Sadly this is the last plein air outing with this wonderful and varied group for the winter. Amy and Gail set it up last year as an inclusive group to join at different locations around town. No RSVP, skill or teaching, just bring whatever supplies you have and draw/paint/sketch amongst other artists, regardless of level. I have had an amazing time filled with art speak, laughter and friendship. I will truly miss these heART friends and our time together. Happily I have paintings and a couple of sketchbooks filled with memories. You can scroll down in my blog to see the other outing paintings and sketches.
The groups' unfinished treasures above. It is always so interesting to see the different views and artist's interests when we are all at the same place.
This outing was at the Sunnyside Luxury Apartments 5th floor palapa area. There were urban views, the ocean and lagoon to choose from. My friends Sue and Ross are staying there and asked the owners if our group could come and we were welcomed. Seven of us painted and sketched today. I found the views to busy to focus on something to oil paint but managed to do an urban sketch of the area below. Another lesson I learned is to test out any new ink pens to make sure they don't "bleed or run" when water was added to it (hence the murky sky and dark trees). The group's unfinished "slap down" (sound of sketchbooks and canvases hitting the tiles for photo) is below.
Happily continuing on with the project that started with the February art challenge #opusdailypractice, I am now a little more than half way through it. I am drawing mainly small, square sketches 3 3/4"x 3 3/4" (2 fit on a sketchbook page) of something that I see or do in my daily world. Right now I am in Mexico so the views are very different than Canada.
I have very limited art supplies with me so most of the sketches are water colour and ink, gouache or acrylic.
The bottom middle sketch was drawn with an ink pen that completely smudged when in contact with water so I used a wet brush and moved the ink around, certainly a fun and easy way to sketch with only a pen and water brush!
I have been painting with a wonderful and varied artists every Saturday morning. We have painted at a different location each week, including the town square, restaurants, roof top palapas, street, ocean and lagoon scenes to name a few. CENAC asked us to put together a show of our work for the month of March. I framed 6 oil paintings and put them in the show. It is hard to believe that our time is almost up and there is only a little more of the week for my art in this show. If you are in Melaque, check out the colourful local scenes in oil paint, water colour and ink and acrylic. The address is Cabanas 15, open Tuesday through Sunday 9am - 5pm.
Today's meet up was at Ancora, a very unique afternoon/evening outdoor bar just past the trailers at Del Tule. It is a haven for driftwood sculptures and unique seating areas. This narrow strip of land has a view of the ocean on one side and the lagoon on the other. I chose the lagoon side as I had spotted the boat on a previous visit and there was shade under a palapa. Looking out for coconuts and sun are two dangers for plein air here! Our "slapdown" photo (at the bottom) of work in progress shows the variety of views and interests of the artists here today.
10" x 8" plein air oil on canvas pad, #20018323
I have had the good fortune to speak to Elias while he was working about our mutual love of painting. He is a local Melaque Mexico resident and after working at his family's restaurant 6 days a week, he has taught himself to paint in the summers. Elia invited Ross, Sue and I to come to his parents' house to see his paintings. Well we were treated to freshly cut coconut, with the juice and meat with lime, salt and hot sauce and local tiny bananas that tasted like candy. This certainly felt like an event for us. Elias has a very good command of English so we were free to ask lots of questions about his art, family, food and life. What a wonderful time spent ON HIS ONLY DAY OFF! @eliasangel1977
I did not realize that the photo above captured more of the street reflections than his painting until I got home, my apologies. All Elias paintings are of what he seas and loves, the ocean, surrounding land and water life. Thank you for your hospitality and sharing of your beautiful artwork Elias, we had a wonderful and memorable time!!!
