Jasper; a Plein Air Painting Adventure


Following an eventful 3 days of travel (through active wildfire territory) and settling in to our campsite home for 10 nights (including sleeping in the car for a portion of one night due to our extreme lack of preparation for the cold that Jasper sees at night in the summer), we finally painted!

Up cold and early we lined up in front of the tourist information centre that morning to get tickets to visit Mt. Edith Cavell later in the week. There is construction happening there so officials are timing and limiting the amount of people allowed up at one time. While it was a teeny bit of a pain to get the tickets, they did well in setting limits because the flow of people was not too much, not too little. More to come about that in subsequent postings…

In the meantime, our first painting stop was to be Athabasca Falls. However, our slight delay meant the number of tourists that morning was high and we couldn’t find an out-of-the-way spot to paint so we just took a few reference photos for later painting. Instead, we headed back on the road and stopped at the side of the highway to paint the Athabasca itself instead. Note: The BC wildfire smoke had followed us into Jasper, so visibility of the surroundings was limited. It therefore made sense to a paint close view rather than distant. We had a successful couple hour session, during which we met and chatted with a nice young fellow who was working the river boats this summer. This is one of the asides of painting en plein air – you meet some characters!

We both had a successful and enjoyable first painting session and were excited for more so we headed to the river again beside Becker’s cabins. I was distracted by the highway, stopping tourists and fear of bears so my results were not worth keeping. Andrew had better luck. The thing about bears in that location is that the previous time we visited Jasper we had dinner at Becker’s and the highlight of the night was watching a bear traverse the hillside across from where we were now painting. Bears – they are very real.

The next day was when we found a painting location which we returned to whenever we were undecided about where to paint. This meadow at Jasper Park Lodge became our go-to spot even just for chilling a bit with stunning views of multiple mountain peaks and the Athabasca.

Painting at Jasper Park Lodge Meadow
Painting at Jasper Park Lodge Meadow
Pyramid mountain from Jasper Park Lodge meadow
Pyramid mountain from Jasper Park Lodge Meadow

One 3 hour painting session at this meadow was where I put into practice a tip from Richard Schmid’s book, Alla Prima. The tip is to paint what’s most important first. And it seems to work for me! Particularly because I tend to become less focused as a session goes on, getting what I want to say down first means that the painting is more likely to be successful even if it is just a sketch of what I found most important about the scene.

While we were so close to the Jasper Park Lodge that day we decided to check out Mountain Galleries. And it was there, in such a beautiful lodge, in the midst of several stunning pieces of art, that we spied a painting by Josh Clare which moved us both, very much. (Truth be told, Andrew pointed it out and it took a second viewing on another day for it to hit me – that rare art experience feeling). The painting captured the light focused on a red earth mountain peak. Unfortunately I can’t find an image of it online. Andrew and I pondered the purchase of this painting for a couple days and… I’ll tell you more about that in my next post. Oh yes, there are plenty more painting adventures to revisit!

Summer of Art 2017

Plein air painting in East Sooke. A beautiful day!

Once again, summer in Victoria means a multitude of art walks, talks, tours, shows, exhibits and extravaganzas! As the weather finally warms and we get excited about summer holidays, my husband, Andrew Bartley and I are thrilled to be participating in a few of the many community art events around town.

The first show is already up and ready for you to visit; the Summer Small Works show in the Massey gallery in the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV). There is some lovely work in the show this year, which officially opens this coming Thursday, June 15 from 6-9pm. One thing special about this show is that you can purchase and take the work off the wall right away so you don’t have to wait all summer for the show to end before popping that piece above your couch! Keep your eyes open for Andrew when you are at the gallery because he recently began working there part time – he will be the one with the big smile and small name tag. He’s thrilled to be spending more of his days in the presence of art and the people who love art.

The AGGV also holds the Annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In, which is in it’s 30th year this summer. 30! It’s a fantastic event and we are sad that we are going to miss it this year due to other commitments. There’s so much to do that it’s hard to choose! I do hope anyone who hasn’t attended this event  will give it a try because it’s one of the most impressive art events in Victoria and if you are a regular – enjoy it for me, please!

Sooke Fine Arts Show

July 28 – Aug 7 from 9:30am – 4pm

This giant art exhibit is a summer staple. We always put our best foot forward for this show and hope you will join us there. We both have work in the show and it’s always fun to find them among all the other great work to see how they stack up (not that we’re the least bit competitive…). Every year I am awed by the sheer amount of work that artists make on Vancouver and the Gulf Islands. The show gives you a sense of what’s happening in the art community and it’s always great to see new artists join the regulars. Don’t miss out on almost 2 weeks of music, art, demonstrations, food and an amazing gift shop where you can pick up a small piece of local art (and art cards galore!) at a fantastic price – remember, Christmas is only 6 months away!


Sidney Fine Arts Show

October 13, 14, 15

While this is not a summer event (perhaps an Indian summer event?!), the artists have to start ramping up to it in the summer. The Sidney Fine Arts Show is a highly reputable event which Andrew and I have both entered this year. Even though we don’t yet know if our work is in the show this year, we encourage you to attend regardless because the work is always of the finest quality. It is on for only 3 days so it will go by in the blink of an eye if you’re not careful!


Our Artist Web Sites

Faye Hoffman and Andrew Bartley

Of course, our work is always on display on the interwebs year around. I write a blog about my art process and as Andrew and I work towards our goal of having a 2 person exhibition in 2018 or 2019, new work will appear on our sites. We have a summer plein air painting journey planned and expect to return with several small pieces from which to develop larger works for the exhibit. Keep checking back to see what’s developing and if you’re in the neighbourhood (Uplands/UVic), please get in touch for a studio visit. We also intend to be in one of the many art studio tours next year so you can stop by then and we are always open to taking on commissions. In fact, we’re both working on a portrait commission right now and remember, Christmas is only 6 months away! 🙂

Enjoy your summer of art, everyone!