Monday, 18 August 2014

A working weekend

Neon Sky at The Carp Farmers Market

This past weekend was a working weekend for me. It started on Saturday, at the multi-faceted, multi-cultural Carp Farmers market. Yes, it was raining on and off and a little on the cool side, all day long. But I found some shelter, and managed to position myself beside a young man who played acoustic guitar and sang all afternoon. He played lots of great music and really made for a nice atmosphere to paint to. Neil Young, (I have been obsessed with Neil Young lately-searching for a heart of gold-great song) James Taylor and lots of other stuff. Loved it all.
 I actually started painting around 9:30 am. When I am working on site in Plein air pastel I am so used to teaching, that I usually don't take more than an hour to do a piece. However, this was a much more complex piece than most of my plein air work. I must be so used to finding simple compositions that won't take long. This is actually a really good skill to develop, looking for simplicity and simplifying what you do have. 
 One of the nice things about painting in your community is seeing all kinds of people you haven't seen in ages and catching up. Thank you to everyone for coming over, talking about painting en plein air, and giving me your news. Although it was cold and wet, socializing made for a fun day.
This piece is of the main building, one of many on the grounds of the Carp fair. There are many red building with white trim all over the grounds. So many things I could have painted! The reason I chose this, was because I could get going on the drawing while sitting in the back of my hatchback. (raining) That, and the power of the building, creating a good foundation to the composition. And colour. For me, always about colour!
 I used a large sheet of art spectrum pastel paper, planning on allowing the red brick colour of the paper to unify all areas of the composition (check out the sky and foreground). I purposely made the sky dark and a similar colour to the buildings, .so the contrast to the red would be the white trim and roof , creating the light in the painting. You could say this piece is more about design than anything else.  
In the end, my painting won 1st place in the plein air challenge sponsored by the West Carleton Arts Society. Thank you everyone who created this event.
After a hard day of painting outside in the rain, I treated myslef to a long hot bubble bath!
On Sunday, I met with my marvelous Pura Vida woman, Martine. Yes, big news about Costa Rica is eminent. Stay tuned for more exciting news from Martine and Margaret about that.
If you are grabbed by this painting, or the idea of learning how to paint oudoors, you can still sign up for two classes in the Toronto area in the next month or so. 

Sun., Aug. 24, 2 p.m., McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg, ON 
Pastel Demo en Plein Air
Weather permitting, I will choose a spot on the grounds of the conservation area directly behind McMichael’s, and paint
a scene on location, en plein air. The term means to paint out of doors, or on the ground. My demo will last an hour, but
I’ll be around to answer questions afterwards. FREE. Rain location: Pine Cottage

Mon., Aug. 25–Thurs., Aug. 28, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., at McMichael’s 
Master the Basics
In this advanced workshop, participants will have the opportunity to develop their pastel skills, working on elements of
visual expression, such as colour and composition. I will meet with each student individually, to help plan their creative
Cost: public: $359 • McMichael members: $288 • Reservation required/ Materials not included. Class size: 15 • To register,

Sat., Sept. 20, Toronto Botanical Gardens (by Ontario Plein Art Society / OPAS), 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Plein Air Workshop
Studio 3 (OPAS)
Introduction to Painting en Plein Air
Suitable for studio or new artists seeking a great new way to paint. Learn techniques for composing a live scene. Discuss
some of the practical aspects of plein air painting, learn tricks, and come away with a completed painting. Please bring
your own materials; a list will be provided. To register, visit

If you have any questions at all about these workshops, please contact me at
Thanks for listening, Margaret

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