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Kerstin Peters

It is all about art...

2014 Sept./Oct. Blog Entries

The Importance of Networking

with my friends and painting buddies Janis, and Hélène


Blog 42, October 31, 2014


As artists usually work independently in their own houses or studios, painting is a very solitary profession. The first step to meeting other people therefore often is the search for contact with other artists. By joining one or more art organizations, you will find like-minded individuals who share your passion, and support you in growing your knowledge, experience, and exposure. You will get feedback to your art, exchange ideas, make connections in your local art community, and sometimes even outside of your community.


However, as every artist will probably tell you, it does not happen very often that you will sell your artworks to other artists. If I look at my fellow painting buddies, we all have a nice collection of our friends' works acquired by exchanging paintings. All the times another artist has shown interest in exchanging art works, I have considered it a great compliment, a way to let me know that they accepted me in their circle and valued my art.


In order to increase your connections and your recognition you have to start networking in different business circles. If you join a new networking group, you want to get to know the members, make connections and build trusting relationships. Do not intend to find buyers but people who can help to spread the word about your business. It is crucial to build relationships so that you are accepted as an accredited business partner and not an opportunist.


If you build personal relationships you are not just another nameless business owner but a friend. You are one of the group. Other members will care about and support you, refer you, your services and products to their clients, and will let you know of career opportunities that come to their attention. People prefer to do business with those they like and trust or those that have been recommended by a friend. It is a win-win situation if you are prepared to reciprocate.


Focus on building long-term relationships. Therefore, the cultivation of relationships does not end at the meeting. Instead follow up a meeting with a new person by sending an email or a note card. You can also send a card to congratulate others for receiving a promotion or award, on their birthdays, or with a copy of a newspaper article they are mentioned or a picture they are shown in.

Networking is an extremely powerful marketing tool, and not only successful in the business world. Connections help people in all kinds of areas in their private life, too. Just think about finding a new doctor, or a good preschool, a well-run kennel to board your pets, or an efficient and trustworthy cleaning lady.


If you think about all the possibilities of networking, you will understand that most of it happens in everyday conversations which provide a better knowledge of a person's interests, values and needs. This knowledge helps to better support someone in order to satisfy their needs. Networking is a continuous activity. It is a vital part of everyday life. Consider what you can do for others before asking yourself what they can do for you because people remember how you supported them and as a result also want to help you reach your goals.


If you enjoyed this blog and would like to get more information about my art, I encourage you to sign up to my monthly newsletter on my website The newsletter is published on the last Wednesday of every month. When subscribing, you will automatically receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint But Where Do I Start?”.


If you know someone who might also like to read my blog, please share it. Thank you in advance for helping me to reach a bigger audience.




Painting Trip to Ste. Adèle, Quebec - October 16 to October 21, 2014



Blog 41, October 24, 2014


As I spent a wonderful long weekend with the “Plein Air Ensemble” at Ste. Adèle, this week's blog will be a special travel report.


Last Thursday, my friend Janis and I travelled to Ste. Adèle in Quebec for this fall's “Plein Air Ensemble” painting trip. The “Plein Air Ensemble” is a group of artists largely from the Ottawa-Gatineau region who travels in the spring and fall of each year to different parts of Quebec to capture the beauty of the landscape.


For the Ste. Adèle trip we registered at the hotel “Le Chantecler” which we knew from a spring trip a couple of years ago. At the hotel we met our friend Hélène who had already moved into the suite we were sharing. As Hélène and I are the group's organizers, we had to arrive a day earlier then the rest of the group to get everything ready for the next day, including the purchase of the supplies for “Happy Hour”, a visit to the visitor centre and to some of the possible painting sites. As it was our first trip as organizers, we wanted to make sure that the trip was a pleasure for everyone. We finished the first day with a nice Greek dinner and a hot battle in the game of Paquet.


The next morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the local bakery “Farandole”. It is just good that we do not have a place like this in the Ottawa area – it would just be too tempting. The breads and sweet desserts just looked to die for.




