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Friday, May 14, 2010

Steering committee report and announcement

The Ontario Plein Air Society (OPAS), through its members and affiliates, works to promote plein air painting in Ontario. The Society is a non-commercial group dedicated to serving its artist members and educating the general public about plein air painting.


As of June 1, 2010 membership in OPAS requires a signed application form along with annual dues of $25.00. These dues go to funding:

  • Annual exhibition and awards.
  • Awards and publications
  • The cost and maintenance of our website,
  • Mailing costs and other administrative costs

The annual membership runs from June 1 to May 31 of each year. All members joining between these dates still have to pay the full membership dues. Membership renewals are due in the month of May. We will send out a notice early in the month as a reminder.


Membership cards will be sent to paid-up members. All members who have not renewed their membership by June 1 will be considered non-members. Access privileges and participation are only given to OPAS members in good standing.

The benefits of membership:


  • Full participation in the new OPAS website including :
    • Member's bio with picture.
    • OPAS Blog where members have full participation rights.
    • Members' Gallery.
    • OPAS Forums where you can have discussions in a private OPAS setting.
    • Links to your blog and/or website.
  • Participation in paint outs.
  • Participation in the Annual OPAS public Art Show and awards.
  • Participation in OPAS future painting projects such as "Painting Ontario".
  • Participation in OPAS challenges such as monthly challenges that may be run from the web forums.
  • Participation in 'members' only' workshops.
  • Other members' privileges including art store discounts and group discounts where applicable.

The membership drive for OPAS begins now. Free members wishing to maintain their membership in the 2010-2011 year (June 1 2010 - May 31 2011) will need to complete an application form and pay the $25.00 annual membership dues. This will immediately give members access to the new website and confer on them the benefits stated above.


Membership cards will be issued and mailed to paid members that will make them eligible for discounts at art stores such as Curry's. As a point of reference, Curry's discount when you show your OPAS card is 10% so a purchase of $250.00 from Curry's will alone recoup the membership dues paid by an OPAS member.


Inactive and non-artists free members who do not wish to become full OPAS members but wish to maintain a limited level of communication with OPAS can join the OPAS fans page free of charge. You will not have access to any of the members' only portions of the site and you will not be able to follow our paint out schedule. You are welcome to attend our annual exhibition, but you will not be able to add your work in the exhibition.


Please email your request for membership to we will email you back the application form and instructions on how you can pay the $25.00 membership dues.


Businesses, Organizations and friends of OPAS:


OPAS is looking for sponsorship and donations from local and arts businesses, organizations and private donors. If you are interested in making a donation to OPAS or sponsoring an OPAS activity, please visit our fundraising link on the OPAS website.


You can purchase OPAS merchandise from which $5.00 of the purchase price of each item goes to fund OPAS activities, or you can make an outright donation electronically or by cheque. Donations of $250.00 or more will be awarded with a FRIENDS OF OPAS certificate and mentioned on our honour role on our website home page with a link to their websites if they so desire.
Alone with a Brush

Two weeks ago, I went out on my own to paint along a dirt road off of 6th Line road and 5th Side road in Milton. I wanted to sketch mount Kelso across the highway and I thought that dirt walkway to the edge of the highway was a good vantage point. It wasn't, but that is not the story.


I parked where 6th Line road ends and took the foot path to the edge of the highway. There, I put my backpack down and started to sketch the scene. All of a sudden, I felt the hair on the back of my neck rise. I was not alone. I looked back at the pathway to see a big man with a sizable stick walking in my direction. I felt trapped and uneasy about the situation. Here I was alone in the woods literally with a stranger approaching me with a menacing stick in hand. The only way out of the area was to go past him, and I was not about to test his willingness to use the stick.



Instinct took over and I called out a big hello.

No answer. He kept walking towards me.

He stopped about 15 feet away and asked me what I was doing.

"I am waiting for some friends to arrive" I said. We are sketching Mount Kelso from this spot.

"Why?" I added to engage him.

No answer.

"You shouldn't be out here alone." He finally said.

Gave me a long look while tapping the stick on his leg and finally walked away.


Needless to say, I waited for this man to leave, packed my stuff and headed back in a trot to my car. The spot was too close to the face of the escarpment to see a good vista, and anyway, I was too perturbed and conscious of my surroundings to let myself enjoy the creative flow of colours and strokes.


Painting is a solitary endeavour of course, but being out in the wild alone is not a wise thing to do. In my years of painting outdoors, I have not had such an experience before, but this one time was enough to convince me that unless I am heading out with others, it may be wiser to stay close to well trodden paths where one is likely to meet many others. Better the many interruptions of curious onlookers than the single one from a menacing visitor… Human or other.



There are many values that a plein air group like the Ontario Plein Air society can bring to its members, but un-interrupting silent company; the knowledge that while you are painting alone and focused on your work, there is someone that you know who is close by, is by far one of the most important benefits that a plein air society can bring.
OPAS in 2010! Where We Go From Here.-UPDATE

Just to let everyone know we have 8 hardy souls who have stepped up and offered their time and energy to be part of the new OPAS lead team for 2010(See the older post below).

We are just in the process setting a date in early May that works for everyone. Just to remind you


the agenda for that meeting will be:

  • Review the members’ survey above and set objectives to turn the goals toreality
  • Determine roles and responsibilities and hopefully allocate folks to areas of
  • interest and expertise
  • Discuss the prospect of yearly OPAS membership dues and frame our value proposition
  • Discuss growing OPAS beyond the GTA and how we might do that
  • Discuss OPAS participation the 2010 upcoming Brush With the Highlands and other plein air festivals
  • Begin to frame out a monthly calendar of activities including paint outs, workshops, member shows and other events.

Minutes of this important meeting will be shared with the entire membership via the OPAS blog.

If we missed you somehow and you're interested in coming to this meeting and being part of this new organizing committee, please email me at

Look for a new and even better OPAS coming soon!

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