All Blog Posts (65)

January Paintout 2017 Alan's Gardens

Quick report and a look from our first paint out of 2017. The location was perfect choice for a cold day. I settled in the biggest of five buildings, I call it the "banana hall" because of its tall banana trees. As usual, when painting in public we can expect  strangers to come and talk to us, so this time was no exception. People were friendly but not too intrusive. 



Added by Dalibor Dejanovic on February 7, 2017 at 11:22am — No Comments


Looking forward to painting with the Ontario Plein Air Society. Hope to discover new and inspiring painting locations. Can't wait to develop a camaraderie with these fellow plein air painters. We are all painters of the light.

Added by L. Michael Labiak on February 28, 2016 at 6:50pm — No Comments

Algoma Bound! Painting in the wilderness. Join me? I am planning a few plein air painting trips up to the Algoma area of Northern Ontario this summer and early fall.  The area is a treasure trove o…

Algoma Bound! Painting in the wilderness. Join me?

I am planning a few plein air painting trips up to the Algoma area of Northern Ontario this summer and early fall.  The area is a treasure trove of painting locations and was one of the favorite destinations for the Group of Seven painters. The rich, savage nature up there begs to be painted. The vast solitude of untamed wilderness has to be met on its own…


Added by Zan Barrage on April 17, 2015 at 5:51pm — 1 Comment

Etiquette for Artists at Plein Air Painting Festivals: Re-Posted

Etiquette for Artists at Plein Air Painting Festivals

The following article is reposted with permission from Michael Chesley Johnson's blog. If you're thinking of attending a plein air festival this year, read this first. A lot of good insight.

Keith Thirgood, President OPAS

Etiquette for Artists at Plein…


Added by Keith Thirgood on March 10, 2015 at 3:04pm — No Comments

Photos from Wilson Street Studio's Canoe-In art retreat in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park


Added by Keith Thirgood on August 14, 2014 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Photos from Wilson Street Studio's Small Town Art Retreat with Don Cavin.

Here are a bunch of images from Helen and my Small Town Art Retreat with Don Cavin. Our students really enjoyed themselves in Newboro, Portland and Westport, Ontario. Painting up a storm.…


Added by Keith Thirgood on August 14, 2014 at 1:09pm — 3 Comments

Plein Air Painting in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park

We drive northeast from Markham. It’s only a couple of hours, not so far compared to many of our retreat destinations. We make a left onto Long Lake Road down to Long Lake Lodge. Here we pick up our rented canoe and begin to load our supplies and kit for the painting trip. This is the same place we will be meeting the participating artists in our August 6 through 10 art retreat.

Helen at launch site

Once our packs are in, we push off and begin paddling west…


Added by Helen Walter on July 16, 2014 at 9:34am — 1 Comment

magazine article / Plein Air Painting, NorthEastern Ontario

I am not sure if this is the correct place to post this link but I would like to share this fun little piece written by Bob Bahr about a recent show that I was part of

Added by sharon preen on July 3, 2014 at 7:16pm — No Comments

Building a Wilson Street Studio Plein Air Easel

A number of artists have asked us where we got our special, plein air easel set up.

When I tell them that I built it, they all want to see plans. To respond to all those requests, I've put together a PDF, which goes through all the steps of building your own Wilson Street Studio plein air field easel.

This easel requires some basic woodworking and metalworking skills, however, nothing advanced.

You need to be able to measure, saw wood and…


Added by Keith Thirgood on May 18, 2014 at 6:38pm — 2 Comments

What to take when you go painting en plein air

We've often been asked what an artist should to bring when going plein air painting. Not that easy to say, as we are all so different, however, I can say what I bring. (This is for acrylic painting.)

First, you need to control your selection of paint. Depending upon how far I expect to walk with my kit, I bring either a bare minimum palette of colours, or a slightly expanded set.

