On the Easel

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On Stage, oil, 12 x 16

I have a passion for horses both in their natural environment and in the disciplined school of dressage, a form of equestrian body building.  I’ve spent a bit of time learning dressage on a very large Shire and it is an amazing feeling to subtly coax out the stride of two thousands pounds of pure power or bring it back in collection.  Wasn’t so impressed when the huge beast bolted with me barely hanging on at the sight of a mouse though!

Of all of the spectacular road cycling routes in the Okanagan Valley this remains one of my favourites and is just south of Okanagan Falls.  The road twists through vineyards and grasslands winding it’s way down and finally deposits you into the valley below and Vaseux Lake.

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Life is good!  A morning of painting in the vineyard.  A little wine tasting in order to pick a bottle for lunch to be shared with good company at a picnic table in the shade with the magnificent views of the Okanagan!  Many thanks to Kraze Legz Winery in Kaleden, South Okanagan for allowing us to come and paint for the day.

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Okanagan Falls River

Inevitably we get asked  “Where are the falls?”.  Long gone but there is a lovely river/channel connecting Skaha Lake with Vaseaux and in fact there is a string of lakes and channels running for many kilometers along the Okanagan Valley.  Several sections are great for tubing but this section is a superb birding location.

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Last week our plein air group started out in great weather up at Yellow Lake before the clouds rolled in bringing gusts of wind and rain.  Lovely to stand on the dock painting with other artists and fishermen, watching people paddle by in kayaks and of course the birds were plentiful, especially the swallows when the rain started.  This location provides many  fabulous views to be painted so I am sure we will be back.

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There was a Plein Air event during the Meadowlark Festival in Penticton that I attended that was taught by Loraine Stephanson and held at Maple Leaf Spirits Distillery on the Naramata Bench.  It was an absolutely awesome day but the best part was discovering Carole’s crepe wagon on site and of course right away I knew that would be what I would paint!  There were many other subjects as well including exotic chickens and roosters, vineyards and lake vistas.  Many thanks to the great hosts at Maple Leaf, Carole for making me a fabulous authentic crepe and Loraine for teaching a fun workshop.  Can’t wait for next year!

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Creperie Ooolala

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This week our group headed south again to a great plein air painting location along the Golden Mile Drive.  We happened to be right below Rustico Winery and were invited to come up, taste the wine and paint the many artifacts from another era which included some pretty interesting laundry hung out to dry, or what ever else appealed to us.  We decided to head up with our lunch and share a bottle of wine at one of their picnic tables in the shade under a large vine covered trellis.  We were joined by a mix of people from the community with more wine, food and many fascinating stories told.  It felt very much like being in France or Italy where time slows down and the mid day is spent outside with good food and good company.  Many thanks to the great hospitality of Rustico Winery at 4444 Golden Mile Drive in Oliver, B.C.,  a ‘don’t miss’ on your wine tasting route especially if you like to see some antiques and learn some local history.  Oh and of course head upstairs to the Art Gallery showcasing local artists.

How lucky our plein air group was last week to be invited to paint at Noble Ridge Winery and Vineyard.  The view was spectacular and the wine with lunch was fabulous.  Be sure to pack some food or buy some snacks there along with a bottle of wine and spend some time at a picnic table in the beautiful gardens looking out over Vaseaux Lake.  I was fascinated by the colours of the rock cliffs and layers of mountains behind the lake.  A quick study in oil on canvas, 8 x 16.

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