Update: This painting has been matted and packaged as a gift from Roger to Cathy and Bill. The exciting news for me is Roger made a gift certificate to me on KIVA.ORG so I can continue to support Entrepreneurs in poorer countries = Win/Win Thank you R
A group of artists gets together to paint every Saturday at a spot chosen the previous week in a group discussion. This week was in the main civic plaza or jardin. The freshly painted town sign, church and native trees caught my eye, hand and pen in my mixed media 5.5" x 8.5" sketchbook. It was so much fun to see all the artists busy sketching, painting and drawing. There were about 16 artists sprinkled around the plaza. Some had left before we remembered to take a "slap down" photo of the works in progress.
I successfully completed and posted a daily sketch in February as part of Opus Art Supply #opusdailypractice art challenge. I have read about another challenge about making art for 100 days in a row, self designed and in any medium. Deciding to continue with having 28 days completed already (is that cheating??), the rest seemed do-able. Most of these sketches are small, 3 3/4" x 3 3/4" squares, easy size to fill with something in my world on that day. Posting these sketches daily seem to be a bigger challenge. #100dayproject
This week we met at Las Hamacas restaurant for our plein air fun. 7 of us enjoyed the peaceful venue (beachside restaurant, not opened for lunch yet), working with oil paints, water colour and coloured pencils, what fun! A great variety and interesting views were being created. I did not heed Ed's advice when I set up and had to keep moving my easel to stay out of the hot sun! The "slap down" photo of the unfinished paintings are below, just look at the variety!! I had a lot of fun with colour on the Isla as seen in the bottom photo.
Plein air oil on canvas pad, 8" x 11" #20011323
The Saturday plein air group decided to meet at the hidden Bistro Escondito. Some of the members could not find this spot or it was to far to walk with supplies, but 3 of us managed to find our way here and a spot in the shade. I had watched Amy paint this scene and wanted to give it a try. Decided to use that "artistic license" in my back pocket and change around some of the scene in front of me. It certainly makes thinking about the travelling in the painting and composition harder. I was happy with the whole experience.
El Camino Menos Transitado (The Road Less Travelled)
Plein air oil on canvas pad, 8" x 11" #20009323A
I had so much fun that I decided to return the next day and try again with a different composition. To my delight, the Bistro Escondito was open for brunch with a wonderful guitarist and Mexican lady singing. I was right behind them in the shade of the house across the street and thoroughly enjoyed it all! I feel every part of the morning is imbued in this painting.
Tesoros Escondidos (Hidden Treasures)
Plein air oil on canvas pad, 8" x 11" #20009323B
This was a lovely morning. The Saturday plein air group met at Bistro Escondido before the restaurant was open for lunch. A few painters couldn't find this tucked away gem so painted elsewhere. Four of us were welcomed to enjoy the beautiful gardens in and out. Before anyone left we did a "slap down" photo of the works in progress (below).
I have thoroughly enjoyed this month long #opusdailypractice challenge by Opus Art Supplies. It was fun to paint or sketch to the prompt word but was not necessary; the idea was to do some art daily. I kept most of my sketches small in my travel Canson XL mixed media sketchbook 5.5" x 8.5". This took the pressure off from doing a full painting. Using the daily prompt made for a creative way to look at the world around me. Thank you @opusartsupplies !!
Daily word prompts from top to right - Mosaic, Togetherness, Future, Motivation, Abstract, Colour (photo reference by Roger Mirka) Below from top left to right: Nature, Champion, Growth and Imagination (bottom left - using colours randomly from my acrylic palette lid for "Imagination")
This outing location was trickier to find and harder for those walking. With some people headed home, our group was only 4 this morning plus 1 painter painting in oil closer to home. We found a lovely shaded spot right next to the lagoon on a very quiet road. It is always wonderful to see what catches an artist's eye while painting in the same place! This painting ended up quite smudged from carrying it in the basket my bike. . Using a bike to get home with a wet oil painting adds to the plein air experience!
