Join Me Plein Air Painting In Tuscany in May 2013



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Hosted by Toscana Americana Workshops

Watercolor en Plein Air in Tuscany with Artist/instructor Elizabeth G MacDonald May 8-15, 2013 Cortona, Italy

I am very excited to offer a workshop in Tuscany next spring 2013.

In this workshop I will be focusing on sketching and watercolour en Plein Air.  The day will begin with a short discussion, demo and question period.  Throughout the day, each student will receive individual instruction.  We will Alternate between quick sketches in a journal, and larger paintings. As an urban and a landscape painter I am at home painting in any environment.  The focus will be on capturing the rapidly changing light and contrasting values as the day progresses.  You will also learn how to interpret colour using a limited palette. I will teach you how to edit what you see en Plein Air to create your cherished memory of Tuscany.  As an added bonus I will show you how to use photography as a tool to plan your composition,photograph your work for the web or to make art cards from your paintings.  These keepsakes can be shared with friends and family. You will learn how to work Plein Air painting into your daily life.  I will be only demonstrating watercolour, but if you are an experienced painter who wishes to do your own thing you are more than welcome to participate at the same cost.  You may bring any mediums you like with you.  However, if you bring oils do not bring thinners, as they are prohibited from flights.  You may purchase thinners at the local art store.

This workshop is suitable for the beginner or the experienced painter.  Click these links for frequently asked questions, workshop information and registration rates.

I wish to introduce you to the joy of painting in the largest studio in the world, the great outdoors.  When I paint en Plein Air I experience nature and the world in an intimate way not experienced by the casual observer. The experience exhilarates me. I am also a photographer. When I capture nature and life through a camera lens I feel more like a voyeur, stealing a moment in time.  However, when I paint I become immersed in my surroundings with all my senses.  I am alert, and the scene becomes a part of my existence.  My heart yearns to interpret what is before me. By painting en Plein Air I go beyond copying that stolen moment in a photograph in the studio. I live the moment. I live the painting. The experience becomes a memory not soon forgotten.  When people see my work, I’d like them to experience a bit of what it was like to be there.  There is no greater joy for me then when I introduce others to painting en Plein Air.


Recommended supplies, partial list.

Julia Kay’s Portrait Party


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Julia Kay is an amazing, and wonderful woman who’s totally obsessed with drawing a self portrait every day, even at times in her sleep! Well, maybe she’s not totally sleeping but nodding off. As I’ve said many times, Flickr is a wonderful photo sharing sight that has an incredible supportive arts community. That is where I came across Julia Kay. I’ve joined her group. The unique thing about her group is that you are not allowed to submit self portraits, instead you submit photos’ of yourself for others to draw. Julia warns everyone that if they are squeamish about the way they maybe depicted in someone’s photo it would be wise not to participate, as the diverse styles are not always flattering. Once I submitted my photo it didn’t take long for people to start drawing and painting away on traditionals and digital media. I am inspired by all the different ways of seeing this group expresses. I encourage you to have a look at the group, and especially at Julia Kay’s work.

As for me, well I may not get a portrait a day in, but I will accomplish something and more than if I’d not joined at all. Oh, and I’ve not drawn or painted many portraits so I’ve a lot to learn in the process. It’s too cold to paint outdoors so this group will keep me from getting rusty over the winter.

Have a look at Julia’s selected sets from her Daily Portrait Project, in which she’s been making an image of herself every day since 3/15/2007.

Life Drawing at Sho Gallery


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The Arts Council-Windsor Region has spearheaded a unique community sketch night. They are scheduled for every other Monday. What is unique about them is that a different organization hosts the sketch night each week. Each organization puts its own spin on the night.

The first night was hosted by a talented young artist. His take on the event was a method called the “Exquisite Corpse”. Each person started a drawing, and when time was called the drawings were passed to the right. The event stopped when your drawing made it back to you. It was very interesting what others did to your original work. Passing your work onto someone else was quite a scary proposition. It helped detach me from my work and see the unique directions others would take it in.

Yesterday, Monday November 26th was hosted by Sho Art, Spirit & Performance, a fairly new gallery in the city. They hosted a life drawing evening. There was an incredible turn out. Standing room only! My friends and I were one of the first to arrive, so we were able to get our pick of locations.

The next event is hosted by yours truly, at Windsor Printmaker’s Forum, where I am Vice President. I plan on setting up a number of unique still life stations for people to draw. They will rotate between the stations throughout the evening. I’m quite excited, and nervous at the same time.

Please have a look at the drawings that I did at Sho.

ACWR Sketch Nights


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I am pleased to announce that I will be one of the hosts for the Arts Council Sketch nights. My night will be Monday December 10th from 6 until 9. Location and theme of my sketch night will be announced soon. Each night is hosted by a different artist or art group. We are really excited about what will be taking place during these evenings.
Here is the post from the Arts Council site followed by a link.

