Planning the 2020 Plein Air Art Season in Nova Scotia


Setting out over fifty paint-out sites for these two plein air groups takes time.

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 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.

Brush the Trails


Brush the Trails is a two-part event to raise awareness and promote alternative uses of the trails that are supported and stewarded by the Halifax North West Trails Association (HNWTA). The event is also to raise awareness of the Plein Air Artists HRM and Halifax Urban Sketchers groups. Proceeds from art sales, auction, and draws will be shared between artist and HNWTA.

Artists at any level are invited to Brush the Trails – to paint/sketch on HNWTA trails within Bedford South, Rockingham, Clayton Park, and Fairview. Artwork is to be done “en plein air”; that is, outdoors, on location, and in any medium (oils, acrylics, watercolour, pastels, inks, graphite, etc.).

Artists/sketchers register for Brush the Trails but can optionally choose to participate in either or both the Long Brush and/or the Short Brush challenges. Identify your work(s) on the back: Artist’s Name, Title, Trail, Selling Price, Contact Information.

Part 1 Long Brush challenge: 08th – 27th September 2019
Over this three-week period, artists can pick one or more of the HNWTA trails listed below to paint/sketch on at any time between Sunday September 8th and Friday September 27th, 2019.

Part 2 Short Brush challenge: 9am-4pm, Saturday September 28th, 2019
Artists are to paint/sketch on the Hemlock Ravine Park Trails for this one-day event.

All artwork from both the Long Brush and Short Brush challenges will be on display Saturday September 28th, 2019, from 1-4pm at Hemlock Ravine Park; weather permitting. Artists display on their own easels/stands. Artists may also submit their works for online sales and draw by contacting HNWTA

Artists of all levels ready to paint en plein air (outdoor, on location).
Members and guests of the HNWTA (Halifax Northwest Trails Association)
Members of PAAHRM (Plein Air Artists HRM group)
Members of HUS (Halifax Urban Sketchers group)

All Long Brush and Short Brush participants are required to register for this event before Sunday 8th September.

Trail description and location
Trails Brochure. Trails Interactive Map.

1 Mainland North Trail

2 Hemlock Ravine

3 Mainland Common Loop

4 Belchers Marsh Park

5 Geizer Hill

6 Cabin Lake

7 Fleetview

8 Mill Run

9 Old Coach Road

Arranged by
Halifax Northwest Trails Association
Plein Air Artists HRM
Halifax Urban Sketchers

Creating PAA/HRM

Closeup: Plein Air watercolour of Williams Lake in HRM by Edward Wedler

I am looking to start PAA/HRM (Plein Air Artists in the Halifax Regional Municipality and area).  The goal is to broaden the geographical reach and subject matter for plein air artists here, beyond the urban core — for artists and art lovers of all levels and ages.

Plein Air is outdoor, on-location art. The art can include oils, acrylics, watercolours, pastels, inks/graphite (and much more). I envisage PAA/HRM meeting up to twice weekly for much of the year, conducting educational critiques and workshops, and showcasing work at an annual group show.

I am pleased to be a founder and member of the Plein Air Artists Annapolis Valley (now entering their fourth year in 2019) and am a member of Urban Sketchers Halifax, SRQ Plein Air Painters, Peace River Painters and Light Chasers.

Interested? Check out

What does HRM encompass?
HRM map:


Celebrating Our Built Environment and Unique Community Identity

04 October   Noon-2pm
Join our free Thursday afternoon architecture-sketching tours, guided by members of the Nova Scotia Association of Architects.
MEETING 12noon at 1359 Barrington St, Halifax
To register for the tour, click HERE.

19-21 October
Visit, or participate in, our weekend exhibition of drawings, sketches, illustrations and paintings of work done on the sketchers’ tour and by others across the Province, sketching our built environment. Open to all sketchers, artists, NSAA members on a limited basis.
Location: NSAA Gallery, 1359 Barrington St, Halifax
To submit work, click HERE.


Sketching Nova Scotia

Celebrating Our Built Environment and Unique Community Identity.
Nova Scotia has celebrated architecture ranging from the community-identified Acadian Peak and Lunenburg Bump to contemporary architecture as exemplified by the internationally recognized Halifax Central Library. Nova Scotia also celebrates the creative reuse and adaptive architecture which breathes new life into existing spaces as witnessed by the Truro and Kentville libraries. In the case of the Truro library, it was a modern addition to an existing building while, in Kentville, a complete renovation to change a church to a library was achieved. Each of these projects contributed to the ongoing evolution of each community’s built environment; responded to the needs of its residents while respecting each community’s unique history and identity as demonstrated by its built environment.

During Architecture Week 2017, members of the Nova Scotia Association of Architects along with the Halifax Urban Sketchers held an art show presenting their interpretations of iconic.

Halifax buildings and landmarks as seen through the eye of an architect or artist. This art show drew over 100 people to the NSAA’s seminar room which was transformed into an art gallery for the week. Different perspectives and different mediums portray the same scene in different ways but convey a glimpse of the overall character of the built environment being projected.

For Architecture Week 2018, the event’s success has led to an expansion of the idea to other communities in the province which have either an NSAA chapter and/or a core group of

Sketchers. Plans are underway to have sketching activities in the Annapolis Valley, South Shore, Cape Breton and the HRM where members of the NSAA will be joined when and where possible by the Annapolis Valley Plein Air Artist Group and the Halifax Urban Sketchers to sketch various sites during the week of October 1 to 5. On October 4, there will a Sketching Day held in various sites in Nova Scotia. At each site, a retired or practising architect will facilitate and give sketching tips to those in attendance. Sketching materials will be provided free of charge, or participants can bring their own if they wish. Sites will be selected based on their availability to be sketched in fine weather or in the rain.

Affiliated groups such as Dalhousie School of Architecture students and faculty will also be invited to participate. Community leaders will be contacted to take part in both the site selection and activity to showcase cultural diversity.

From October 19 to 21, the NSAA will once again be the site of an art show displaying previous work and those created during the week of public sketching highlighting a celebration of the built environment. The prime objective of this activity is to have the public stop, thoroughly look at the details of, reflect and capture their built environment in a way they normally do not do on a daily basis.