Saturday, August 30, 2014

gallery jaunts

Paulette outside
Side Street Gallery
in Wellington
Yesterday I closed the door on the end of season 4 for my Gallery at the Porch Door.  I have mixed feelings as it's nice to get back to freedom in my afternoon's, but it also signifies summer's end. I love receiving visitors in my little gallery space and meeting new clients. It's a thrill every time I sell a painting!

Tuesday my friend Bonnie and I headed down to the charming little village of Wellington in Prince Edward County to see Paulette at Side Street Gallery.  Paulete was happy to have 4 of my  'Wine Tour'  paintings for her gallery.  I'm happy as these paintings were inspired from a trip around 'the county' and so I feel it's fitting that they be shown in a county gallery.  Side Street Gallery is a good one, easy to find and full of a varied collection of local artwork.  It was a beautiful day for a drive; Prince Edward County astounds  me, every time I go there I say "I would love to live in the county".   Well that's not about to happen as long as Dave is working it is too far to commute for him, but who knows...maybe when he retires?  Anyway, that's eon's away.  After visiting Side Street Gallery, Bonnie and I wandered over to the new construction site nearby.  A new Drake hotel is being built at the site of the former Devonshire Inn.  It's a wonderful spot, overlooking the lake with gorgeous views.  My friend Kasey is now working at 'The Drake' and so we asked if she was on premises..."yes!"...she came out for a few minutes to have a wee chat and say hello.   It all looks very exciting; she promised that after they open Sept 15, the next time we're down she would take us on a tour around to show us the new digs!
Johanne of Gallery on Gore in Perth, Ontario
some of my works
(on table and floor) that are now
at Gallery on Gore

Wednesday morning I went to Perth, where I had an appointment to meet Johanne from Gallery on Gore.  This is a brand new gallery, new owners who own the building.  It's a great location, close to the bridge over the river and on the opposite corner from a bakery, where afterwards I indulged in coffee and yummy quiche! They have been open for the summer and have had a good start; they're optimistic and enthusiastic.  That energy rubs off; although a smaller space, it's warm and welcoming.  A sign over the door, gallery lighting and a website is next.   I'm happy to be showing in Perth again, it's a great little heritage town. Gallery on Gore will show 6 of my works;  she loved the new bike path series, so that was confirming.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Start of a New Day

Start of a New Day - oil on gessobord panel - 12 x 16"
I'm so excited to be heading to Halifax on Sunday to see my darling little grand daughter. I'm trying to work on finishing up a few pieces before I go, as I know I wont be oil painting while I'm there.  Perhaps there will be an opportunity for a little watercolour sketching, but I'm not sure...there is much cuddling and rocking to be done, and that will definately take precedence!
I resolved this painting yesterday afternoon.  It is more of a dreamscape than an urbanscape, but that's the mood I was in while working on it.  It took 2 glazes, first a raw sienna one which gave it a bit of an 'old world' feel, but was a little sombre for the mood I wanted.  So after that one dried I tried a glaze of Permanent Rose.  That gave it a definate mood of viewing the scene through 'rose coloured glasses'.  That was okay with me; I love the mood at the beginning of the day when it seems there is so much promise and all the time in the world, it cant help but be uplifting.  After the glazes dried I painted into it again using fairly muted warm tones.  When Dave came home from work he came up to the studio and looked over my shoulder as I was working on it..."I love that" he said.  He doesn't give a lot of feedback about my work, so it always means a lot coming from him.  

Monday, August 25, 2014


Last night my daughter Rachel had a baby girl, her first and our first grandchild! We're more than a little over the moon to be sure! Her name is Ella.  I love that name.  While I was waiting for her to be born I was working on a painting in the studio, but did more wiping out than anything else!  You get to see Ella's sleepy 1 hour old picture instead. Lucky you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

By the Lakeshore

'By the Lakeshore' oil on canvas - 30 x 36"
Another painting in my bike path series.  This finally came together this morning, when I had an idea to add the little dog.  For some reason adding a happy running dog gave purpose to the cyclist riding along... it has also immeasurably lifted the mood of the piece...a far cry from the (very green and sinister looking)block in a few posts back.  It's figure adds life, but two creates a relationship...I think that invites the viewer to join in the fun.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

illustrated maps

work in progress - oil on gessobord - 24x18 inches
I've been wanting to tackle an illustrated map of Kingston.  I've been thinking about it for a long while. I have a wonderful copy of an illustrated map from my mother's home town, Stamford which is a gorgeous town in Lincolnshire, UK.  I've spent many happy hours looking at it and finding neighbourhoods I remember visiting.  It's quite detailed; I think the original is done in pen and ink and watercolour washes.  I've also enjoyed other versions of illustrated maps from various places we've visited, but I've never seen one of Kingston, so figured why not give it a go?
A couple of days ago I got out a huge sketch pad and began making rough sketches but I quickly lost my enthusiasm...I was feeling frustrated...painting is my thing, not drawing. I was getting hung up on accuracy and perspective. 
Today while I was having an acupuncture treatment, listening to nature sounds piped into the room I let my mind drift about possibilities and came to me that what I really wanted was to paint it. Eureka! of course...why didn't I think about that?  For some reason I was hung up on most of the other illustrated maps that I've seen which are mostly all pen and ink, or illustration inks on paper, so I guess I just thought that's what medium I should do! silly me.  Listening to my heart told me to paint it because painting is what I really love to do. As soon as I started to think about painting it, I knew I wanted to work on a slick smooth gessobord surface so that the brushmarks will remain visible and not soak in like they often do on canvas.
I've only blocked in the lay of the land at this point, but will need to let it dry before I work into it to add iconic Kingston landmarks.  stay tuned, I'll post again when done.  woohoo! this one's a blast:)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Embracing the Pivot

