Crystal and I spent a wonderful weekend with close friends at a ranch in Northern Saskatchewan. The mornings were supernaturally beautiful, as winter mornings can be when there is fog and hoar frost. This pastel is my attempt to capture one of those rare moments. I wonder what people thought when they looked up and saw me sitting on the roof of the log ranch house playing around with my pastels?
In another life I was an industrial electrician for the Canadian National Railways. After I had finished my apprenticeship I was assigned to the afternoon shift, where I spent most of the thirteen years I worked for the railway. I remember times coming to work at the Roundhouse in the afternoon when the sun would be blazing in through the windows and this, combined with the smoke from the diesel engines and arc welders, would make for a Turneresque (my word to describe the technique of the great British artist William Turner) effect. This is what I am trying to capture in the painting above. Another challenge is to paint in a monochromatic scheme, which actually works quite well for the environment I remember working in. It was kind of like Hell, or what I imagine Hell would look like. We always had a gray Shop Cat who would regularly check all the incoming locomotives for dead things that would make for a tasty dinner. She never was wanting for food as I remember and would proudly show off her latest catch, something alot of cats do for some reason. So I am titling this piece Afternoon Shift to honour the cat's and my time at the Roundhouse in The Pas, Manitoba.
This is a small painting depicting a lovely morning last August on Schist Lake, Manitoba. I am going to let it sit for awhile before I call it finished. Comments welcome. Some of you may know I have been painting a number of pieces based on a trip I made up there in 2011. A beautiful place. I am going up there in two weeks time to visit old friends and will be taking my paint box, snow shoes and camera. Hope the weather cooperates. I am anxious to get some sketches and photos of the place in the winter with all the snow.
I felt like doing a large watercolour the other day and this is it. This is a scene that is so typical of the western Canadian prairies that it could be anywhere, this particular location is just northwest of Melfort, SK. It is 22 x 30 inches in size on 140 lb. Arches paper and portrays a afternoon sky that threatens rain.
I've been working away on this larger painting ( 30 x 60 inch) for a few days now and find I'm getting to the fiddling stage which could mean a few things. It is done or almost done, or a complete and unequivocal failure. I leave it up to you my dear audience, what say you?