A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 228: Cottage Creativity, Part 3


Monique painting on Lac Joly, Quebec – Photo by Zoe Kok

For my last installment of Cottage Creativity, I present a small gallery of small paintings done by my wife, Monique.

I have posted about her ability to translate the large landscape to the small canvas before. She worked that magic again this time ’round at the cottage. But she also put some of the small flora around the cottage to canvas, too.

The largest canvas here is 4″ by 5″ while the smallest is only 2″ by 2″. All were done en plein air. Monique has again given us proof that fine art doesn’t have to come in large packages.

As a bonus, see if you can spot the little guest making an appearance in the painting below…



A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 227: Cottage Creativity, Part 2


I don’t do plein air very often. In fact, up until a couple of years ago, I didn’t know what “plein air” meant. It comes from the French phrase en plein air (“in the open air”) and describes a style of painting done outdoors, observing your subject and the light and atmospheric effects first-hand while creating your artwork. The Impressionists were the first to make a strong habit of this style. It is a challenging way to paint as your light and atmospheric effects are constantly changing. So, in truth, you are getting an impression of what you are painting, not a photo-realistic image.

At the cottage we stayed at in Quebec a few days ago, I sat on the dock and attempted some plein air painting. I say “attempted” because I am definitely a novice at this sort of thing. But, I must admit, I enjoyed it immensely. It helped that the setting was so beautiful and so peaceful. Certainly, it was intimidating to begin. But as I got into it, I found it was so much more gratifying than drawing or painting from a photograph. I felt connected to the scene around me, far more than I have even when out shooting photographs of the natural beauty here in Canada.


Plein air painting wakes you up. It is more than the fresh air, it is a fresh perspective and something that seems to draw on so many of your resources at once. The painting I share here was the result. It is not a masterpiece but it was authentically done, with the all of me that I was capable of putting into it.

Hopefully, into the future, me and plein air will get far better acquainted.


Clouds Over Lac Joly, Quebec – Acrylic on canvas, 2017