My 'Plein Air Painting Project'

The idea for this collection came about as my husband and I walked around the charming fishing village of Port Stanley, where we live. It left me feeling that as an artist I don't take advantage of these spectacular lake and creek views as much as I should.

Capturing these views directly in situ seemed like a wonderful way to share my impressions of these stunning scenes so that you could enjoy them too!


Go to the collection of original paintings ...

Collection Details

-Small affordable original paintings painted in situ

- Paintings are 8"x10"" acrylic paint on hardboard panel with a simple black frame

Below are photos of the artworks in progress on-site, starting from blank panel to the creation of the sketches and then onto the painting...

  • In Port Stanley, the beach town where I live, summer means every parking spot in the village is either taken or has an expensive hourly fee that comes into effect once May hits.

    We don't live right on the lake but just down the way on the creek where the boats dock. It's about a 15 minute walk to the beach, so that's where my trusty bike comes in lol. I've got it rigged to easily carry all my painting gear.

  • I went 'walkabout' and spent time exploring the nooks and crannies as I scouted out a few locations around town that would make great locations to paint.

    Even though this village is just tiny, I still found places that I hadn't seen before. My husband, who grew up in the village, knew about these spots so couldn't understand my excitement at the finds, after all they were there all the time.

  • Folks may spot me around the village beaches with my big floppy hat and tripod setup. It's been pretty hot these last few weeks, so the hat and a spray bottle has been essential to keep the paints wet, and the artist cool.

    I've been enjoying working outdoors and taking advantage of summer. I'm sure I'll look back at this time fondly once the winter comes.

  • I spent my birthday painting at Erie Rest beach which was so delightful!!! Here is the start of a sketch of the beach sedum. The painting changed from the the original sketch concept, but that's how the creation process works lol.

  • I left out much of the grass and concentrated on the sedum as I liked the shapes of the plant and the interesting shadows. The key to painting is knowing what to leave out to keep the composition strong and not bogged down in details.

  • The final painting is a stylized view with lots of texture and chunky paint. When I started, I didn't know how it would turn out, but I found my way through it and I'm really happy with the result. I went home had a birthday dinner and cake with my hubby to celebrate :)

  • The edge of 'Little Beach' is where I set-up for this painting, just by a path that leads up to a cottage road. Painting just a horizon line is a bit boring so it's always best to have some interesting shapes, like plants etc in the foreground to create contrast and interest.

  • Painting in progress...the sun moved around quite a bit while I was there. The key to plein air is to layer. By the time the sketching part was done things had already changed. People came and went so I left them out as it was just the beach I really wanted to capture.

  • Here's a closeup of the finished painting. It has an almost tropical feel for a beach in Canada. The sumac trees add some nice lines, and I always love some good shadows. The shadows didn't show up in real life until I was close to the end, so they were the final part.

'Plein Air Painting'

"Plein air painting is all about the experience: getting out of the house, into nature, and engaging your senses," Warwick Goldswain

DEFINITION- plein-air[ pleyn-air;Frenchple-ner] - designating a painting executed out of doors and representing a direct response to the scene or subject in front of the artist.


Go to the collection of original paintings ...

  • This is the boat launch in front of our condo, so I didn't have far to go to capture this view. The neighbors were very interested to see what was happening lol. Not every day you step outside and an artist is painting. I was happy to brighten folk's day, and they gave me such lovely compliments, a win win!

  • I was there painting for a while, my hubby eventually came out to ask if I was going to eat dinner lol. As per usual the sun changed direction quite a bit. I kept some shadows and left others behind. I also chatted with a few people who were launching boats and kayaks. Buildings and boats are more difficult to capture than organic scenery.

  • This is a close up of the finished piece. I'm finding that when I go inside, the contrast I was seeing outside in the bright light gets a bit lost, so I have to re-up the whites to match what I thought I was getting in situ. I love that I learn something new with each painting. As an artist that's one of the goals. Perfecting your way of seeing and capturing that!

  • I've been so enjoying these escapes to the beach to paint!! I hop on my bike and go to one of the three beaches here in port, and for a few hours I let the worries of the world wash away in the waves.

  • This is how I spent my Friday evening before sunset. I had a bunch of stuff going on during the day so thought I might have missed the sun… but we put off dinner for a bit and I took my chances.

  • I'm so glad I went, other than the fragrance of a large dead fish that had washed up, it was completely delightful lol. There were a handful of other folks that were kicking off the weekend with a beach stroll, but it was pretty quiet for a weekend in July.

  • Here I am setup by the path that runs past little beach out to the berm. It was a very windy day and I had to hold on to stuff to keep it from flying into the lake lol. My bike fell over and scared the @#$%! out of me, so I just left it on the ground. This is the first plein air painting that I'm starting with an orange ground.

  • I really love how this painting turned out!! The wind gave alot of motion to this view and I tried to capture that, I feel like I did. The shadows the tree cast on the water was a fav bit to paint, as well as the rocks. A lovely afternoon well spent!!

  • Here's a close up of the finished painting. It has a very painterly impressionistic feel. The light colors as the leaves turned over in the wind made the contrast more interesting. The path and branches on the tree also added some interesting shapes.

The perils of plein air painting

Last Friday afternoon I thought I'd hop on my bike and head to the beach to get in some painting… it started well (photos above)...

I got my easel set up, sketched out the view, and started painting… then the sky started to change. At first, I tried to keep up, the view kept getting more and more interesting... my paintbrush couldn't go fast enough, it was just changing too quickly. Then a cold wind began to gust!

It was at this point my artistic vision, which was mesmerized by what was happening in the sky, came into conflict with my practical brain, that was thinking I really should really get the hell out of there.

I hoped I could bike home before it hit… but I was just a few minutes too late. I got completely soaked as I frantically peddled through the village in torrential rain!The real kicker was…. a few minutes after I got home, the sun came out… oh that Mother Nature, she's so fun!!!

That's the ‘seat of your pants’ excitement of plein air painting, you just never know what will happen lol.


Go to the collection of original paintings ...

Let's Connect! Follow me on social...

instagram icon link facebook icon link pinterest icon link youtube icon link