Last month I had the pleasure of taking part in an Ontario Plein Air Society weekend art retreat at the Opeongo Mountain Resort on Lake Clear in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario. The retreat was an unbelievably generous invitation by Chris and Bob Peltzer, owners of the resort to OPAS members.
I got to the Opeongo resort and met with Chris and Bob for the first time. A lovely couple who run the own and run the resort as a family business. I dropped my stuff at one of the cabins that I was sharing with David and went for a walk along the lake. The lake itself is worthy of many days of painting. It sports several islands with lots of character and has a road that goes around it giving you many view points to chose from. Here is a view of Lake Clear from the Opeongo Mountain Resort:
OPAS members started showing up slowly throughout the afternoon and that evening we had a feast courtesy of the Peltzers. Wine was flowing and we talked about art and painting and simply had a ball.
The next morning we woke up to a dusting of snow. That was not going to deter us. We headed out to the hills above the lake. After viewing a private painting of AY Jackson at an undisclosed location (the owners are very private) we scattered and painted at a local farm overlooking another private lake. It is amazing to see how several artists looking at the same view would interpret it so differently!
Noon came and I was reluctantly opening my cold canned lunch when a warm VERY WELCOME soup was delivered to all the artists courtesy of Opeongo Mountain Resort again. Talk about hospitality! WOW!
After finishing my unsuccessful sketch from that spot, I headed back down to Lake clear and did another so-so sketch from the side of the road looking east towards the islands.
The sun was coming down, but there was time for one more from a spot that AY Jackson painted at with a view of “Big Rock”. I was totally spent! tired but satisfied (despite not coming up with anything to show, I headed back to the cabin and took a small cat-nap.
The night was full of comradery and fun as we gathered in the Opeongo den around a cosy fire and drank wine and shared a pot-luck feast. We then had an informal critique of our day’s work with Mikulas and Kathy leading the discussion.
The next morning I was hoping to do a painting or two before heading back home, but unfortunately we woke up to wind and rain. We gathered once again in the den, said our goodbyes and headed back home. What a weekend!!
It is amazing but somehow I have learned to accept that if I manage to get one good plein air work out of three or four attempts, I am very happy. This weekend was not going to have keepers, but what was a true treasure was making wonderful friends. Worth more than anything else that could have happened that weekend