Friday, March 27, 2015

Waterlily and art supplies

Waterlily - oil on panel - 9 x 12
$195 - click here to purchase

This study began life in acrylics, but yesterday I started working into it again with oils and brought it to this conclusion. I've added it to my 'Wetland' collection on my website. 

Kingston artists are wondering what is going on with the once fabulous Wallack's art supply store in downtown Kingston.  I know I am not the only one in the past year who has made special trips to town to buy art supplies only to find they haven't got any of the things I needed(basic things!).  Frustrating. I came home and turned to online shopping(Curry's) to order what I needed.

This never used to a problem.  Wallack's was always well stocked, and if they didn't have it, they got it for you in a couple of days and called you when it came in.  Not any more.  The shelves are bare and the staff tells us they are 'having difficulty with supplies'. no kidding.  I feel they are not being honest with their customers. something is going down.

Today the Wallack's website announced the official 'explanation' for closing 3 of their stores in Ottawa.  To me it seems a pretty delusional message.  Despite the stated plan to continue operating their Kingston store, I think they have already lost the Kingston artists market.

Personally, I'd be happy to see a Curry's art store in Kingston.  Who know's, maybe their head office will consider it.  I'm sure Kingston artists and art students would support it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The heart of an artist never gets old

Yesterday while visiting artist Kim Rempel's blog I discovered this marvelous clip which simply melted my heart, and so I just had to share it with all of you who might be reading my blog today.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

"Get Old" Hy Snell, 94 from Variable on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mossy Shore

Mossy Shore - 9 x 12 -oil on panel -$195
click here to purchase
My cold/flu has improved a bit, so I wandered into the studio this morning, first time in about a week. Spent a while working on a larger painting that is still at a midway point.  I'm indecisive about my colour strategy for it, so I need to back off a bit, give myself more time to work it out.  

Turning my attention to something else, I spied this small panel on the shelf. Said shelf runs above the window in my studio.  It's where I put paintings(small ones)to dry or when they need to 'percolate' a bit.  This one had been percolating a number of weeks; so time for a resolution. I had thought about adding a canoe but decided against it. The real subject is the light falling on the mossy shore; I thought the canoe would compete with it too much.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

facebook and art

Daisy's - oil on panel - 6 x 8"
click here to purchase
There is a new facebook page called ASK (Arts Scene Kingston) and yesterday I posted a query about my 5 missing paintings from the rental gallery.  I was most happy to receive an almost instant reply from Ben Darrah who has been hired to do the job of closing down the accounts left outstanding after the actual rental gallery closed last summer. Good news indeed.  Ben is a good guy, and as an artist understands the artists position... it's good to know he's working on it.

I have 2 facebook accounts.  One is personal stuff (for family etc)and the other is an artist page. I thought it was a good idea at first, but now I feel like it's a little redundant.  I'm still learning how to manouvre  it. For example when I'm signed in on the personal page, if I post on the artist page it disappears! I guess i'm supposed to sign in on the artist page to do that. duh. and you have to encourage and invite people to 'like' to your page for it's visibility to grow. duh. stupid. lame. but so right now.  ha ha ha.  the things we artists do in the name of promotion.

I came down with a cold Thursday, so I'm not feeling like painting. This small daisy painting was a Monday effort. During the evenings watching telly, I've been knitting birthday socks for Holly, which will be at least a month late for her birthday as I only have 1 done. 

Last night I started smocking a little bishops dress for Miss Ella my grandaughter.  So I'm not idle, just not painting.  My eyes aren't what they used to be so dont look too closely at the stitches, they are wonky, but I know Ella wont care. Rachel had a brown gingham dress when she was little, and I loved her in it, so that's why I chose this colour again. ...memory lane:)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Winter Light with Tulips

Winter Light with Tulips - oil on canvas - 30x30"
This painting has been waiting around in the studio for resolution for a couple of weeks. This morning we had a talk. It was quite therapeutic! I said some things... it said some things.  We had it out! Originally I had thought I would harmonize the area of the leaves by glazing into it, then adding more lights, but no.  That no longer seemed the way to go about it.  I opted for a more tentative approach.

I mixed up lots of different tints.  I applied them with palette knife and brush adjusting warm and cool tones according to where I thought the light pattern was falling.  Since these tulips have long since done duty, and were no longer around to refer to; I had to imagine where that light was falling, so it was a bit of a give and take.  I also changed slightly the shapes and tones of the flowers and adjusted the tones within the shadows.

It's funny, just last week in my workshops we observed a little experiment I had set up showing how  shadows change according to what kind of light (warm or cool) is on the subject.  I am just realizing this painting is a good example of the idea:  cool light casts warm shadows

Monday, March 16, 2015

Koru gallery on Brock street

Some of my hand-painted textile cushions are available now at KORU art annex and gallery on Brock Street in downtown Kingston.  They're pretty lively! ha ha.  My  art print reproductions and art cards are also available at this sweet little gallery! 
Christine(one of the owners) took some piccys and sent them along to me last night, so thought I'd share with you.  

