painting and photographic works

Plein Air Painting on Salt Spring Island

I recently spent a wonderful week on Salt Spring Island, on Canada’s west coast, attending a workshop put on by the  Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA).

A Scene from Salt Spring Island (at one of the sites of our plein air painting)

The 5-day workshop ran from Wednesday September 12th through Sunday September 16th. There were about 100 participants divided up into  4 groups. For the first four days, each group spent a day with a different one of the  four workshop instructors, at a different site on the island. On the last day, everyone painted in and around Ganges on their own.

Every day we were out painting “en plein air”, in landscapes which offered views of coasts, fields, forests, buildings and animals – something for everyone!

The four workshop instructors were: John Salminen,  Elizabeth Wiltzen, Carla O’Connor and Stephen Quiller. Each instructor focused on a particular media but were able to provide valuable guidance to everyone, in whatever media the participant chose to use.

Workshop Instructors (left to right) John Salminen, Liz Wiltzen, Carla O’Conner and Stephen Quiller, at the Wednesday evening panel discussion.

Another very unique and welcome feature of this year’s workshop was a talk on Friday evening, given by the world-renowned (and Salt Spring Island resident) painter and naturalist, Robert Bateman. Bateman is obviously a man with a million stories (and opinions), a good an passionate speaker (looking way younger than his 82 years).  On this evening he spoke about his development and influences. I learned that he had once painted landscapes in the style of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven (and quite frankly, that earlier style  appealed to me more than the  his realistic wildlife work). I was also impressed by (and would never have guessed)  his appreciation for abstract expressionists such as Rothko, Kline and Still. He demonstrated how he was influenced by their compositions and incorporated them into his high-realism wildlife paintings.  Overall it was a very enjoyable evening in a very good week.

Plein air painting in a vineyard on Salt Spring Island

Our last day of the workshop (Sunday) was different, but nonetheless valuable. We painted in Ganges, had group critiques of the work’s week as well as the opportunity for one-on-one critiques with Robert Genn. Late in the afternoon there was a two hour “wet canvas” sale – an opportunity to show and sell paintings. The well organized workshop week wrapped up with a very nice banquet – a excellent meal and an opportunity to chat and reminisce with old and new friends, on Sunday evening.

Next year’s FCA  week-long workshop is being organized for Whistler B.C. in September 2013. After this years experience I will be giving serious consideration to attending that one too.

In future posts on this blog I will share some of the things that I learned during this week on Salt Spring – there was something learned everyday and from every instructor – stay tuned! [go to Workshop Day 1 post]

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7 responses

  1. Pingback: Simplify! – A Workshop Lesson « Randall Talbot – Artist

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