Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Oftentimes in the middle of winter my thoughts and sentiments turn to summertime. Lazy days sitting by the water enjoying the heat, insects buzzing around, birds of the air and water, blue skies and fluffy clouds. This painting is about that. Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

First Hoar Frost

First Hoar Frost
This is a small pastel I did yesterday morning after witnessing our first hoar frost of the season. I had a piece of pink mat board handy which seemed like a good colour to have peeking through in places. What a brilliant morning it was!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ted Baschak 1919-2013

Ted Baschak
I've just recently received word that my uncle Ted Baschak passed away in a care home in British Columbia. There are some mixed emotions here as I never met the man, in fact as far as I know his brothers and sisters all thought he was dead a long, long time ago.  The man simply dropped off of the radar, never made contact with anyone for all these years.  I remember my Dad telling me they had some interesting times in Toronto back in the early forties and then he struck out on his own, never to be heard from again.  Apparently he was an artist and free thinker, just like yours truly. It would be interesting to see some of his work, maybe our sentiments had some parallels. I have no idea if he had any family, an estate manager is currently looking for someone to give him direction for burial etc. Very sad state of affairs in that I strive to stay in touch with my immediate and extended family just because of the manner in which my Dad's family didn't. He is not the only member of Dad's side that has pulled similar stunts. One of Dad's mantra's is "family should stay together", no wonder.
I've chosen this painting to show because Dad was a railroad engineer for 37 years, he worked all over Manitoba and parts of Saskatchewan. The train ride to Churchill Manitoba, if I remember correctly, takes around 20 hours and passes through some pretty awesome landscapes, some of it very lonely and barren. The picture is about coming home through that barren land in the dead of winter, which can be a very lonely place indeed.  I wonder if my uncle Ted had his lonely times thinking about his Mom, brothers, and sisters for all those years?
Southward Bound  Oil on Canvas

Monday, October 28, 2013

Robert Genn

Islet, Grenville Channel, BC by Robert Genn
Yesterday morning I took my coffee out to the studio and sat down at the computer to read read Robert Genns bi weekly newsletter,  the Painters Keys, and was extremely saddened to hear he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I know and accept that life is short and that we all must pass sooner or later but why is it always such a shock when we hear such news?  It is abundantly clear that Robert Genn is dearly loved by thousands of people the world over and these people are even now sending out silent messages of hope and love that will benefit him, even as I do.  Wouldn't it be great if all people, all the time, treated each other in this manner? So Robert, may you go to that special place where your best work comes from and find the Love and Peace that heals the body and Soul of all worldly woes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Matters of the Heart

I wasn't sure what prompted me to paint this Oil, which was painted in August, but now I'm wondering if it was my sub-conscious telling me something about my heart. I've just recently been diagnosed with a heart condition and the more I look at this piece I think it is about inner workings. I often discover hidden messages and images in my work after the painting is done, and others find their own meanings as well.  I know we all should listen to that still, quiet voice inside of ourselves.

Friday, October 18, 2013

And the Children will Play

And the Children will Play
Oil on Canvas

This painting started out in one direction and stayed that way for 75 per cent of the time, then it took a left turn. When I was a young boy a bunch of us would play in the school yard with a Catholic priest by the name of Father Henry. I remember he had an old CCM bike with a big wire basket on the handle bars. Father Henry would often bring a kite with him and we would spend hours flying it. I bet he had someone in his life that played with him in the same manner. A wonderful man, I often remember him when I see a kite soaring up in the sky.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


I enjoyed painting these flowers so much the last time around that I decided to give it another go. Painted from life in my studio.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sweet PeasSweet Peas

Sweet Pea Plein Air
I love sweet peas. You can put a small bouquet of them in a room and they fill the space with their heavenly scent.  Sitting by these will painting was a wonderful experience.  I will miss them when the frosts come but look forward to them again next year.  I have been saving their seeds to plant for a few years now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Flowers

Marigolds in Antique Vase
This past weekend I had some time in the studio so I set up this arrangement of Marigolds in Crystal's Grandma's antique flower vase and got down to work.  Really enjoyed painting from life, as usual.  Painting knife used exclusively.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A river scene

This pastel was painted the day after the previous posting, almost the same place but much different light going on.  Same fish jumping and ducks quacking.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dusk en plein air

Dusk on the Assinaboine River

This is a pastel painted just as the sun was going down over the Shellmouth valley.  I was sitting with a friend by the river desperately trying to capture the colours before they were gone, a near impossible task.  Near the end of the session I was just guessing because I couldn't really see the pastels in my box, hence the sketchiness of the piece.  A memorable experience by the river with the waterfowl flying about and the  fish jumping out of the water trying to catch bugs.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shellmouth United Church