Guess what I finally took my Christmas lights down yesterday (the ones on the outside of the house).  Had a look around the yard, and the snow is beginning to melt ...nearly time to get some primroses and pansies.  o yes i like to push the season

Friday, March 13, 2015

lesson learned

The Gardener - watercolour
Yesterday I needed to give a watercolour demo for the workshop group, and the night before I was deliberating about what would be most useful to them.  I could choose a subject that I was fairly confidant with, that I had done several times before, or I could choose a subject I hadn't tried before and wasn't sure I could do, but that made me feel passionate.  If I don't feel at least a little passionate, I find it hard to summon up any kind of energy for painting. 
So, you guessed it I chose the second option. 

Inspiration from one of my fav shows, "Monty Don's Around the World in 80 Gardens"  was my subject... a BBC produced series featuring gardener Monty Don, leading the viewer on an exploration tour of spectacular gardens worldwide. 

Splashing on singing colour with the first wash, I could almost could hear the birds singing...things were going swimmingly!  As I continued (in my own mind, though I didn't let on) things progressed downhill from there.  The lesson I learned yesterday is that it's okay when you're students see you shows them that it happens to everybody.   As Joann (one of the participants) put it yesterday: "Nobody dies". ha ha ha.
the demo before I cropped it
-too much chaos competes with focal point

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Focus on Colour - oils

Morning Espresso in the Sun 9 x 12"
Today I gave a workshop in my studio about colour for oil painting; it went well.  There is just so much darn info about colour to get a handle on, that there are volumes and volumes written about it. It can be pretty confusing for people learning to paint. Today we tried to break it down a bit.  Thoughts on choosing colour palettes, the colour of shadows, colour matching, mixing and application techniques.  I did this demo of an Italian village street scene.  I was inspired by the colours in the cast shadows, so thought it was a good example for the demo.  We were tired by the end of the day, but got a thorough workout!

Friday, March 6, 2015

dreaming of fun in the sun

It's funny how being hunkered down in my studio during wintery weather leads me to dreaming of fun in the sun. Last week I gave the watercolours a workout creating little miniature's on the theme of beach huts. (I love 'dem little cutie-pies!) It was a fun change up from big florals and bike path paintings and helped get me dreaming of holidays and carefree days during the process.  

It's a diversion switching mediums. Oil painting has allowed me a 'painterly freedom' that I was missing when I used to paint exclusively in watercolours. That freedom stayed with me while painting these.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

workshop prep

artist desk job
Yesterday was a good day for hunkering down and working on the prep for my upcoming workshops next week. Basically I know the things I want to cover, but I like to give each class a 'handout'  with key points we'll discuss.  So that's what I was working on. The oils class is on Tues, the acrylics group on Wed, and the watercolour bunch on Thurs. The focus is on colour, and although the principles are the same the process with each medium is quite different.  I took me a while ' breaking it down' into the simplest language I could. Most of the day actually. I dont know how folks with desk jobs do it.  it's tiring! 

paintings waiting to be loaded for
Gallery on Gore, Perth, ON.
Today thank goodness we have a break in the weather and the temp has come up to 0' making the roads okay to travel on, which is a good thing as I'm heading to the gallery in Perth this morning to take them new paintings.  They've had a slow winter(no surprise) so I'm hoping things will get moving for them with spring around the corner.  My friend Sarah is going to join me for the drive, so we'll share a coffee, scone and art chat at the lovely bakery in Perth, near the gallery afterwards.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Cant forget the Met

atrium with sculptures & facade
of Bank of America building
Just back from a short trip to New York...oh my word!  LOVED the Metropolitan museum of art!  Spent the whole day there!!  

Went to see the 'Madame Cezanne' exhibition, so beautiful; an in depth examination of the watercolours, sketches and canvas's by Cezanne of his dear wife Hortense, throughout the years.  
Madamme Cezanne

I've just finished reading a book about the lives of the French impressionists, so it was very timely indeed visiting many works by them(the museum  has a vast collection.) Most of the works are way larger than 30 inches...funny..when I paint I always think 30 inches is a fairly big painting... but it's really not...perhaps I think this because my studio's not large.

pictures dont do justice,
this painting must be 16 feet tall
The American artists galleries at the Met were absolutely spectacular. OMG...just gobsmacked by the scale and command of the Sargeant works!  Seeing them online or in a book is nothing compared to the power of them in real life. The command of his brushwork evident in all. Such powerful balance.  That's what really struck me.  Painting delicate translucent looking skin, ethereal fabrics, freshly picked blooms, but balancing it all with commanding gesture, sweeping space, strong form. Such virtuosity.  I wonder what his personality was like...if he was a good time guy, or if he was a bit of a pill? It's fun to guess.  I get the feeling he might have been a rather exacting guy.