Past Events

Oct 4 – Bala Generating Station & Falls

Record setting 27C sunshine for plein air in October helped everyone up their game at the season ender. Moon River rocks and trees painted from the platform at the Bala Generating Station, Margaret Burgess Park, and Portage landing while others wandered over to Purk’s Place to fill their canvasses with fall colour.

September 27 – Cranberry Marsh

What a gorgeous day at Muskoka Lakes Cranberry Farm & Winery! All 10 of us spread out across 27 acres to capture fall colours adorning the edges 73 year old cranberry bog. After taking our group photo, artists from our group were given a lovely wagon ride piloted by Murray Johnston himself. We learned even more about where we painted. With only 27 days of harvesting, they anticipate 400,000 lbs of cranberries this year from the good weather. Q. Which animal or bird species eat cranberries? A. None, they are too tart for them, so more for us!

September 20 – Huckleberry Rock

Bright and sunny on the last day of summer as we hiked up to Huckleberry Rock Lookout point. The climb was much easier with the help of the Muskoka Lakes Fire Department who transported our gear in their side by side UTVs. Master pastellist Margaret Ferraro was our guest artist this day and energized our day with a talk at the top on retracing the Group of Seven, tips on composition and what to pack for en plein air. Her tip about taking only the essentials out to plein air to get to the art process quicker hit home with the hike on this day.

September 13 – Torrance Barrens

Torrance Barrens did not disappoint with its undisturbed bedrock interspersed with wetlands, treed uplands and a huge variety of birds and wildlife. The clouds danced around with the sun and every once in a while douced us with a mini rain shower. The group of 9 carried on before heading to El Gringo’s Cantina at the Beer Spa nearby for lunch. A great way to punctuate our Wednesday morning plein air session in the fall with tacos and salsa!

September 6 – Windermere House

A very hot day 31C with a very warm welcome by the staff and guests staying at the Windermere House on Lake Rosseau. A great turnout of artists and brushes dipped in water colour, acrylic and oil paint were flying before we enjoyed a very tasty lunch at the Windermere Pub & Patio.

August 30 – Bala Buildings

Despite the temperature dropping as we painted we found a few hours rain-free to paint the iconic buildings in Bala – The Balacade, Kee to Bala the Bala Pub. Slow drying paint and layering up were order of the day.

Wednesday August 30, 2023 on Bala Falls Road

Aug 23 – Lake Medora Cranberry Rd, Bala

Artists on full oxygen overload flew into Maja’s forest like a flock of birds. Never mind “forest bathing” try painting en plein air in forest of moss, brightly coloured mushrooms, pink granite and ancient trees that were skipped over by the forest fire that ripped through Muskoka in 1834 . Thank- you Maja! The smiles say it all.

August 16 – Pine Ridge Road Point, Bala

Another spectacular day near the water (Moon River) in Muskoka with a plethora of views and subjects to choose. Plein air tip learned today: get the shadows and light quickly sketched in before they disappear when the sun moves over head to counter one of the challenges painting in the morning to noon. Thank-you Heather for hosting us!

August 9 – 100 Year old Barn Moon River

Aug 2, 2023 – Muskoka Steamships in Gravenhurst

With smoke and steam billowing out of the Segwun and Wenonah II, artists from our group wasted no time painting the two historic Muskoka ships in watercolour, pastel, ink and acrylic to the encouragement of many people walking by before they set sail. The Wenonah II left the wharf at noon followed by the Segwun a bit later for its afternoon test run with Captain Dave at the helm. Before leaving, Captain Dave stopped by to take a look at the plein air paintings and shared some history of the 100 year old ship with everyone.

July 26, 2023 Warren’s Marsh

The best place to be on a hot simmering day over 32C is beside the Marsh in Muskoka. Yes the deer came out to see what we were up to at the beginning but decided she did not want to be on anyone’s canvas after all. Many thanks to Warren and friends for inviting the Bala Plein Air group to his property!

July 19, 2023 Bala Stone Church

Built in 1926 using Muskoka granite, the Burgess Presbyterian Church as it used to be known was painted from all sides by artists on this day. Watercolour, acrylic and oil were mediums used at this plein air session. The sun shadows changed quite a bit from our start at 9:00 till we finished at noon. Really great to see some new artists joining from nearby in Muskoka as well as Barrie and Hamilton. Many thanks to Tiffany and Ken Bol for access to the Bala Stone Church property.

2022 Season

October 5, 2022 Torrance Barrens

Mother nature gave us a beautiful send off for our last plein air of the 2022 season. The day was reminiscent of summer weather with the added fall explosion of colours. A real treat driving here with leaves at 100% colour glory on route.

September 28, 2022 Muskoka Lakes Cranberry Farm & Winery

The Beast of Baxter Island sculpture ended up at the Cranberry Bog and so did we. Cool temperatures brought out the hats and extra layers, but no rain!! Getting ready for the Art Exhibition at The Bala Cranberry Festival Oct 14-16, 2022

September 21, 2022 – Purk’s Place, Bala

September 14, 2022 – Sherwood Inn

A cool morning, with fall in the air. Painting around the Resort was followed by a nice lunch together at the Sherwood Inn. Fun to chat about art and check out the art on the walls by local artists and meet the chef at the Inn. Small world – we discovered one of our group’s artists was a former Sherwood Inn Chef.

September 7, 2022- Muskoka Steamships, Gravenhurst Wharf

The Muskoka Steamships first launched in 1866. They carried the Royal mail, and many passengers to Muskoka resorts. Today they provided inspiration at the dock for artists from the Bala Plein Air Group. Nice work everyone!!

