The annual spring sketching trip to Charlevoix was a renewal for me! In Montreal I’m committed to my background as teacher at Dawson, occupant of a large studio, attender of many vernissages, acquaintance of many artists, researcher of art books and critiques. These groups/activities foster knowledge about the art world, but the Charlevoix painters paint together, which is unique. There is something very special about a long-established art group painting plein air. They are all supportive of each other. And we all feel that we learn something from the experience, and that’s far more important than the canvases we take home with us!
For me, this trip was a push towards uniting my observations with my feelings for necessarily more abstract compositions. Making a preliminary sketch to help me find the composition proved immensely helpful, but it happened not because I forced the composition but because I just started the ink drawing and gradually found, in the process, the composition. Then, working largely from the sketch, but with the scene there for reference, and with the irreplaceable push from the physical specifics of being out of doors in April, I could work on the painting and let the painting itself develop, not just the scene. I am quite thrilled with the way it went.
I can’t always see in my finished paintings what I have accomplished, at least not immediately (and I don’t understand why this is), and it’s great to have the positive response of the others in the group. The gallery owner in Magog saw the works on my way back to Montreal, liked them very much, using the word “superbe” to describe the 16×20” on which I scrambled the thick paint into a “feeling” about the scene.