Friday, July 31, 2009

"Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer", plein air oil painting

"Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer", 9 x 12", plein air oil painting

This was the second painting done with Ingrid. While we were painting, the owner and her daughter came riding up on their horses to check out what we were up to. What a life that must be, I can dream up quite a story about the whole thing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Three Point Mountain", plein air oil painting

"Three Point Mountain", 8 x 10', plein air oil painting

This was done from the campground near Forget-Me-Not Pond while sitting in the shade of a nearby tree, while my hubby went on a long bike ride. He loves to bike and I love to paint, so this arrangement of going out to a beautiful location together and then doing our own thing seems to work very well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Aspen Shadows", plein air oil painting

"Aspen Shadows", 12 x 9", plein air oil painting

I am disappointed in the way this photo turned out -the painting is very rich in colour, but I just couldn't get it to show up in the photo -you will just have to use your imagination! I painted this with painting buddy Ingrid Christensen, who is an amazing painter -I especially love her figurative work. It was an exceptionally hot day and the cool shadows of this group of aspens on the hill looked very inviting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bringing it in!

"Priddis Creek", 12 x 9", oil painting on panel
The top image is what my plein air piece looked like when I brought it home. There were several things that I wasn't happy with so I went back in to clean them up -especially that dead tree in the upper right. The green that I had mixed on location for the sunny banks was way too acid for my liking, so I toned it down. Now when I look at both of them together, I think some of the initial spontaneity is lost in the final piece although the detail is better. Which makes for a more interesting painting?

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Summer Skies", plein air watercolour painting

"Summer Skies", 6 x 16", plein air watercolour painting

Trying to keep my hand in watercolours, I did this with friend and student Lindsey Stead. Painting clouds from life is always a challenge, but I believe it is the only way to truly see them. While watercolour painting in the sun and wind does make for some challenges, if you are 'present' with each stroke, there is enough time to soften edges -just. (click to see an enlargement)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Meandering", plein air oil painting

"Meandering", 12 x 9", plein air oil painting
I found this lovely little creek snaking along a flats in the foothills and it really spoke to me. While I was painting it, two moose wandered through my scene. I decided not to put them in after the trouble I had with the cows the other day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

"By The Pond", plein air oil painting

"By The Pond", 9 x 12", plein air oil painting

This is the second painting I did with my painting buddy Zelda. This one went much better and I credit that to another of the new surfaces I have been trying out. This one is on 1/8" birch plywood primed and sealed with amber Shellac. Now I REALLY like this surface. The first layers just go on like spreading butter on toast, and the subsequent layers go on nicely as well. It is possible to rub paint off to reveal the under colour which I like to do sometimes. This is another view of the same location that I did the larger painting "Early Evening Colour" posted on Feb 5th. I love it when I find a place that consistently gives good paintings.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Who's Watching Who?", plein air oil painting

"Who's Watching Who?", 10 x 8", plein air oil painting
I did this painting the other day on a paint-out with art buddy Zelda Nelson. This is painted on another of my new experimental surfaces, one that I found on WetCanvas by Marc Hanson where you add modeling paste to acylic gesso for texture and when dry, you add another layer of gesso, this time with some grit (he used #FFF pumice, but I can't find it here -I tried some 'no-slip' stuff from the hardware store but it was too gritty so I had to sand it down some). This surface is very absorbant and grabs the paint -I think I like the slicker surfaces better as it is easier to get the paint on in the first layers, but this surface does take subsequent layers better. Still more experimentation to do!
Anyway, we stopped by a farmers field, hopped the fence and proceeded to try to paint the cows which were dwarfed under the huge trees -to tell the truth, I didn't measure how big the cows were in comparison to the trees, but this was my sense of the scale. Now I have never painted cows before in oil (have only painted them twice and both times on location in watercolour) and it was a challenge to get these tiny, little blobs to read as cattle. I did fix them up somewhat when I got home and had access to time and a flat table. Needless to say they were very curious and actually came right up to us, snorting and mooing, and generally making this city slicker pretty nervous. Zelda has spent time on a farm so she wasn't fazed at all. They eventually got bored and went back to their peaceful times under the trees. Much to my relief...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Workshop Demo Paintings

