Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gone on holidays!

Well, I am off to cottage country in central Ontario for a few weeks, so won't be able to post for a while. We don't have internet at the cottage, nor a TV or even an indoor bathroom! It isn't really roughing it though, as we share a great place on a quiet lake (Big Hawk Lake if any of you know the area around Minden, ON). The cottage is only accessable by boat so it keeps the number of cottagers down and the lake pristine and clear. It will be a great time of relaxation and lots of time to visit with family. All four of our kids will be joining us for some part of the time, as well as Dave's brother and his family from Myanmar. The holiday culminates in a family reunion with people coming from all over North America. Needless to say I won't be getting much painting in, but I am going to take my pen, watercolour kit and sketchbook, and plan to get a number of studies done. Perhaps a bunch of cloud studies as I lay on the dock in the sunshine...

I will leave you with a watercolour that I did a number of years ago of the cottage.

Until August, have a wonderful summer holiday.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cobble Flats -plein air watercolour sketch

"Cobble Flats", plein air watercolour and ink sketch, 4x6"
This is another great painting sight within an hours drive of my house. This was done after I did the "Banded Peak Revisited" plein air oil painting, as I figured that it would be much easier to handle a small watercolour sketch in the wind and changing light conditions, which it was. I hope to do a studio oil from this sketch and the photos I took that day.

This is my kit for my plein air ink and watercolour sketching. The sketchbook is a Robert Bateman Recycled Artist Quality sketchbook, which works great for watercolours as it has 110lb paper that is acid free, and doesn't buckle when it gets wet. The ink comes from a permanent Ultra Fine Point Sharpie marker, and the palette is a Winsor and Newton pocket watercolour kit -comes complete with a small retractable brush, flask for water, and the lid serves as a water container. There is a small thumb hold on the bottom, and I did the previous sketch "Blakiston Creek" while holding the palette and sketchbook in my left hand and painting with my right hand while standing in the bushes. Very convenient! I like to write where I was and the date, and the sketchbook becomes a visual diary of my travels.

I teach my sketching method to people at the Leighton Art Centre yearly, and I have never had a student not have success with it, no matter if they were experienced painters or people who had never painted or drawn before. It really is a fun, quick and easy way to capture your visual memories.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Millarville Valley -plein air oil painting

"Millarville Valley", plein air oil painting, 14 x 11"
Another beautiful day to paint out with friends. This scene is not far from the Leighton Art Centre outside of Calgary. I am in a Federation of Canadian Artists show there that opens this weekend. If you have never been out to the Leighton, you should definitely come out sometime. It is a wonderful centre with a full gallery, classes for kids and adults, lots of art events, and is surrounded by some of the most wonderful scenery in southern Alberta.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Banded Peak Revisited -plein air oil painting

"Banded Peak Revisited", plein air oil painting, 12 x 9"
I took the on site painting back to the studio to complete due to the wind and used my photo reference to finish it. I had wanted to capture the different colour of Banded Peak compared to its neighboring mountains -not sure why it was like that, but it was. I repainted where it had gotten muddy and added a clear value pattern to the mountains, thereby freezing the light, as well as adding a tiny bit of detail. I am quite happy with the way it turned out in the end.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Step By Step Plein Air Demonstration Painting

This is the scene. It is in an old fire burn and the mountain in the distance is one you can see clearly from the city, called "Banded Peak". I am so lucky to live in Calgary as this is an hours' drive from my house.
This is the line drawing I started with. The photo is zoomed out so that you can see my painting set-up. I use a Open Box M easel which I really love. I made a brush holder out of an old piece of wood with holes drilled in it, held on with a C clamp. My painting surface is a mdf panel that I have sealed with a dilute wood glue, and then stained with fluid acrylic. I like a surface that is smooth with a bit of tooth, and after much experimentation, find this one works really well for me. I paint with bristle and synthetic flats mostly.
This is the initial colour/value block-in. Done fairly quickly using thinner as a solvent. The diagonal line at the left is the shadow of the hook which holds the board in place.
Now it has progressed to the 'fiddle' stage. The conditions are getting challenging as the clouds are blowing through rather quickly now and the light/shadow patterns on the mountains are in constant flux. Good thing I took that photo when I first got here!
The wind is beginning to really wip now, and often the painting tips into my brush or I have trouble holding my brush to the board. Time to abort, as the changing conditions are playing havoc with my value patterns and I am beginning to make mud. This is how the painting was left, the whole thing taking me about 1 1/2 hours start to finish. I will post the finished work tomorrow! Enjoy!

Dusk Light -plein air oil painting

Dusk Light -plein air oil painting, 12x9"
I did this one last week as the sun and wind were going down and the bugs were attacking like mad. Needless to say, it was a quick study, but I think the quickness allowed me to capture the warm evening light well. It sat in my studio until I was sure it was done, only touching up the light on the shrubbery a bit. This was a very difficult one to photograph due to the darkness, but after about an hour trying, I think I got it pretty well.

The View Up Waterton Lake

watercolour and ink sketch, 4x6"
This is the last sketch from my Waterton trip. I painted this on the way down from Bertha Falls, while I waited for my hubby to hike up to Bertha Lake. I was just too pooped to join him for another 2 hours of steep climbing. He says this is a hike I shouldn't have missed, but there is always next time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mt. Anderson -Waterton

watercolour and ink sketch, 4x6"
This one was begun in the car at Red Rock Canyon waiting for a sudden rain shower to pass. By the time I had finished, the sun was out again, so I put in a bit of blue sky!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Blackiston Creek

ink and watercolour sketch, 4x6"
This was done from a view point along the Red Rock Canyon Road. The mountains in Waterton are very different from the Banff/Kananaskis ones as they are so full of colour. The quickly moving clouds presented a challenge even for this quick study. Those familiar with Waterton, know that it can be really windy here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cameron Falls

watercolour and ink sketch, 4x6"
We just got back from an absolutely glorious camping weekend in Waterton National Park. I did several small on site ink and watercolour sketches there and will be posting them for the next few days. This is one I did of a wonderful waterfall right in town -no hiking! What a change...