• Plein Air Viewfind(ing)

    Posted Fri at 9:18 AM by Thomas Faires

    I’m sure many of you use viewfinders, and some of you are lucky with your visual perception to not need a viewing aid for your composition.  I’ve tried a few, made one, and they work fine, but I’ve broken them, and found them to be a bit of a pain in the butt when hauling arou...

  • Where did you paint out this summer?

    Posted October 9 by Sheila Mitchell

    Where did you like to paint this summer....a group of us have met up each Sunday Morning, The Dominion Seed Park, Georgetown has lovely lakes not visible from the StreetSheila Law Park - river view at Glen Williams Park at Limehouse that takes you down to the old Lime ruins Scottsdale Park Not t...

  • Sunday Painting in the Rhododendron Gardens

    Posted June 7 by Lorraine Ireland

    Hi I am new with OPAS and was wondering if anyone would like to go painting in the rhododendron garden park in Port Credit. (Officially called the Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens).  I checked it out today and the azaleas and rhodes are in full bloom - everything from frothy white, salmon, pale p...

  • Sunday plein air outings

    Posted April 8 by Sheila Mitchell

    We are starting Plein Air Sunday meetups in the Georgetown area. If you are interested email me and I will let you know where we decide to paint! Yours in art, Sheila

  • January OPAS paintout

    Posted February 7 by Dalibor Dejanovic

    Quick report and a look from our first paint out of 2017. The location was perfect choice for a cold day. I settled in the biggest of five buildings, I call it the "banana hall" because of its tall banana trees. As usual, when painting in public we can expect  strangers to c...

  • Hello

    Posted February 28, 2016 by L. Michael Labiak

    Looking forward to painting with the Ontario Plein Air Society. Hope to discover new and inspiring painting locations. Can't wait to develop a camaraderie with these fellow plein air painters. We are all painters of the light.

  • Etiquette for Artists at Plein Air Painting Festivals: Re-Posted

    Posted March 10, 2015 by KeithThirgood

    Etiquette for Artists at Plein Air Painting Festivals The following article is reposted with permission from Michael Chesley Johnson's blog. If you're thinking of attending a plein air festival this year, read this first. A lot of good insight. Keith Thirgood, President OPAS Etiquette for Artists a...

  • Highlands East Plein Air 2014-15 Website

    Posted October 12, 2014 by Doug Ware

  • Photos from Wilson Street Studio's Canoe-In art retreat in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park

    Posted August 14, 2014 by KeithThirgood

    We were a small group but had a blast canoeing and painting in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. Helen couldn't make the trip because she had difficulties with her breathing. So Brenda, one of our favorite students, stepped up and joined us. (I needed bow paddler.) Turns out she's a great camper/...

  • Photos from Wilson Street Studio's Small Town Art Retreat with Don Cavin.

    Posted August 14, 2014 by KeithThirgood

    Here are a bunch of images from Helen and my Small Town Art Retreat with Don Cavin. Our students really enjoyed themselves in Newboro, Portland and Westport, Ontario. Painting up a storm. ...

  • magazine article / Plein Air Painting, NorthEastern Ontario

    Posted July 3, 2014 by sharon preen

    I am not sure if this is the correct place to post this link but I would like to share this fun little piece written by Bob Bahr about a recent show that I was part of

  • Building a Wilson Street Studio Plein Air Easel

    Posted May 18, 2014 by KeithThirgood

    A number of artists have asked us where we got our special, plein air easel set up. When I tell them that I built it, they all want to see plans. To respond to all those requests, I've put together a PDF, which goes through all the steps of building your own Wilson Street Studio plein air field ease...

  • What to take when you go painting en plein air

    Posted May 5, 2014 by KeithThirgood

    We've often been asked what an artist should to bring when going plein air painting. Not that easy to say, as we are all so different, however, I can say what I bring. (This is for acrylic painting.)First, you need to control your selection of paint. Depending upon how far I expect to walk with my k...

  • Art Shows, Art in the Parks, Etc for 2014

    Posted March 15, 2014 by KeithThirgood

    Last year I had more time to come up with this list of shows. This year I'm a bit late in compiling a list.. I thought they might be of interest to other OPAS members. I invite you to add shows that you've heard of, where there is still time for members to sign up for. Here's what I've foiund this y...

