‘En plein air’ painter captures Okanagan naturally

Painter Robyn Lake uses the Okanagan outdoors as her studio to recreate Okanagan landscapes

Robyn Lake prefers painting outdoors

Robyn Lake prefers painting outdoors

Painter Robyn Lake uses the Okanagan outdoors as her studio to recreate Okanagan landscapes, and her latest work will be on display at the Lloyd Gallery.

The exhibit is titled The Beauty of It All–Our Splendid Okanagan Valley and opens Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.

Lake was born in Australia and has called the Okanagan home for the past 24 years.

“Lake prefers painting outdoors “en plein air”; it makes her feel alive,” said Marjo Thompson, manager of the Llyod Galley. “(She) finds that the brilliant hot summer weather charms her outside rather than put brush to canvas inside her studio.”

While painting outdoors leaves artists at the mercy of mother nature, Thompson said artists are rarely rained out in the sunny Okanagan.

However the element of wind has proven itself to be a bigger challenge, which in the springtime will occasionally dry out acrylic paints while blowing canvases and easels down the road.

“Where there is a drought, there is also a good chance of fire,” Thompson said. “This summer’s smoke played the joker and teased plein air artists relentlessly, obscuring the landscape and so Robyn was forced to keep her paintings unfinished while the smoky haze shrouded the exact parts she wished to work on.”

One painting Lake crafted during August’s smoky haze is titled This is Paradise. She began by detailing the foreground, and as the smoke cleared, she added in more layers as the view of the horizon slowly expanded.

“The final result is a layered perfection of the beauty of the Naramata Bench,” Thompson said.

“An artist cannot keep chasing the sun and repainting their canvas as the sun changes the landscape in view. Artists have to capture a scene at a specific time of day and ignore the fact that the sun’s movement keeps changing the light patterns.”

Lake said there’s a method to such madness.

“This is why I limit my time working on a canvas to about an hour or two and then either go to a different location to paint or start an entirely new painting that will capture the light on the landscape for that particular time of day.”

The opening evening for Lake’s exhibition runs from 7 to 9 p.m.  Her work will be featured in the gallery until Oct. 22. For those who would like to view the paintings but can’t make it to the galley, all 30 paintings from the show can be viewed at www.lloydgallery.com.