As we had to work around the rain showers, we stayed in Ste. Adèle, and painted along the “Rivière du Nord”. We were all basically finished with the first painting when the next rain fell. Luckily, we found a gazebo to have lunch. With the second painting, we were not as lucky. We had just started when it started raining heavily. It came down so fast that we were quite wet by the time we had stored our equipment in the car. Time to call it a day. At 5pm, our fellow artists came to our suite for “Happy Hour”. This time the group consisted of 18 people. We had pastel, watercolour, acrylic, and oil painters among us. Most have been part of the group for years, others have only joined recently.


This fall trip marked the 25th anniversary of the “Plein Air Ensemble”, and we cannot thank the three founders Charles Spratt, Pierrette Dulude Bohay, and Andrew Lyall enough for founding this group and giving all of us wonderful memories. We celebrated the occasion with Champagne and delicious lemon butter cream and chocolate mousse cake.


Unfortunately, the weather was still rather wet on Saturday. Janis, Hélène, and I were on our way to Piedmont when we turned around because everything around us was covered by a blanket of fog. Instead, we painted some still lives in the hotel conference room. We were not the only ones who decided to stay indoors. About half the group stayed in the hotel, the other half painted from or close to the car.



Saturday's evening programme consisted of three short movies. The first movie about A. Y. Jackson granted us a view into his way of painting, the second movie gave us a quite somber glimpse into Frederick Varley's life. To bring back some laughs, we finished the session with the animated short film “Log Driver's Waltz”. Following, as a special treat, Janis, Hélène, and I listened to a private jam session of Malcolm, Louis, and Charlie.


Sunday, we awoke to sunshine but temperatures close to the freezing mark. Quite the change from Thursday's mid-twenty degrees Celsius. Time for gloves, hats, thick socks, and snow pants. Janis, Hélène, and I went to Doncaster Park where we hiked to the big rapids. What would normally have been an easy hike, was much harder with our equipment. At the end, Hélène decided to leave her big bag behind at the edge of the trail. We set up directly at the river bank.


The big surprise came when we wanted to have lunch. Janis who is usually finished first with a painting, made her way down to get the sandwiches but could not find the bag. At that point, we all still thought that she had just looked at the wrong spot. However, when Hélène could not locate her bag, we got worried – not so much for our lunch as for Hélène's camera, and her other painting supplies. Luckily, it turned out that someone had found the bag, and thought it had been left behind by mistake. Hélène was able to get it back when she called the entrance attendant. Our day was saved, and our stomachs happy.


As it had been difficult to take our equipment to the spot, we decided to stay for the afternoon as well. I was, however, so cold that I was shivering. We had a sheltered spot, and were quite cosy when the sun was out but the temperatures dropped considerably during the long cloudy period when we saw the first snow flakes of this fall. There was no way I could continue painting. Instead, I ventured along the river, saw some smaller rapids, and finally returned for a second painting.


At night, it was our evening of Trivial Pursuit – art edition, a version that Hélène had painstakingly created during many, many hours. It was worth the trouble. The whole group had so much fun.




Monday, the three of us went to Ste. Lucie where we wanted to paint the swamp Janis and I had found during our last trip. We found the swamp easily but we had not remembered that it was on a major road which did not really appeal to us. Driving around for almost an hour, we finally found another swamp accessible from a side road. Unfortunately, by that time the sun was already hiding again after a big layer of clouds. However, we only had some rain drops when we were already packing our stuff back into the car.


At night, we had our traditional show and tell where everyone showed their paintings from the last couple of days. Again, we saw some beautiful and very diverse art. It looks like everyone had a good time.


I think Hélène and I had a successful debut as a team. Now, it is time to plan the next one for March or April 2015. We already have some interesting leads.


If you are a plein air painter from the Ottawa-Gatineau region, and are interested in joining us for our upcoming trips, please contact me by email at


If you enjoyed this blog and would like to get more information about my art, I encourage you to sign up to my monthly newsletter on my website The newsletter is published on the last Wednesday of every month. When subscribing, you will automatically receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint But Where Do I Start?”.


