About the PORDS

Welcome to the PORDS site.

The PORDS are a group of landscape and plein air painters. The group currently includes Kim Atkins, Heidi Burkhardt, Kat Palmer, and Maurice Snelgrove. Sadly, the group lost founding member Anthony Batten in December 2020. Each artist maintains a home studio and an independent art practice.

The PORDS are “Painters of Riveting Distinction”, a name the artists ironically gave themselves and it stuck.


The PORDS on the Road

As a group they have a passion for travel and had the good fortune to share many painting trips abroad and at home. The road trips are especially memorable. Working together on these trips goes back to their common experience as art educators and a shared history of time spent at a summer art camp for Toronto students near Bancroft, Ontario. They have celebrated their trips and this long friendship with numerous group exhibitions and with their own annual show- Le Salon d’Hiver. 2020 has taken the show online. Please read below to find out more about each special painting trip.


Santa Fe, New Mexico

The minute school was over in 1997 we flew to Albuquerque New Mexico to be in the Santa Fe area. It was a chance to see the amazing beauty of this landscape and to visit ancient First Nations sites. The city of Santa Fe is a remarkable artist centre for painters, sculptors and craftsmen. Our side trips included a beautiful day painting at Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch. As a follow up we held an exhibition of these paintings in Scarborough Civic Centre.

San Miguel de Allende

The Pords had 2 winter trips to a house in San Miguel Allende. These month long trips in 2000
and 2001 gave us a real love for the area and plenty of time to experience the town. We explored the area and painted every day. This town has a long special history of welcoming artists. There are two busy art schools, many galleries and a lively cultural centre too.


Our trip to Greece in 2004 was arranged for us by Ilse Mayer and her friends. Their summer home in the Peloponnese was our base to explore the area and to paint at Methoni and other ancient sites near this village. On the return road trip to Athens we stopped to along the route to visit Olympia, Mycenae and Nafplio.

Chatham, Massachusetts

We have had 3 trips to Cape Cod beginning in 2001. Early September was chosen each time since it is the best time of year to work outside. Bright clear days. This trip coincided to the day with the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11th. We stayed and worked during the aftermath and chose to return to Chatham on the 10th anniversary for a 2nd painting trip. On our 3rd visit in September 2019 we could include Ilse Mayer whose planned first visit in 2001 was cut short when all flights to the USA were cancelled.

Belgium Bruges:

In 2005 we joined a group of painters to stay in The English Convent in Bruges. We spent time in the city painting along the canals in early spring. We were close enough to be able to see the art museums in Brussels and Antwerp.


In 1991 we spent a month in one part of this magnificent house near Radda in Chianti. The property is a working winery and olive oil producer. We painted on the property and spent time in nearby Florence and Siena.


In 2010 we joined a group from the Columbus Centre in Toronto as part of an exchange project. We were hosted by the city with an exhibition of our paintings . This work became part of an installation now in the City Hall in Spoleto. The artists worked in the countryside around Spoleto and had a chance to see the art of Assisi, Florence and Perugia which are cities nearby.

Home – Canada

The Maritimes

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

This was a long road trip which took us in 2009 through New Brunswick and through 2 hurricanes on the way to Cape Breton. We had accommodation in the Gaelic College with day trips to Louisburg and the magnificent Cabot Trail a coastal highway on the west side of Cape Breton. On our trip back to Ontario we were invited to stay with Doug and Marilyn Brewer at their home in Fredericton. This gave up a chance for a side trip to to see Kings Landing an open air museum of 19th century rural life in the province.



On the route to meet the ferry to get to Little Bay Islands in 2016 we stopped in Port Rexton and were hosted at Fisher’s Loft Inn by the owners-John and Peggy Fisher. Their beautiful inn was the perfect place to stop. We hiked along trails near the Inn and toured a number of local towns for day trips to paint.
English Harbour, Newfoundland is one of our very favourite provinces to visit and to work. So this invitation from Cynthia and Peter Kemerer in 2003 to spend time in English Harbour on Trinity Bay was a delight. We spent time outside in the area painting. On this same trip we had a chance to visit with Kim and David Paddon who founded the English Harbour Art Association.