work in progress - By the Lakeshore
Robert & Sara Genn's Friday morning post talked about the pivot point in painting.  That point when you make a decision to try something different.  It may not look like I tried something different in the third image,because when something works it appears like it was meant to be that way all along.  It wasn't. I have struggled with this piece.  It's not completely finished yet, but at least now I like where it's going.  The light situation is more uplifting now, so I'm feeling better about that.  To arrive at it I tried two different glazes, then painted into them afterwards.  I also redesigned the for-ground tree.(it was screaming: "look at me first"; it needed a slap to shut it up! ...a slap of thick impasto opaque paint to cover it up, that is)  Adjusting the values so there isn't quite as much contrast seemed to help too.  Gee... it feels good to find that other fork in the road. I can continue on my merry way now.

"When engrossed in an undertaking that's losing thrust or promise, we face the challenge of finding the courage to make adjustments. The difference between certain misery and fresh, springing hope is having the guts to leap into the new form" - Robert Genn

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Imagining what's not there

This is gessobord with a warm toned oil ground. I thought that colour might add vibrancy to my palette of fairly muted tones. My plan is for this to be an urban scape that takes the viewer on an imaginary flight. (magic carpet anyone?)  I begin with an actual photo I took a few years back, which I dug out of my resource files last week; you can see it on the upper right.  I liked the shapes of the steeple and the skyline, but I don't like the grey sky, bare trees and I dont want a copy in paint(boring). My goal is to take it a step or two further. I sketched my idea adding a background that I have imagined(basically my idea of what the cataraqui river might look like if I was flying over it).  I want the focus to be how the urban scape relates to the landscape in my mind.   I dont have a real plan other than this, no other images to work I am tapping how I think it might look (imagining).  It's play in a way, but also a building of shapes and tones in an abstract manner.  One brush only for establishing these elements, because I want to keep it loose as possible at this stage.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

peek a boo

This painting  started with a vivid pink ground, and I blocked in with raw umber.  This evening when  I began to paint it, I thought I'd go for a spring mood.   I chose my pigments with that feeling in mind. What interested me most was the way glimpses of architecture peeks from behind the trees which I find is creating more interesting shapes and tones than if I could see all the detail of the buildings.  It's  a work in progress.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

3 starts

Getting nowhere fast with my large piece that I worked on most of the day yesterday; ...need to let it dry and change my focus for a while.
3 urban-scape starts  - works in progress
I have always enjoyed painting urban-scapes and Kingston is a great town with lots of character in it's architecture, and since I live nearby it's easy to get resource material for these paintings. This morning I came across some photos I took ages ago from two different hotels where I got perspectives from the upper floors looking down on the rooftops, and so I'm using them as jumping off points.  3 canvases all with different coloured grounds. Hopefully will give me different moods even if  I do happen to use the same colour palette for them all...which I probably wont!   I think I'll paint them in different seasons.  For me one of the most fun things about working with colour is discovering the many possibilities, learning how it can change relative to what colour is beside it etc.   I get bored always using the same colours, so it's fun trying new combinations. It's the learning that keeps me interested. 
Of course It's exciting when something 'sings' that I hadn't expected, but equally exasperating when I choose a palette that doesn't fit the mood I want!  (like I said's all a bit of an experiment)
That is what  happened with the larger work in progress that I worked on yesterday, and it's why I have chosen to leave it to dry before I  can work into it again.  I had wanted morning light in the painting, but had chosen Indian yellow as my main yellow...I have learned now that Indian yellow just is never going to give me a colour that equates to morning light, no matter what I mix it with!  sheesh!  It reads as evening or late afternoon whenever I use it, and consequently the mood of the piece that I'm working on isn't working.  I couldn't see that yesterday, but I knew it this morning when I went back into the studio.  Funny how that happens!   It's like being blind or something while working on it.  At least it feels good recognizing what the problem is now...which hopefully gives me the opportunity to pull it together. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

the year of learning about roses

blooms from 'Fragrant Cloud' -tea rose
I am learning that roses are an ongoing challenge! I now have 6 different ones...2 climbers, 2 bush and 2 tea roses. 
First I noticed long thin little mushrooms growing near the base of the tea roses, which turned out to be "honey fungus"...a deadly fungus to roses. Yikes! Poor Mr. to save him?   I tried an antifungal product, then alternated with feeding and epsom salts far so good.  
A couple of days ago I noticed lots of holes in the leaves, only to turn them over and find little green caterpillars munching away on each one!  aaargh!  After a dash to the shed for my 'bug squishin glove'...I hate squishing them with my bare fingers... I was ready for battle! Those little suckers were on 2 of the tea roses and 1 of the climbers.

Mr. Lincoln
My climber, 'New Dawn' (which smells like heaven when I do get a bloom) is not doing too well either; most of it's buds are disfigured and dont open properly. I haven't figured out what's causing that, but I'm suspicious of chafer beetle. Last week I noticed that the leaves were almost all gone near the base, like they had been eaten by a hungry bug, but I couldn't find him! Confounding.