A while back I had the fantastic opportunity to attend an artist’s retreat up in northern Ontario’s Killarney Provincial Park region. It was truly ‘up north’ with wooden rustic cabins as our home base surrounded by rocky shorelines, expansive lakes and dense forests. Our surroundings were stunningly beautiful, a landscape painters dream location. The whole trip was a thrill. I had the added luxury of attending this retreat with my two dear friends who are also just fabulous artists. We had a blast painting outside on location no matter what the weather could throw at us.
It was with great excitement that we were taken to various marvellous locations that were only accessible by our pontoon boat. Riding across the rivers and lakes was breathtaking and we photographed much of that journey to use as reference photos back in our art studios later. Once we arrived at our island destination we were dropped off and left to our own devices. It was amazing to be in such isolation. To trudge along its raw shoreline hunting for the perfect view to paint and there were many!
We were pretty fortunate that the skies were mostly clear and blue but we were ready for anything. Which was a good thing seeing a storm did unexpectedly roll in surprising us all. When you paint outside or ‘plein air’ you learn to wear layers of clothing and pack umbrellas along with lots of artist materials to be prepared. As you can see in the photo above the weather became rainy but that didn’t stop me, ‘have umbrella, will paint’ is my motto. I was working on a scene that had giant rocks cascading into the lake below with a large tree hanging on for its dear life in amongst them on the tippy edge. My painting’s end result was good but when I got back home again and I was looking at it with fresh eyes I could see some shortcomings. There were things that could be improved upon so I decided to have another go at it.
In the above photos starting at the top left is my initial chalk drawing on my pink background which will become only an outline in the finished piece. The next photo is the original ‘plein air’ painting that was completed on site. The additional sequence shows the subtle but important elements that I added once back home in my studio. To the main tree more branches and a chunky texture on its trunk was added. The other trees also had been reworked with some texture and lengthening of branches.
More yellows and greens were added to the foliage for definition too. Some tweaking continued with a bit of a colour change to the rocks, additional orange in the sky and some areas in the lake reworked as well. Now completed I really love my painting ‘On The Edge, Charlton Lake Ontario’. It has better composition and improved colour now.