Aug 24, 2022 – Wahta Mohawk Territory

Aug 17, 2022 – Moon River Point Ridge Road

Temperature was just right. No wind, no bugs, and a dozen artists together coming in from Orillia – Severn Falls – Huntsville and nearby to paint en plein air. With a point of land there are so many directions to look. Moon River near Jaspen Park in Bala was our destination at a private cottage of one of our group members. Thank-you Heather!

August 10 –Bush’s Watersports Park, Bala

Following 3 days of rain in Muskoka the sun came out to play for plein air at Bush’s Watersport’s Park in Bala. Entertaining to watch the wakeboard lessons on Lake Barrett as we each found a colourful Muskoka chair setup on rocks to paint from.

August 3, 2022 – Three Birds Flower Farm

Sister duo Jackie and Leslie invited the Bala Plein Air group to their farm. The sky opened up and rained heavily at times, but we managed to find cover under porches, umbrellas and a shed roof for the sake of our art. Three Birds Flower Farm on Falkenburg Road between Port Carling and Bracebridge grows large volume of flowers for events in Muskoka.

July 27, 2022 – Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery – Home of Johnston Cranberries

Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery – 10 artists attending this plein air session. We spread out on the trails and painted in watercolour, oil, acrylic and pastel. Beautiful and HOT!

July 20, 2022 – Roselawn Inn, Bala

July 13, 2022 – Torrance Bay – Sunset Beach

A picnic table for every artist at Sunset Beach. As the morning progressed, boats arrived on the dock unloading kids on the beach, and contractors to cottage builds.

July 6, 2022 – Muskoka Lakes Museum, Port Carling

Watercolour and acrylic the mediums of choice among the six artists that assembled on this Wednesday near the Muskoka Lakes Museum in Port Carling. It was a bit cool with the breeze, but many choices to paint. Thank-you to ML Museum for allowing the artists to have a tour of the extensive collection of artifacts in the museum afterwards. Very cool.

June 30 – Bala Falls Bridge

Rushing water, speeding trains, and quick drying paint = a quick plein air for a few of us ahead of the scheduled bridge repairs (July 2022 to Dec 2022).

Our first season of Bala Plein Air in 2021 took us to many memorable places…

October 6, 2021 – Torrance Barrens

We set up on the rocks as it warmed up to 18C at Torrance Barrens Conservation Reserve for our weekly plein air. This location is an important ecological link between Lake Muskoka and Severn River on Crown Lands protected by the Ministry of Natural Resources (Ontario). Interspersed with wetlands, treed uplands, and bedrock the Barrens is habitat for 150 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and 500 species of flowering plants, and now …. a favourite spot for artists of the Bala Plein Air Group.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 – Cranberry Harvest

We took our canvases and paintbrushes around the trails at on the Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery. Cranberries need the cooler nights to turn red. Fun Fact: Most of the cranberries harvested here are used to make wine.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 – Ragged Rapids Road near Moon River Bridge

One of the greatest joys of Plein air is painting together, inspired by a shared scene of light and objects, but all having different observations and artistic interpretations. Just 7.5km from Bala off of Hwy #38, Ragged Rapids (aptly named) with a plethora of trees leaning into the rapid flowing Moon River over shores of granite.

SEPT 8, 2021 – Bush’s Watersports Park

The shore of Lake Barrett provided a great backdrop this Wednesday morning after rainy night. Thank-you to Bush’s and the What Wake Park, a water-ski cable park 2km north of Bala on Hwy 169. Hundreds of cottagers learned to wake board and water ski here this past summer, Rick Mercer filmed a segment here (2015), owner/operators Micky and Pete won Amazing Race Canada (2014) and now BPAG artists (2021) have painted here too!

SEPT 1, 2021 – Town Dock (Wharf) Bala Bay

We gathered under the railway bridge in the historic spot formerly known as the Government Wharf in Bala where the steamship terminal and train station connected summer passengers at end of summer vacation in Muskoka. We imagined then and now in our art.

Followed the footpath underneath the railway bridge around to the red Muskoka chairs on Bala Bay Dock and sketched, did water colour, acrylic and shared our work on the red Muskoka chairs.

AUGUST 25, 2021 – Torrance Barrens

A productive day a the Torrance Barrens – oil, acrylic and watercolour.

The Torrance Barrens Conservation Reserve What an awesome place to immerse in raw nature. Flat rocks and trails overlooking ponds, colourful fauna, unusual trees are a plein air artist’s treat. It is a popular spot for astronomers, hikers, and snakes!

AUGUST 18, 2021 – Moon River Bala Generating Station

Where Lake Muskoka meets the Moon. 3105 Hwy 169 – North side Bala Falls Generating Station viewing platform. Thank-you to Swift River Energy Ltd for the hydro plant tour and use of deck and chairs!

AUGUST 11, 2021 – Kee to Bala

Bala Falls Road is home of the iconic Kee to Bala, formerly Dunn’s Pavilion. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Chuck Berry played at this famous Muskoka Dance Hall. Next door, the Bala Falls Pub, Jack and Stella and Second Life Restoration (furniture) now fill out the Bala Falls Road streetscape.

August 4, 2021 – Bala Falls, Margaret Burgess Park

3115 Hwy 69 in Bala. The historic park is adjacent to the Bala United Church beside big Rocks and waterfalls where Lake Muskoka pours into the Moon River. This is a well known spot in Bala where artists can go down on the rock shelves and feel the fresh air with the sound of the rushing water.

For more artworks completed by participating artists at past BPAG events check out our Instagram Account of visit us at the Art Exhibition at the Bala Cranberry Festival (October 15-17).

@artworkbalapleinair