  • The New, Practical, Artist's Colour Theory

    Posted December 15, 2013 by KeithThirgood

    I have had mixed responses from other artists when I tell them about this. Some have been thrilled as it cleared up so much that stymied them with colour mixing. A few others have already been practicing some variation of this, however, others have reacted vehemently against the idea. Almost accusin...

  • Plein Airing in San Miguel

    Posted December 13, 2013 by Doug Mays

    I'm not a cold weather, plein air painter and first to admit it. But I plan to do plenty of it this winter in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) Mexico where you'll find me set up in the Jardine a few times each week capturing the light of this old colonial town. If you haven't experienced SMA before you h...

  • Ten Painting Tips

    Posted August 31, 2013 by KeithThirgood

    The following are ten steps I encourage all of our students to consider as they paint. Start with a Value Sketch. Break the scene into large shapes based upon values. This is the time and place to solve problems with your composition. If the value sketch doesn't look like a great painting in th...

  • nocturne tonight,August 5th

    Posted August 5, 2013 by Jennifer Smithwell

    I will be painting a nocturne of the leuty life station. at leuty ave and the lake in the beaches tonight at about 9pm. havent really done a nocturne before. Anyway wanting to join me for impromptu nocturne is welcome. 

  • Composition 101

    Posted June 6, 2013 by KeithThirgood

    Composition is an interesting subject. When you read some books, they delve into the exceedingly complex compositions of the old masters showing circles, lines, boxes and overlapping structures they believe underpin these great works. Showing you this is meant to help you with your own painting, alt...

  • What are Values and Why Should I Care?

    Posted May 24, 2013 by KeithThirgood

    Ask almost any professional painter and they will tell you that they don't paint objects, scenes or figures, they paint shapes. And to them, shapes are made up of areas of similar value. That is, how dark or light it is. In other words, what makes one shape separate from another shape is its value....

  • Capital One Art Show Opportunity

    Posted May 7, 2013 by KeithThirgood

    As you will have read in my message to you as a members, we have an opportunity to have an exhibition of the best of OPAS art in the Capital One Canadian Head Office in North York. Here's what I said in the message: Art Show Opportunity Your Board of Directors of OPAS have been in talks with Capita...

  • posting paint outs

    Posted April 12, 2013 by sharon preen

    where would be the best forum to post impromtu paint outs...?.We don\t have a chapter in Sudbury, but other members seem to be painting in our back 40, including Killarney and LaCloche....Would love to be able to at Willisvllle mt or the Lighthouse on such a such a day.

  • Deal on canvases

    Posted March 14, 2013 by KeithThirgood

    OPAS member Ron Murdoch (Owner of Northern Art Supplies, Huntsville) has an offer for OPAS members. He is overstocked with high quality 8x10 canvases. (These are double-primed, 12 oz, Canadian-made stretched canvases. If you check, almost all canvases at Curry's and other art stores are only 7 oz.) ...

  • Links to juried shows and art in the park type events

    Posted March 1, 2013 by KeithThirgood

    I've been on the hunt for juried art shows and juried Art in the Park style events, and I've come up with a few. I thought they might be of interest to other OPAS members. I invite you to add shows that you've heard of, where there is still time for members to sign up for.  With some of these shows,...

  • Guide on How to Host a Paint Out

    Posted February 17, 2013 by KeithThirgood

    Hosting a Paint Out is fun and not difficult. You don't have to be a long-standing member, or on the executive. You don't need a great organizer or even a great painter. It simply takes a few steps followed, as your role is to communicate and coordinate. At the basic level you choose a place, date ...

  • Painting at the RBG

    Posted December 13, 2012 by John Christie

    John Mullenger and I got together to paint at the RBG again this week.  Our plan is to get out at least once a week all winter and so far we have managed about five weeks in a row and some weeks more than once.  When we got arrived at 10:00 it was just above freezing but the sun was warm and by the ...

  • Photographing Your Art

    Posted December 8, 2012 by KeithThirgood

    One of the issues I've noticed is that, for the most part, artists don't know how to photograph their artwork. Taking good quality shots of your art is important when you post them online and even more important if you are entering shots of your art for a juried art show. I was trained as a professi...

