Patterson Creek Tree Study
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oil on gessobord
5″ x 7″
This piece is a companion to the small sketch of the bridge and is another view of Patterson Creek Park.
My favourite park in Ottawa is Patterson Creek Park. It’s not especially large, or particularly beautifully designed; there are no spectacular flower beds like at the botanical gardens.
But it reminds me of Cambridge, England, a place that is very dear to me. I’ve spent countless happy childhood holidays visiting my aunt there, and I’m a sucker for an old university town.
Patterson Creek, with its willows dangling in the water, and its little bridges and the small island, feels the same as my memories of Cambridge and the surrounding areas.
Prior to the pandemic, my schedule was too jam packed to make time for plein air painting.
Year after year in the early summer, when everything is green and blooming, I’d say to myself: “This year, I’m going to make time to paint outside over the summer.”
I’ll let you guess how often I actually did that.
I will not romanticize the pandemic by calling this a “gift”, but one benefit was a much looser schedule and no deadlines. I had time on my hands.
I made 3 plein air paintings that summer, in between other projects I was working on. This is the first of them, done alongside some of my students, whom I hadn’t seen in months.
More than just a sketch of a tree, this piece is about happy memories, connection with community and unexpected opportunities.
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