Recent Entries

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

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

    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.

    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. ...
    comments
  • Building a Wilson Street Studio Plein Air Easel

    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...
    comments
  • What to take when you go painting en plein air

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

    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...
    comments
  • The New, Practical, Artist's Colour Theory

    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...
    comments
  • Ten Painting Tips

    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...
    comments
  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: OPAS Annual Show, 2013 at HangMan Gallery Downtown Toronto

    OFFICIAL CALL FOR ARTISTS for OPAS's Annual Show This year we are holding the show at the HangMan Gallery in the art district of Toronto's fashionable Queen Street East. The show is being promoted by the Gallery as well as by OPAS and OPAS members. The Gallery is staffing the show as well as helping...
  • Composition 101

    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...
    comments
  • What are Values and Why Should I Care?

    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....
    comments
  • Capital One Art Show Opportunity

    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...
    comments
  • Deal on canvases

    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.) ...
  • test photos 2

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

    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,...
    comments
  • Guide on How to Host a Paint Out

    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 ...
  • Photographing Your Art

    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...
    comments
  • How To Use the OPAS Site

    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...
    comments
  • Keeping warm while painting plein air in the Canadian winter

    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...
    comments
  • Some plein air tips for finding compositions in chaos

    Copied from the Wilson Street Studio blog www.wilsonstreetstudios.com  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...
    comments
  • Steam Whistle Show

    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...
    comments
  • 2013 Annual Show, How to make it better!

    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...
    comments
  • Creating a larger painting from a plein air sketch

    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...
    comments
  • Lyme Disease Report

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

    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...
    comments
  • Pine Ridge Arts Council Juried Show

    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...
    comments
  • Helen and Keith's Winter & Spring Shows

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

    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. ...