If you know someone who might also like to read my blog, please share it. Thank you in advance for helping me to reach a bigger audience.




Venues to Show Your Art


Blog 40, October 16, 2014

After you have painted a while, and feel more confident about your art, you might be looking for venues to show your artwork to the public. The first couple of times, it is quite scary to show your creations because you do not know how the public will react to your work. What if people make bad remarks after you put your blood and soul into your art?

This fear is usually unfounded. Most people are very supportive, no matter whether they are other artists or the general public. Art is very subjective anyway, so even if someone leaves a bad comment, it is only the opinion of one.

If you are a member of an art organization, you have the advantage that you do not need a large number of paintings to participate in an exhibition. This way, you can get your work and name out among fellow artists. Especially, if you are not well known in the art community, you would have a hard time to get people out to see your exhibition. However, if it is a group show, you can profit from the connections the art organization and the other participants have. In addition, you do not have to worry about advertising materials as they are generally provided. It is still up to you to invite your contacts as everyone has to help to make an exhibition or show a success.

Depending on the art organization, you might have several possibilities to show your art. They often have agreements with local libraries, recreation centres, restaurants, and maybe even the occasional show in a gallery. Using the network of your art organization also helps to keep commissions on sold pieces lower than in a commercial gallery, and they will take care of the transaction of the sale.

Another option to get your name and art recognized is to participate in art shows. They usually run on weekends from early spring to late fall. If you check the event section of your newspaper, you will see that just in your community there are many art events competing for visitors each weekend. While it would be best to visit each show before you register the first time, sometimes, you just have to take up an opportunity if it arises. Many art shows have jurying processes. For some, the jurying takes place every year while for others you are automatically accepted again once you made it through the initial jurying. A rejection does not necessarily mean that your artwork is not good enough for the show, some organizers want to make sure that they have a good variety of different mediums and styles.

Participating in an art show is very important because it gives you a chance to interact with potential buyers, and to tell people about your art. You have a chance to get direct feedback, to hear what people like about your work and what they are looking to buy. However, preparing and attending a show is time consuming and tiring, and if you do not sell, frustrating. If you don't find buyers for your art, you might be left with a loss from the fees you paid for registration, not even to mention those for accommodation, food, and gas. Therefore, it is important to monitor how you are doing at a show, whether the right clientele for your art is attending. It might take a couple of trials before you know whether a show is for you or not because there are many buyers who only buy from an artist whose work they have seen before. They want to know that they are buying from someone who is serious and dedicated to his/her work.

You can also apply for a community gallery when it has a call for artists. Usually, you have to send in a portfolio on CD first, and then some samples of your work in the second round. If you do not make it successfully through the selection, it does not automatically mean your work is bad even though it can be very discouraging to be rejected. Each gallery is different, depending on the clientele, the works already in the gallery, and the space restrictions. The jurors are also subjective because everyone has a different taste and looks at art differently. Sometimes, the jurors will give you some feedback as to where they think your body of work could still need some improvements.

Usually, when you are part of a community gallery you do not only have to give a commission to the gallery when you make a sale but also have to actively participate by sitting some shifts at the gallery.

When you apply for a commercial gallery, you have an even harder time to get accepted because the commercial galleries usually get swamped with applications. Often you do not even hear back from them at all. The big advantage when you get in is that you do not have to take care of any step of the sale process except for sending out invitations to your own contacts. The work the gallery does has, however, a price: In general, you have to pay a high commissions on sales (often 50% to 60% of your sales price) which leaves not much in your own pocket.

However, there are other venues to show your work. Depending on the location of your studio or house, you can have an open house, or take part in studio tours. This way, you usually get more people to come to see your art who are really interested in your art. You only have little expenses in advance (for advertising, some goodies for the visitors), can present your work from the comfort of your home. On the other hand, not everyone is able to open their house or studio to the public for all kinds of reasons, e.g. space limitations, disruption of other members of the house, remote location.

