Grand Manan Island – First Three Days!

Last Saturday was spent on the road, and over the water on a ferry, from the north shore of Quebec to Saint John, New Brunswick. We arrived on Grand Manan Island on Sunday. Our Welcome Dinner was hosted that evening by the Marathon Inn ( Most of us chose scallops and they were delicious. Monday morning, the group gathered in North Head Harbour at 9 am. I got things rolling with a shape-reading demonstration, a watercolour sketch with no preliminary pencil drawing.

After lunch, I gave a lesson on the use of a measuring stick to help with perspective. We sat out back of the Marathon Inn with its’ interesting shapes and angles.

We headed down the island on Tuesday morning to Seal Cove. This village is noted for the historic sheds which were once used to smoke herring. I gave a demonstration of pen and ink over a neutral wash. I didn’t complete the pen work throughout the image and will probably finish it once the week is over. As you can see, I hold my pen in an odd way. It might look uncomfortable but I’ve been doing it since I was a pre-schooler.

Aleda has found some shade (above right). Can you see the world’s biggest sardine can in the background? It actually floats and can be powered by a small outboard engine.

I don’t always do a second demo/lesson after lunch but I did offer an optional one again on Tuesday. This is an exercise (above) in simplification and basic application of watercolour. I like to present it to students who are new to plein-air painting. It’s a bit like a colouring book but it allows the painter to focus on just a few things without worrying about being too literal.

This mornings’ site was Pettes’ Cove. It’s a lovely spot with a terrific view of the famous Swallowtail Lighthouse and peninsula. I went to the angled flat brush for the demo. I used the flat brush for a demo in Charlevoix last week. It’s very enjoyable and many of the group tried it today for the first time.

We gathered after lunch for a demo of a few basic landscape elements. I also talked about mixing varied and interesting greens. We then headed up to an overlook with a spectacular view of the Swallowtail. It’s been an intense three days and I warned everyone about the ‘Wednesday Wall’. Fresh air and lots of painting and sketching as well as a few convivial evening gatherings can catch up so it’s early to bed tonight.


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