Jun 25, 2015

Mist and Fog in the Summer!!??


For most of Canada mist and fog does not really happen in the summer. 
But . . .
for many places on the coast it can be a daily occurrence!
EARLY MIST - 8 x 14 - Watercolour
We have just come back from a trip to the West Coast of Vancouver Island and there fog is a fact of life!!  Just off shore the fog banks sit and they drift in and out all day.  One place is sunny and clear and the next spot is buried in fog!!

Boats at the Dock - Ucluelet
 As we enjoyed a breakfast on the patio to this view, life was different in other places!!  Looking straight up we could see the sunshine and once we got on the road for a day of sight seeing we were backing in the sun.  No, the sun was not on the harbour all day, it quickly moved off and they enjoyed some sun for a few hours and then it was back!!  Oh, coastal living!!
Harbour View - Ucluelet
My challenge for Early Mist was to create some of this fog as it started to lift off the water.  I wanted to catch that moment when the early sun catches the particles of water and gives everything a warm glow.  Most of us are sleeping when this happens so I put my seagull in place to enjoy the light!!

New event next week!! 
Thursday, July 2 & Wednesday, August 19, 2015,  I will be doing a mini-residency at the Federation of Canadian Artists Gallery, 1241 Cartwright St. Vancouver, BC.  (Granville Island)  I will be working on my painting "Evening Light" with two Canadian Geese so come down and see Art in Action!!  
Have a great day and enjoy the sunshine,

Jun 18, 2015

Can you catch that moment of Discovery??!


You know . . . that Ahahhh Moment!   You see something new, you stop, ponder 
a new discovery!

I don't know, maybe as adults we are too busy, I find those moments don't happen as often as I wish. 

However . . . 

For Toddlers, it is a daily event!!

Something new and exciting is happening all the time!!  
The Occasion: The First Car Wash

Water is swishing, bubbles floating!  Laughter! Excitement!
So much to see and do!  Then suddenly the bucket is unattended and the mop is there.
This little guy seizes the moment.  He is over to the bucket in a shot.  Grabbing the handle, he swishes things around.  HE is going to FIGURE it out!!

These little guys just study everything that is happening and soak up all the new things.  You can watch the little wheels turn as they examine something new and learn how it works.  I love that look of intent on their face.  It captures my imagination, I feel again the joy of learning.

As you probably guessed this is our little guy. He is just 16 months in the picture, excited about being outside, not trapped in a buggy and feeling confident on his feet.   The sun is shining; the water is out; and those little hands are itching to get involved.  My daughter captured this moment.   When I saw the photo I knew I had to paint it!!

Many of you may be surprised to see me work with the figure.  You're right it is not my usual subject but then how can you resist!!

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Have a great day,

Jun 11, 2015

Renaissance Painting Techniques and Pencil??


Renaissance  Painting Techniques and Graphite
An unusual combination 

The Renaissance Painters used a Grisaille, a painting executed usually in shades of gray, as an underpainting for oil. After completing the grisaille they glazed layers of colour on top creating not only a beautiful painting but saving time and paint.  (Certainly something to consider when you were making your own paint!!)  Since the late 17th century, using a grisaille underpainting is not as popular but still used by many artists.
Summer Morning - Commission

A QUIET SPOT - Commission
The effect of the grisaille underpainting on the medium on top is very interesting.  It does create a unique finish.  In my case, as you know I like to work in graphite.  But sometimes there is a something in my subject that calls out for a bit of colour.  ( Graphite purist you may want to stop reading now!!  I realize this is sacrilegious in your world.  But . . .   sometimes you just need that bit of colour!!)

As a result, I have mixed a bit of coloured pencil into my graphite and I find I have had some very happy results!

Usually I add just a bit of colour in a few places to highlight an important feature of a bird or animal but this time I went all the way!.  I first did a complete drawing with graphite, with all my tonal values.  And I must admit that it was a lovely little drawing at this point. But I pressed on.  Using Prismacolor pencils I glazed over my pencil work.  It was very interesting to see that the colours could be mixed right on the paper even with the graphite underneath.  The graphite seems to have a muting effect to the pencils and gives an interesting overall tone and texture.  One that really appeals to me.