Local craft markets usually accept a couple of artists. However, in general only lower priced articles sell well at craft shows. So this could be a good venue if you have some smaller works.

Look for new restaurants, medical buildings, lawyers' offices. New buildings have many walls that could be filled with art. It is up to you to get your foot into the door, and make a proposal for a successful collaboration (or get your art organization to contact the owner).

With the increase of on-line shopping, setting up an online shop on your website is another option. However, you have to make sure that ordering and payment as easily and securely done on your website. People want to be able to make the sale at any time of the day. Therefore the process of ordering, payment and delivery has to be easy and fast.

The other option of on-line selling is through one of the many on-line galleries. Often there is also a jurying process but once you have been accepted, you can sell without having to deal with online financial transactions. However, it is important to read all the fine print to know your rights and responsibilities. Make sure you don't sign over your copyright, and watch out for membership fees which can add up.

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to get more information about my art, I encourage you to sign up to my monthly newsletter on my website The newsletter is published on the last Wednesday of every month. When subscribing, you will automatically receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint But Where Do I Start?”.

If you know someone who might also like to read my blog, please share it. Thank you in advance for helping me to reach a bigger audience.


Looking to Join an Art Organization

Blog 39, September 25, 2014

After you have painted a while, whether on your own or in art classes, you might be looking for the companionship of other artists, possibilities to show your artwork, and the opportunity to increase your knowledge by widening your horizon, and to get involved in the art community. You probably want to see what other artists are doing, because if you are sincere with yourself you want to know how your work looks compared to works of other artists.

Especially, when you are usually painting in the comfort of your own house or studio, painting is a very solitary hobby. At one point or another, you want an exchange with other like-minded individuals. You might want to find out where you can get certain materials at a good price, which organizations offer classes and courses, but most of all you need the support of the art community because art is a tough business if you doing it for the long run.

How do you find an art organization in your neighbourhood? You can start by searching on the Internet. Articles in your local community paper might also give you the name and a first look at what the art organization can offer you, you can ask other artists which organizations they belong to and what they like/dislike about them.

Depending on the medium you are working in, you might also find some specific art organizations which limited themselves to artists using a certain media. In Ottawa there are for example the Watercolour Society and the Mixed Media Society. Other organizations will restrict their membership to the traditional art forms, and do not accepts photographs or computer generated art.

Once you find out about an organization, do some research. Check their guidelines out on their website, see what services they offer to their members. Look what kind of art the members are producing, go to their general meetings and exhibition openings to talk to other members.

Which organization is right for you depends on your expectations. Are you looking for new exhibition venues or art shows? Would you like to learn about different aspects of art though monthly speakers? Do you enjoy taking part in paint-outs, art trips, or attending workshops? Would you enjoy organized studio times with fellow members? Do the organizations offer you possibilities to have your own gallery on their website? Do they have a newsletter or email notifications of note-worthy events in the area? How much involvement with other artists are you looking for?

If you have just started out, you will probably only have enough work to participate in a group exhibition. Maybe, you want to start out with a Budding Art Exhibition to get your feet wet. Lower key exhibitions in local libraries might also seem less threatening when you show your first pieces.

Once you are more established in the art community, you often make friends and depend less on the art organizations to meet other artists but this is exactly the time when you are very valuable to new members so it pays to stay involved in their activities.

When I met a fellow animal artist at a vernissage and she invited me to come to her house to paint with some of her painting buddies, this opened many doors for me. First of all, I met many terrific people, many of them are my friends now, and secondly, I got exposed to “plein air” painting. Through this group of painting buddies, I got involved in the “Plein Air Ensemble”. At the end of last year, I became one of the organizer for its semi-annually trips.

Through my connections with other artists, I also found out about other promising exhibition venues, and workshops, learned about sales and handy equipment to have to make painting even more fun.

Before you register to a couple of art organizations to avoid missing any opportunities, consider how much time you can invest. The art organizations are in general dependent on volunteers to get tasks done and events running smoothly. They need you as much as you need them. Therefore, do some volunteer work, even if it is only for smaller tasks. You get a much better look behind the scenes, and make contacts a lot faster.