"Summer Reflections", 5.75 x 8.5", watercolour
This is one of the demos I did at my recent watercolour workshop in Invermere, BC. I was trying to show the class how to make clean and lively darks by knowing how dark you want them to be and then putting them in at that value to begin with using wet and rich pure colour. The demo started with the light bank -it is also important when placing lights onto white paper that you make them lighter than you think they should be, so they will pop when the darks go in. It is tricky to judge their value on the white paper.

"Sandra's Poppies", 10 X 14", watercolour
Another example of putting in the colour in the intensity that you want it to be and having that all important first wash to be lively and fresh. The second washes are only to define things inside the flowers a bit and to pop out some of the leaves, while leaving as much of the original washes untouched. This requires judging each stroke as it goes down to see if it is the correct value, shape and intensity, and determining if it should have a soft, broken or hard edge. The importance of S.E.C.'s again (shape, edge and colour).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Roadside Adornment", plein air oil painting

"Roadside Adornment", 8 x 10", plein air oil painting
This scene is found on the way into Lloyd Park. There were yellow Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan for those non-botanical viewers) growing in the ditch beside the road along with several other flowering 'weeds', and the heads on the grasses were pink. I have been trying out different painting surfaces to see what I like best. This one is done on double oil primed linen glued to my board, which is a very expensive venture. I didn't stain the white linen before hand and hate the little white bits that show through where the paint was scumbled on. I usually work on a red toned ground, but wanted to see if working on the white made my colours brighter, which I don't think it did. The linen was ok to work on, but I think I prefer a smoother (and less expensive) board. So the journey of discovery continues...

Monday, July 20, 2009

"New Rushes", plein air oil painting

"New Rushes", 8 x 10", plein air oil painting

This was done last week at Lloyd Park, one of my favorite places to paint. The pond is getting this yellow stuff growing on the surface, which, while a great painting thing, I don't think it is too great for the pond. I didn't think I would be able to pull this one off as it seemed just to daunting to do all that negative painting with wet oils without creating mud, but I am happy with the way it turned out. Just shows that perseverance pays off.

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Canyon Bridge", plein air oil painting

"Canyon Bridge",8 x 10", plein air oil painting
I did this painting overlooking the Castle River just outside of the Crowsnest Pass. I was sitting in the grass on the brim of a hill in a farmers field while gusts of 50Km were nearly knocking me over. Needless to say, I worked as fast as I could, and it shows!
I am off to teach a watercolour workshop in Invermere, BC this weekend so will post some pics of that when I return.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Summit Lake", plein air oil painting

"Summit Lake", 6x8", plein air oil painting

This is a painting that I did at Waterton National Park. It was a hike to get to (you can tell by the amount of snow still evident), but the results were well worth the effort. The only bad thing about this painting place were the billions of little flies that were swarming around and sticking in my paint. I am sure there are quite a few stuck in this painting...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Hillside Colour", plein air oil painting

"Hillside Colour", 12 x 9", plein air oil painting

I did this painting between the two I posted yesterday (just needed to do something less structural and freer). There was this crazy red bush on the hillside and it made a perfect foil for all the different greens -there must be over 30 different greens here. What a blast trying to capture them all. I am pretty happy with the way the trees turned out. Painting trees at this distance is an interesting experience -how to capture the feeling of leaves without painting them, and how to put in the trunks and branches so they look like they are in the tree and not pasted on them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cliff Hanger i & ii -plein air oil paintings

"Cliff Hanger", 11 x 14", plein air oil painting

I gave this one a shot and after l hour things just weren't working out, so I wiped it off and started again. This is the first time that I have ever wiped a painting, and it felt GOOD. It was tough to simplify the amazing complexity of the canyon wall. The more I stared into the deep shadow, the more I saw -all that detail just spoke to me!
The painting above is my second attempt at this scene. I painted this painting in full sunshine, and the dark values are very dark when it comes inside the house. In the pure sunshine, the transparent colours just sing. I think it is better to paint in light shade, so I have ordered a new plein air umbrella to give me some shade when there isn't any.

