OKANAGAN plein air…and beyond

It was a worthwhile journey – even though the weather was not the expected sun/heat that would be typical of the Okanagan. I brought gallons of sunscreen and toted my biggest hats with me – never to be used.
The heated mitts did come out however, as well as the foot warmers and layers of scarves and fleece. My Best Brella finds a use whether it is rain or sun and always is worth carrying.
It may sounds like I am obesessed with what I have to carry – but when you are prepping to paint on location, not sure what to expect when you get there, working in isolated locations with NO access to supplies… it is ALL about what is in the bag.

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Because we had the car I brought more that if I were packing for a flight or a hike. Back up of extra panels, paper, refills, tools and paint – packed in a sturdy box. And of course my favorite pillow – because sleep is my best wellness activity. My Tai Chi comes with me now wherever I go ;-) and I enjoyed it in garages, on woodland trails and at the beach.

Our little stay place in Princeton proved a big hit again – is within shouting distance of the extensive KVR trail system and lovely new walking bridge over the river. Built in 1934 the original cabins were moved from a logging camp to become the Riverside “Autocourt”. I took some liberties with the bloom on the Hollyhocks – they will only be up and flowering by now. The fast flowing Tulameen River is right behind the cabin and the Old Hedley Road cuts accross the steep hillside beneath the pines.

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Our agenda was 1 nt in Princeton / 3 days in Kaleden / 4 days in Kelowna and then 4 days in Ashcroft – of which I would only have exclusive use of the vehicle for ONLY the last 4 days. Brian was participating in and attending the Meadowlark Festival for the first week, in various locations throughout the valley, so I was prepared to spend time exploring from our stay place on the lakeshore in Kaleden – on foot and bicycle – with the KVR ( Kettle Valley Railway) trail right outside the door.

I cycled down to Okanagan Falls on this great level trail with butterflies, swallows, Ospreys, Meadowlarks, quail and deer along the way. (Brian! I think all the birds are down here) The teal grey sage and rugged pinky/rusted stone color was great.

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I joined one of the Meadowlark Fest activities on Sat to watch my friend Dianne Bersea paint a large watercolor rendering of the lakeshore and mountians.

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A transplant from the Wet Coast – Dianne also does design and custom illustration like myself, and has a bold, colorful style. Her efforts were simply in support of the festival and were enjoyed by a small group who re-located up to the Linden Garden cafe in Kaleden after the chilly demo for a welcome cup of warming coffee.

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I was stunned to see the wide variety and grand display of Rhododendrons at the Linden Gardens (didn’t think they would do well in the dry OK) and stayed to do a slow walk around and enjoy the color. The Peonies and poppies were hanging their heavy heads in the rain but this extensive acreage is well worth the $5 visit.

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Walking back down through the steep Kaleden hillside back roads, farms & vinyards I met an amourous Ostrich in a fenced farmyard. After a short conversation…He began a very vigorous courtship dance – on his knees (elbows???) waving his massive wings and swaying his head while clacking and gurgling. At over 6′ tall… with a fairly low fence he made me rather nervous, and the lady Ostriches in the paddock were not at all impressed that he was performing for me. Realizing I was the object of his increasing romantic advances…I bid him an cautious farewell and made a quick exit off down the road. His big sad eyes and gurgles following me.

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After I stopped laughing about the Big Bird encounter… I stopped near the bottom (as the rain let up) to do a small gouache of the vinyard above our stay place. Another great AirBnB cottage.

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Some of the locations where I headed out with Brian – he does the birdwatching thing while I enjoy some painting. These are all 8x8in watercolor – Opaque Gouache on black paper. As long as I have the bug spray I don’t mind hanging out at the swamp or in the woods for a couple of hours. Aside from the pond in Kelowna…it is pretty rugged country. Must remember to watch for rattlesnakes.   Seriously.

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