Tuesday, November 21, 2017

#2024 "Killarney Mountain Lodge Chalet"

The 2017 Southampton Art School Annual Adventure was carrying on the legacy of my friend and artist Jane Champagne. Painting outside the studio can be a challenge but it can also bring the most rewards. My goal was to be the guide and to open up a new world of art to these new adventurers, brave enough to step outside the studio. There is always something special to observe when you become fully immersed in the inspiration with nothing between you and your subject matter but your brush and your creativity.

Six brave souls and Peppy the Pouch embarked for the 2017 version of the SAS Adventure with a toast to Jane Champagne. The weather and inspiration looked nearly ideal. The adventuresome group was staying at the Killarney Mountain Lodge as was the custom of Jane Champagne for the many years that she lead the Southampton Art School Plein Air Annual Adventure Course. I became friends with the owners as well, Maury and Annabelle East during the years I painted with Jane at Killarney and then after Jane passed in 2008 and I led a few of the SAS Annual Adventures myself.
The Killarney Mountain Lodge was originally built in the late 1950s as a wilderness corporate resort by a large American corporation, the Fruehauf Trailer Corporation. Maury and Annabelle East bought the Killarney Mountain Lodge in 1962. Coincidentally Killarney became a provincial park in 1964, two years after the Killarney Mountain Lodge opened. To quote my friend Annabelle, 'People come here because it's a little corner that doesn't change'. New ownership had taken over from my friends Maury and Annabelle East. They sold their dream in January 2015. Maury and Annabelle wished "that it remains similar to what it is." The Easts say the new owner promises to keep the lodge in the same rustic style and tradition as they did" for 53 years. Maury and Annabelle retired to Parry Sound.

Unkown to me, Maury passed away on September 10th, 2017 and following his wishes, the East family is not holding a funeral service, but held a celebration of Maury's life from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 at Killarney Mountain Lodge. I arrived the next day to conduct the 2017 Southampton Art School Annual Adventure and the Canadian flag was appropriately at half mast.

 The plein air adventure started with a tour of the 2004 Subaru Forester Paint Mobile. One needs to travel light and fast and only include the essentials. My approach has developed over the decades and it continues to get simplified. Less is more. After a tour and a demonstration of the simple approach to plein air we set up on the southeastern edge of the Killarney Mountain Lodge. A large crane was filling in the wetland which would become the site for the planned convention centre. I did not include the crane or construction in my painting but focussed on the Chalet which was the premium accommodation in the time of Maury and Annabelle. The demonstration was meant to illustrate the approach to plein air painting. Sometimes actions are more instructive and empowering than words.

The altocumulus sky was interesting and told the story of an approaching low pressure area. Deformation zones separated the two distinct cloud masses. The cloud area on the right was retreating while that on the left was advancing. The clouds always have a story to tell.
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