Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers at Humanics Sanctuary

Last summer I started an informal Plein Air group that met every second Thursday between 10 am to 1 pm. The outings were so popular and so many people asked if they would continue this year, that I decided to formalize things just a bit and, since there are no other “official” plein air groups in the Ottawa area, I have crowned our little group as The Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers.

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers at the Humanics Sanctuary and Sculpture Park (click to enlarge).

En “Plein Air” is basically defined as the act of painting/drawing outdoors (as opposed to creating art in a studio environment). We have a core group of about seven artists who  regularly showed up for our outings last year, and this year several new people have indicated an interest, so hopefully our little group will grow over the course of the summer as more local artists become aware of us.

Humanics Sanctuary

Entrance to the Humanics Sanctuary and Sculpture Park in Cumberland.

Unless we have a special outing planned, all of our plein air outings are located in local to Ottawa areas that offer free access to the public, have free parking and have toilet facilities on site. This year, we will be having three special outings that charge either an entry fee, charge for parking or are located outside of Ottawa.

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

Kirsten sketching her favourite statue at Humanics (click to enlarge).

Our first outing this year was one of these special outings. On June 21 we visited the Humanics Sanctuary and Sculpture Park, located in Cumberland, just 30ish minutes east of downtown Ottawa.

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

Exploring one of the paths lined with sculptures.

As one of the major initiatives of the Humanics Institute, the Sanctuary and Sculpture Park offers walking trails and areas for reflection and meditation with zones dedicated to major religions that provide areas suitable for celebrations, ceremonies and religious services.

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

A statue of Ghandi.

Sculptures representing themes on the human condition, philosophical concepts, and imagery representative of various faiths from around the world are integrated within nine acres of woodland that includes walking trails and quaint bridges over a meandering creek.

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

A statue representing the Trinity of Essential Values.

Thirteen of us met in the Sanctuary’s parking lot at 10 am and, after we paid our $7.50 entry fee, the staff at the Sanctuary were kind enough to give our group a little introduction and explanation about the Sanctuary. Afterward, we split into several groups to wander and explore on our own.

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

Checking in and an introduction to the Park (many thanks to Cindi for these photos).

I spent a while exploring the trails and taking some photos before parking myself in front of this incredible lion statue, where I spent some time just listening to the birdsong, the rustle of chipmunks and enjoying the utter feeling of peace. It felt very fitting to be in such a spiritually themed setting during the Summer Solstice and made me feel so very grateful that we have such beautiful natural areas so easily accessible.

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

Narasingha the Lion, a sculpture by Tendai Chareka of Zimbabwe.

 

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

I couldn’t resist sketching this Lion statue in ink and coloured pencil. I added the tree and journaling later at home (click to enlarge).

We met back up again in the main entrance area for lunch, after which we all wandered off again for more exploring and sketching.

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

The Sanctuary has a beautiful, shaded picnic area (click to enlarge).

After I took some time to walk the hilly path that loops completely around the sanctuary, I parked myself once more, this time in front of the massive inuksuk near the front entrance to the park.

Inuksuk

Inuksuk (aka Inukshuk) are man-made stone landmarks or cairns used by the Inuit and other peoples of the Arctic area. The inuksuk may have been used for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, places of veneration, drift fences used in hunting or to mark a food cache.

 

Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers

I really enjoyed working on this sketch in ink and watercolour. Journaling was completed at home (click to enlarge).

~ * ~

Some of us just enjoyed the peaceful, relaxing setting and took lots of reference photos, while others took the time to sketch or paint the scenery. Here are some of the pieces done by a few of the artists in attendance:

sketch

Ginette’s pencil sketch of a statue of St. Francis (click to enlarge).

 

sketch

Dorothy’s watercolour sketch (click to enlarge).

 

sketch

Cindi’s watercolour and acrylic paintings of the woods (click to enlarge).

You can check out Cindi’s artist blog at http://moynahanstudio.blogspot.com/

sketch

Corinne’s ink sketch of a statue of the holy family (click to enlarge).

 

sketch

Nadine’s watercolour and pencil sketches (click to enlarge).

You can check out Nadine’s artist blog at http://containwithin.blogspot.com/

sketch

Clarisse’s pencil and watercolour sketches (click to enlarge).

We really enjoyed our day at Humanics Sanctuary and Sculpture Park and I’m sure it will become one of our favourite Plein Air destinations in the future.

~ * ~

 

 

10 comments to Ottawa Plein Air Adventurers at Humanics Sanctuary and Sculpure Park