  • How To Use the OPAS Site

    Posted December 5, 2012 by KeithThirgood

    If you're having trouble with the OPAS site, this is the document to read. This is a relatively comprehensive guide, based upon questions and issues that members have raised. If it doesn't cover a problem you're having, send me a message or post your question on this blog and I'll add the solution t...

  • Keeping warm while painting plein air in the Canadian winter

    Posted November 10, 2012 by KeithThirgood

    David Sharpe suggested I start a new topic, that of keeping warm during the Canadian winter while painting plein air. So that's what this is. If you have any tips to share about keeping warm while your painting in the winter, please share them here. Here's what I've learned from other members of OPA...

  • Some plein air tips for finding compositions in chaos

    Posted November 3, 2012 by KeithThirgood

    Copied from the Wilson Street Studio blog  After working with new plein air painters over the past couple of years I've found the following tips to be helpful.Bringing order out of chaosPainting out of doors can be overwhelming. There is just too much "stuff" in front of...

  • Steam Whistle Show

    Posted October 6, 2012 by KeithThirgood

    I've started this new post to carry on the discussion around the potential show at the Steam Whistle's gallery. If you want to comment about the Annual Show, please use that post. So far, a number of members are interested in participating. Questions have been raised regarding: Plein air or not ple...

  • 2013 Annual Show, How to make it better!

    Posted September 25, 2012 by KeithThirgood

    Hi Everyone. While the 2012 OPAS Annual Show & Sale is still fresh in our minds, I would like input from all of our members on what you want out of an annual show and how might we achieve your goals. A little history. We've hosted the annual show in the JEH MacDonald House for the last three yea...

  • Annual show at JEH MacDonald

    Posted September 21, 2012 by Dalibor Dejanovic

    Great times people! It was awesome to see familiar faces and meet new artist at our annual show. We had tons of viewers come by on Saturday to check out the artwork displayed and to vote for the plein air challenge. Here are some pictures from that day. Thanks to Ingrid who took them! We had ten a...

  • Creating a larger painting from a plein air sketch

    Posted August 22, 2012 by KeithThirgood

    Copied from Wilson Street Studio's blog Keith here today.I'm writing this from the deck of the luxury cottage we rented to run our Muskoka Art Retreat.  The students have finished their three days and have gone home with their new paintings. I'm looking over the small sketches I did over the past f...

  • Adriatic Seacoast Part 2

    Posted August 19, 2012 by Dalibor Dejanovic

    What I love the most about the Adriatic seacoast is the scent. It feels like walking trough some aroma therapy spa. The air is filled with the scent of salty sea, dry pine needles, agave, palms, wild lavender, rosemary, and myriad of other herbs. The sea is crystal clear, blue, light turquoise, it l...

  • Unionville paintout.competition.

    Posted August 17, 2012 by Jennifer Smithwell

    Hi  I know it has taken me a long time to post about this. My camera is difficult to download so it took me a while to get pictures of my paintings. I enjoyed the paintout. My favorite of the other artists painting was the lovely watercolor by Doug Mays and I enjoyed Helen's work as well.  Lots of...

  • My "A Brush with the Highlands" experience

    Posted August 8, 2012 by John Christie

    In a word "Wow!" I told a number of people that I learned more about myself and my art in three days in Wilberforce than in three years of lessons.  Painting alone in isolation or even with the same group of painters all the time is limiting.  Seeing my paintings hanging in the show with all the gr...

  • Adriatic Seacoast Part 1

    Posted July 29, 2012 by Dalibor Dejanovic

    I just returned from visiting Adriatic seacoast in Croatia. If you haven't been and are planing to go to Europe this is the place to visit. The famous impressionist painter Edgar Payne once painted there, especially the brightly coloured sardine fishing boats. I spent nine days on Island Vis. This ...

  • Muskoka Morning

    Posted July 10, 2012 by Jane Boyd

    Out on the water painting with my 5 x 7 thumb box heading to the wetlands to paint waterlilies.... a Muskoka Monet moment!

  • Lyme Disease Report

    Posted June 27, 2012 by KeithThirgood

    Doug Mays brought up a subject vital to plein air painters. Lyme disease. It is spreading throughout Ontario, and is no longer just a threat to painters visiting the States. Consider the following: Ticks thrive in wooded areas, leaf litter and in long grass. People who spend time in areas where th...

