Monday, January 31, 2011


Original Oil on Canvas Panel 10 x 8 SOLD
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Here's a quick little painting of a moment last summer on the edge of a lake at twilight. Such peace and tranquility. Exactly why we holiday!

I recently commented on Lorraine Shirkus blog and she appreciated my comment. So I went back to see what I had said, and thought hmm... not a bad explanation. Maybe I should share that on my own blog.
Lorraine was questioning the artists' expression "Paint what you see" and I responded with my interpretation of those words: "I think painting what you see", means to see and capture the tonal value, colour temperature, light, reflections, the colour in the shadows, all the things that make a painting from life beautiful. From there, how we make our marks, whether we want to blend the paint into refined realism, or create a more abstracted version of what we see, is what makes the painting ours. It's our signature. I hope that interpretation has some value for some of you. I think I'll attach it to my easel, I'm sure it could be valuable to me!


Friday, January 28, 2011

LOOK Victoria 2011 Art Show and Sale

 Tutti Frutti  Acrylic on Textured Deep Wrap Canvas  24 x 24  $800
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In The Garden   Acrylic on Textured Deep Wrap Canvas  24 x 24  $800
Please contact me to purchase

Tomorrow and Sunday are the art submission days for LOOK Victoria 2011 Art Show and Sale presented by the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria.  And these are my submissions for the show. If you live in Victoria the show is located at the Bay Center downtown, on the lower level. The art drop off is 11-4pm both days.  This is a visual art show of 2D and 3D work, and it will be running for an entire month. I'll be volunteering tomorrow for the drop off, so if you come by with your art, be sure to say hi! It's going to be a great show again this year, so I'll have more to post about it in the upcoming days.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Composition Problems

Have you ever been painting and it's just not working and all of a sudden you have no patience left and you deep 6 it? Well this is what happened to this study. Luckily it was a study, and it reminded me of why these small paintings are so valuable. 

This was a street corner in France somewhere, and these two old fellows were solving the world's problems. I loved them, but also loved the ambiance of the corner with the market, awning, colours etc. It wasn't a digital image, which would have made it easier to play with and crop. I know I could have scanned it, but I jumped in and started painting. I got so feed up with it not working, that I just put it out of my sight and forgot about it. But the other day, I came upon it and right away I realized that the composition was all wrong. If I cropped it, I could make the two fellows more of a focal point and still capture the ambiance. Editing is one of the most important steps in composing a painting, so I would move or edit out that dark vertical post. It keeps wanting to be in the middle. Then I would  tone down the colour of the fruits and brighten the shirt on the fellow facing forward. One day I may even go back and repaint this one because I have a great title for it. What do you think? Is the composition better like this? Have you experienced problems like this?


Monday, January 24, 2011

Seascape Still in Progress

I've continued moving down the canvas, blocking in the colour, and making bold energetic strokes with either large brushes or a palette knife. The coarse pumice medium is really interesting because it has a very 3D effect, and obviously lends itself to the beach scene. The paint on the pumice is drying about 3 tones darker than the same colour on the bare canvas, which actually makes some interesting marks. It's really hard to cover the pumice because there are many little holes where the pigment isn't penetrating. I'm having to use a hard bristle brush and scrub the pigment into the holes because those areas are looking under painted. In some applications, the areas left unpainted could have a nice effect, but in this instance it's not working. If I use this medium again I'll  most likely add pigment to the medium before applying it.
I have all the colour blocking in place now and can begin adding shadows to start forming the beachscape, which is made up of sandstone formations, rocks and seaweed. I need to darken down the foreground but also create a warm glow anywhere the light hits small pools of water.

This is my second to last painting session on this piece. I now have the beach well formed, but will need to darken the foreground and warm it up. I also want to work on the sky creating a bit more drama. I won't be able to photograph the final painting until the weekend. There's just not enough light by the time I get home from work. In any case, I'm having a lot of fun with this, and it's great to experiment with different mediums. On the final post for this painting I'll try to include some details so you can get an idea of the texture. I hope you're enjoying this experimental journey with me.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Seascape In Progress

I needed to take a break from small works and still lifes, so I decided to try something I haven't done before. I selected a long vertical format 36" x 18" and textured the canvas with molding paste on the top 2/3, and coarse pumice gel on the bottom 1/3. I've used molding paste before but not the coarse pumice. It dried overnight, which I wasn't expecting. I thought it would take longer. 

I then started painting a seascape/beach scene which I captured in a photograph at dawn, last August, on Hornby Island. I worked from the top of the canvas down, painting much of it with a palette knife, in an abstracted manner. Sometimes, you just have to do the opposite of what you've been doing, to spike your creativity.