Shellmouth United Church
I was able to paint a number of plein air pieces while down at the annual Shellmouth Art Retreat this past August. This one is of the Shellmouth United Church, which was saved from demolition by a community of engaged individuals who wanted it preserved.  I sat in the field not far from the community hall where the retreat is held one fine morning when the mist was almost dissipated. Curiously, the sky was almost the same colour as the birch board support I was using.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Shellmouth en Plein air painting

I've painted from this location before on a number of occasions with my brother Richard present taking photos, Garry Harris, James Dean, Jan Layh, Dean Bauche and others all trying their hand at painting from the subject.  Nothing beats it in my humble opinion, I'll never tire of it as long as I'm able. A great spot where the Assinaboine River takes a turn and lazily continues on her way.

Monday, August 26, 2013

JJ Cale

JJ Cale  Pastel on Paper

I have been a fan of JJ Cale for many years and was greatly saddened to hear of his passing a short while ago.  It was a cathartic experience for me to draw and listen to his wonderful lyrics and guitar playing.  All things must pass, there are those who will miss this amazing bluesman.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Shellmouth Valley

This is a 6 x8 oil on birch plywood painted en plein air at Shellmouth, Mb at our annual
Art Retreat.  I've painted down here on numerous occasions, this time I had two friends with me, Jan Layh who is the facilitator of the event and Hollande Woods.  A wonderful time spent enjoying the moment.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What was said to the Rose

What was said to the Rose

I've been working on this piece off and on for awhile now. It is an Oil on Canvas measuring 36 x 28 in.  It has undergone quite a few changes from its inception at the Shellmouth art retreat last year but I am pleased with where it is currently. I read Rumi's poetry often and this painting is reminiscent of something he wrote way back in the mid 12 century.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Plein Air piece

I painted this 6 x 8 oil in the company of my good friend Garry Harris. We were advised not to go out at this time of the day as the temperature was above 30 Celcius and the humidity was quite high but I am probably a little stubborn so we sat on top of a lovely butte and painted to our hearts delight.  There were turkey vultures and red tailed hawks screaming at us from above and the sun was scorching but it was all worth it.  Garry did a nice little sketch that he was quite pleased with. This is looking south by south west.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wolf Willow Retreat en plein air

A bunch of painter buddies got together on a few days and painted en plein air in the town of Eastend, SK.  It was a great experience, very hot and humid, but a beautiful day nevertheless.  One memorable experience was having a cranky rancher type of guy stop by our setup and proceed to give us a berating for blocking the fire lane (which it wasn't). Talk about ruining the ambience of the moment!  We managed to send him on his way and continued to work on our respective pieces.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

en Plein Air

This past Sunday afternoon I took my pochade box down to the lakeside and painted this view down Little Manitou Lake, looking west.  It was a lovely day but a bit windy at times as I had to weigh down my easel to keep it from flying into the salt water!  As it was Spirit of Manitou Studio Trails weekend there were lots of people about and I had one visitor who was curious enough to stop and ask if it was Ok if she watched me for awhile. We had a nice chat while I painted and then she was off to visit the galleries all about our community.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Down the back lane

Daisies in Shade
This time of the year at Manitou Beach one can find lots of wild flowers growing all over the place, especially in vacant lots or parcels of land where owners don't get to very often.  Right across the back lane from my studio is such a piece of land that often has bunches of daisies growing profusely so the other day I sat there and painted to my hearts delight!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Prickly Pear Blossoms

Prickly Pear Cactus Blossoms
Oil on Board

I'm just nicely back from our annual Art Retreat at the Brady Ranch near Eastend Sk.  I painted a few paintings whilst down there and I will post them in the next few days.  We had a fantastic time once again and I discovered new facets to old friends that totally amazed me.  My friend Garry Harris and I had a great time painting en plein air on top of Brady's Butte and he took the reference photo for this painting.  I've taken some artistic license with it, but I can.  I remember the first time my brother Richard experienced Eastend.  While on a photo shoot along the Frenchman River he decided he needed a lower perspective on the world and promply sat on a nesting of very prickly cactus's.  I declined to help him remove the needles from his buttocks!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Eastend, Saskatchewan

I may have posted this painting before but I include it now to illustrate the place I am leaving for tomorrow.  It is called Eastend and is situated in the the south west corner of Saskatchewan, very near the American border.  A number of artists, including poets, musicians, potters, painters and drama people gather at Wolf Willow Ranch for a number of days to celebrate Life and Art.  We make Art, cook great food and enjoy the great outdoors. There is time to walk in the meadows and hills and discover ancient Tee Pee rings, arrow heads and spears and maybe even dinosaur bones.  This time of the year the geography can look like Ireland or Wales, it is so green and vibrant. Later in the summer it will be extremely dry and brown.  Many many years ago this land was teaming with buffalo and Native American Indians but sadly that is no longer so.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Where the Buffalo used to Roam