If you have any questions with regard to the art organizations in the Ottawa area, I will do my best to give you advice, please do not hesitate to contact me at

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to get more information about my art, I encourage you to sign up to my monthly newsletter on my website The newsletter is published on the last Wednesday of every month. When subscribing, you will automatically receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint But Where Do I Start?”.

If you know someone who might also like to read my blog, please share it. Thank you in advance for helping me to reach a bigger audience.

Kamouraska 2014

Blog 38, September 19, 2014

Following is the second part of the Kamouraska travel report:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today, the sun shone brightly from the sky and the wind was only light, we were out of the house at 8:30am again, and decided to return to St.-Roch-des-Aulnaies to paint the church with its reflection on the water. Marje and Leslie decided to join us.

When we reached St.-Roch, we found out that there was quite a bit of wind. We did not only have to grip our canvas but also had problems to keep our hand holding the brush steady. However, they view was fantastic. The light was perfect and reflection of the church in the receding water just beautiful. I also loved the ringing of the church bells at every hour which always reminds me of being in my grandmother's yard listening to the church bells. A fond memory!

Nevertheless, I gave up around 11am when I felt like blown to pieces, and started getting really cold. I followed Janis to the other side of the “Parc Havre du Quai” where I painted the scene of the beautiful rocks covered with a bright orange moss and the hot chocolate coloured St. Laurence River. After lunch, I painted a third painting looking towards Rivière-Ouelle. At this point, I was sitting sheltered from the wind and it got so warm, I could have worked in T-Shirt and shorts. At least I could take of my warm winter coat that I had worn in the morning.

After three paintings both Janis and I were exhausted. We packed our equipment together and wanted to have a look at the gardens of the mill. As they were closed, we went to the “Chocolaterie La Fée Gourmande” and enjoyed a great ice cream in their beautiful garden.

Back at the house, I wrote my journal before going on a walk along the shore with Janis. When we came back, Leslie had prepared a green lentil dish with chicken, salad, and peach compote. We certainly know how to live well.

Tomorrow, we are expecting rain according to the weather forecast. However, maybe it won't be so bad, and we can go out after all. At least, the bakery which is closed from Monday to Wednesday will be open again. Time for another almond croissant or a blueberry Striezeln (a rectangular shaped pastry), or maybe their amazing rhubarb lemon turnovers. The pleasures of the palate are perfectly provided for in any case

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Today, we woke up to a little bit of sunshine and it was quite mild. However, soon the wind came back. Janis and I had set up at the quay to stay close to the house in case of rain. I was painting a little 5”x 7” of the green water of the St. Laurence River.

However, it was a challenge: My bag with my painting supplies which is on rolls raced along the wooden boards, my sunglasses and the box for my paintings moved miraculous over the picnic table. I was holding on to my board for dear life but with one of the wind gusts it landed right on my chest. That's when I knew it was time to pack it in.

After a stop at the German bakery, we wanted to head to St.-André' to paint from the shelter of the lighthouse. However, we were just outside of Kamouraska when the rain started, and we turned around.

When the rain stopped, we went out for to paint “Bébé Bateau” but we had not even set up our gear in front of the house when it started raining again. We got the car, parked it in front of the shoreline and started drawing the boat and some wild roses.

In the afternoon, I answered some emails, and spend the rest of the time journaling and reading. Very relaxing!

Tonight, Bill made his famous spaghetti with meat sauce, and some delicious corn on the cob. It smelled already divine the whole afternoon. For dessert he had purchased blueberry Striezeln and four containers of Häagan-Dazs ice cream. What a feast!

Anne, the lady who own the house, was our guest and took the opportunity to look at our artworks. She is also an artist so her comments are always very welcome.

