Wednesday, November 27, 2013

solo show at The Blue House, Brighton

You're invited!  This Sunday, December 1st is a wine and cheese opening reception(4-6pm) for a show of my works in Brighton, Ontario at The Blue House, where I am the featured artist for the month of December. I'm delighted to have this opportunity to show my work in a new venue, and such a pretty one too!  
The Blue House is a marvelous gift shop on the main street in Brighton.  There will be about 25 paintings of mine in Upstairs Gallery.  If you're in the vicinity it would be wonderful to see you there at the wine and cheese opening! 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

balancing empty space with detail

I've recently made big changes to a painting that I initially thought I had completed a couple of weeks ago.   Took a big brush and some thick opaque paint and wiped out a whole for-ground that I had spent at least 2 weeks 'getting right'.  Turns out I didn't.  The problem was just 'way too much stuff', so that there was no where for the 'eye to rest'.  It was more a cutesy illustration than a painting really... actually made me uneasy just looking at it.  I kept feeling like if I could just get rid of the 'stuff' on the left side I'd be happier with cover? Could that balance some of the detail with a little empty space?  Well, you can see the changes I've made so far...feeling better already:)

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Colours

The Colour's - oil on wood - 6x6
I've painted so many of our  town's nooks and cranny's over the years, and I love doing so, but I've quite neglected one of Kingston's landmark heritage sites; Old Fort Henry.  Today's painting(left) is one of a little group attempting to change that. It's not that I haven't wanted to paint it, but it's position on the landscape eludes me; it's like a tiger hiding in long grass.  
'Gateway' - the fort is up on the hill on the left here
'Sunset at Fort Henry' - watercolour

From above it presents itself as a grey architectural barricade, which is what it's meant to be after all...but from that angle it doesn't really give one a feel of what it's all about.  An aerial view tends to have the whole landscape as subject and not really the fort itself as focus, as you can see in these 2 other images from past paintings.  

When I paint, I'm most interested in how I feel about a subject.  So this week I have set myself a task of painting a group of little paintings that tries to do just that.  It's a bit of a challenge because although I love painting old stones and light, a Victorian era military fortress  presents it's own challenges...formality for one!  Things like weaponry and uniforms are not arbitrary subjects; yet my goal is to remain true to simple design and painterly application, not getting too caught up in the details.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday at the show

We had a great day today at the Thousand Islands Art show and sale!  The sun shone, people came out...and the little quaint cottage that used to be a piggery (yes...I did say piggery!) was just bustling. I'm too tired to write much else, but here's a couple of piccys from today.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thousand Islands Art Show and Sale Nov 16, 17

Island View - 6x8 oil on panel
Wow, I have a big load to pack in the truck tomorrow! Setting up for the Thousand Islands Arts Show and Sale in Rockport. Just past the intersection between the Thousand Islands Parkway and Buell's Point Road, is Old River Road...a short way along there is a quaint old house called LARUE HOUSE(247 Old River Road).  I will be one of 4 artists showing at LaRue House. There are 3 other locations that the show also takes place at.Check out the brochure/map link above for directions. The show is on from 11am-5pm both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

In Toronto yesterday for a quick trip; met my Jane for lunch before she began work; lovely! Jane is an associate producer at CBC; when she's in the edit suites her day often begins late and ends late too. Yesterday was one of those days. I wish I had gotten a picture of the two of us, but i didn't think of it! darn.  however I did snap the giant reindeer at the Eaton Centre later on.  Aren't they cool? There was several of them, and a giant green tree of lights too.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Remember them

Remember - oil on wood - 8x8 inches
The poppies this year near my fence were quite spectacular, and I had wanted to paint them, but at that time never got around to it.  With Remembrance day coming up I thought it might be a good time to give it a go...with the addition of a lark sparrow singing.  This monday on the 11th, Dave and I will head to Remembrance day ceremonies, we have missed going in the past few years.
Saturday from 10am-2pm I will participate in an artisan fair at Edith Rankin Memorial United Church on Bath Road, which I'm sure will be enjoyable. I'll be selling small paintings and cards.  Then on Sunday, I'll be at Gallery Perth for a vernisage (2-4pm) for their new show A Change of Art. I'm looking forward to meeting and chatting with the artists there.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Maritime Morning

Maritime Morning - oil on canvas - 24x18 inches

Painting the early morning sunshine glinting across the harbour, I'm fiddling my 'welcome jig' to this sweet city by the sea.
I made lots of changes to my initial composition, listening to feelings about it as it progressed.  I had initially included the Bluenose, but I didn't like the way it was sailing out of the harbour, so I turned it around and had it sailing into the harbour...but then I felt it was not at home...after all, the Bluenose's berth is actually in Lunenburg, so I painted it out completely.  I was happier with the space provided once it was gone.  I had fun developing the docks and the buildings, I didn't pay much attention to what is actually's not literal, but I dont care. It makes me think of Halifax, and that's what I was after.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pushing past stuck

For me the most exciting part of starting a new painting, is the proverbial 'wind beneath my wings'.  That is where I get swept up in the enthusiasm for the idea, working out the design and swiping on those first flourishing gestures in thin oil paint  for the 'block in', laying out my palette with juicy fresh colour.  Sometimes I zoom along and establish most of the painting at this stage, other times with more complicated subjects I let the design percolate and go back to it several times at different intervals moving it forward bit by bit.  If the time lapsed between sessions is great I can easily lose the passion for it.  I look at the painting at it's half-way (ugly)stage and wonder where the joy went.  I feel stuck.
How can I get that feeling back?
What I have found works for me is to put the painting on the easle, push my swivel (easy)chair back about 10 feet and study the painting from that distance.  Then I write a list.  At the top of the list I write down what the painting is "about" to me...the main idea behind it. That keeps me clear on what it is I want to convey.  My work is not conceptual, but I have my own reasons for the paintings I undertake. Underneath the main idea, I list different areas of the painting that need attention, and my plan for resolving these areas.  Sometimes the list is really long,  other times it's just a few tweaks.  It's rather methodical.  It dashes the notion of the free spirited, devil may care, risk-taking artist who dives in and paints with gusto from start to finish. heh heh. nope. That's not me.
Pushing past stuck is pretty straight forward. Time and perserverance are usually what see me through.