Elizabeth Gaye MacDonald


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About the Artist

Currently my main focus is plein air painting.  I started painting en Plein Air  in 1996.  In 2009  Margaret Dawson and I  formed the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Society.  We plan weekly outings for our members. The winter of 2013/14 saw the hardest winter since we started our group. This winter amazingly saw myself, and some of our heartier members painting in sub zero temperatures. We have a great group of people, and I only expect it to continue to grow.

In my Plein Air work I am drawn towards endangered wood lots, farms and historical buildings. Buildings collapse, farms are swallowed up by urban sprawl, I paint them to preserve their memory.  The expansive space of flat farmland and big sky are often subjects that lure my eye, and I am compelled to create a memory.

When working with watercolour, I am reminded that the outcome depends on my adapting to the unpredictable nature of the medium. In Plein Air, it is advisable to edit what I see in order to refine and unify my composition.

I keep my watercolour palette confined to 12 colours sometimes even less.  I feel it is important to master a minimal palette.   I use the best materials available. Archival papers, and light fast high pigment paints are a must. I generally use Winsor Newton watercolour tubes with few exceptions. For paper I use Arches 140 lb or 300 lb cold press rough. I also like to use watercolour Moleskine sketchbooks when I want to do a quick study.

When painting en Plein Air, light and shadow are constantly changing. Making the decision on when to capture the shadows, and light is paramount. I am always aware of where the sun will be at any point during the day, and what effect it will have on the scene.  When I paint outdoors I experience nature in an intimate way not experienced by the casual observer.  I become immersed in my surroundings. Sight, sound, smells, touch, and even taste are heightened. By painting en Plein Air I go beyond copying the static stolen moment of a photograph.  I live the moment. I live the painting. The experience becomes a memory not soon forgotten. When people see my work, I’d like them to experience a bit of what it was like to be there. But… there is no greater joy for me, then when I introduce others to painting en Plein Air.

In the year 2014 I switched to oils. The winter of 2013/2014 I began painting with our group in the fridged weather. I found that watercolour was just not a good medium in that kind of weather. I decided to give oils a try. I am loving them. I almost feel as if I’m betraying my watercolours.


Important World Artists Vol. 1

Publisher – World Wide Art Books Inc.

Published in 2013 isbn 978-0-9802079-9-6

Catalog of over 1,000 artists. My work is featured on the cover of this publication. My work is also located on page 175 of this publication.

Recent Awards:

2014 2nd place quick paint Dexter Plein Air Festival, Dexter, Mi.

2013 Bursary Dexter Chamber of Commerce Plein Air Festival, Dexter, Mi.

2013 Artist in Residence Beloit Inn, Beloit Wi.

Selected links to my internet presence:



Arts Council Windsor & Region
Oil Painters of America


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.