One of the nice things about painting the Island Lake Trail is the variety of scenery you can find in the park. I have been trying to keep this series of paintings I have in a vertical format, but as I get further in to the park I see that I may soon be switching to horizontal shapes as they sometimes convey the lake and islands better. Around each corner is another view so as the weather is now changing, I am trying to capture as much as possible by camera, so that I can paint through the winter.
I usually start my ride at mid morning and locate a spot that interests me. The light changes quickly in the forest so that by the time I finish, it could be an entirely different picture. This poses some very interesting challenges to me as an artist, and reinforces my need to follow my own voice when it comes to choose what I want the final piece to look like.
I usually finish around mid afternoon then head back to the studio and review the photos I took to see what will work for future studio paintings. It could be a larger version of what I did on the trail or I could choose from another photo that surprises me. It is important to me to combine location painting and studio work as the lighting and the way my eye sees the colours is really like and ever-changing kaleidoscope.
I also find that I can work much larger in the studio, without the distractions of the natural environment. Last week I was working peacefully on a scene when I heard a crashing through the forest. I turned to see a startled deer racing away. I am increasingly aware of the warnings of recent coyotes in the park so I need to position myself on the main trails. This means that I get to speak to a variety of hikers and furry animals that go by. I have met some wonderful people in the park and hope to be able to continue this for a long time.