During “Happy Hour” the rain stopped but a vicious wind came up. The little boat that is anchored in front of the house was jumping up and down while the waves crashed all around it. You could have assumed you were at the open sea. The wind is still howling shortly before midnight, and I just hope that it pushes the new weather system into the area so that we can have another great painting day. It is supposed to be a lot cooler but sunny tomorrow. Let's just hope that the wind dies down, otherwise we can only draw from the car or set our gear up in the lighthouse.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Janis and I are on our way back home. We had a fantastic week. Possibly the best so far with regard to the weather. We missed our two regulars Hélène and Marie but Marje was a great addition to the group.

Yesterday, we had sunshine again but it was a lot cooler than the rest of the week, and the wind was strong again. It was the first time I wore my scarf.

Janis and I wanted to go to the fields above St.-Pascal where you have a breathtaking view over the fields, St.-Pascal all the way down to the St. Lawrence River. However, when we reached the fields of Belanger Road, we could hardly open the car doors due to the wind. There was no way, we could have set up our gear.

Therefore, we drove through St.-Hélène to the lighthouse in St. André. There we met Leslie who had the same idea we had. Leslie and Janis set up in the lighthouse but I decided to go outside as the wind had decreased.

I had a great time painting while listening to an audiobook. I did two paintings, had some interesting conversations in French with a couple of people that dropped by, and just felt very blessed to be able in that wonderful spot. It is amazing to see how fast you pick up more and more pieces of the dormant French after a couple of days. Not that I was able to have a fluent conversation but I understood enough to follow and answer with some easy sentences.

It was past 2pm, when Janis and I decided to move on. We wanted to try painting from the Kamouraska quay again but the wind was just too strong there, the water very choppy.

We drove to Saint-Denis-De La Bouteillerie and painted at the “Parc Munipal”, a tiny park at the St. Lawrence River, with a wood gazebo, a couple of picnic benches and a portable toilette. However, it is fenced by the most beautiful wild rose hedges. As it was still extremely busy the roses were our next subject. I painted for about 1 1/2 hours and was so cold at the end despite wearing a winter coat and scarf. I could hardly move my hands anymore. However, I was happy because we had made the most use of the time. I produced 15 paintings during the week. Most are unfinished but my four 5” x 7” paintings only need to be signed and framed. They should be ready in time for the Glebe Show.

This morning, we said our “good-byes” to Anne and Leslie who is staying for a second week with a different group of painters. Then after a stop at the bakery to get some goodies for the trip and for our families, we set out on our trip home. We will be back next year.

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to get more information about my art, I encourage you to sign up to my monthly newsletter on my website The newsletter is published on the last Wednesday of every month. When subscribing, you will automatically receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint But Where Do I Start?”.

If you know someone who might also like to read my blog, please share it. Thank you in advance for helping me to reach a bigger audience.

Blog 37, September 14, 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Today, Janis and I drove to Kamouraska, Quebec. The rain followed us through most of the trip but once we neared Kamouraska, the sun came out and it was quite warm. There were lots of people out for a stroll, enjoying the late summer day. As always, our first stop was the German bakery. Their breads and sweets are just to die for.

We were the first ones at the house we have rented for the week. Once we got settled, Janis had to start her dinner, and I sat outside in the garden and read. It was so peaceful.

As always, we started out with appetizers for “Happy Hour” followed by a great ham, potatoes, and broccoli salad. Dessert was an apple crumble.

This year, we are missing two of our regular participants, and another one won't arrive until Monday. However, it was nice to get to know another artist who joined us for the first time. It is interesting how with every new person the group dynamic slightly changes. We are all looking forward to a great week. So far the forecast until Wednesday looks good: mild temperatures, and a mixture of sun and clouds.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day, and were out of the house before 9am. Janis and I went further east a small street called Rue Beaulieu that we always took to get to the beach. This time, however, there was a big gate closing off the street. What a shame. We continued further east, up to Notre-Dame-du-Portage where we checked out a hotel for an upcoming “Plein Air Ensemble” trip. I am one of the organizers and therefore always interested in new venues for our semi-annual trips.

Afterwards, we went to a park that was only minutes west of the hotel but the wind was so strong that we had to abandon any plans to set up our equipment, even though the colours of the landscape just were amazing.

