I have just returned from a week away on Gabriola Island, where I attended a "en plein air" painting workshop put on by the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA). We stayed at The Haven resort, spent our days at several outdoor locations and evenings at lectures or demonstrations.
Gabriola Island is located about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) east of Naniamo on Vancouver Island. A short trip by ferry from Naniamo, Gabriola Island is about 60 square kilometres in size and has a resident population of slightly more than 4,000. The Haven is located near the northwest end of Gabriola Island:
"The Haven is a not-for-profit charitable organization located on beautiful Gabriola Island, BC, Canada. For more than 25 years The Haven has offered programs for personal and professional development and growth. People leave The Haven with skills to be fully alive, have healthy relationships and communicate effectively."
|The Haven from the water side|
|I shared a double room, right side middle floor, wow what a view!|
|View from the room|
|View over the bay|
|Horseshoe Bay Nanaimo Bay ferry passing in the distance|
First my group (the reds) were at Full Moon Farm; an appropriate starting place, I thought, because we arrived on the full moon.
|Full Moon Farm, farmhouse|
|Arbutus trees were abundant and beautiful|
|Old fruit tree with swing, story of the past?|
|This doe had three fawns in tow|
Next we were at Berry Point at the northern tip of the island. The weathered wood and eroded rock formation were facinating.
|Driftwood and eroded rock|
|Pretty as a picture|
Drumbeg Bay was our location on Thursday, and because of rain we also visited a beautiful house up on the ridge of the island. You can probably tell from the next photograph that it is just starting to rain.
|Arbutus tree wound around a conifer|
|Chickadee posing for the camera|
|View down from the house|
|Elephant Chair that has lost its' tail|
The last day of painting we were on Gray's Farm. So many images here, it was hard to decide what to paint. Made friends with the donkey, who loved having its forehead and neck scratched, and the sheep entertained us all day with their antics.
|Old farm buldings|
|Did you know that sheep have rectangular irises?|
|Hard to get a picture of this guy, he kept coming close enough to have his neck scratched|
|Great old truck|
|A better picture of the rectangular iris|
It was the first time that I had ever done en plein air painting. It was a really challenging but valuable experience; with so much visual information, deciding on a subject and then trying to capture it before the light changed kept me focussed and left me exhausted by the end of each day. I have a head full of images now, enough to keep me busy for most of the fall and winter months.
We were treated to a portrait painting demonstration by David Goatley:
"David Goatley is widely recognized as one of North America’s leading portrait painters, with a strong following in both Canada and the USA. Born in London, England, he trained at Camberwell School of Art and began painting full time in 1990 following a successful career in advertising. He came to Victoria in 1992, from where he travels all over the continent, fulfilling commissions – around 300 in the past 20 years."
At the end of the week, fortified by a good breakfast at the Haven; we headed home, tired but satisfied. I will need a few weeks to mull over all the information and put the lessons learned into practice.
|Looking back at Gabriola ferry dock|