I've started breaking up the field of orange water, reflecting the fiery sun, which is starting to rise up behind the hill. I'm painting in acrylics which dry quickly, so I can keep adding paint and making adjustments. I'm working fairly quickly and having a lot of fun with the size and experimental quality of this piece. I'll be interested to see how paint applies to the coarse pumice. Some would say, try it out on a small piece first, but what the heck, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Stay tuned for the rest of this painting as it unfolds.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cool Shade - Study

Original Oil on Stretched Linen 6 x 6 SOLD
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This is a study for a larger canvas I have planned. I'm working on a series of landscapes in acrylic, on textured canvas, in a larger format. It's interesting to me how painting these small paintings regularly, can impact my painting in another medium and size. For me, the improved skill set and familiarity of putting paint to canvas, allows for greater freedom and bravery in carrying out a concept. As I get farther along with the larger pieces I'll start to post the process.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Melon and Berries

Original Oil on Linen 11 x 14 - SOLD

I recently participated in a workshop on traditional still life and wanted to reinforce the skills I learned, so I set up this composition and painted it from life. It took several sittings to complete, and I had to keep lifting the setting, which I'd made on top of a wooden pop crate, off of my dining room table and placing it elsewhere while we ate. The cantaloupe was wrapped and put back in the fridge several times. Because of this the folds in the fabric kept changing and the melon started shrinking and the berries were all wrinkled and dried up. Instead of hindering me, I realized that it aided me in painting from an emotional place and adding what I felt was needed for the picture making rather than being tied to the subject. I was able to concentrate on edges, and to adjust the shadows and highlights as I felt added to the painting.

I've mentioned a few times that I would like to loosen up my painting style and create more visible brushwork. Hmmm....It does look a little tight, but in real life it seems to fall somewhere in the middle. I'm thinking of entering it in an upcoming show. What are your thoughts?


Saturday, January 8, 2011

City Stroll

Original Oil on Panel  8 x 10  $125
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Here is City Stroll complete. My focus on this painting was to simplify the image as there was a lot going on being a city street scene, and try to say it with less, in terms of image content and brush strokes. I wanted the strokes to be fresh and painterly. I had some great feedback on the process posting so I'm going to open for discussion some of thoughts while I was painting and now that it's complete.

I decided that I needed some of the foreground street clutter, like signs, sandwich boards, newspaper boxes, and tables and chairs to create the ambiance of the place. Then from midground back, I squinted a lot and just laid in strokes with tonal values greyed and lightened to push them back.

I'm quite happy with the composition and the colour palette. The fellow strolling is my focal point and I really like how the highlights on the brick wall and the awning on the right point down to him, and the two vertical posts on the left frame him in. I also placed him so that the highlights on his chest would fall at the intersection of the grids lines, if the canvas was divided in thirds in both directions. These four intersections are the strongest positions for the focal point. To suggest the street going back in space, those three lines of shadow were quite important. The colour palette of complimentary red and green happened as I was painting. The fellow had a light blue T-shirt which I decided to change to yellow green as the brick wall  took shape, and then I just added toned down touches of red in the objects around him so he would pop. So I hope you like the outcome and please feel free to comment on my decision making process.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

'City Stroll' in progress

Thanks for all the feedback on my last post. I've painted a lot of lemons but not for about two years, so I was really surprised when I found the shadows so difficult. I completely agree with Karen Sampson's comments on keeping the colours clean and going to either the oranges and reds or to a cool palette with greens and blues. I tried all of those colour combos but because the shadow is in fact a shadow, normally the colour has to be greyed, and there in came the mud. Expect to see some more lemon paintings cropping up because evidently I need to practice.

This past summer we were in Vancouver during the World Cup Soccer Championship, and there is no better part of the city to take in the vibe, than Commercial Drive. I shot a lot of pictures over a few days, and here is the start of a painting in one of my favourite parts of the city. It's a fairly complicated image, so my emphasis will be on editing and simplifying the strokes. Trying to say it with less.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Lemons and Light


happy New Year everyone!! So here is the first painting question of the year. Why are lemons so difficult to paint? I find the shadows on lemons really hard. I wiped this one several times before settling on this final version. I kept saying paint what you see, but the darks looked SO dark and when I applied that colour, it just didn't seem to work for me. So now that I've posted this, I can see that I'm going to tweek it a bit.

I would like to thank all of you who have visited and commented over the past year. I never imagined when I started blogging, that I would be introduced to so many kind and giving individuals, who would make me feel a part of a strong supportive community of artists. I have learned so much from all of you, and grown from painting frequently, so one of my resolutions is to keep on blogging, and to do it more frequently. Thanks so much for following my work.