I have always considered myself “ok” when it comes to my art skills. Granted, my audience has always been either my elementary students or my family, but whose taking score?
This past week I joined Nikki Jaquin and a group of artists on a sponsored art adventure in Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan. What a nice way to see the park through different eyes. The scenery there could keep a painter busy for a lifetime.
The tour was based around the artists known as the Canadian Group of Seven. Each session, we learned about one of these artists and tried our best to emulate that person’s style as we painted our own masterpiece. Although I was surrounded by talent way beyond my own, I never felt out of place. Our own group of nine was made up of ladies who were funny, kind, encouraging, and inspiring.
We all pushed ourselves artistically, even showing our art in at The Broken Spoke Art Gallery in Maple Creek.
I have always enjoyed group tours. Meeting new friends and sharing stories as we get to know each other is part of the fun. Being someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously, I did have to calm my nerves when I was randomly chosen to paint our host, Nikki, on portrait day. She painted a beautiful portrait of me and in return, I gave her a piece of art that looked like a 10 year old painted it. Nikki insisted she loved it and talked me into showing her portrait as one of my 3 pieces in the art show.
With a little hesitation and a reminder to myself that this tour was all about enjoying ourselves, telling our stories, and accepting where we are, right now, in our individual journeys, I added it to my display.
After playing with oils, water colors, acrylics, and sketch pads, we tried our hands at scarf dying. I think playing around with the colors could be addicting. We giggled as we dove right in, forgetting to wait for instructions from Louise.
I think what stands out to me the most about our week is that everyone there was following their passions. They signed up for the tour and didn’t let a unique opportunity pass them by. Nikki Jaquin has turned her passion of art into a career and is continuing to find ways to expand her portfolio. She offers painting tours in Cuba and France that would be so great to go on.
I learned that plein air painting means painting outdoors. It’s refreshing and makes you deal with whatever is thrown your way. Wind, water, dust, and the odd insect all become part of the story of your art.
It made me wonder why I haven’t painted outside before. There is so much out in the world to inspire us, that painting at the kitchen table just won’t be the same anymore!
Check out the short video I made of our time with Nikki.
This trip was sponsored, but all of these thoughts are my own.