Little Bay Islands

This small island community is almost gone after each of the residents has been moved to the mainland.
We stayed in the one remaining bed and breakfast in 2016 and immersed ourselves in the island life, walking out each day to paint the boats, piers and icebergs too. There was a chance to swim in the bay while we were there- in sight of icebergs.


Arctic Quest
in 2006 we joined a group of painters on the Academic Ioffe, a refitted Russian scientific vessel
to tour Baffin Island and Greenland. We left from Iqaluit and sailed along the coast of Baffin Island and across to the western coast of Greenland. We painted from the ship and in small zodiac boats. Following this trip the artists were part of 11 group exhibitions in Toronto, across Canada and in the USA. A selection of these paintings is now in the permanent collection of the Vancouver Maritime Museum.


The Charlevoix

This was a road trip in early October to get the best of the fall colours. We stayed in a motel
which offers special accommodation for artists. A stop in Quebec City plus the views from the
hills above the St. Lawrence were beautiful.


The Gaspe Peninsula

We had wonderful accommodation on this road trip in 2017 in an Anglican Rectory right on the ocean with a magnificent view of Perce Rock. We drove by car along the north shore of the Gaspe and back along the south shore, stopping twice on this trip in Quebec City

The Maritimes

St Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick

In 2012 we were hosted by Bev and Lola Boyle in their landmark home, Hillcrest House, in St. Andrews by the Sea. We painted the Bay of Fundy and surrounding landscape. While at Hillcrest we took a day trip to visit Campobello in Maine. Our hosts held an exhibition of our paintings on the porch of their home. The return trip was along the coast road in Maine with a stop to see Camden.


Grose Morne

The PORDs trip in 2018 to the west coast of Newfoundland was unique thanks to the planning
which Diana Dabinett did for us. She and her husband Pat arranged for our itinerary, accommodation and the 3 stays along the way. We drove in 3 cars with 2 dogs for company and travelled the coast road up to St. Anthony and back to Deer Lake. One really memorable experience on this trip was our day at the site of the Viking landings in Canada- L’Anse aux


Ontario is our home province and as a group and individually we have explored and painted in almost every single corner of the province and in every season. We have worked outside on day trips, road trips, cottage visits, city and country and annual trips to Killarney Park.
Killarney Park and Canoe Lake Killarney Mountain Lodge was an annual end-of-summer trip for artists for a number of years. We stayed in cabins of the Killarney Mountain Lodge right on Georgian Bay and painted in and around the hotel. On 2016 we were invited to extend our trip with an invitation to stay at the Taylor Statton Camps on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. As a special thank you to our hosts each of us donated a painting inspired by our visit.
Winter Painting and Algonquin Park The Pords as a group have had three winter painting trips with time outside to paint landscapes in winter. On our trip in 2013 we joined friends who had rented yurts in Algonquin Park. We were lucky with the weather and and it was possible to hike and to work outside in the Park.


Montreal River

We stayed in a cottage in 2008 lent to us by Jack and Paula Dunning who are from the Sault Ste Marie area. With this home as a base we explored and painted in Lake Superior Park and along the shore of Lake Superior. We had a beautiful beach in front of the cottage and a screened in painting studio. The Pords held a show titled Destinations at the Carrier Gallery in Toronto in 2008


Ottawa and Gatineau

This was a special occasion to join the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour at an annual event. This time we stayed in the University of Ottawa dorms and explored the city. We drove into Quebec and painted in the area around Gatineau. The Pords were part of the PaintOut in the Byward market area of downtown Ottawa sponsored by the Watercolour Society.

December 29, 2020

Sad news to share

Sadly our dear friend and colleague Tony Batten passed away on Sunday, December 27th. Tony (Anthony) Batten was an exceptional artist,  a skilled watercolourist and master of acrylic painting. His work is held in Canadian and international collections as well as the Royal Collection in Windsor Castle. 

He was a leader in the arts community in Toronto and nationally as a past president of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (CSPWC), long time member of the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto and the Ontario Society of Artists.

He was fiercely proud to be a Canadian and relished the opportunity to complete a series of paintings depicting prominent rooms and public spaces in the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa. This work celebrates the existing interiors which are now being renovated.

Tony was very warm hearted and generous to all who knew him. Our painting group loved him and we will miss him sorely.

Let’s make something together.