The Arts Council Windsor & Region is facilitating bi-monthly Sketch Nights in partnership with local artists, businesses and organizations.

How do you become involved?

-Become an ACWR member 
-Fill out the form below

We want you to make this event/workshop/semi-collaborative sketching time your own! Have any suggestions on how to make this open sketching group awesome? Potential partners or themes? We want to hear them! Come out on Monday, November 12, meet the group of sketchers and share your ideas.

There are 3 sessions to lead Sketch Nights into the new year (all sessions are at 6pm unless otherwise noted):

 Monday, November 12Exquisite Corpse style drawing session lead by Sketch Night member Dave Kant  ACWR (1942 Wyandotte St E)

Monday, November 26 – Live nude model session lead by Sketch Night partner SHO Art, Spirit and Performance   SHO (628 Monmouth Rd)

Monday, December 10 – TBA Sketch activity with Plein Air artist Elizabeth Gaye MacDonald

Please Note: Our goal is to make sketch night accessible and affordable for everyone. However, due to material costs there may be reasonable supplementary fees for certain Sketch Night activities.

Questions? Please email or call us at 519 252 2787.

Arts Council Sketch nights

A Beautiful Fall Day at Ojibway Park


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What an incredible beautiful warm and sunny day for a paint out today! It’s a toss up what I like better Fall or Spring. The vivid reds are mostly finished. It seems the colours arrive and leave so quickly. There are still some beautiful yellows hanging on.

Four turtles kept us amused as they tried to sun together on a floating log. They reminded me of lumberjack contests, where the contestants compete by trying to spin the log so the other man falls off. The last man standing wins! They a family of mallards makes their way downstream feeding on vegetation as they go.

Mary was writing a note for Judith, when a stunning orange dragonfly paid her a visit.  It landed on her note, and stayed while she continued to write.   These are the reasons I paint en Plein Air.  There is no studio in the world that compares.

Chatham Ontario Art Camp


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It’s always a great time with the Chatham, Ontario Arts Council group. Thanks for having me back once again.

artCampDSC_0414 by photographerpainterprintmaker
Lunch with the Chatham group is always a pleasure.
artcampDSC_0427 by photographerpainterprintmaker
It was a very windy and damp day.  In the afternoon, we moved inside the Chatham Cultural Center where we finished our paintings.

Mom’s RumRill Vase, Table runner, Hydrangeas and My Abstract Watercolour


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Mom's RumRill Vase, Table runner, Hydrangeas and My Abstract Watercolour by photographerpainterprintmaker

Yesterday we cleaned up the front garden. My hydrangea bush had some incredible blooms on it this year. It was a joy to bring these inside. I found a lovely spot for them in my office. The background is a section of my abstract watercolour/rice paper collage which measures 40 3/4″ x 49 3/4″.

When I was a child we had two very large lilac bushes in our backyard. Every spring I would cut lilacs from these bushes and bring them in for my mother. She would go to the china cabinet and pull out this vase to hold them. Little did I know that this piece of American pottery was anything special. It is Red Wing RumRill art deco pottery with the number 629 on the base. The crochet table runner was made by my mother.

This was one of my final BFA pieces. My classmates, I’m sure, didn’t appreciate having to hop over this painting every day in order to get to their studio’s. I had to lay it on the floor with fans drying the large pools of watercolour. This process would take hours.

I love it because it was one of those pieces that I pushed beyond the breaking point and brought back. I thought it was trash, but my professor Adele Duck made me work it to death, or should I say back to life. I think I learned more on this one failed painting than in all my other works combined. Thank you Adele!

I photographed this in natural light. It’s a bit grainy because it is a cloudy day.

The Gathering (Colchester Beach)


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Labour Day is two weeks gone, kids are in school,  the beach is deserted, and the air is crisp.  I walked down the beach to get closer to the Canadian Geese. I wanted to get photographs of them in flight. White caps crashed on the shore as the wind played havoc with the lake. I slowly approached the geese… camera ready. Wary of me they waddled down the beach a few honking their displeasure. They finally decided I was too close and took flight out into the lake a few yards away. The waves violently tossed them around, and I became concerned for their safety. What if one drowned because of my desire of a perfect photo? I gave them their space, and they safely returned to shore. I will think twice about disturbing wild life for the perfect shot.

A good part of the morning is always spent discovering the perfect composition. I was very fortunate to find a sheltered area. It was a lovely spot at the edge of the road looking through some trees. Wind and Plein Air painting quite often yields disaster. Many a painter has found hand prints in their work, broken easel’s, or had to chase their paper down the road or even into the lake! Winter is fast approaching. I hope the beautiful fall weather holds out. I love painting in the fall. However, I do hope we have some snow this winter. Winter painting needs snow and in Essex County, the most southern part of Canada, we had very little last year.


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