This painting was inspired by some words that the author Sharon Butala read to a group of us at our Retreat at Wolf Willow a couple of summers ago.  She talked of large herds of Buffalo moving across the grasslands near Eastend, SK many years ago when there were untold numbers of them before the senseless slaughter began. A blight on Canadian and American history in my opinion. Anyways, I see this hillside from the verandah of the house I sleep in and walk there often. I lost a pallete knife up there somewhere and suspect it got used in a birds nest.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Thinking about Eastend

Stone circle near Eastend, SK
I painted this oil a number of years ago, it has been hanging in my sons home up to awhile ago. I remember being quite taken with Sharon Butala's book The Perfection of the Morning and her remembrances of walking in the grasslands around Eastend Saskatchewan. She talked of the almost mystical experiences she had on these meanderings amongst the grass and stone tee pee rings she found along the way.  I myself have had some memorable times in those strangely wonderful hills while down that way on our annual July long weekend Art Retreat. Anyways, this painting is a memory of those times walking and painting on bright sunny days amongst the grass, wild flowers, cactus, the wind and red tailed hawks screaming overhead. I look forward every year to be there with my beloved friends and landscape very soon now.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Work in progress

An Oil I'm currently working on. Loads of paint applied with a palette knife on a birch panel approximately 30 x 40 inches.  Having fun with it for sure.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Collaborative Paintings

Dean, Darrell and Jan exhibiting some Mirth
Bonny, Darrell, Jan and Dean

Darrell and Dean having a quiet moment

Jan Layh and Dean Bauche

Dean Bauche and Bonny MacNab

The Four Amazing Amigo Painters

New Owners with Darrell and Shawn Majumder

Four Amigos with Shawn Majumder and owners of Collaborative Painting
You might be able to tell that we seem to be having a lot of fun in these photos. I had the opportunity to hang out with my great friends Dean Bauche, Jan Layh and Bonny MacNab this past weekend in the Battlefords where we were asked to paint a collaborative painting for the Dekker Center Gala. The painting was to be auctioned off to help with the operating expenses of this amazing facility.  Well it turned out that we had time to paint two pictures which were auctioned off for the tidy sum of $4500.00!  The auctioneer was Shawn Majumder, of CBC's This Hour has 22 Minutes fame.  He did a wonderful job for us and many thanks go out to him for that.  Rob Rongve of RBC Securities bought us a very good bottle of wine which definitely added fuel to the fire, thanks Rob! We had a blast. The following three days were spent facilitating an Art Retreat/Workshop with 15 participants and this turned out to be a huge success as well.  So, it turns out that they want us back for next year and seeing how we had such a nice time we will be back!  Thanks so much to Barb and Dean for opening up your home to us crazies, I hope that bottle of good scotch is there when I come back Dean!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mountain Creek

Mountain Creek  Oil  8x10

While out visiting my son Michael in Seattle, WA. we had a few opportunities to go on some awesome hikes.  This painting depicts one of the many wonderful sites we came across just outside of Seattle. What a lucky fellow my boy is to live so close to many great outdoor experiences.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Is Winter finally over?

Winter Splendour
30 x 36
Oil on Canvas
 Bill Shurniak Collection
I haven't spoken of my solo exhibition at the Shurniak Art Gallery which ran for 2 and a half months.  The gallery is a world class establishment that houses Mr. Bill Shurniak's private art collection which has been garnered together from his travels all over the world.  Bill has worked in Hong Kong and Australia for extended periods of time and still travels there extensively for work purposes. I was delighted to be invited to show there and received many favourable comments on my work.  There was visits from many parts of North America and one from Europe as well!  I think if our winter hadn't been so harsh there would have been even more visitors.  I had a delightful surprise awaiting me when  I travelled down to gather up the paintings to bring home.  Mr. Shurniak had decided to purchase one of my personal favourites for his private collection! I have posted the painting above for your interest. It was painted maybe 7-8 years ago when I still lived in The Pas, Manitoba and is a memory of a wonderful time my family spent walking in the forest on Boxing Day. This could be my last winter depiction for awhile, the snow is finally starting to melt around here and its high time.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Fence in Passing

This is a monoprint using encaustic wax on rice paper after which, if I remember correctly, I marked up with darker wax marks made with a kiska.  The piece was born out of a passing glance at a rusty corrugated fence down my back alley.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Variation on a Theme

