Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Full Report - Kilby's Plein Air Festival - Painting & Drawing Tips

"This will be a major highlight to my trip; such a nice atmosphere, such a nice place"  Gabriele  her good byes on Sunday.  Gabriele is from Germany and is spending 3 months traveling around Western Canada.  She found out about Kilby's event on the Internet and decided to make it part of her trip.

"It is cool painting, good to be outside and so relaxing.  I could do this all day" Siena, Milly and Violet were young friends at their very first Plein Air event.

Siena, Milly and Violet busy painting in the Tea Garden, Kilby Historical Site
What is a Plein Air Festival?

It is a coming together of artists to paint the outdoors from life.  Many Festivals can be very competitive with lots of events while others, like Kilby's celebrate the experienced and emerging artists with competitive and fun events. 

The Festival started on Friday.  It was a little cool with a light sprinkle of rain.  Still artists pulled out their gear and started to set up.  Soon the sun came out and never stopped for the whole weekend. There was lots of chatter as everyone picked a spot and then the worked began.  By Sunday, at 2 pictures had to be complete and ready for judging - One night at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort was on the line. 

Harvey, on holidays from England decided to add the Festival to his holiday plans as well.  "It's a brilliant idea, lovely setting, welcoming, laid back and relaxing"

Theresa, Janis and Harvey take time to chat. Good fun sharing "Plein Air & Painting stories." 

Kilby Historical Site is a farm and store built in 1908, in Harrison Mills.  There is lots to paint: farm implements, animals, old buildings, period costume staff, orchard, vegetable garden and awesome flowers.  (Bob has made the flower beds his project and they were 'the star' in many paintings.)

 My role at the Festival is mixed. I have been involved since its beginning 3 years ago.  Steve and I help where it is needed and I am one of the jurors.  We were camped with Max at Kilby's Campsite on the Harrison river.  When I wasn't painting, we were on the water kayaking or hiking on the dikes. (By the way, Max is really getting to be a good little kayak-er.)
Of course when I had a minute I was painting too.  This was luxury Plein Air Painting, Kilby had tents everywhere for shade and not far to walk so I could 'bring everything'!!

Artists come to these events for many reasons: 

Terry is there because "I am an amateur and I want to challenge myself with a competition with my watercolour on Yupo."
Terri was very busy, completing 3 large pieces by Sunday noon!

Chrystal finds "it so peaceful and relaxing" as she works away on her flower paintings.  Another first timer, Gwen feels "it is nice to challenge myself and it is nice to see and work with other artists".  She was busy in the orchard garden capturing the scarecrow on her canvas. 
Gwen taking a break to chat with visitors.  
Kilby visitors loved walking around and seeing "works in progress" and enjoyed the Finished Show on Sunday.  They were very excited to vote for the "People's Choice" Award and a copy bought a picture for a more lasting memory. 
Kerri and Chrystal also spent a day in the Tea Garden, Bob's flowers were lovely everywhere. 

Wayne, Gina, Tatiana and Kerrie have been here before. "There is so much to paint here; time to try new things; talk with other artists; it is another dimension, different from the studio" is what brings them back. 

The Final Day
Sunday is a funny day.  Several artists were there early to finish up their pictures.  Visitors were voting, judges were jurying and then the real fun begans. Awards, prizes, food, and chatter!  There were lots of those. 

A sampling of our hard work!

This is where new friendships are cemented and plans for next year were put in place.
And of course it was a 'Memorial Day' for Theresa, who was the grand prize winner.  Congratulations!
Kilby Barn - Best of Show

For Steve, Max and I the three days were just a blur.  We were busy but had lots of fun.  Max enjoyed all the 'tummy rubs', long hikes in the evening and kayaking in the bay.  For me I think Ray summed it up nicely " a great atmosphere, I will be back". 

Special Thanks:

To the wonderful staff at Kilby for making us all feel welcomed, moving shelters around to give shade in 'just the right spot', wondering the grounds to bring lunch orders, and so much more.  Also to Nicole and JoAnne for helping in Jurying, it was not an easy task with so many beautiful pictures. And of course, to the local businesses that sponsored prizes and awards: Harrison Hot Springs Hotel, Harrison Beach Hotel, Opus Art Supplies (Langley), BC Sport Fishing, KIlby Bed & Breakfast, Ruby Creek Art Gallery, Super Valu, Julie Anne's Art and Framing, Hofa Art Supplies and Framing, Willowbrook Art & Framing.  Without all of their help it would not have been such an awesome event. 


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