Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Tranquil Morning
I have always been a dreamer, as long as I can remember I have been in awe of natural wonders of what is known as life on the planet earth.  I still get snippets of memories from my childhood of times spent in the raspberry bushes, looking up through the berries, branches, the clouds beyond and my grandpa as he picked and just being totally in the moment.  I can still hear the bumble bees and grasshoppers and smell the earth and the berries on those hot summer days. The door of their house slamming and Baba calling for me, probably worried that I fell in the river or was off on one of my numerous adventures.  I was famous for disappearing and turning up in another town, looking for my Dad (a railroad engineer who made frequent trips up to northern communities). I credit this wonder with my fascination with painting the landscapes of places I love, that being in the moment and being oblivious of extraneous noise that can hide the true beauty of life.  The pastel above is a celebration of just such a moment I had on Schist Lake, Mb.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rock Paintings

Rock Painting Oil
I took a boat ride on Amisk Lake to look at some rock paintings.  The paintings were quite hard to find and frankly I was left wondering if they were the real McCoy, know what I mean?  It's like looking at cloud patterns or other naturally occurring events, it is in the eye of the beholder.  Leonardo da Vinci was a proponent of using these accidental images in his under paintings as a prominent part of the painting. I marvel at how these images appear in my paintings, maybe they are something that comes from the subconscious, bubbling up from down under like champagne.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Plein Air Painting

Mud Lake Oil
One of the first things I did  up at Denare Beach was set myself up overlooking Mud Lake which is just minutes away from the DenarePlex, the site of the Art Retreat.  A lovely setting, I was up on some pre cambrian rocks looking down at the lake.  Out near the middle of the lake was a small outcropping were sea gulls and pelicans were hanging out.  A supernatural experience.  I found out when I got back that the conservation officers were out in the area trying to trap a rogue bear that was wandering around in the vicinity! I'm not surprised because there were blueberries everywhere you looked.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Schist Lake Morning

Schist Lake Morning Oil
One of the great things some friends and I did while up at our Denare Beach art retreat (Shellmouth North) was to go on a boat ride in fellow artist Ron Watts pontoon boat.  Ron has a lovely cabin on Schist Lake and together we travelled up and down that fabulous lake in the early morning where we spotted numerous loons, pelicans and eagles.  The above painting is one of two I have painted of that experience, and I definitely have a few more planned as it was a very stimulating experience on a supernaturally beautiful lake.  Thanks again, Ron, for the hospitality!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Value of Thankfulness

Melody  36 x 48 Oil
After reading the latest post of Robert Genns Painters Keys, which was about thankfulness, I considered my experience up at the Denare Beach (Shellmouth North) retreat with respect to the idea of giving thanks.  For sure we always as a group said grace before we partook of the fabulous meals prepared for us by fellow artists but there is also saying thanks to all the participants for their help and critical comments that served to enhance the artistic experience.  There is giving thanks to God for the supernatural geography that is Amisk Lake, Schist Lake, the creeks, forests, blueberries and bears.  Their is thankfulness for the humor of singing Karaoke at 1:30 in the morning with people that sing way better than you, or worse.  Skinny dipping in the crystal clear waters of Amisk under a full moon at 1 in the morning with other loony artists, and the loons.  The list goes on.  So thanks, and thanks again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Denare Beach Art Retreat

Blue Hotel  Oil on Canvas 36x48
I am back from a week of painting in the wonderful community of Denare Beach, SK.  Our annual Shellmouth Retreat was moved there to give Jan Layh a bit of a break this summer after busily planning for her daughter Avery's wedding in a few weeks time.  What a fantastic place to be for a week of friendship and art making.  Many thanks to Karen Clark and Sarah Trevor, who organized this fantastic event.  I made new friends and reconnected with the supernatural wonder of the precambrian shield country after being away for nearly three years.  It has wetted my appetite to get back there and paint the landscape once more.  Also thanks to the artists of that area who came out to participate and to the public who supported all of us at the wind up on Saturday, what an amazing turnout!  We were treated to some special music performed by the Hanson's, a local duo, who played while be danced our heads off!  The painting above is one of 9 that I completed while up there.
I would like to invite my readers who are in the vicinity to come out to my solo show here in Watrous at the Gallery on 3rd.  It is titled "Conversations with Place," and will feature many of my works of the area.  It opens on Wednesday, August 17th.  The opening reception is August 19th at 7 pm.  Hope to see your there!