Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Breezy Bay Farm

Breezy Bay Farm     Acrylic    24 x 36   $975

He everyone, it's been a few weeks since I last posted. I've been really busy getting ready for the Oak Bay Artists Fall Studio Tour, coming up this weekend November 15 and 16, 12:00 - 4:30pm. If you're in the area, be sure to drop to by and say hi! For an online tour brochure click here.

This past August my husband and I visited Saturna Island, a jewel of an island in the Salish Sea just a short ferry ride from Victoria, BC where we live. We stayed at a B&B called the Breezy Bay, pictured above. It's a working farm and the farmhouse we stayed in is the original family home from 1889. We just loved sitting on the big wrap around porch at the end of the afternoon, looking out over the orchard and vegetable garden, and watching the cows, geese, and osprey. Every day when we returned from our daily adventures we came upon this view of the farm, and on the third day, I said "Stop the car!". I just had get some reference material to remember this fantastic view.

I paint mainly still life, and although I love a landscape or architectural piece to switch things up a bit, all this green was a challenge! I find green is a particularly hard colour to mix accurately. 

I'm currently reading a book on the origins of paint, called Color - A Natural History of the Palette, by Victoria Findlay. It's a fascinating read with so many interesting stories to help you work any cocktail party with style! In the 1700's newly invented green paints and dyes became all the rage. Everything from clothing to furniture and wallpaper were done up in green. But unfortunately the green contained arsenic and it was a full 100 years of using arsenic filled green, before a researcher Henry Carr, spoke out, outlining deaths and illnesses as a result of the colour green, particularly in wallpapers. Carr pointed out that just two or three grains of arsenic would destroy the life of a healthy man, and that the country was producing 4,809 tons in one year. Most listeners were shocked and agreed with his call for an investigation. Then a Dr. Thudichum stood up and suggested that Carr was being alarmist. He said his eyes rejoiced at the beautiful bright arsenical paper, and when he looked at the abominable grays and hideous browns and dreadful yellows made without arsenic he could not help thinking that green is what he would like to see on his walls! 

Although we don't have arsenic in our modern paints, (I don't think), it's good to remember that you don't want to hold your paint brush in your mouth, or dry sand paints as there is still the possibility of health risks involved with paint. I remember years ago when I painted in watercolours, everyone in the class ended their painting session by putting their paintbrush in their mouths to bring it to a perfect point - until the instructor suggested that it wasn't best idea, and that Van Gogh, and Whistler could attest to that. :-) 



  1. Bonjour chère amie,

    Je suis sous le charme de cette dernière peinture. On peut sentir le bonheur que vous avez ressenti... Il est retransmis dans cette toile.
    L'arbre est splendide ! et j'aime la petite barrière.
    En Normandie, elles sont différentes mais celle-ci m'y fait songer.
    La douceur et la lumière dans les nuances de vert apportent une belle profondeur.

    Dommage que tu sois si éloignée, j'aurais bien aimé pouvoir assister à ton exposition. Je te souhaite beaucoup de succès et de merveilleuses rencontres.

    Je ne connais pas l'ouvrage de référence... mais toutefois je connais les méfaits de certaines peintures sur la santé.

    Je te fais de
    Gros bisous ☂ (Il pleut chez moi aujourd'hui !)

    1. Merci beaucoup Martine! Vous etes vraiment poetique!

  2. Lovered the painting and the added story on green. I shared your newsletter on Facebook

    1. Thanks April, and thanks very much for the share! I haven't been able to comment on your site because I'm not on google+. But I love your work. I don't really know what google+ is and how it works. Have you got some advise by any chance?

  3. Congratulations Claire! such an interesting post! and of course, I think this painting is FANTASTIC ...it looks like a photo.
    I think green is a challenge in any medium... I find it difficult to get the correct color with pastels as well.

    1. Thanks Hilda! I'm glad you enjoyed my post, I think I'll share some more colour stories with the upcoming posts.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.