Next, we went to “our” Monadnock but the wind situation was as bad. Despite the warm sun, we were freezing. The wind made it nearly impossible to paint outside but Janis and I were not ready to throw in the towel. We returned to Kamouraska, and set our equipment up close to the house, on the shore of the St. Lawrence River sheltered by a couple of big rocks.

In the afternoon, the wind had picked up even more. We decided to drive to the little Lighthouse in St. André where we would have a great view but could paint from inside of the Lighthouse. Unfortunately, other people used the Lighthouse already for their lunch. Moreover, there was a continuous flow of people looking for shelter from the cold wind.

We walked around the area for a while, then decided that the wind did not seem to bad on one area of the dyke. We had just started to painted when the wind almost completely died down, and it got really hot. The absence of the wind was not only for us great news, the mosquitoes suddenly just swarmed around us but the bug spray kept them at bay.

After painting all these hours, we decided to take a walk walk through the picturesque town of Kamouraska.

For dinner Sharon treated us to a hearty bowl of chilli followed by a bumbleberry pie with ice cream. The evening we spent talking about our day, and making plans for tomorrow. Hopefully, we will have another sunny day, but without the wind.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Another beautiful day awaited us, and there was hardly any wind. Janis, Marje, and I went to Rivière-Ouelle where we set up our equipment in a small park along the St. Laurence River. Each of us painted two scenes.

In the early afternoon, we drove to St.-Roch-des-Aulnaies hoping we would be able to paint the fantastic locks from the park looking towards the beautiful church. However, when we arrived the colours were rather flat. Everything was tinted blue which made the scenery not very interesting. We checked out the property of the church where we had a friendly but strained talk with one of the church members who only spoke French. Well, all three of us have quite a limited French vocabulary which is a shame because we have met quite a number of very friendly locals but the conversation is quite painful when each party does not speak the other person's language.

Instead of painting, we went to the bakery of the “Seigneurie des Aulnaies” where we enjoyed some fantastic sweet muffins and cookies.

Tonight, was my turn to cook. I served a pasta vegetable casserole and a peach/plum crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The fresh air makes all of us very hungry. As you have already guessed, this trip is not only about plein air painting and being swept away by the beauty of nature but also about sharing food with friends, and enjoying each others company. The evenings are spent talking and laughing together. Some of us also bring some Handarbeit, although this time it is only me doing some cross stitching.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

This morning, we had hardly any wind, and the sun was shining. Janis and I were the first ones out of the house at 8:30am which was surprising because I am usually the last one in the kitchen. However, today I was ready before anyone else despite having breakfast last.

We drove east towards St.-André where we followed the “Chemin de la Madone” to Route de Station, continuing into Ch. Mississpi into 2ieme Rang. There, we had a fantastic view over St.-Germain toward the St. Laurence River.

At lunch time we drove down the Monadnock and turned west towards Kamouraska. At “our” Monadnock we enjoyed lunch, then did a painting of the massive rocks until the incoming tide forced us to move.

We drove further west to St.-Denis and ended at the “Pointe aux Orignaux” were we stayed until past 5pm painting the sun reflection on the water and the view towards Kamouraska.

We came home just in time for “Happy Hour” and tonight's meal of chicken fajitas and date squares prepared by Marje. However, we had to interrupt both “Happy Hour” and meal for an amazing sunset that started with golden yellows and turned to bright pink and purple. A phenomenon of nature!

We spent the evening laughing about the rather far fetched and flowery texts interpreting the artwork of a famous Canadian artist. Tomorrow, we will all try to paint “pregnant skies” and “magnetic moons in a sea wheat sky”. It is amazing what you can read into a painting...

For part 2 of my travel report please go to my blog again next Friday, September 19, 2014.

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to get more information about my art, I encourage you to sign up to my monthly newsletter on my website The newsletter is published on the last Wednesday of every month. When subscribing, you will automatically receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint But Where Do I Start?”.

