En plein air study painted at Rain Lake, Algonquin Park.
Heather Castles is a Canadian-Australian artist with over twenty years illustration experience in the publishing industry. Her fine-art paintings celebrate local Ontario farms and forests, flora and fauna. The wilderness of Algonquin Park is a continual inspiration to her art. During her time in the park Heather paints en plein air from the shore or canoe, and often finds inspiration in remote locations only accessible by portage.
Heather's playful painting style is a combination of relaxed, painterly brush strokes with tighter, realistic detail. Often painting alla prima, Heather films her painting progress in time-lapse and creates reels on Instagram to allow patrons of her art to enjoy watching the work come together as if watching “over her shoulder!”
Through my artwork, my aim is to bring a bit of the outdoors in.
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Watch this being painted : https://www.instagram.com/reel/CiERaSVjBW-/
I couldn’t resist picking a few sunflowers from Andrews Scenic Acres to enjoy at home… and then painted their portrait! With painting still life, I’m at the mercy of the lifespan of the flowers, as they changed each day, the pollen emerging, petals wilting, and flower heads heavy with seeds starting to droop. So this was a loose, quick study.
Watch this being painted on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/reel/CnUaxSsjwij/
There are places in Algonquin Park you can only get by canoe, and McCraney Lake is one of them. The 1km portage through 26 large mud puddles with our canoe to get there was worth it just for a quiet paddle through the expanse of lily pads. It's the sort of place you take a lot of photos, and they never really capture the awe you feel at the rugged beauty of Algonquin Park. This painting is chasing that feeling of drifting through the lily pads.
Watch this being painted : https://www.instagram.com/reel/CjpFXIQDtC6/
This progressive painting was added to gradually from April to September, capturing the flora and fauna as the season changed, resulting in a painting of the meadow as if everything was blooming all at once.
Starting in April once the snow had thawed, I added in the bare trees and yellow grasses. A couple weeks later, grasses and dandelions emerged. By May the leaves on the trees and shrubs were in a rush to burst open. The crabapple and willow trees were blooming. By the end of the month the invasive purple bird vetch spread, followed by the purple crown vetch.
The yellow birdsfoot trefoil had its turn in mid July, followed shortly after by the stately Queen Ann’s lace. In August the shades shifted to yellows and whites as the native goldenrod and bush aster shot up tall above the grasses and remaining invasive flowers. And in September, the grasses and teasel offered up their seeds.
Watch this being painted : https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cfc8-wXDhiw/
Inspired by an early morning view towards the narrows of Rain Lake in Algonquin Park. The lake was still and the stormy clouds were reflected on the surface, slowly rolling in. The title “A Swim In The Clouds” is a nod to swimming through the reflections of the swirling sky above. From this vantage point, when you see the rain starting on the other side of the lake, you know you’ve got about twenty minutes until the rain has reached you!