Friday, June 24, 2016

Missing Last Summer's Group Art Adventures & Trying To Compensate

I miss my plein air group from last summer 2015
And I miss my "Alley Project" crew

It's June and I have to admit that I am really missing my plein air group from summer 2015
as well as last summer's "Ottawa Alley Project" sketching crew.

Bike-n-sketch study: Patterson Creek, Glebe, Ottawa
(two pages of Starthmore art journal; 100% cotton paper; watercolour and gouache)

It's well known that I love organized sketching (i.e. Ottawa Urban Sketchers which developed organically following the "Ottawa Alley Project" group) and group painting (i.e David Jones plein air group)  events. So far, this summer, I have had to decline participating in group activities like these for various reasons beyond my control.

To compensate, I have created some different types of solo activities for myself to keep my creative juices flowing., The two main activities that I have engaged in for inspiration are:
  • One hour solo bike-n-sketch outings
  • Painting from photos
One hour Bike-n-sketch
Bike-n-sketch - my one hour sketch June 22
Bike-n-sketch outings are so fun. I load my bike up with art supplies and head to a bike path along the Rideau canal and stop and sketch for one hour.

NO matter how filled my day is, I can almost always carve out one hour for myself to sit outside and sketch. This, I find, is a lot more challenging than the luxury of spending over eight hours at a lavender farm like last summer, because I must really get down to business quickly in one hour and quit (finished or not) and jump back on my bike to head home!

So far I have done the Mill on the Ottawa River; the tulips in Major Hill Park; the Rideau locks beside the Chateau Laurier and, most recently, the Patterson Creek in the Glebe.

Painting from photos

"Fox on the rocks"
acrylic (6x6) on Strathmore canvas paper
I have been painting from photos that I find online or photos that I have taken while walking my dog. I call some of these my "scouting pictures". I do a quick study from the photograph at home and then think about going back with my easel and acrylics later when time permits to do a plein air painting later.

The small "Fox on the rocks" study (above) that I did came quite naturally after being inspired by Ottawa artist/writer Andrew King on twitter (

Andrew was recently tweeting about his "Solstice Serpent" adventures (Secret of the Snake: Ancient Ontario Serpent Mound Could Be Summer Solstice Monument) and posted a photo of a fox that was watching him while he was on his adventure. I loved the photo and did a quick 6x6 study.

I was so, SO delighted when Andrew saw my small acrylic study on twitter and posted this:

This tweet from artist Andrew King made my day!

And, of course, I always do a #DailySketch, like this recent one of my dear Lexie sitting in my chair. My daily sketches are quick (maximum two hours) activities that I usually do first thing in the morning while waiting for laundry to wash and dry!

"Dog Days Of Summer" a daily sketch
using three colours:  🖌Quinacridone gold 🖌 Burnt umber 🖌Winsor blue

Even though this summer means less opportunities for beloved group art outings, I continue to find visual inspiration everywhere and I manage to carve out at least two hours each day to do what I love most - create and share my art.

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