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MacDonald Merry Christmas2015- gif made by Elizabeth from her original painting The Clark Cabin

Here’s wishing all my family and friends a very Happy Holiday and Blessed New Year.






I’ve managed to get out every week to paint, except for this week.  I scheduled a paint out at Willistead for Monday, but the fog had other ideas.  Many of our group members are from the county.  The last thing I want is for someone to drive in that mess.  It looks like December’s weather is going to continue to make things difficult for painting outdoors.  We can paint in most weather, however, rain is a pain!

Heritage Villiage

I’m happy to say we did get out and paint in the first snow of the year.  We went to the Transportation Museum and Heritage Village.  They were decorating the museum and village for Christmas. We had planned on a group breakfast in their 50’s inspired diner.  Little did we realize that they had changed the diners hours for the winter.  How disappointing! However, the kitchen staff was there cooking up lunch for the volunteers, so they kindly opened up just for us.  We were blessed!

I painted a wee log cabin that day.  It was originally owned by the Clark family.  They were some of the original settlers in Essex County.  The family still lives in the area, as do many who were granted land by the Crown.  I went to school with the descendants of the family who lived in this tiny home.  I had no idea that was the name of the cabin until someone mentioned it on Facebook. Funny thing, my maiden name is Clarke. Call me silly, but it made my day.

snow, oh no!

It was a chilly day, and while I was painting it started to snow.  Regular oil paints would not be budged in this weather, but I paint with water soluble oils, and they don’t like to get wet!  Like the Richard Harris song, you don’t want to leave the cake out in the rain.  I had to quickly turn the painting upside down.  I ran off to get my van and umbrella to try to shelter my work from the snow.  I did manage to continue painting in spite of the snow.  I wanted to complete it on site.  Almost all of my work is done entirely on location.  I live in a very tiny house, and as a result I have no indoor studio space.  The great outdoors in my studio.


I made the painting into a holiday gif, that you can see above.  That was NOT easy!  I had to learn how to do it.  I looked up the tutorials online and worked on it for days, in a free program called The Gimp.  The Gimp is much like Photoshop.  I struggled with the tutorials, and it just was just not working.  Eventually, just did it my own way.  Guess what, it worked!  You can see the original painting without the snow below, and soon on my available paintings page.

Limited Palette

On The Clark Cabin painting, as well as many of my paintings, I used a limited Palette.  On the Clark Cabin palette included:  Yellow Ocher, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow Light, Quinacridone purple, a dab of Cadmium red on the bow, and Titanium White.  I’m sure those strange colour names can be a bit confusing; artist quality colours are generally named for their ingredients.

New Habits

A limited palette is a challenge many artists impose on themselves.  The goal is to see how well you can mix colour.  For Plein Air Artists, the less paint you have to carry in your gear, the better.  A back pack can get heavy very quickly.  If you are flying with your gear you really have to watch your luggage weight.

I’ve taken up this challenge many times.  I’ve not always recorded what paint I used.  I’m embarking on a new habit of photographing my palette before and after the finished painting.  A three colour plus white is the ultimate limited palette.  This palette usually includes some form of the three primary colours of Red, Yellow and Blue, but there are many shades, and hues of these three colours and knowing how to work with them is the challenge.

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In the slideshow above you can see the limited palette I used on the painting, Malden Hiltop, along with an on location sight size photo.  Sight size is another very common method of painting which I will cover in a future article.

Recent work

Other painting locations last month include: Studio, still life Pear Study, Lakeside Park in Kingsville, and McAuliffe Park, in Tecumseh.  (Click on any image to see details.)