Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mistik Waters

Sunday and I'm in the studio for a bit.  I had an urge to visit Mistik Creek in my mind and this watercolour is the result of that journey.  That wonderful creek holds a special place in my psyche and I am eternally grateful for its existence.  The painting started off as a nifty little "Notan" sketch in three values done with felt markers.  I like it almost as much as the watercolour.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Charcoal Drawing

This is a little charcoal drawing of my buddies Jack and Sandra Hollenburg's grand daughter.  Sandra is a wonderful photographer (and grandma) and this is based on a photo she took of the darling sitting on a stump surrounded by spent dandelions.  I am going to give it to them one of these days.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Art and hard work

I can honestly say that I have worked hard all my life and in the same breath admit that I could and can work a lot harder.  This goes for my "real job" as a carpenter and my passionate side of life that includes painting, music and love. (maybe not in that order)  The thing about hard work is that it does eventually pay dividends in the form of money (not so important), prestige (even less important), or knowledge and peace.  My brother Richard and I are fond of saying that the good Lord gave us able bodies and minds to use and the proper and grateful thing to do would be to resemble a well used rag on our death beds.  Amen to that.  This little plein air was painted not far from my current stomping grounds. I love poplars.
Painted while listening to Arthur Rubinstein playing the piano like he means it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Palette Scrapings

This painting, which I have entitled "Black Poplars", started off from the palette scrapings of the previous days painting "All the Diamonds".  By mixing all the left over colours I ended up with a lovely gray which I used to tone my new canvas.  After deadening the stark white canvas I was reminded of a time and place in Wellington Park last winter so I set about re-creating that, using a little artistic license, but not to much!  Critiques are welcome, I want to let this one percolate for awhile, but I am somewhat excited about it.  In some ways I am reminded of some of Gustave Klimt forest interiors, which is not a bad thing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

All the Diamonds ver. 4

No, I'm not on drugs, although maybe the smell of linseed oil and oil paint is starting to get to me.  The funny thing about this painting (in my humble opinion)  is that even though there is all this crazy brushwork going on it is starting to read as a cold, hoar frosty kind of morning. At least that's what I see when I take my glasses off.  That reminds me, time to phone the optometrist's office as I think I need new glasses.  Seriously!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Pastel

Spent the greater part of yesterday and today in the studio.  Some of the time was spent preparing paper for some drawings I want to do in silver and copper point.  I have been working around the oil painting "All the diamonds" by doing studies in charcoal, pencil and pastel.  The pastel above is the result of these studies and deals with low angle winter light in the late afternoon.  It bears some similarities to the piece on the home page of my blog.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

All the Diamonds

All the Diamonds
Have you ever heard the song "All the Diamonds" by Bruce Cockburn?  A truly great song that talks about the natural wonders of this world, amongst other things.  I am making a feeble attempt to express the effect of looking in the direction of the rising sun on a bone chilling winters morn when there are ice crystals in the air.  I am having fun with this painting but its time to go and make some soup.  Back at it tomorrow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Deep Dark Woods Day Two

Its day two for Deep Dark Woods, I'm not scared any more.  Its just paint and I have lots of it.  After all, painting in the end is all about the paint on a two dimensional surface, which many of us forget.  The big guy did a great job of his side of things and its up to me to do my own version of "that".  Its all fun.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Work in Progress

I am calling this one Deep Dark Woods, largely because I was listening to the group by the same name as I was painting.  The subject is loosely based on an old cabin down the back lane from me and started off as a chalk pastel on canvas.  I initially was just going to sketch the lay in but I was so taken with the colours that I got carried away with it all.  After fretting about about whether to leave it as a pastel I decided that wouldn't be to easy to resolve archivally so I converted it to an oil painting, still using the pastel with linseed oil and thinners.  I like the result but will have to sit on it for awhile to see if it speaks to me.  I don't want to get to fussy with it. What do you think?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Feeling Love

Connection by Akiko Hoshino
Lately I have been making a study of my fellow artists, past and present. In the process I revisited a Japanese artist by the name of Akiko Hoshino, whom I discovered through the magazine Pastel Journal. Sadly her young life was cut short by a hurtling chunk of metal with four wheels driven by an inattentive human operator in New York late last October. I submit her artists statement here because I was so taken with it, the sweetness of her soul comes through so clearly to me.
"I always want to make picture which give a hope to people. No matter how depressed they are, people should go forward. I imagine myself to be in the same situation when I create my artwork. Some people look at the future straightforward with strong will. Tender smile reminds people of happy time. I think peoples feelings and expressions are beautiful. Those feelings and expressions give other people courage and high-spirited heart, also make me vigor to make my pictures.
My art pieces are executed by charcoal and pastel in black and white. One of the reasons why I use black and white is they are strong and simple, and also emphasizes "Light".

Akiko's statement "tender smile reminds people of happy time" is haiku at its best and I am certain that her family and friends will have that smile on their faces when they remember her. In our own individual way I think all artists strive for what Akiko strove for and expressed so well in her work.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Golden Hour

Scout Camp Point
I am a great fan of that time of the day when the sun is coming up or in the process of setting as such things as colour, value and hue are intensified in an extremely pleasing way.  This painting depicts an old haunt of mine back in The Pas, Mb.  About 25 minutes north of the town is one of the world's most beautiful lakes, seriously!  The water is so clean and clear that it reflects the light in the most amazing way, only one other lake in the world is similar to it.  On this day the sun was setting and lighting up the trees and rocks in an orange glow, very common for that lake.  I'll sit on this painting for awhile and see if it tells me anything.  Critiques are always welcome!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Anybody know this guy?

A Photographer
Anybody out recognize this guy with the crazy hat?  If you do that is good for me because I will know that I did a decent job of capturing his likeness.  If not then it is back to work :(  Let me know, all comments are welcome!

Approaching Storm

Approaching Storm
A beautiful morning but there is a threat of some windy weather on the way.  I gathered up my painting box and headed out with the dogs to a spot on the east side of the settlement that overlooks the lake northwards.  The temperature is hovering around minus 3 Celsius which is great for painting out of doors.  I have come to enjoy the way my paint gets a bit stiff outside as it makes for some nice texture, which I like immensely.  This piece is 8 x 10 inches and is an oil on masonite, primed with ochre over an acrylic modeling paste base.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hymns to the Silence

Hymns to the Silence
I had another opportunity to paint out of doors the other day, this time it was at the "Golden Hour" which in these parts at this time of the year is around 4:30 pm. The temperature hovered around minus 13 Celsius.  The subject is Wellington Creek, which because of the colder weather, is frozen around half of its length through the park. I loved the colours in the ice and the silence of the place, hence the title. It alludes to one of my favourite Van Morrison songs by the same title. I have a hunch that besides me the only other creatures that enjoy the place are the deer, rabbits and coyotes.