May 25, 2011

Positively: Ready for the Picking

Stage 1: After the Pour
Negativity Rules!! Yes, working on this picture has been an eye opener for me. I have really been horning my negativity skills. As you know from my previous posts I took the watercolor pouring workshop with Leslie Redhead and these grapes were one of our projects. We did this as a practice before we took on our ‘major picture’ of poppies. (No, you haven’t missed that picture as it isn’t finished yet!)
Stage 2: Starting Negative Painting. Course is over and I am on my own!!
Stage 1 picture shows what it looks like after the pouring and then in stage two I started to define leaves and grapes by stressing the negative rather than the positive aspects of each leaf and grape. At first I really didn’t know where or how to develop things but as I worked I began to understand how it worked. I thought I could move around the picture and you can see isolated grapes as well as clusters in the stage two piece. I quickly learned that you must ‘move out ‘from the defined area so you can build and connect things. Fortunately they are non-staining transparent colors as I was doing lots of scrubbing out and redefining those isolates. I also made the mistake of not taking my colours to the edges of the paper. I took a deep breath, said good bye to my hard work and repoured the bottom half of the picture; I think it turned out great!! Then with a little creative cropping to fit it into a frame, I was suddenly done.

Ready for Picking - 7.5 x 10.5 - Available

(I did it!!!)

May 21, 2011

Help!! Swans are taking over my life!!

Yes, I have been on a big swan kick, painting and drawing them in all shapes and sizes. I couldn't help myself. This winter we had such wonderful viewing opportunities so of course I took a ton of pictures and now I want to use them. I think I am done for a while; here are a few I wanted to share with you. The first one is a pair of trumpeter swans that were settled in the water in the marsh area at the mouth of the Courtenay River on Vancouver Island. I juiced up the colors a bit and turned it into more of a fall scene. There were ducks, geese and swans everywhere but this pair were just settled quietly in their own little world. For me it was everything: love, caring, rest after a long migration and even a sense of safety, if that is even possible in the animal world.
This second picture is of a mute swan. They're slightly smaller than the trumpeter swans and also gather here along the west coast in the winter. She, well it just has to be a she for me, was gathered with a group of swans, ducks and geese looking for handouts from the people walking along a lagoon near Victoria. I loved the arch of her neck and the sparkle of the sun on her head and beak. I wanted to try drawing her in graphite without a background and still create that sense of white. (I know, I need to make easier challenges for myself.) It was a lot of fiddling with values because of course I complicated it a bit with the color but I think she worked.

May 13, 2011

Northern Flickers Win and Award

Wendy with the Northern Flickers and of course, her certificate.

The Flickers are a Winner. They went off to the Fraser Valley Juried show in Coquitlam on Sunday and they not only got into the show they were given an Award of Excellence! This was very exciting for me as you can tell by the picture. Last night they opened the show and awarded the prizes. I was thrilled to receive the award and very happy for the Northern Flickers.
The show is called “This Earth of Ours” and runs until June 4. There are two other shows there as well, ‘A Renaissance Woman Artist’ by Doris Paterson and ‘Birds of Paradise’ by Lili Masborough. Doris is an amazing artist with a really interesting show. She has some of her early work as well as work from this year. It is really interesting to see how her work has grown and changed over time. Lili’s birds are warm, friendly and are full of colour; definitely something different for me to see. Here is all the information on the show.

May 10, 2011

Great Workshop with Leslie Redhead

The Main Lodge at Painters Lodge, Campbell River, BC

Wendy pouring the grapes, our practise picture.

Becky, finding the negatives to create her leaves around the poppies.

Talk about an inspiring three day – Becky McMahon, a fellow artist and I have just returned from a three day workshop at Painters Lodge in Campbell River. We had a really good time. The workshop was wonderful, pouring watercolours with floral, the food at the Lodge was a gourmet delight, the rooms were lovely and the ocean view was breathtaking. If you are looking for a nice little getaway check out Painters, they also offer many different types of 3 day events that are also fun to do: painting, photography, and yoga are just a few.
For our class, we were pouring watercolour. First we masked out our main flowers and then poured away. We were blowing, spritzing , and using our fingers to move the paint around. I am not much of a finger person but I did get my fingers dirty!! Then it was painting the positives for our flowers and looking for the negatives for our leaves. We did a practice piece with grapes first and then on to our poppies. I really enjoyed the class and I really stretched myself. You will notice at the end the size of the picture I am holding, that is just HUGE for me. I have never worked on such a BIG piece of paper. Of course we didn’t finish but I am going to plug away and see what I can do with my grapes and poppies. Leslie does lovely watercolours and you can check out her work at . Becky's usual medium is chinese brush painting on rice paper and you can see her work is at

Becky and Leslie, definitely happy with the results.
Wendy and Leslie, can you believe this is a half sheet??!!

May 4, 2011

The Swans are Back

The Swans Are Back - 3 x 4 inches
This pair of trumpeter swans was moving quietly along the shoreline feeding when I was walking along the trail by the Courtenay River at Christmas. The swans come every year to the Comox Valley in very large numbers. They feed on the large fields that are supported by Ducks Unlimited and then settle on the waters at the mouth of the river. It is a beautiful sight to see. Over the last few weeks I have been a little swan crazy, drawing and painting from my reference material from that trip. They are just so beautiful and I got so many great pictures I just couldn’t help myself!!
This particular picture is a miniature picture and it along with “A Sheltered Bay, Texada Island, BC “have been accepted in the“ Internationale d’art miniature” juried exhibit, Saint-Nicolas, Quebec, Canada. The show runs June 12 to September 4, 2011. This is the show web site but this year’s show won’t be up until June.

A Sheltered Bay, Texada Island,BC - 2 x 2 inches