Plein Air Painting on the Sunshine Coast

I recently had the fine luck to return to  the fabulous Joe Creek Artist Retreat in Roberts Creek, BC for a week of plein air painting. The place is magic. It’s run by my friends; the equally magical Kendra Fanconi (playwright and human being extraordinaaire) and her hubbie Eric Rhys Miller, founders of place-based theatre company, The Only Animal Theatre Company. You must go! (Tell them I sent you!)

This was my second visit to the Magic Cabin at Joe Creek. Two years ago, following treatment and surgery, I got out there with family to work on some pieces for my first intensive plein air experience since being Gwaii Haanas National Park Artist In Residence and being diagnosed with cancer. A spell was cast over me, and I was instantly in love with everything about Joe Creek, Roberts Creek, Gibsons and the Sunshine Coast. I’ve been waiting two years to return, and this March was time!

I was able to produce 11 pieces during the time that I was there. I had a goal of 14 finished pieces but I had a bad chest cough and cut my painting thumb, necessitating a quick visit to the hospital in Sechelt. Two weeks later, the thumb is well on the mend, with no nerve damage and just a bit of extra sensitivity!

My purpose in getting out of doors to paint is always to learn. I find that being in the place, dialling in the shapes, colour and quick light one of the best things that a painter can do to learn about the world around them. It’s a lot of work, lugging gear, setting up and working quickly to capture the light…but the results are well worth it. Upon returning to the studio, I feel fresh, loosened up, less fearful of my mark-making and empowered!

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Joe Creek Waterfall, ©Janice Tanton 2016. OIl on linen panel. 6×8

Painting Sunsets En Plein Air

The sunset pieces are a new thing for me. With only 3-4 minutes to really watch and see what unfolds in the sky and water, a good sunset plein air painting can be one of the greatest challenges for a painter. I didn’t attempt it until later in the week. My son and daughter were with me, and we went out in the evenings to enjoy the view. I realized, just watching one night – that this could be one of the best learning opportunities I could get, and so the next night I set up, premixed from memory what I thought I had seen in the landscape and nervously awaited the fireworks. It was one of the biggest painting rushes of my life, and I am thrilled with the results. In the future, I’m going to make a practice of capturing every coastal sunset that I can. It’s my new drug! Tell me what you think!

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Sunset at Roberts Creek #1 ©Janice Tanton 2016. Oil on linen panel. 6×8

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Sunset at Roberts Creek #3, ©Janice Tanton 2016. Oil on linen panel. 8×10

Sunset at Roberts Creek #3. ©Janice Tanton 2016. Oil on linen panel, 6x8.

Sunset at Roberts Creek #2. ©Janice Tanton 2016. Oil on linen panel, 6×8.

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Joe Creek – Rock Table, ©Janice Tanton 2016. Oil on linen 6×8

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Joe Creek – Running Water,©Janice Tanton 2016. Oil on linen panel 8×10.

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Grey Day At Sergeant Bay, ©Janice Tanton 2016. Oil on linen panel. 8×6

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Sergeant Bay, ©Janice Tanton 2016. Oil on linen panel 8×8

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Porpoise Bay, ©Janice Tanton 2016. Oil on linen panel 6×8

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Roberts Creek at Low Tide, ©Janice Tanton 2016. OIl on linen panel 9×12.

  • Stephanie

    You’re beautiful paintings captured one of the most beautiful places in Canada and in the world. Each one shows the spirit within you and the Sunshine Coast.

    • Hi Stephanie. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I am captivated by the Sunshine Coast and the little corner of bliss there that I occupy from time to time!

  • Nancy Jackson

    Thank you Janice for continuing your “Full Time Human Being’ post. I love seeing your work. Your plein air painting shows your interest in learning different way of painting is fantastic. I particular love your Porpoise Bay. I can easily imagine the excitement of being close to the colours of this view. The sunsets are incredible, capturing the colours of such a short duration takes much patience.

    Thank you again and again, Nancy

    • Hi Nancy,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to say hello. The day that we spent at Porpoise Bay was a very cold and wet one. Kudos to my kids who had an incredible time at the seashore, beach combing and bringing Mom some tea. I feel very blessed to have had time to spend here, and plan to return again. When the mist skirts the mountains by the sea, it’s a special time…even in the freezing cold rain!

  • Hi Janice! It’s so good to see you’re doing well, setting goals in your artistic trajectory- and achieving them! The challenges faced creatively can be such a rush when we feel how magically it empowers.
    Your sunset paintings delivered with excitement, as I’m positive they did for you. The capture of light in all of them is apparent – well done!!
    Loved them all, yet I must say that my very favorites are: “Sunset #2” and “Rock Table.”
    The impasto in the sunset paintings are rich and beautifully toned, showing your mastery for color selection and value perception. The others surrounding the creek and falls are no less- only equally captivating! Sending you all my very best wishes, hugs and good vibes always,
    Adriana

  • Hi Andiana! It’s so great to hear from you. I hope you and yours are keeping well. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I’m still riding on the ‘high’ of having been in the great outdoors, by the sea. It’s still a bit cold here in the Alberta Rockies for me to get out but I plan to do so soon. The colours, textures and feel of the landscape are very different, so I hope to be able to feel those out too! All the best and wishing you a fantastic week ahead. I’m studio bound!

  • These are fantastic! I love how you captured each landscape