Painting in Northern Ontario
Pointe au Baril
The water taxi at Pointe au Baril took me part way but the young driver was not familiar with the narrow shallow channels. My host met us halfway and I switched all my painting gear to her boat. I had a lot of equipment: easel, umbrella for shade, table, chair watercolour and acrylic supplies. I had one small suitcase of clothes.
My host skillfully navigated through the narrow channels with protruding rocks everywhere. It was a long journey out and exciting when we reached the open waters and her islands. On my return a week later the west winds were a challenge to the water taxi driver.
Past Ojibway Island
In previous years I had been out as far as Ojibway island (See Below for a beautiful video of the area) so it was exciting to be further out away from the mainland. We could see the open waters, low lying shoals and wind swept pines. It was reminiscent of many West Wind compositions by the Group of Seven.
It was fun getting to know my host and I gave her some painting lessons. I felt right at home with her cat and dog. We had wonderful meals, swimming and sunsets. One night we canoed to a cocktail party where we drank Georgian Bay Gin and then canoed back.
Trying a different composition style
During my week’s stay I found many compositions right on my friend’s island including the foreground island with rich colour and form and the distant windswept islands and shoals.
I worked on quarter sheet watercolour paper at first. Then I wanted to change to narrow sheets: 5 1/2×15, which seemed to suit the long open vistas. I also did some acrylic on canvas.
Here is the new size watercolour paper I ended up working on due to the long vistas:
As the week progressed I felt more in touch with the colour and form of the rocks, sky and water.
Lake of Bays
This August I was longing to be in a birch forest. Perhaps the idea came from a collector of my work who wanted a painting of a path or a lake view in a birch forest. The idea stayed with me and I had to get there.
Weather and accommodation
It is difficult to get accommodation in August. But luckily I have a wonderful sister who has a cozy cabin on Peninsula Lake. There were terrific meals and evening bonfires by the Lake.
Weather is important for painting on location. I got the 5 day weather forecast. Rain Friday, clear Saturday and Sunday.
I decided to go Friday and head to the forest even though rain was a possibility. I packed full watercolour sheets: 22×30. I was thinking of working on large sheets and with quick flow of watercolour.
After a 4 hour drive from Toronto I went straight to Seabreeze Shore on Lake of Bays. The sky was stormy but in between short rains I painted away in the birch woods. It was joyful even though the weather was ominous.
Saturday and Sunday were glorious sunny weather. I painted large watercolours non-stop in the birch woods at Seabreeze shore. What a difference sunshine makes on birch trees! Light and dark shadows enhance the form and sunlight brings out the many subtle colours of the birch.
Some of the cottagers walked along the path and stopped to chat.
Sunday afternoon I painted along Cooper’s Lake Road near Dorset. This had dramatic distant shores and birch in the foreground.
Here is a beautiful video I found of the Point Au Beril area of Ontario where I’ve painted.
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