“Notes from the intrepid plein air painter in North Vancouver..”
by Sheree Jones
Saturday morning dawned rainy with expected showers and more rain throughout the day. While not the ideal conditions for painting outdoors, more than fifty hearty souls showed up to sign in at my local Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge. Mingling with friends outside the store, we shared our ideas about locations while keeping dry.
I had scouted the area earlier and planned to paint three yellow school buses at the local high school. Big yellow buses on a gray day would be perfect! And it being a Saturday, surely they wouldn’t move. Well, so much for that idea.
Rule number one- don’t count on moving objects as reliable subject matter.
I carried on towards the water, entered the dog walking park and nestled somewhat under a birch tree for shelter. Two umbrellas, a camping poncho and gore-tex pants were my companions. As I always work in oils, the rain took quite some time to compromise my palette.
After two hours, I began to periodically pick up my palette and pour off the collecting rainwater.
Rule number two- when painting in the rain, find a really big tent (or make friends with someone who has one).
After about two hours, my friend and colleague Lorn Curry came by to take photos of me and some of the other painters scattered throughout the area. Some people set up tents, others parked themselves under a pedestrian overpass while many simply braved the wet with as much individual rain gear they could carry.
Being in the dog park I met many new furry friends and their owners. Lots of dogs were quite curious of me, sniffing around my gear wrapped in plastic on the ground.
Rule number three- Keep your roast beef sandwich out of reach of canines in a doggy park.
Painting on the shoreline with a view of the city was quite a challenge for me. I usually paint greener, more organic landscapes, so buildings and barges were really new to me. I usually only give myself two to three hours on any one plein air study, mostly because of fast changing light, but fast changing dampness was my time factor that day. Fortunately, the barges in my view did not move, nor did the city’s iconic skyline.
In talking to fellow painters later, some felt an advantage in working with watercolour and created some beautiful work. Others working in acrylic felt challenged by the extra moisture, but also created some amazing pieces. Mostly though, this extremely hearty group were exhilarated by the challenge and rose to it with gusto.
Opus North Vancouver had just moved their location, so the day was also for celebrating their new location with a “Grand Opening” party. At 5pm everyone gathered to see each others paintings, and to share in food, beverages and music. There was also a giant raffle with many incredible prizes.
The jurying was completed by Sandy Waters and Andrew McDermott.
The winners are as follows:
2nd: Rene Gourley
3rd: Norm Vipond
Honourable mention: Ruby Gourley
Well done, everyone, for your unwavering participation in the Opus Plein Air Challenge 2013!