Bare minimum set

Hansa Yellow Medium

Napthol Red Light



Added by Keith Thirgood on May 5, 2014 at 8:16am — No Comments

Back To Basics This Season

Spring is finally showing signs of gaining ground here in Southern Ontario. The tired white blanket that had covered the earth for way too long has finally given way to browns and greens. The changing of the seasons is a spiritual experience for me. Most religions are built around these times as well, but for me there is no need for ritual around the event. The event itself is enough to move my soul.

With the warm weather come thoughts of painting outdoors again. About six years ago,…


Added by Zan Barrage on April 17, 2014 at 8:51pm — 5 Comments

Art Shows, Art in the Parks, Etc for 2014

Last year I had more time to come up with this list of shows. This year I'm a bit late in compiling a list.. I thought they might be of interest to other OPAS members. I invite you to add shows that you've heard of, where there is still time for members to sign up for. Here's what I've foiund this year.

With some of these shows, you have to join the organization hosting them, however, that's often not a real barrier. Sometimes the shows have a restricted geographic barrier. If there…


Added by Keith Thirgood on March 15, 2014 at 7:30pm — 10 Comments

The New, Practical, Artist's Colour Theory

I have had mixed responses from other artists when I tell them about this. Some have been thrilled as it cleared up so much that stymied them with colour mixing. A few others have already been practicing some variation of this, however, others have reacted vehemently against the idea. Almost accusing me of artistic heresy. Hopefully some of you will find this helpful and no one will call for my lynching. :-)

Since Goethe and Chevreul wrote their respective colour theories in the early…


Added by Keith Thirgood on December 15, 2013 at 5:00pm — 23 Comments

Plein Airing in San Miguel

I'm not a cold weather, plein air painter and first to admit it. But I plan to do plenty of it this winter in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) Mexico where you'll find me set up in the Jardine a few times each week capturing the light of this old colonial town. If you haven't experienced SMA before you have really missed out on a mecca for artists. I also have some mini watercolour workshops planned. I'll try to post results of my SMA plein airing. Hasta Luego, Doug

Added by Doug Mays on December 13, 2013 at 10:11am — 1 Comment

Our Common Rut

Recently Robert Bateman raised some eyebrows when he said: "I think some plein air artists are in a rut. They go for the easy scene". C.W. Mundy spoke about the difference between painters who are content to record a scene and artists who interpret a scene.

These two great artists are not wrong. The Plein Air movement has attracted a lot of people to painting and many of them have gone through the circuit of workshops and events that have moulded an almost uniform voice or rather… Continue

Added by Zan Barrage on October 26, 2013 at 1:00am — 18 Comments

Ten Painting Tips

The following are ten steps I encourage all of our students to consider as they…


Added by Keith Thirgood on August 31, 2013 at 7:48pm — 2 Comments

nocturne tonight,August 5th

I will be painting a nocturne of the leuty life station. at leuty ave and the lake in the beaches tonight at about 9pm. havent really done a nocturne before. Anyway wanting to join me for impromptu nocturne is welcome. 

Added by Jennifer Smithwell on August 5, 2013 at 8:22pm — 7 Comments

Composition 101

Composition is an interesting subject. When you read some books, they delve into the exceedingly complex compositions of the old masters showing circles, lines, boxes and overlapping structures they believe underpin these great works. Showing you this is meant to help you with your own painting, although I've never met anyone who found them all that helpful as a beginner. At the other end of the spectrum, we've seen and read art instructors who's compositional vocabulary…

Added by Keith Thirgood on June 6, 2013 at 3:35pm — 2 Comments

What are Values and Why Should I Care?

Ask almost any professional painter and they will tell you that they don't paint objects, scenes or figures, they paint shapes. And to them, shapes are made up of areas of similar value. That is, how dark or light it is. In other words, what makes one shape separate from another shape is its value. 

There are several value scales…

Added by Keith Thirgood on May 24, 2013 at 12:22am — 5 Comments

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