  • Plein Air Artists - take precautions to protect against Lyme Disease

    Posted June 21, 2012 by Doug Mays

    Plein air artists are known for their intrepid ways and known to go into places the average mortal avoids such as fields of tall grass or thick forests. So be careful and take precautions - wear long sleeves and long pants, tuck your pants into your socks. For more about this debilitating disease cl...

  • Our First Plein Air Outing:From Wilson Street Studio Blog

    Posted April 13, 2012 by KeithThirgood

    I didn’t even know what painting "plein air" meant when we joined our first plein air class back in 2008. “En plein air”, painting in the open air. It sounds simple enough, however, it’s all very well to happily paint away in the comfort and security of our studio. It’s another thing to paint out of...

  • Orient

    Posted March 22, 2012 by Dalibor Dejanovic

    I just came back from a business trip in Asia. It was my first time in China and Korea. The weather was lousy, wet, cold and bleak almost every single day. I brought my plein air pack and I hardly got to use it. Regardless it was an awesome trip, made new friends, got to see an amazing part of this ...

  • Painting giveaway

    Posted December 25, 2011 by Dalibor Dejanovic

    I has been a wonderful first year for me here at OPAS. Met many new painters, got inspired and challenged. To keep this holiday spirit going I would like to thank all of you. I am giving away 3 of my paintings posted below. All you have to do is visit my blog and leave a comment. I will then randoml...

  • Pine Ridge Arts Council Juried Show

    Posted October 28, 2011 by KeithThirgood

    The Pine Ridge Arts Council held the opening of their Juried Show this evening. (October 28) Helen and I both managed to get one work each accepted. Both of our works were plein air. Helen's painted at the Brush for the Highlands this summer and mine painted on our very first OPAS paint out, last su...

  • Rose Island Paint Out July 2011

    Posted September 28, 2011 by Jane Boyd

  • Reclaim old pastels

    Posted June 24, 2011 by Dalibor Dejanovic

    Painting with pastels is a joy, that is until you accidentally drop your pastel box on the concrete floor and watch them smash to million pieces! left-overs Naturally, I started swearing in my mother tongue and feeling quite upset :) Well, after calming down, I tried to see the upside of this e...

  • Helen and Keith's Winter & Spring Shows

    Posted April 9, 2011 by KeithThirgood

      Over the past few months, Helen and I have been doing a lot of painting, which I'll write about separately. We've also been entering juried shows and showing our work in other shows. During the winter, Helen and I each had two paintings accepted for display by Sunnybrook Hospital in conjunction wi...


    Posted February 26, 2011 by OPAS, President

    Call for Entry Scarborough Arts Annual Outdoor Art Show & Sale Entry deadline = Friday, May 20, 2011  drawing, illustration, painting, sculpture, mixed media, printmaking, pottery, jewelry, photography, glass works, original textiles, fibre arts, and more! Art in the Park is an annual juried out...

  • Doris McCarthy - a life lived in art

    Posted November 26, 2010 by Helen Walter

    Obituary: Landscape artist Doris McCarthy’s passion for life lasted 100 years “She lived life zestfully and her attitude was reflected in the way that she moved the paint around.” You can view this story at:

  • Markham Group of Artists Juried Show Nov. 25 to 28

    Posted November 25, 2010 by KeithThirgood

    Helen and I had a painting each accepted in the Markham Group of Artists Juried Show happening this weekend. My painting is one I did of an old shed at the Lake Clear OPAS retreat. However, Helen's studio work, Three Sisters was singled out for one of the two Honourable Mentions given by the jury. ...

  • Plein Air Painting Day at Rouge Park – All are welcome!

    Posted October 2, 2010 by OPAS, President

    In conjunction with the Rouge Park management, OPAS is having an open fall paint-out at the Rouge Park on Saturday October 9 from 10 am to 1 pm. The park authorities will be promoting the paint out to their huge database of contacts and it is a high visibility paint-out for OPAS and OPAS members. We...

  • Images of the True North come back to historic JEH MacDonald House

    Posted October 2, 2010 by OPAS, President

    THORNHILL – The Ontario Plein Air Society Canadian Landscape Show, November 12–14, 2010, for the first time brings almost 100 Canadian landscape paintings to public view from fourteen of Ontario’s leading landscape painters at the JEH MacDonald House in Thornhill. The show kicks off Friday, November...