One Summer along our local Trans Canada Trail: Plein-air Painting in Ottawa-Gatineau- David Kearn
I found the Trans Canada Trail informing my footsteps to a next location. There it was, right at my doorstep, heading east, west and north, weaving us all together – my theme for summer painting.
Join David in celebrating Summer 2022 in 60 plein-air oil sketches.
When: 5th to 19th October
Where: Ground floor display vitrines, Ottawa School of Art, 35 George St.
Artist’s Talk: 5PM Thursday, 13th October
Our local segment of trail flows in from the Gatineau Park, threading it's way through City of
Gatineau parkland: Lake Leamy Park, turning into Jacques Cartier Park. Then, skirting the
Museum of History it crosses the Alexandra bridge into Ottawa. The trail then loops ‘round to
Rideau Hall before heading west, hugging the mighty Ottawa river shoreline, past downtown
and Parliament Hill. In the west end at Andrew Hayden Park, it bids goodbye to the Ottawa
river . striking out inland, ever westward.
For me, plein-air painting is all about just being out in the natural environment, free to
investigate quirky compositions without much pressure. This season began modestly in
spring, painting in local parks without expectation. That, of course is the way art should start,
with a spirit of freedom to create. I found the Trans Canada Trail informing my footsteps
onward to a next location. There it was, right at my doorstep, heading east, west and north,
weaving us all together – my theme for summer painting.
I've felt the passage of seasons, sensed new ways to capture our region and country. The trail
connects so much – it is after all, the longest trail network in the world. I remember the time
that my almost finished canvas flew into the sand; the countless twigs and bugs I removed
from most; getting caught in the rain (perhaps less frequently than I had expected); the time I
mixed up my bag of dirty paint rags with clean ones; making do, with half my kit still sitting in
my studio; the chill after an hour sitting on what I thought would be a warm day; disinterested
geese and inquisitive ducks; the watercolour painter who showed me her wonderful work and
of course various folk that stopped by, most asking whether it was OK to look? It always is! I
invariably just say “It looks like a mess right now … but if I’m lucky, it will end up a good
mess”. What’s better than that? – countless hours out in the fresh air, a sense of adventure,
something new just around the corner and at the end of the day, a good mess to come home
I hope you enjoy my summer of plein-air painting on our local Trans Canada Trail.