8" x 11 1/2" plein air, oil on canvas pad #20022223
This is the second year that I have participated in the February Opus Art Supply's 28 days of creating with the hashtag #opusdailychallenge. There are prompts for each day that you can follow...or not, just create and post if you can. The first one on the bottom group (Fantastical) is made with my 19 month old grandson Jack on my lap, a labour of love! #opusdailychallenge @opusartsupply
Daily word prompts from top right to left: Wonder, Adventure, Safari, Space, Contrast, Balance, Emotion, Infinity, Loyalty Below: Fantastical, Unity, Grit, Passion, Amour, Action, Curves, Climb, Innovation
#opusdailychallenge is a month long art challenge for any artists of any medium to create daily and if possible to post on Instagram. So far I am 14/14 on this challenge. As I am not in my studio, my supplies are limited, but not ideas. There is a prompt for each day for an idea, but not necessary to follow. So far, I have been able to come up with an idea with the prompt. I am making 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch sketches in my sketchbook daily. Today's prompt aptly is "Amour". This small sketch is of designs that people use as symbols of their passion or love. I had penciled them in and then painted around the ones I wanted to keep.
Another wonderful morning well spent, in the company of artists enjoying the beautiful views and sharing tips and tools of the trade. We met at the Villa Obregon malecon and tried to find a shady spot. The first sketch was under a palapa but should of been using my time on the beach first as it was cloudy. I painted as long as I could on the beach until the sun won out. Without a table to put anything on and fear of dropping my brushes on the sand, this was painted with one brush while holding a plastic plate as a palate. I found out early that oily brushes and sand do not play well together.
"Villa Obregon Malecon"
8" x 11" Oil on canvas pad #20008223
I love starting a new sketchbook although the clean fresh pages can be intimidating! This one is hand made with the idea that I can put a holiday, 6 months together or whenever I feel it is full enough and sew the "signatures" together. This one is water colour paper and about 5" x 7", perfect for dragging around with me. The top water colour painting is of the sunset on New Year's Eve in Mexico, palm fronds and the third is a sunset taken by Jouni on the floor above us, amazing. Everything in the foreground was just silhouetted but the "zebra" sky was amazing. The bottom right is a water colour that I painted after my plein air experience. I had so much fun I wanted to capture the essence again in water colour instead of oil.
Often pulling my sketchbook and water colours out, interest and conversations with people you know and those you don't yet, often begin. Bugambilias is a restaurant behind my favourite area to swim and Elias is one of the friendly faces with a cold beer at the ready. In his very little spare time, he is also an artist. It was wonderful to engage in the language of art (he has very good English) and he brought over this large framed painting of six wild cats that he painted in acrylic. He also used coconut husks and fishing line for the whiskers. This piece is very layered and textural which photos do not show. We have been invited to view some of his other paintings at his parents, so excited to see more of his work. Instagram: @eliasangel1977
"Wild Cats" by Elias Plascencia Ramirez @eliasangel1977
Mixed media, framed
In the early morning, a bike ride to the opposite edge of town to a night time entertainment bar was my next plein air location. An artist has created many shapes and sculptures such as this very large heart on the beach and all over the property. The washrooms, bar, tables, light holders etc. are all made from hand out of driftwood found in the lagoon behind. This shady spot was up against the outdoor bar so I had access to stools to put my supplies on. Fun and interesting conversations, a new book to read, metal sculptures shown on a phone etc. are all information shared while I painted this on site. You are rarely alone when painting "en plein air", just the act of painting seems to draw people out, what fun! These are all memories I will have when looking at this piece!
11" x 8.5" en plein air, oil on canvas paper
It was also interesting when I came out from the dark outside bar palapa to take a photo of my easel that the colours I mixed for the driftwood were more on the green side, going to leave it as it is all part of the adventure. The other part of the adventure was watching people walking along the beach looking like they were going in and out of the heart frame, quickly passing by.