I liked a similar approach to a recent painting so much that I decided to give it a go using different colours.  The original painting was produced from a quick charcoal thumbnail sketch, which I am very fond of.  I used a diluted mixture of viridian green and magenta to do the lay in for this one, followed by thicker applications of the same colours, with the addition of some orange. I like to erase paint with various tools, you can see evidence of this here and there.
I have been juried into the annual Federation of Canadian Artists National Open Show to be held in Kamloops, BC beginning April 19th.  Be sure to check it out if you are in the area!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Did you know that one snowflake contains 10 quintillion water molecules?  Or that no two snowflakes are alike?  Take some time to let that sink in, give it some considered consideration. The one thing that is alike in all snowflakes is that they have six points and then from there things get kind of crazy.  Snowflakes epitomize all of the creation concept for me, I love meditating on that.  Anyways, this is a 12 inch square oil painting of another manifestation of water molecules in an altered state of mind.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Full moon falling

Nocturne in Pink

I meant to post this painting when the moon was full around a week ago but forgot for some reason. It is loosely based on the now non existent Blue Hotel, which I have been using as a model for some time now and likely will continue to do so.  Problem with some of these paintings is that its hard to determine which side is up, the jury's still out on this one.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The colour of Ice

Johnson Ice
This Oil painting came about after some consideration on ice and the many colours found within it. My son likes to climb on ice, whether it is glaciers or frozen water falls so this painting commemorates an experience he had while we were hiking in the Canadian Rockies a few weeks back. I call it Johnson Ice, after the water fall we viewed at Johnson Canyon. Sometimes I wish he would take up hiking with his girlfriend on flatter ground!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bright Skies of March

Its seems to me that the light has changed considerably lately, since the first day of spring at least.  The snow can be blindingly bright and the shadows the most amazing blue. When you add in some frost and calm winds you have a recipe for Wonder.  This 12 inch square painting is my humble homage to these days.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Bouquet

Bouquet of Flowers

Seems like alot of Artists are painting flowers these days, must be the long winter getting people longing for Spring blossoms.  I'm the same.  I do love winter, especially this time of the year when the angle of the sun changes resulting in the most marvelous colours in the snow and shadows. This bouquet of flowers comes from last years garden, I planted Dahlias and they turned out to be the most breathtaking flowers I've ever grown.  Gorgeous blue/purple flowers that were just huge and lasted forever.  The plant must have stood 1 and 1/2 meters tall.  I'm looking forward to another show this summer, I've bought some other Dahlias in different colours.  Anyways, enjoy my bouquet!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Found myself imaging being near a lily pond in high summer and painted this little piece to commemorate that wonderful experience! It measures 6 x 6 inches and is an Oil on plywood.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dust in the Wind

Dust in the Wind
Just recently my beloved Blue Hotel was demolished and hauled away. I have to say it was rather sad to see it go and I wonder if it was really necessary, but thats another matter.  The building has been and will continue to be a special source of subject matter for me, to date I have maybe 6 paintings of it. This painting measures 4 feet square and is an Oil on birch panel.  It was actually started last summer at our retreat in Eastend SK and has undergone a number of changes to arrive at the point it is at presently.  Maybe it will have to sit for awhile, no danger of it being destroyed in my studio!  On a happier note I have received word that my painting Mt. Rundle, below, has been accepted into a FCA show in Kamloops to be held this April.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Pastel

The dogs and I went down to the local park the other day and enjoyed it all to ourselves, if you count out the numerous magpies and other critters present.  Not another human in sight so I sat by the creek and did this 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 in pastel.  The tempurature was a balmy -10 Celcius and the sun shone delightfully.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

RV West magazine article

Mt. Rundle in Ice Fog

I recently received word that an article featuring yours truly has been published in the RV West magazine.  The link to the online version is here:
The opportunity totally came out of the blue, so to speak, and I am grateful for it.  Marie featured three of my more traditional pieces.  How cool is that!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mount Rundle

I promised myself that I'd do a studio painting of some of the mountains I saw in the Canadian Rockies a few weeks ago. This is my first attempt, it is a view of Mt. Rundle as viewed from the east side of the Trans Canada Hwy near Canmore, AB.  I'm having a great time with various grays over an orange underpainting.  I think it will soon be finished.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rocky Mountain Sogurn

Morning in the Rockies    Watercolour
This is a watercolour out of my travel sketchbook.  I painted it from the window of the Inn we stayed at in Canmore, Alberta last week.  We witnessed some wonderful views whilst out there and I hope to paint some studio paintings from that trip, very inspiring place the Canadian Rockies. I loved how the wind would blow the snow over the tops of these giants.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Alina - under construction

I'm working on a new studio painting, 60 x 30 inches on canvas.  Taking my inspiration from my daily walk with the doggies in the valleys and dales about home. Loads of paint, especially flake white.