Thursday, March 27, 2014

What palette?

It's a question.  If you paint with acrylic paints...what kind of palette do you use for squeezing your paints onto? I bought a 'Stay-Wet' palette last year.  The instructions tell me I can leave the paint in there and put the lid on between uses and it will stay wet for the next time.  It does. But twice now I have found mold in there when I lifted the lid! yuck! Big clean out and start again. With oil paints I use paper palettes that I throw out after each use. If you paint with acrylics, what do you use?

Last week my father and I traveled by train to Montreal and met at the Queen Elizabeth hotel(where John and Yoko held their bed-in for peace in 1969) for a little winter blahs breaker excursion.  that's us enjoying drinkypoos in the bar before dinner...then we met my nephew and his girlfriend Kelly, for dinner.  Cam recently had moved to Montreal, he's an ad-man, a copywriter there. 
 The next day Dad and I went on a little visit to the biodome, we certainly enjoyed the feeling of being in a tropical rainforest, although we could have done without the noise from 15 primary school classes also visiting!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

plein air watercolour to studio canvas

I painted a small plein-air watercolour of an Italian courtyard years ago on a holiday trip. It was a lovely experience sitting in that shaded courtyard, sipping a coffee and painting with the warm sun creeping into the corners and the birds chirping around me. This week I'm creating a larger oil painting using that small watercolour as a jumping off board for inspiration. When it came to blocking it in, I decided on a slightly different composition. The original seemed a bit empty when I upscaled the simplicity of the I've added some architechtural shapes in the right background, to give it more depth. This is stage one, but feeling good about it.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Greener Pastures 2 - oil on wood - 8x8
Hard to believe under all this snow that there could ever be grass this green again...but we can hope.  I had challenged myself to use a super limited palette here, using only cadmium orange, ultramarine blue, and white and I did almost paint the whole thing using only those two.  Those two colours will produce a really nice value range, but the tone of the colours produced is muted (that's what happens mixing complimentary colours) much like an overcast day.  I wanted that spring feeling...sunshine... so squeezed out a blob of cadmium yellow pale onto the palette.   Interesting how that one colour can add such zing.  I really love fooling around with colour, it has such an ability to change how we see things.

Monday, March 10, 2014

new website direct sales

Gallery Perth is selling their business and will be closing at the end of April.  I've had work at Gallery Perth for about 5 years, and it's been a wonderful experience.  Veronica Airth is the owner, she's  promoted artists and been so supportive over the years. But she has decided to retire and it is time to sell her business.  She also runs a framing shop Perth Picture Framing.  The business is in a wonderful spot in Codes Mill,in the picturesque town of Perth, Ontario.   I know all of the artists will miss her greatly.
Gallery representation certainly doesn't come easily for most is a challenge doing the door knocking and requesting appointments to see busy gallery owners to promote work.   I dare say most artists dont like it one bit, we're a reclusive bunch who would rather be painting than marketing!
I've resisted direct selling from my website for years, because I wasn't sure how galleries would feel about that, but this month I made the decision that I will do what I can.  After all, the prices remain the same either way.  Why should I care more about what galleries think?   I have decided to add purchase buttons to my website in order to make it easy for people to buy if they like what they see.  
Of course, I am always open to contact and very happy to show work 'in person' to anyone who wants to see it.  Contact me anytime to make an appointment. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

demi Llamas

Once upon a time there was a lady who stopped into the
Gallery at the Porch Door one summer day with her friend.  Both of them bought paintings.   After chatting away to them I found out that one of the ladies, Susan W, owned a llama farm, not far from here, on Highway 38.  I was invited out to the farm to sketch and take pictures and meet the llamas.  
Yesterday I felt like painting, so printed off some of the pictures I had taken of them, got out my sketches, and began two small 6x8's:  the demi llamas...heh heh. (Oxford's Current English Dictionary: "demi: prefix for half; partly")  
It felt good to work loose and sketchy on the slick smooth surface of those little gesso-bords.  I ordered a bunch of them from Curry's online store last week, they were 12 x 16, then I got Dave to cut 3 of them down into quarters, which gives me twelve 6x8's...I prefer this size to the standard 5x7 which can be bought already precut.
This afternoon will be the last session of Time to Paint for the winter afternoon class. We'll chat about  ways to achieve harmony in painting; but mostly I want them to enjoy lots of class painting time today.

Monday, March 3, 2014

How often have you sat in a pub/eatery or station while tv screens play in the room? Have you ever noticed it's always sports channels? Okay I get it if it's a 'sports bar' and that's the theme of the place, you asked for it...but what about other places that do this? If you're like me it may have crossed your mind to get up and change the channel to HGTV or Discovery or anything more appealing! (I confess I'm not a sports nut)
Toronto is the brainchild of  It is a virtual gallery space for contemporary artists, and it's purpose is to engage the (art buying) public with art in unexpected places.  The pilot project is being launched at the Aroma Espresso Bar at 2040 Avenue Road in Toronto this month.  A continuous running slide show  of contemporary art changes every 7 seconds on a monitor.  The image plus artist's name and torontoart logo displays.  People who love the art can follow up and look at the website on their device's to find out more about the art they love.  Great concept huh? 
The plan, down the road, is for many new "Roaming Art Galleries" to spring up in places where they will engage the art loving public throughout Toronto.  I'm thrilled to be part of the pilot project.  If you're in Toronto why not stop in and have a coffee or lunch at the Aroma Espresso Bar on Avenue Road and enjoy the show.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

letting go

Yesterday my inner child got a playday.  It was a good day for it.  My friend Sherry came over for a paint date in my studio. (when 2 artists who normally like to paint alone decide to share some camaraderie and a painting space)  
I cut loose and worked in a very loose and free flowing manner, beginning on the canvas without pre-concieved ideas or sketches.  I have been dreaming of kites lately... don't know if it's symbolic of desire for the winds of change, but probably.(long winter)  It felt great to find a dreamy landscape in my head and just let go and find my way with it.  You can see how far I got above. I will develop the kite and the islands a little more when the paint dries a bit
I squeezed out only fun colours...ones that seemed light and airy, and different from my normal palette. Then I pinned a few inspirational images on the walls around my easle to send me in the right direction...splash!...that is me jumping in.
 It was such a freeing experience. Nothing but a vague idea of kites and a landscape.  I did a few u-turns as I went along...but thoroughly enjoyed the ride.  Sherry worked on painting and collaging while we chatted and then shared homemade soup and scones.