Once I have surveyed members of both the Annapolis Valley and Halifax region, I start the job of locating potential painting sites. Each year we need to discover and paint some “hidden gems”. Memorable sites from previous years can be repeated. Contender sites need to be geographically well-distributed, contain a variety of subject matter, offer a few exciting challenges but take into consideration weather, ocean conditions, and insects. For some, I need to secure access permissions from property owners. For all five years, I have only had one access permission issue and that was from a Government Agricultural Research facility — a location where permissions are granted for weddings, wedding photographers and tourists. Go figure.
Finally, I’m ready to narrow the candidates, set the schedule and map the sites. You can explore my draft, 2020 map at tinyurl.com/PleinAirMap. This year I am including other plein air events and groups throughout the Maritimes, including Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The map and schedules are meant to keep members organized, but also to pique the interest of tourists and visiting artists. We have had artists from the USA, Ontario, Quebec, and Scotland join us as a result of this planning. In 2019 over 4,000 map views were logged. I’m hoping for more this year. Feel free to share the map link with your artist friends.
One of my biggest challenges is to seek volunteer support for events. You see, special events help build the group’s interest, momentum, culture and brand. This year I have sought collaboration with other art groups to hold joint plein air sessions. A feature of the Annapolis Valley and Halifax groups I am particularly fond of is the supportive, group critiques at each paint-out. This is popular and educational.
Once the season begins (end-April) you will see my work posted to this newsletter. A few days of planning and preparation makes the whole season worthwhile — for me, for Anne, and hopefully for many others.
Keep an eye out for artists painting en plein air. Go up to them and say “hi”. Tell them Edward from Nova Scotia inspired you to see how they were interpreting the landscape through their art. Tell them what you like about their work, then encourage them to keep painting.