July is Crazy! Especially this year!

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So many things happening this month.  Oh the EXCITEMENT!!  I’m finally having my first solo exhibition!  Next week should be quite interesting.  Over a year ago I booked our local Art’s Council.  I actually booked last week, but they called me and said they had to move me one week ahead, did I mind.  Actually, I did mind as there was another event that I like to attend every year,  Explore the Shore.  Moving the date would mean missing that weekend.  There were no other openings, so I had to take it or loose out on the gallery all together.  Little did I know what would happen.

Every year the neighborhood of Walkerville has an Art Festival.  I happen to live in this great historic neighborhood.  This is a pretty exciting weekend.  They close down the streets.  Rock bands play, patio’s fill up and there is a great deal of excitement.  You never know what weekend they will choose.  Well, what made this so exciting is that my show just happens to be running during on the weekend of this great event!  I did not plan this, but mind you, I had hoped.  This means that the traffic in the gallery will be quite high.  So, think of me next week, and come visit me at the Artspeak Gallery.  My show runs from July 20th until July 25th.

ArtSpeak Gallery,
Arts Council Windsor & Region
1942 Wyandotte Street East
Windsor ON N8Y 1E4

Solo Show Windsor & Region Arts Council, Art Speak Gallery during the Walkerville Art Walk & Rock

Solo Show Windsor & Region Arts Council, Art Speak Gallery during the Walkerville Art Walk & Rock

So what else is happening?

As you may or may not know, I run the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists group.  We have a solo show in the lovely town of Amherstburg at the historic Gibson Gallery.  The show has 12 fantastic artists participating in it.  The work is simply phenomenal.  Our opening was a great success with a full house.  We have been asked to hold the show over to August 2nd, and we are planning a closing reception on that Sunday afternoon.  So if you missed the first reception, you have the opportunity to attend the 2nd.  Join us from 2 until 5 at the Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg, On.

 

the Gibson Gallery
Fort Malden Guild of Arts & Crafts
140 Richmond Street
Amherstburg, ON N9V1G4

 

Month long Windsor & Essex County Group exhibition at the Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg.

Month long Windsor & Essex County Group exhibition at the Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg.

Lavender Festival

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The Lavender Festival was a two day event.  Our group was supposed to paint on location in the lavender beds on Saturday, but mother nature decided to dump torrential rains on us once again.  Will it ever end?!  I know California could really use some of this rain.  Fortunately, Sunday was a much better day.  It was a bit windy, but their were bright fluffy clouds, and beautiful sun.

 

Pelee Island Plein Air with Friends

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It was my first trip to Pelee Island, Canada’s most southern Post. I am so blessed to have good friends. My Plein Air group the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists is chock full of wonderful people.  I could not be more grateful.  One of our members and incredible artist Vera Graham, invited the group to spend the night at her cottage.  Two of us, Kathy Hudak and I, were able to take advantage of her generous offer. 

A large backhoe barely fits in the Jiimaan hold.

A large backhoe barely fits in the Jiimaan hold.

It was an early day Monday.  We had to be at the Leamington dock by 9:00 to board the Jiimaan Ferry to the island.  It’s amazing what this vessel holds!  A huge backhoe on a trailer bed, large trucks, a garbage truck, a cherry picker lift, and many other smaller vehicles. 

 

 

Life jackets ... check Life boat ... check

Life jackets … check
Life boat … check

It was a full and heavy load.  The ferry listed on the Port side from the incredible weight of the trucks.  I’m sure she was never in any danger of capsizing, but I was very grateful for calm seas.    Just to be sure I made note of the life jackets and lifeboat locations! 

 

 

 

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

Once we’ve boarded we headed up to the deck to watch the boat leave the harbour.

The one and a half hour cruse was pleasant.  The brisk breeze was refreshing.   I could hardly contain my joyous anticipation of what the two days ahead would hold for us.

 

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OOps!  We got into a bit of trouble.  We walked down a set of stairs into a restricted area.  Well they didn’t have any signs, and the steps were not roped off!  How were we supposed to know?  The equipment was just so COOL!

OOps!  Ship's hand chased us out of here, but not before I got this great photo of a huge winch.  They need better signage!

OOps! Ship’s hand chased us out of here, but not before I got this great photo of a huge winch. They need better signage!

We reach the Island docks.

We reach the Island docks.

First order of business snacks! Chips, salsa and Pelee Island WINE!

Relaxing on the beach.

Relaxing on the beach.

Then off to paint.

 

The rest of our 2 day painting holiday was filled with a great beach bonfire, nighttime thunder storms, hiking on the beach, hiking in the woods, sack lunch at the winery, snacks at the cottage,  and good friends.

Chairs positioned to catch the last rays of the day.

Chairs positioned to catch the last rays of the day.

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Monday’s sunset is an incredible light show.

No trip to the cottage is complete without a good campfire.  One on the beach is the best!

No trip to the cottage is complete without a good campfire. One on the beach is the best!

 

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Tuesday’s tour of the island saw that Monday night’s storms flooded much of the farmland.