I am fortunate to have art greeting cards and five of my paintings in the first show of 2023. The hanging committee does an exceptional job of hanging the paintings and placing the pottery, jewelry, knitted, sewn, woven art pieces to highlight each piece. Gratefully, Marg brought my paintings in for me and Bonnie does a wonderful job of making all the tags. If you are going through Enderby, B.C. it is really worth the stop. As an artist run gallery, there is no pressure as it is lovely to see people take a break and enjoy a feast for the eyes. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am until 4pm.
Bottom left - I watched a skim board competition on the beach. There was amazing skill and talent. Unusually large waves were coming in which made it even more difficult and a lot of hard falls occurred. I loved watching the younger boys following their idols and trying to copy their moves. Top right - I found a shady spot on the sand and painted this scene before meeting family for lunch. Bottom left - Bugambilla's beach restaurant was closed but they leave some of the umbrellas and tables set up for people to enjoy. Bottom right - painted pineapple on our deck, the scent alone is delicious!
What a wonderful morning! The group had decided to paint the area around the Red Lobster restaurant. What caught each artist's eye was really interesting. I used the restaurant table and had my easel beside it. The beautiful and very full bush that was leaning over and the colourful doorway behind caught my eye. Some of the artists did drawings and chose not to put them in the "smack down" at the end for the photo (see below). I love the name "smack down" as that is the sound of the sketchbooks on the tiles. This time I remembered to take a photo of the painting on the easel with the view (below).
"The Weight of Beauty"
8" x 11" oil on canvas sheet #20024123
Working in a sketchbook takes the pressure off of a "finished piece". Wild colours and textures, experiments and most of all memories are all captured. Below is a good example: the feathers are from Magi a Macaw parrot living on the property (water colour and ink). Diane feeds, waters, pets and talks to this bird daily and brought back a feather for me!! The feather was so interesting as each side had completely different colouring, I had no idea! The second is a pineapple (acrylic 10"x7") that I was about to cut up and decided to paint it first in a Robert Burridge style. It tasted as delicious as it looked. I picked a few flowers after visiting Magi, cut a plastic water bottle into a vase and enjoyed it for a couple of days before painting it in my 7"x5" watercolour sketchbook. Another beautiful sunset on the beach (7"x10" acrylic).
This very enjoyable couple of hours at Las Hamacas restaurant (before it opened for lunch) has a beautiful view of the ocean and beach. Some artists like myself chose to paint in the covered restaurant and others went down on the beach. At one point I counted 16 artists sketching and painting, what fun! Before everyone was gone, we did the "smack down" which is basically the sound of sketchbooks on the tile floor for a photo with those that want to participate (not a requirement) of finished and unfinished work. It is always so inspiring to see what has caught each artist's eye at the same location.
"The Shade Huddle"
8" x 11" oil on canvas paper #20019123
So happy to reconnect with the weekly plein air group in Mexico! We met last Saturday at Bungalows Azteca and happily planted ourselves around the grounds. Some painted by the pool, others in any shady spot available. The bungalows were all so brightly painted, it was a feast for the eyes. I planted myself in the shade and dug out my oil painting supplies hoping I did not forget anything.
Mid morning, my husband exchanged bikes so he could get mine fixed. I did not consider that his did not have any baskets when I left so had to balance and carry everything as I walked his bike. A vehicle drove by on the dusty dirt road and the breeze picked up my painting off the cardboard and it flipped upside down into the dirt, of course it did! I brushed off the larger bits and left the rest on to dry, hoping it would just brush off later. The smeared painting is the second one below. Once it dried enough, I painted over with some of the same colours left on my palette. Some of the dirt is still on the ground in front of the bungalow. Plein air is always an adventure!
8" x 10" Oil on canvas pad #20013123
Below is some of the artists' finished and unfinished paintings from my first plein air experience of 2023. I had so much fun being around these wonderful artists and found what they focused on very interesting and inspiring! Looking forward to the next outing at Las Hamacas,
Karen Oliver's Art Journey
Thanks for stopping by to see my art journey and what I am currently working on.