Monday, August 31, 2009

"And Baby Makes Three", oil painting from life

"And Baby Makes Three", oil painting from life, 6 x 8"
Well I am back from 2 weeks holiday at our cottage -a bit cool and rainy at times, but a good rest and I didn't paint at all. Guess I needed a rest!
The above is the first completed painting that I did at the Carol Marine workshop I attended near Sylvan Lake. I did this after Monday's class while sitting at my campsite -photo at the top. The workshop was FANTASTIC and I learnt a ton -not only the things that Carol was teaching directly, but also things I realized on my own as I was doing my own work and reflecting upon it at the end of each day(sometimes these were reminders of things I already knew, but forgot to think about). I thought I would share these things with you, one each day, just to make sure you keep coming back! Before I do that though, I want to plug Carol's workshops. She is a very giving and open instructor, and she paints a mean still life. I will try to study with Carol again next year -you can only learn what you are ready for, building upon those things you already get -so I should be ready for the next lessons after I incorporate the ones I learnt this time. This is definitely one workshop teacher that you want to study with -her blog is great but it is so much better to actually watch her work and be able to ask her questions during the demo (she handled this really well, it is a very difficult thing to talk while you work, especially when you have a bunch of people watching!)
Lesson #1: I think the overriding lesson that I learnt at the workshop was to take pride in who I am as a painter and as a lifelong learner. I will never be able to paint like Carol, but I can paint like me! This might sound obvious, but if you are a painter, I know you can relate. I CAN learn techniques that will help me make my work better, so trying to work the way Carol does for this workshop helped me learn those techniques. Its up to me to put them into my own work after the workshop is over.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Our Cottage", watercolour painting

"Our Cottage", watercolour painting, 11 x 14"
This is a painting I did of our cottage a few years ago. I thought I would post it so you could imagine me sitting on one of those dock chairs! If you need a painting 'fix' while I am away, please go over to the Daily Painters International Art Gallery blog because I have scheduled a bunch of posts there to run over my holiday. There will be mixed media, watercolours, florals, figures and abstract paintings posted.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My 'Carol Marine' beauty

This one of the demos that Carol Marine did at our workshop, and I was lucky enough to end up with it. I just LOVE it! I can't wait to tell you all about the workshop, except that I leave for 2 weeks holidays tomorrow, and I am not packed yet, plus a multitude of other things I have to do before I go. Unfortunately I don't have access to the net at our cottage -we don't even have an indoor washroom -so you will have to wait 'til I get back to hear, see, and learn all about it. I have decided to post some of the things I learned/discovered/struggled with at Carol's workshop -one each day, so come back Aug 30th to get the scoop.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Boats at Ghost Lake", plein air oil painting

"Boats at Ghost Lake", 16 x 12", plein air oil painting
We have always owned sailboats, so this was a pleasure to paint. I am a firm believer that you can't paint something you don't know, and that certainly goes for boats. The yellow boat had its jib in a pile at the front of the bow, but I left it off for the sake of the composition. Although the boats were moored they kept twisting in the breeze, so it was fun to catch the boat at the right moment as it moved through its arc.
I won't be posting for a while as we are off camping for the weekend in Sylvan Lake. Dave will leave me there so that I can attend the Carol Marine oil workshop on Monday to Friday. Yipee! I am so excited to work with her and learn all I can. We are supposed to have a couple of days plein air and the rest on still life, from life. I will try to post when I get back on Friday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Aspen Light", plein air oil painting

"Aspen Light", 14 x 11", plein air oil painting

I did this on a very hot afternoon where the only shade I could find was under this small stand of aspen -so that's what I painted. I was intrigued by the colours of the bark in the sun and in the shade and tried to capture those in the painting. I wanted to get the leaves in as interesting groups of shapes while only giving the impression of many leaves. These too provided a fascinating array of colours. And of course the edges were important -soft on the shadow side and crisp on the hightlight side. All in all, a lot to take in! In learning to see colour, edge and value, nothing beats painting from life.
(to purchase this, or any of my paintings, email me at

Monday, August 3, 2009

"What A Day", plein air acrylic painting

"What A Day", 9 x 12", plein air acrylic painting
Another from my plein air acrylic day. I am really liking these acrylics, now that I have figured out how to keep them workable outside. They work in similar ways as do the oils, but due to the rapid drying, going back into previously painted areas is a dream. Controlling edges can be an issue, but if you are cognizant of edges when the strokes are put down, it is an easy thing to soften them while wet with your finger . This cloud study was particularly nice to do, layering back and forth with the lights and shadows, working with impasto paint and also with transparent glazing.

"Aspen Light", plein air acyrlic painting

"Aspen Light", 9 x 12", plein air acrylic painting

This was the last one of the day on my plein air acrylic day. The light was going fast, and so was I! Acrylics are very nice to not make mud, and the corrections are a breeze. I painted all day with my hand-made stay wet palette and the paint is still wet in the box several days later. For a thrifty artist like me, it means a lot. This was done on birch plywood sealed with amber shellac, my new best favorite surface for both oils and acrylics, using hogs hair bristle brushes mostly.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"A Fine Backdrop", plein air acrylic painting

"A Fine Backdrop", 8 x 6", plein air acrylic painting

I decided to give plein air acrylics (regular tube acrylics, not 'Open' ones) another try. This time I made myself a little 'stay wet' palette out of a Tupperware type container and this seemed to work pretty well despite the heat and wind. I used one of my sealed Masonite panels for the support. Sometimes I wasn't sure if the paint would dry on the brush before making it to the panel or not, which made for some interesting brush marks. The acrylics dry quite flat, but after a spray with Kamar varnish, I couldn't tell them from oils. I couldn't resist this quirky composition!

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

This is a much better photo of the post on Wednesday. Taking photos of my work is always a bit difficult. I usually take them in the shade, but perpendicular to the sky so they won't be too blue. This one I took in the full sun at about 6pm tonight and the colours are perfect. I did try to re shoot some others that I had trouble with, but the ones with a lot of blue in them were terrible under this new lighting situation. I should probably take all my shots in my studio with my full spectrum bulbs, but then I need to get out my tripod, which is a pain. But would definitely take less time than I spend trying to fix wrong colour in Photoshop!

Wanted to share with you that I have been invited to join the "Daily Painters International Art Gallery" run by K. Madison Moore -that is their widget that you see on the sidebar -each day it shows the new posts for the day. You can also subscribe to get their posts in your inbox daily. They have 63 artists at present and are seeking out more artists from outside the USA, to make this a truly international site. Please check it out. I will be posting some of the same stuff as here, but it is less of a personal site, and more of an exhibition site, so I will be posting available work in all media, and will leave out the teaching stuff and much of the rhetoric.