lost cause. It more or less came together in the end. I was reassured by Poppy saying it was the most difficult scene to paint at the Point. There’s still a bit of tweaking to do but it will have to wait for another day.

Poppy Balser Workshop Day 2

I have to say I really appreciate the systematic approach to painting Poppy Balser is teaching. All colour mixes are prepared and tested before painting each layer. Then working from our previous day’s tonal painting we did a top down, background to foreground approach in three layers… light washes followed by mid-tones and then darks. Some details were added then a gentle group critique followed. We all did well according to our instructor (yay). Tomorrow it’s off to Point Prim for some plein air lessons… weather permitting.

Poppy Balser Workshop day 1

Tonal Study – Waves and Rocks.

If you’re ever in the Digby area of Nova Scotia I recommend taking a watercolour workshop with Poppy Balser (poppybalser.com). She offers four days of comprehensive instruction on various watercolour techniques and walks you through a step by step approach to completing a painting. Part of today’s lesson was a tonal study in preparation for tomorrow. I’m happy with the progress I made on the spray but not as happy with the rocks. It will be interesting to see how the coloured version turns out.