Postcard from Cobourg, on Lake Ontario, Canada

Anne and I visited Cobourg, on Lake Ontario in Canada recently, partly to attend the 90th birthday of my cousin, but also to have a couple of weeks holiday with my family out there.

We’ve been once before, two years ago and didn’t expect to go again. We couldn’t refuse the invitation to celebrate a 90th birthday though.

Have watercolour kit, will sketch

After the many outings with the SOS (sketching outside) group this year, it was a delight to be out and about, in the sunshine, in Canada while back home the weather was more inclement.

Sketching en plein air could be said to be best, the quickest, route to mastering an understanding of painting. Whatever the subject, it’s all about learning to ‘see’ it. Think mood. Think atmosphere!

Many books are dedicated to the skills required to create a useful summary – a sketch – of what you are trying to record. The basic sketch, whether indoors or outside, needs to capture the artist’s place and time of day – wet or dry!

There are also two magazines which continually inspire me: The Artist and Leisure Painter. Both are published by The Artists’ publishing company. for more information, go to their website:

Technology to the rescue

Sketching is not an impossible challenge in these days.  With the support of the iPhone or iPad, the four sides of the screen instantly help the eye to sort out perspective, and light and shade of the subject. In addition to electronic gizmos, the humble ruler is an elementary tool.

My watercolour kit

With weight restrictions for overseas travel, I packed only a minimal watercolour kit. See the featured image above. My smallest paint box has twelve basic colours, a very small water bottle, a foldaway palette, a tiny sponge and and equally small brush. It’s very light and suits my purpose.

I spent many hours recording the various sights near where we were staying. This is me perched on a bench, alongside a walkway at the edge of Cobourg marina. Many walkers took a keen interest in my progress.

Sketching on the quayside at Cobourg marina

The big motorboat in the background belongs to my cousin and I wanted to capture this setting as a reminder of our time aboard Colonel Ken.

Sketch of Colonel Ken moored at Cobourg marina

This photo had me with a more comfortable seating. A whole picnic table to myself in the ground of the Cobourg Yacht Club.

Sketching in the gardens of Cobourg Yacht club

It was a hot day and the paint dried quickly on the page so I decided to stick to pencil sketching from this direction.

Pencil sketch of Colonel Ken

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. My previous postcard was from FROM MILTON KEYNES: WOUGHTON HOUSE. – a hotel Anne and I have stayed in while visiting her family. 

Postcard from Cobourg, Canada: Betrothed!

This week, Anne and I were privileged to be invited to a private viewing of an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Northumberland here in Cobourg, Canada. Betrothed: A Marriage of Photography and Weddings is on until Sunday 18 June, so there’s plenty of time to schedule a visit.


Betrothed: A Marriage of Photography and Weddings

Stephen Bulger and Catherine Lash have been collecting authentic wedding photographs for more than 15 years and this exhibition celebrates the invention of photography, as witnessed through photographs of wedding ceremonies..

Betrothed: cutting the cake

Cutting the cake!

This fascinating and unique collection, as well as showing how fashions have changed, contains examples of the various print types that form photography’s history.

Each wall of the gallery focuses on a particular theme: the dress; celebrities (such as Ringo Starr and Elizabeth Taylor); portraits; group portraits; strange and unusual weddings.

It was sad to see that so many of the smiling couples are not longer betrothed, and many of them, of course, have passed away. However, that one happy moment captured by the camera demonstrated many times over that the majority of marriages start out with the best of intentions!

In addition, there are examples of the decorations used on wedding cakes and, in true wedding breakfast tradition, a beautiful cake was ceremoniously cut and shared among those present.

So, with over 500 original photographs, this collection is a social history containing records of customs and ceremonies from around the world.


Where is the Art Gallery of Northumberland?

The Art Gallery of Northumberland is at 55 King Street West, Cobourg, Ontario K9A 2M2


When is the gallery open?

Wednesday – Friday: 10am – 4pm
Saturday: 12noon – 4pm
Sunday: 12noon – 4pm


This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. It’s the first one for this particular trip. Watch this space!