Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Summer Marina

Summer Marina - oil on linen - 18 x 14 - $450
click here to purchase
Finding a painting subject can be a  battle for me, so I settled in this week to utilize some of the many  resource photos that I took this summer.  There was one of the marina, which kind of suggested I give it a go, so I got busy.  All the boats and reflections did a number on me and I was really losing my way, so I decided to accentuate the lateral design aspects of the scene.  That kept the process a little more interesting to me, gave me a little room to play; venture down some un-travelled paths.
I made a point of going down to the Agnes Etherington public gallery yesterday as the Hart House collection is on view, and it's luscious... a good sized collection with about 30 odd works, there's some lesser known Lawren Harris's and A.Y. Jackson's.  There is also an interesting little exhibit of Carl Beam's and Ulrich Panzer.  It was a great little interlude for a painter on a rainy Tuesday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Foot Down, and Ready To Go

'Foot Down, and Ready to Go' - oil on linen - 18x14"- SOLD
I'm happy to post an image of my most recent painting commission, as the owners came by yesterday for the 'unveiling' and to pick it up. Happy to report they really liked it.  It was commissioned by a friend whom I hadn't seen in about 30 years, as a surprise gift for his partner.  I was delighted to oblige. Both of them are avid cyclists.  The painting was created from a supplied photo from their recent cross Canada bicycle tour.  It shows Helene checking the traffic in her mirror and about to push off on a highway climb through Ontario.  
Yesterday they were in Prince Edward county doing a 100km bicycle tour.  On their way home to Ottawa, they stopped in at my little porch gallery...although we kept the surprise, Helene did catch on that something was up when they made the detour to my place.  As soon as she saw the painting hanging in the gallery, it all became pretty obvious!  They both were happy with their new painting.and we enjoyed a nice cup of tea and a catch-up.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Great Grandad's palette

A few weeks ago while outdoor painting I gave my great grandfather's palette a whirl.  A compact little mahogany one, it's perfect for packing light.  It's been hanging on the door of my studio ever since I inherited it from my mum over 25 years ago.  I don't know if mum actually ever used it.  It's been my practice in the past to use disposable tear-off paper palettes for easy clean-up, but a painter friend gave me a tip about using steel wool with a little solvent to remove dried oil paint, and it works like a charm.

Sunny Break -oil on panel 6 x 8"
I don't mean to sound all "whoooowheee..." or anything but there was an energy in that palette!  YES.  A sort of mental connection.  The whole time I was painting I thought about my great grandad.  What inspired him? How often had he actually got to paint for pure pleasure?  Let's face it, life wasn't a breeze in rural Lincolnshire back in 1880.  A day's living would have been a lot of hard physical work.  But for some of great Grandad's life, he did work as a restorer of art...paintings of antiquity...BUT I'm guessing that's not all he did to make a living. I wish my grandmother were still alive so that I could ask her more about her dad.

I never knew him, but somehow I felt his spirit around me while I painted that day.  He would have been pleasantly enjoying the surroundings, I'm sure he never made it to Canada in his lifetime.  I think I felt what he might have felt as I worked.  That pure pleasure of manifesting my landscape observation with a few gobs of colored pigment.  No technology anywhere, just the same little palette 125 years later.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Art Noise for Kingston artists

Very happy to spread good news for Kingston artists: Kingston is getting a new art supply retail shop in the same spot that Wallack's used to be located on Princess Street.  ART NOISE will be owned by Tri-Art, a local art paint manufacturer based here in Kingston. On Saturday I was downtown and while there I happened to notice the sign posted on Wallack's old store window, which says ART NOISE will be opening at the end of October.  They will also carry other art supplies besides their own products such as canvas, boards, paper, encaustic supplies.  Super happy that we're going to have an art supply store again in downtown Kingston.

Friday, September 18, 2015

plein air & studio

Sunny Shop - oil on panel - $95
click here to purchase
Some of my panel paintings begin life as plein air studies.  Often there is something that catches my interest enough to start a little painting but when I get home, and put them up on my shelf to dry, I'm not always enamored.  In the excitement of interpretation I get clumsy (especially when painting straight lines) What I often think looks fine in the field, is pretty lack luster back in the studio. Maybe it's because I get caught up in all the other stuff that is going on outside (birds singing, people passing by, wind, bugs) and I'm not as focused on what I'm creating, tending to just lay down what's in front of me, without really asking myself what could make it sing.
This little painting, 'Sunny Shop' came together in the studio for me this afternoon.  Here's (left) how it used to abandoned shop in small town Ontario on a hazy afternoon. That's more or less how it really looked, but as a painting, it wasn't really speaking to me at all.

Maybe I could
tell a little story? It would be a fib, it's true, but so what.  The idea of a friendly open flower shop was way more fun than the blah boring empty storefront.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Chair interior and a visit to Toronto

Reading Chair in the Morning - oil on canvas - 36 x 30
$900 click to purchase
I'm pretty happy with how my reading chair painting came together this afternoon. It's the first larger painting of this theme(I did some small 6x8" size  interiors before when I was in Florida on holiday) but this is on canvas, and it took more time to figure out. My artist friend Sarah came by last week, it was nice to have her perspective at the point where I was flailing around a bit. ha ha. It confirmed my thoughts, helping me to find a resolution.
I didn't know what category collection to put it in on my website.  I stuck it in with the floral paintings for now.  I can always start a new collection of 'interiors' if I do others, which I'm sure I will as time ticks by.  I enjoyed finding a balance between hard and soft edges while suggesting the forms. What was on my palette for this one? Cerelean blue, cadmium orange, vandyke brown plus white were the basis for most of the painting...I think the ground was a red/pink tone. I used to use burnt umber  a lot when i wanted a rich dark brown, but these days I'm really loving the transparency of vandyke brown.  I love this corner of my kitchen, can you tell?

Jane and mum at the aquarium
I just got back from 2 nights in Toronto; woohoo! A perfect chance to get in some special mother/daughter time with my darling daughter Jane (Janie-bear). We went to visit the aquarium, which was spectacular, even with the crowds.  
Jane in the control room
Jane's an associate tv producer on CBC's Dragons Den, and as the aquarium is close to the CBC building, afterwards she took me over to where she works; it was thrilling for me to get the grand tour of where it all happens...production studios, control room, Jane's own desk. 
As a mother I had a few teeny weeny nostalgic thoughts...after all it was Labor Day, (typically the day before a new school year starts here in Canada) and I was getting a tour of my daughter's workplace.  A little poignant for me, but very satisfying a mother our job is teaching our little birds to fly, and it's gratifying to see them finally do so.  Hope you don't mind a proud mum's millions of pics! ha ha.

one of my fav galleries - Bau-Xi
giant thimble, buttons
on the street
in the fashion district
Next day was shopping and some gallery visits.  I was on foot, and it was hot(32 degrees), but I managed to cover a lot of territory, checking out old haunts in the fashion district and some art supply shops too.  It was a relief to get off my feet for a while, and indulge in afternoon tea and macaroons at the espresso bar in the Art Gallery of Ontario after 2 hours of exhibition viewing!

Here's a Lawren Harris for you...not his iconic northern landscape, but a beautiful urban Toronto winter scene...that master of design!