Spring 2023

Life moves on and it’s time to update. This spring we spent 5 days at Charlevoix to sketch, to enjoy fellow artists and the local ambiance.

We stay at the L’Auberge Cap Aux Corbeaux, Baie-Saint-Paul, Qc with it’s panoramic view of Isle-aux-Coudres to the Massif from sunrise to sunset in all types of weather.

View from Auberge Cap aux Corbeaux

Each artist has a favourite spot maybe Port-au-Persil, parc national des Grans-Jardins, Saint-Hilarion or Malbaie but my preference is along the Fleuve Saint-Laurent. As usual, I go to the small gazebo beside the sailor’s church at Saint-Joseph-de-La-Rive. It provides shelter from the cold, rain and wind this day. My watercolour sketches were not truthful to the reality of the weather this day. I have no explanation but one of those times when the hand over rides the mind.

Saint-Joseph-de-La-Rive, Qc


My stay always includes a stop at L’idée Forgée to chat with the artisan-forgeron Jeannot Duguay. What a special man, artisan and blacksmith. There is a photo of him in his atelier taken by Mon Charlevoix which reminds me of Anselm Kiefer and the saying “same mother different father”.

There is an informative article by Léa Asselin-Abston with more photos of Jeannot in his studio. Here is the link

 Duguay, le passionné artisan-forgeron de Saint-Irénée 

Lastly before leaving we have lunch at Pains D’exclamation in Malbaie – always a treat and it never disappoints. A place to warm up with a cappuccino some bread pudding and do some sketching.

Pains D’exclamation, Malbaie, Qc

As always we take an hour to walk the Main Street in Baie St. Paul to look at the galleries. Galerie  Guylaine Fournier was our favourite of the day. She was generous with her time and knowledgeable. There is a wide variety of sculptures, furniture, watercolour and acrylic or oil paintings.

A great 5 days to recharge the soul.

Winter knocking at the door 2022

Yes, weather is in change mode. First snowfall this week and the north wind is cold.

But I continue to plein air sketch with watercolour and paper outdoors. My favourite spot is a rock high up on the ridge looking down on the local quarry, Gatineau River and the far hills in the distance. Thinking my loyalties are shifting to wards the River- calm one day but raging dark the next.

Here is a recent watercolour painted just before recent snowfall in November.

Autumn 2022

Time to take a mini vacation and explore parts of Quebec and Martimes.

Our final destination was Parrsboro, Nova Scotia to follow a three day figure workshop with Bill Rogers….wonderful generous artist and person. Each day another model was presented and we just painted. Bill would pass by and make the best suggestions for a better likeness, better values and colour choices.

On our way homeward, we passed an easy three hours at the Jardins de Métis near Sainte-Flavie, Qc. This particular spot of 45 acres enjoys a microclimate supported by the confluence of St Lawrence and Mitis Rivers which allows plant to grow here not found elsewhere in Canada.

Final days were spent enjoying Kamouraska food and scenery. Poissonnerie Laurier/Bistro, is a local bistro offering seafood with beer or wine. You line up to order- then take the beep puck to your table which signal your order is ready to eat. Prices are moderato, quality superb, service friendly. After labour day weekend this appears to be the only eatery open daily. Other have their signs out opening on the weekend.

Shoreline, watercolour, 2022

Village from wharf, watercolour mixed media, 2022

Summertime 2022

We still have COVID in our community but restrictions for a mask are now almost null expect for hospitals and medical clinic here in Quebec

I recently took on the challenge of 30 direct watercolour in 30 days under the direction of Uma Kelkar and Marc Taro Holmes. Not all watercolours were successful so often I did not post but the benefits were there. When weather permitted I painted outdoors directly from the environment but tornado warnings and frequent downpours put me at the kitchen table or protected porch.
Nearby we have a large quarry with high cliffs providing a superb lookout towards the village of Wakefield, the Gatineau River and eastern shoreline. My best find was the turtle pond next to the River. It provided many sketches and watercolour paintings as I became acquainted with the marsh filled with cattails, blue irises, red winged black birds, algae, frogs and toads.

Charlevoix Spring 2022

Another successful plein air in Charlevoix organized by artist John Vazalinskas. We stayed at the Auberge Cap-aux-Corbeaux, 62 rue de Nordet, Baie-Saint-Paul, Qc for 5 days. The propriétaires are a young couple originally from France, fluently bilingual.
Info@cap-aux-corbeaux.com or  418 435 5676

Who are we.
John Vazalinskas, Helmut Langeder,  Marc Holmes, Laurel Holmes, Dany Bouchard, David Kelavey, Angela Macleod, François Lacas, Linda Denis

Marc and David at the Grands-Jardins photo by Laurel Holmes

Where do we paint or photograph. If you are adventurous Grands-Jardins National Park, Tadoussac, Port-au-Persil is a full day with travel from the Auberge. But nearby the local village churches give good value with their panoramic views and safe parking. One of my first visit is the Presbytère des Éboulements and within 5 minutes Saint-Joseph-de-La-Rive, the sailors church. All views along the Saint Lawrence are spectacular you need to decide quickly and start painting.

Baie-Saint-Paul village is an architectural gem. We could pass a month here – there is so much to paint or photograph. Above is my watercolour sketched from the church parking lot. Another fabulous week passed and we so appreciated this time together.