"Cliff Hanger ii", 6 x 8", plein air oil painting

I decided to try this again later in the day, this time in a smaller format to see if I could get the simplification better -of course I had studied it so much during the first painting that it was a snap on the second. The sun had come around to light up the back cliff, but the great warm/cool & light/shadow on the trees was missing by this time of day. Interesting to see these two together. I think I like the higher contrast and saturated colours of the first one better.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Few Pen & Ink and Watercolour Sketches

I have a bunch of new oils to show you, but I keep forgetting to photograph them when it is light out! So instead here are a couple of recent pen & ink and watercolour quick sketches. The first one I did in about 15 minutes before the heavens opened and I ran for the car. The second one is a demo I did in my last sketching workshop at the Leighton Centre. While neither of these are brilliant works of art, I hope you will find them entertaining.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Bush Patterns", plein air oil painting

"Bush Patterns", 8 x 8", plein air oil painting

This is done at the same place as yesterday's post. This is done on a stretched canvas that comes complete with its own frame that I bought at Art Supplies Direct. It makes quite a nice presentation at a very affordable price, and I like the smooth texture of the canvas. I spent yesterday priming and preparing boards for more paintings, using a method by Marc Hanson, OPA that I found on the Wet Canvas website. I have been having some problems with the oils slipping around on the boards I had done before, so am anxious to see it this new method is as great as it claims to be.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Early Evening Shadows", plein air oil painting

"Early Evening Shadows", 8 x 8", plein air oil painting

I did this painting from the comfort of my car with my pochade box propped up on the steering wheel. I really like painting this way, with the radio on and in the shade and protection of the car, especially if I am by myself painting. I guess it makes me feel safe. The colours were amazing in the early evening light and the variety of greens were fun to try to capture.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Plein air watercolour

"Griffith Woods", plein air watercolour, 12 x 16"
Just to round out my plein air media, here is one that I did on a lovely sunny day in a park called Griffith Woods Natural Environment Park in Discovery Ridge in SW Calgary. I was introduced to this wonderful park by my painting buddy Rex Beanland, and we had a great day painting there. I have only ever put a dog in a painting once, and that was an oil so I could mess with the shape. In watercolours, you get what you get -I hope I have not offended any dog owners out there! I tried to keep the figures subdued so as not to take away from the beauty of the spot.

FYI I have a painting in the Stampede Art Auction this Thursday night -click here to see my painting. This is always a very nervous time for artists, especially in this economic tightness. Please send up a prayer for bidding war on my painting and I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another attempt at plein air acrylics

"Elbow River Bank Shadows", plein air acrylic, 12 x 9"
This is my second attempt at painting outside with acrylics. This time I used a gessoed board as a support which was a lot less absorbent than the watercolour paper was, which allowed me to layer on the paint better, and to blend a bit as well. It also took the heavier, impasto paint better. I think the untreated paper support just sucked too much of the moisture out of the paint. I love my stay-wet palette -it keeps the paint wet for days and the mixtures will stay wet longer so that you can use that mixture again. I miss the blending possible with the oils, as well as its creamy textures, especially in the light areas, but it was a real joy to pop in the darks right over the lights when needed. It allows moving back and forth between values SO much easier, and prevents some of the mud that can happen when indecisive in oils. I will have to practice my brushwork!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Upcoming show

I want to invite you to the next show of the Federation of Canadian Artists, Calgary Chapter. I have three paintings in the show, one of which won a juror's choice award (honorable mention). The opening is this Friday night from 7-9pm and the show is up until July 26th.