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An Apple a Day

Blog 36, September 5, 2014

When I put together my blog schedule for 2014, I tried to get ideas from the special holidays or events happening in the different months. As September means for many the start of the new school year, the image of an apple with the writing “#1 Teacher” printed on it immediately appeared in front of my eyes.

Therefore, I decided to dedicate this blog to my little oil paint series “An apple a day”. Until now, I finished three 6” x 6” gallery canvases of different apples. In my mind they were the perfect small still life for a demonstration with oil paints. Due to the fact that oil paints dry slowly, blending of colours can be easily achieved. This is something I really enjoy when painting with oil paints.

The title refers to the saying that probably all of you know by heart : “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

While I was thinking about what to write out my apple paintings, I got intrigued to find out the connection about apples and teachers as well as the origin of the old saying.

My research resulted in the following:

According to , “The apple is a symbol for teachers and teaching — students have given shiny fresh apples to their teachers on the first day of school for over a century. But exactly how the apple earned this distinction is not entirely clear.

The most common explanation is that in the 16th through 18th centuries in Denmark, Sweden, and the United States, poorer farming folk would pay their children's teachers with food - most notably with common and plentiful apples and potatoes. Another is that farmers gave teachers this food to supplement the teachers' low incomes; as teachers' wages went up, the amount of food went down. Eventually, students brought in that one apple out of tradition more than anything else.

Another consideration is that in the retelling of the story of Adam and Eve, Eve is said to have eaten an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. The apple is not actually mentioned in the book of Genesis; only "the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge." Regardless, the apple story stuck. Since teachers offer knowledge to their students, the apple -as the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge — makes the perfect symbol.

Some people point out that, when young children learn the alphabet, each letter is associated with a word they already know: A is for Apple, B is for Ball, and so on. So the apple is a symbol of the letter A, which is also the grade that most students want. So perhaps some students came to the conclusion that if they gave their teachers an A at the beginning of the school year, the teachers might return the favor and give them an A at the end of the year.”

Interesting. Did you know any of this? What is the explanation you received or did you even ever wonder about the connection?

So what is up with the saying an “Apple a day keeps the doctor away.”? Is it true or false?

Apples have indeed many health benefits according to :

  1. Apples are filled with soluble fiber (5 grams). This fiber has been shown to reduce intestinal disorders, including diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and possibly some types of cancer. It helps control insulin levels by releasing sugar slowly into the bloodstream. It cleanses and detoxifies, which helps eliminate heavy metals, such as lead and mercury.

  2. Apple pectin helps reduce cholesterol levels by lowering insulin secretion.

  3. In two studies researchers found that eating five apples a week lowered the risk for respiratory diseases like asthma.

  4. According to Chinese Medicine: Apples strengthen the heart, quench thirst, lubricate the lungs, decrease mucous and increase body fluids.

  5. Apple cider vinegar can help prevent the formation of kidney stones.

  6. Studies indicate that eating apples daily can reduce skin diseases.

  7. According to a Brazilian study, eating an apple before a meal helped women lose 33 percent more weight than those who didn't.

  8. An apple has only 50-80 calories and has no fat or sodium.

  9. Apples are packed with vitamins C, A, and flavonoids and with smaller amounts of phosphorus, iron and calcium.

  10. Apples provide a source of potassium which may promote heart health.

Did you know that there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples? The different varieties are bred for various tastes as well as different uses, from eating raw, to cooking, baking, and cider production. Apple trees belong to the rose family. China is by far the biggest apple producer, producing about 50% of the total world apple production, followed by the USA with about 6%. Canada only ranked 29th in 2011.

I hope you learned something new, too. I definitely have an even bigger appreciation of apples after all this research. I am sure I will not only eat them regularly but also continue painting different varieties. There are lots of possibilities to grow my series, after all a year has 365 days.

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to get more information about my art, I encourage you to sign up to my monthly newsletter on my website The newsletter is published on the last Wednesday of every month. When subscribing, you will automatically receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint But Where Do I Start?”.

If you know someone who might also like to read my blog, please share it. Thank you in advance for helping me to reach a bigger audience.







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