Andrew and I recently spent about a week up island at a somewhat remote campground on Moutcha Bay. This was our first real foray into the world of tent camping and it was a bit rocky with a few lessons learned about camping and painting. We discovered:

  • Camping is dirty business
  • Don’t forget your camp stove and if you do, make friends with the locals
  • The line between relaxing in the silence of nature and boredom is very thin
  • I’m not one of those people who want to paint 24/7. Sitting in silence at the campsite didn’t mean I wanted to fill that space with sketching the fern I was admiring. It just meant I was re-energizing for the next plein air session.
  • I need to sit in silence a bit before launching into a plein air painting so I can feel* the scene. *I don’t know any other word than “feel” for what happens when the right scene, colours, values occur to me and I know it’s the right moment to start. I discovered this when I had made a bad start to a painting, had wiped my canvas clean and just sat there in silence. Andrew had gone off to forage for something and I was alone with the rocking of the dock on the water. I started looking and my eyes rested on a colour and shape in the water and then it started to make sense. The result was my best painting of the trip:


Clear Cut off Moutcha Bay

Including the above painting, we had a couple fantastic painting sessions on the docks of Moutcha Bay Resort. The weather varied so we were able to capture different moods and colours.

Clouds over Moutcha Bay
Clouds Over Moutcha Bay, Plein air oil, 8 x 10
Out to Sea - Moutcha Bay
Out to Sea, Moutcha Bay. Plein air oil, 8 x 10

We also had the opportunity to experience a working fishing marina, which was a whole new world to me. This place is out there along a steep and windy dirt road and yet there they are; going about their business and pleasure, fishing and guiding and boating. We never felt like strange interlopers. Everyone was more than friendly and just a bit surprised when they found out we were there to paint, not fish. They silently noticed us and went about their business, carefully docking their boats out of our field of view and painting spots. So nice!

A secondary goal of the trip on top of painting was to take lots of reference photos for studio work. And we captured a few gems:

I suspect I will be posting more about this trip and other adventures as we move through our summer holidays. For now, here is what a plein air set-up looks like on the furthest West Coast of Canada:


Moutcha Bay Painting Trip