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A walk through the forest at the south west end of the island.

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The southern most tip of Canada, which is the south west tip of Pelee Island.

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The harbour lights signal we are home again.

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DSC_9600A beautiful end to a wonderful 2 days.  Sunset on the north shore of Lake Erie.

Published Again!

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Earlier this year the University of Windsor Alumni Magazine contacted the Alumni and asked them to submit articles for publication.  They published my article in its entirely.  I guess that makes me a published writer now?

My article published on the UofW alumni page June 26th, 2015 http://www.uwindsor.ca/e-soca/23/visual-arts-alumni

My article published on the UofW alumni page June 26th, 2015 Article source http://www.uwindsor.ca/e-soca/23/visual-arts-alumni

Or read it here or go to the source:

Elizabeth Gaye MacDonald, BFA ‘01March2ndPainting at Ann D
I’ve had a wonderful 2014, and 2015 looks to be a great year as well.  I am an extreme plein air painter, currently working in oil.  Extreme, in that I paint in all weather, even sub zero temperatures.  There are no bad weather days, only bad clothing choices.  I make sure I dress for the weather.  I rather paint in cold weather than in extreme heat.  You can always dress warm.  My dream is to paint in remote areas.  However, getting to these areas is a challenge, due mainly to the cost of an expedition of this sort.  The biggest cost is camping gear, canoe/kayak, and 4 wheel drive transportation.  The other challenge is convincing my loved ones that this type of extreme expedition is safe.  There are many dangers in the wild.  I grew up extreme camping with my family.  I don’t live in fear of the wild.  I embrace it.

What is Plein Air Painting?
It never surprises me when people ask me what I mean by Painting en Plein Air.  En Plein air is a French expression which means “in the open air”, and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. I often think that many know to whom I’m referring when I mention Canada’s plein air “Group of Seven.” The reality is that many haven’t any idea what or whom I’m talking about. Happily, Plein Air Painting is currently celebrating a revival around the globe.  Just do a Google search on Plein Air Painting and you will get over 3 million hits, and the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists won’t be very far down the first page.

Plein air painting is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding. First off, being outdoors, in itself, is the best reward.  When painting outdoors, you learn to work quickly.  Light and shadow are constantly changing. You can’t chase the light, you must make a decision on when to capture that one moment in time.  The artist must always be aware of where the sun will be at any point during the day.  How will the sun affect the scene?  Then again, you might be painting at night or on a cloud covered day where shadows are scarce. That’s when Plein air gets really interesting.  What effect does the available light have on the scene?  Can you recreate the mood? Cloudy days are difficult, night time is near impossible.  How do you even see your canvas at night? I have a head mounted LED light that helps me to see the canvas.

You maybe a studio painter and think that Plein Air painting is not for you.  However, the act of painting from life outdoors will improve your studio work. I must warn you that painting outdoors from life may just spoil you from ever painting from a photograph again. The experience becomes a memory not soon forgotten. Ask anyone in our and they will tell you that there is no greater joy for us, then when we are able to paint outdoors.  But, introducing others to painting en Plein Air is a joy in itself.

2014 – 2015Kenneth Cadwallade President Oil Painters of America and Elizabeth quick paint 2nd place Win at Dexter Mi 2014
2014 gave me the opportunity to paint in some great locations.  In August, I painted at the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival.  This is one of many week-long painting competitions available throughout the U.S.  There are a few in Canada, but nowhere near as many as in the states.  There were two categories judged during the Dexter event.  The judge for the Dexter Plein Air Festival was internationally acclaimed artist Kenneth Cadwallade, current President of Oil Painters of America.  The first category was for work completed on location during the week, the second category was a quick paint.   The artists had 3 hours to paint, frame and submit their work for judging.  The quick paint is nerve wracking, but I thrive under pressure.  It forces me to transcribe what I see as quickly as I can.  Painting quickly tends to loosen my touch, and I record only what is necessary.  Because I paint outdoors regularly, I feel I have an advantage others less practiced artists.  To my joy, I placed 2nd in this category.  I also sold all 5 paintings that I produced during this event.  I am looking forward to participating at the event again in August of 2015.

In addition to the Dexter event, I spent the month of September painting in Seattle, Washington.  I had the opportunity to paint with many different Washington based artists.  There is camaraderie amongst Plein Air Painters.  The common bond of painting outdoors joins us across miles, generations and social stature.  Another significant event in 2014, is that my work was featured on the cover of the publication Important World Artists vol 1 https://wwab.us/shop/publications/important-world-artists/  In 2015, I was accepted as an associate member of the Oil Painters of America.

Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Society Windsor & Essex County Plein Air ArtistsWECPAAlogo

In 2009 I co-founded, and run the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Society.  We’ve recently changed our name to the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists.   We have missed only a couple of weeks in the last year, due to rain.  I’ve even managed to paint in the rain under the shelter of a plein air umbrella.  Please feel free to visit the group website:  https://wepleinair.wordpress.com/  Here you will find a blog post for every outing we’ve done since September 2011.  The full list of outings dating back to 2009 can be found on our Facebook group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/WindsorEssexPleinAir/events/?past

About the group
Our group, The Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Society, was established in 2009, and is devoted to educating and promoting plein air painting. The core members of the group have painted together since the mid 1990’s. We meet weekly on location, usually on Mondays, at various locations throughout Windsor, and Essex County. The group is open to anyone, and is free to join.  For more information email:  PaintPleinAir@gmail.com

Twitter:  @PaintPleinAir
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/photographerpainterprintmaker

Upcoming June & July Events

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Click on images to enlarge.

I spent two blissful days on Pelee Island, but now it’s time for me to buckle down and let everyone know what’s happening in the near future.  June has already been a busy month, but there is still more to come.  July kicks off many events in Windsor and Essex County.  There are festivals everywhere.  Amherstburg hosts many summer events.  My group, The Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists, will be part of Amherstburg summer activities.  The Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg, Ontario will host our member’s exhibition during the Month of July.

One of Windsor’s best events is the Walkerville Art Walk & Rock street festival.  The streets are closed and Walkerville businesses open their doors and host the work of area artists.  You can dine at one of the many great restaurants, or sit and listen to tribute bands as you sip wine and nibble on hors-d’œuvre on the patios.

Last but definitely not least, I’m doing it!  For  many years I’ve arranged group shows, and never had time for my own solo show.  Well this is the year I finally get out there and present my work at the Artspeak Gallery.  Do come out and see what I’ve been up to this past year.

Paint out at the Lavender Fest

June 27th & 28th is the annual Lavender Fest at North of 42° Winery and Lavender farm.  Link to their website:  http://www.serenitylavender.com/category/events/

My group the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists are invited to paint in the lavender fields during the event.  We will be there on Saturday June 27th from 10 until 5

Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artist Group Show

at the  Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg.

July 7th to August 1st.

Meet the artists reception Sunday July 12th Noon – 5:00

Website and Map to the: Gibson Gallery

Exhibition & Sale

Extreme Outdoor Painter, Elizabeth MacDonald

Solo Show Artspeak Gallery, Arts Council of Windsor & Region.  July 20th – 25th

Two Day Reception during the festival Walkerville Art Walk & Rock July 24th & 25th.

Questions?  Feel free to contact me:

Cool Weather Continues

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It’s hard to believe that summer begins today!  The weather this June is more like April, wet and at times down right cold.  I’ve been painting up a storm!  Hmm… I wonder if that has anything to do with our weather lately?!  Please enjoy my latest three paintings with their locations.

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Turn up the Heat! Pretty Please?

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No Wake, Plein Air 9 x 12 oil on Ampersand Gessobord $350. framed  SOLD in less then 24 hours!

 

Ok, it’s JUNE 1st!  WHY do we have 15 MPH winds, and  53oF weather?  Monday is painting day, and come hell or high water I go painting.  Today, I dressed for winter.  I wore leggings under my jeans, a sleeveless T shirt, turtleneck sweater, winter jacket, and a shop coat!  I found a winter toque in the van and put that on under my straw hat.  I did bring gloves and I wish I had worn them.  By the end of the day my hands were so stiff I could not hold my brush.   I may have looked ridiculous, but I was warm, except for my hands that is.  In spite of the horrid weather it was a good day.  Good friends, curious wildlife, many curious onlookers, and I did get a decent painting completed.

Artists working in their cars to keep warm.  I worked off the back of my van.  Too bad the wind was in my face.  Horizontal flag tells the story.

Artists working in their cars to keep warm. I worked off the back of my van. Too bad the wind was in my face. Horizontal flag tells the story.  I had to weigh my easel down with my backpack to keep it from blowing over.

 

Bundled up to keep warm.  Layers upon layers of clothing.

Bundled up to keep warm. Layers upon layers of clothing.

ART MARKET JUNE 6th & 7th on Walker Road in Walkerville

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Grand Opening of the New City Market in Windsor

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Three blocks east of Willistead Park, home of Art in the Park

NO ADMISSION – Parking available June 6th & 7th  9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Location:  1030 Walker Rd., Windsor, On. Google Map:  https://goo.gl/maps/9t00k I will be located in booth A3 which is the first row parallel to Walker Road. I will accept Cash or cheque.  All original Plein Air (painted on location) framed oil and watercolour paintings priced between $250 and $350.

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Some of the work available for sale.

Extremely Busy Extreme Painting this Winter!

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Some of you know that I run the group Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Artists.  Well, quite often I get so busy there I don’t get to keep up my own blog and website.  SO, here’s a catch up!

It’s been an incredible winter!  Even with the extreme cold, our group is painting in -18 C weather!  YES!!  Some of the places we’ve visited this winter are:

  • Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village
  • Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Museum Inc
  • John R Park Homestead
  • Ducharme Maple Syrup Farm, Oxley
  • Ojibway Park

We’ve received some great press coverage. (Click on photo to go to articles.)  The Windsor Star has a video clip of an interview with me.

WindsorStar OurWindsor

SOME NEW WORK!

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