Sunday, August 23, 2009

Plein Air in Port Dover

Yesterday I packed my gear and headed to Port Dover. Port Dover is a small town on the shore of lake Erie. The sky looked grim and gray, but by now I have grown defiant of weekend weather. We have been going through a miserable summer (Call it monsoon season) in Ontario, and if you enjoy plein air painting you have to find a way around it or else change your stripes.

The storm hit as I exited Hwy 403 on to Hwy 6. It came hard and heavy, but I pressed on. I have come to realize that the heavier the summer storm, the shorter lived it is. Although at some point I was doubting my beliefs, by the time I crossed the Port Dover bridge and headed down Walker Street, the clouds had broken up and the sun was shining.

I stopped for a quick lunch and scouted the beach for the best view. There is so much to paint in Port Dover, that I probably will spend a few sojourns going there to do it justice. I decided to paint the cliffs to the west looking towards Turkey Pont. I set up my gear on the pear, took in the scene and started painting.

Cliffs at Port Dover, Oil on canvas board, 8"x10"

Painting on a pear where weekend walkers are bound to stop and comment is not for the shy or insecure. I stopped counting at 24, but I must have had twice as much people stop by and comment. All were of course very nice and polite. There was a gentleman who wanted to talk about the Group of Seven and get my opinion on their works, but I very gently convinced him to read more about them. At about 4:30pm, I was satisfied with what I had on the canvas, I carried my gear and headed back to the car. On the way, I saw a magnificent view deep into the harbor looking back towards the bridge that leads into Port Dover. It was too late to start another oil painting, but I went back to the car, dropped my gear and took my watercolours out. I had not done a watercolour in a while and no time was like the present I thought.

Port Dover Bridge, sketch, watercolour on 140lb paper, 5"x7"

I bought a bottle of water (I didn't have any left and didn't plan on painting in watercolours), and settled on a bench and painted a quick sketch of the view. I was glad I didn't have my camera with me. Normally, I would have taken a shot of the view and skipped sketching it, but the sketch helped me resolve a few issues with the scene that will come in handy when I go back and paint it in oil.

I am running out of weekends where I can spend the whole day painting outdoors, but Port Dover will get another visit soon I am sure. It was a great day at a great place to paint.


  1. Anonymous9:34 am

    That signature stamp that you use on the tiny digital reproductions of your paintings really mars them. It's very unfortunate.

  2. I totally agree with you, but in the absence of laws that protect my rights as an artist without me marching through life with an army of lawyers and web-combers, I have to protect my work.

    I would suggest that the best way to enjoy the work of course is to buy it ;)

    Thank you for liking it enough to be upset with the offending mark.

  3. Your works gets better and better. I love especially the top painting, and the oils make such a difference!

  4. Thanks Bobbie. How has summer treated you? Here it has been wet and cold and now it is over. We have swiftly changed to fall. :(

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