Here is a close up from "A Quiet Spot".  You can see the lighter part of the leaf has no graphite underneath while the branch and shadow area do.  Notice how nicely the colours mix; the density of colour; the texture it provides; Interesting, eh!

So all you dry media artists like myself, we don't have to feel left out.  Those Renaissance Painters had some great techniques that we can use as well!!

Have a great day,
Here are links to some of my other pictures that mix graphite and coloured pencil.
a. Drawing a White Cat with Pencil!!??
b. This Little Lamb is "On His Own"
c. Can you draw White with a Gray Pencil???

Jun 4, 2015

Plein Air Adventure - Long Beach, Tofino, the Real West Coast!!!


The bags are packed,
paints, cameras ready,
dog in the car,
Great to be on the road.

Rusty, Steve and I were headed for Long Beach, Uclulet and Tofino.

First Stop - Wickinnish Beach. No matter what the weather, an amazing sight to see!  Wide open beach, waves just rolling in.  The constant roar of the waves, the screech of the seagulls, what more could you want?

It was also little overwhelming when I thought about painting!!  We wondered around, stopped and soaked it in.  
Like chocolate in the store window, the waves caught my eye.  I knew I couldn't devour them there so I started clicking with my camera.  These I will savour later.

Steve and Rusty decided to wonder and I set up shop.  

When you are looking at miles of open beach it really is hard to get started.  When I feel that way I just sit down, grab a pencil and start!!  Once those first marks are made, it seems to energize the page.  Add this, darken that, include this, sharpen that; suddenly becomes my visual conversation and before I know it things are happening!!  

One little thing I did forget - bug spray!! Who would think that on a cloudy cool day, with a breeze off the water that the BLACK FLIES would be out!!  Got nailed twice behind both ears and one on my neck!

No visit to the coast is complete without a fog picture.  The marine fog sits off the coast in a gray bank, rolling in and out throughout the day.  One minute bright sun and then back it comes.  We had our share of cloud and fog but really there is so much to see it wasn't a problem.

We wondered down to Uclulet and Amphitrite Point.  This is way you can get a great view of the Broken Islands of Barkley Sound.  The Uclulet Community has built a great trail that winds around the point and along the coast. There is a picture waiting at every turn!!

  Who can resist painting a lighthouse?  

Somehow it is a more concrete subject and easier to set up the focal point.  Amphitrite Point Lighthouse has been standing for 100 years.  When you see how close it is to the edge of the rocks and how big the waves are on a Good Day, it is hard to believe it is still there!!

The rocks and the beaches aren't the only things on the West Coast.  Pacific Rim National Park also has some forested areas.  Some are the scraggy firs in the marsh area but some are really big.  They are not the size of the true old growth but certainly large enough to catch your breath.  

Our 4 days on the coast went way to fast. We took one last look at the water before heading out.
Campbell River was our next stop.  Still on the island but the east side.

My sister lives in Campbell River and arranged for me to join her on a kayaking trip in the channels at the the mouth of the Campbell River.  Quite an adventure! We put in at the Spit and then headed across the main part of the river.  No fiddling around as it is also the runway for the water planes!!
 Once we were across we entered another world of winding channels through marshlands.  We needed the high tide to allow our entry as some of channels are very shallow, with shadowy tunnels through the branches of the trees.  When the salmon are running my sister says the fish are so thick and jumping about it seems like they will hop into your boat.  No fish today, but a few seals followed us about to see what we were up too and geese and ducks gave us a wide berth.  The bald eagle we saw was not too interested, he was busy with the crows that were chasing him away.

Of course I tried my hand at painting again.  Nothing beats settling in on a log and getting to work.  It nourishes the soul.!!

All to  soon it was time to go but I am pumped and ready to head out again!

Here is my painting of Amphitrite Point Lighthouse - 100 years old this year!!  

Amphitrite Point Lighthouse - 5 x 7, Watercolour
Have a great day and tell me about your first plein air adventures of the season.