Thursday, 22 November 2018

Coote's Fall

My desktop computer running Windows 7 had become excruciatingly slow so I decided to rebuild it with Windows 10.  I backed all my files up three different ways, reformatted my hard drive and did a fresh install of Windows 10.  I am loving it.  I have not had a "not responding" message since.

I did find some time to get out and paint.  This first painting was done two Mondays ago.  We hiked down through the Lilac Dell, at the RBG, and followed the path down to the water.  It was a cool rather dull day and most of the fall colour was gone but the area has a lot of oak trees with wonderful rusty red leaves.  I decided to paint on canvas for a change and quite enjoyed it.  This is looking toward Bull's Point and I think that I like it.

Last Monday we went back to the same location hoping that the colours would still be there.  It was the same sort of day.  About 4 C and cloudy so cool for working but not uncomfortably so.  I stood in the same place and faced the opposite direction down Coote's Paradise.  The yellowing leaves on the willow contrasted nicely with the rusty oaks and gray leafless trees.  The jury is still out on this one.

I will be doing demos in public at the Art Gallery of Burlington from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm tomorrow and Saturday.  It is as part of their annual Christmas show and sale so there should be a lot of people looking over my shoulder and chatting with me.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

My Quest for the Rock

On October 20, 2018 a group of us set out on a canoe trip into Killarney Provincial Park.  My quest was to sit and paint on the rock that Franklin Carmichael sat on in 1935 and to climb up to the top of the cliff where A Y Jackson painted his sketch for Nellie Lake.  I had wonderful and talented artistic company in the form of Martin Kotyluk a Sudbury artist.  We arrived at Grace Lake just as the sun was setting so we ate supper and settled in for a very cold (-4) night.

Franklin Carmichael is seen sketching 
at Grace Lake in this 1935 photo.
(Joachim Gauthier photo)
Me sitting on Carmichael's rock on Grace Lake
Me sitting at Grace Lake 2018

It was a tough unmarked climb up to Carmichael's Rock but once up top it was obvious why he chose this spot.  The views were magnificent.  Being inspired isn't always a good thing for me.  I knew that I would likely never get back this way again and so I only had one shot at it.  We were rushed because we knew that after we climbed back down we would still have a rugged uphill 2K portage before supper.

My painting of Grace Lake 2018
This isn't a great painting however considering the conditions that it was painted in I am more than happy with it.  The cold damp temperatures kept the paint soft so it, as well as my others, got pretty beat up during the rest of the trip.

We had a layover day on Nellie Lake and the cliff that A Y Jackson painted from was right behind our campsite.  It was an even higher and tougher unmarked climb but again it was worth it.  We had fantastic views of Carmichael (Nellie) Lake, The Notch and also north out of the mountains towards Espanola.  I was tired and exhausted but forced myself to sit and do two paintings.  I am not excited about them but the experience of sitting painting where my idols once sat is exhilarating.

My painting of Carmichael (Nellie) LakeMy painting looking through The Notch, Killarney

The next day we portaged all our gear down the steep 1420m portage through The Notch . I stopped for a break at a waterfall about half way down and painted what is in my mind my best painting of the trip.  This was painted in about twenty minutes and I was, at the time, too tired to care if it worked or not.

My painting of a waterfalls in The Notch, Killarney

These last two painting were painted on Little Bear Lake.  The most exciting thing about these paintings is the fact that Morgan, my 13 year old granddaughter, and her friend Onalee asked if they could have a board each and some paint.  Sitting painting and chatting with them was the highlight of a trip of highlights.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Beyond the Valley Studio Tour Follow Up

I thought that I had posted this three weeks ago but now remember that I went looking for images to use and never came back.  I am now using images of some of the paintings that sold during the weekend.

When I was invited by Angela and Fred of Dragonfly Designs to be a guest in their studio for the Beyond the Valley Studio Tour I jumped at the chance.  This tour has eight studios with 16 very accomplished artists and artisans so I was excited.  I have been involved with many shows so how hard could it be.

There were some tense moments but it all turned out to be relatively easy and sales were extremely good.  I had a couple of credit card glitches. A couple of people got a deal because I forgot to charge for the frames and I told a few people that I would get their email address from the receipt and add them to my newsletter.  Sadly the credit card processing company will not give me any information at all about purchasers (which is mostly good) including their names and email addresses (which is not so good).

I will be eternally grateful to Angela and Fred for inviting me but also to Shelley Prior of Shelley Prior Fine Art for lending me her racks.  Most of all I would like to thank all the wonderful people who came by to look at, chat about or buy my art.  You all helped make the weekend a spectacular success in my mind.

I was also having so much fun that I didn't think to take any photos of my setup so if anyone has any I would love copies.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

I Love a Challenge

As part of the Beyond the Valley Studio Tour Debbie suggested that I do a painted interpretation of one of Angela Sirr’s glass landscapes and that Angela interpret one of my paintings in glass.  Angela and I, without giving it much thought, decided it sounded like a great idea.

This image is Angela's amazing fused glass landscape that I was to interpret.  I am used to painting a scene where my main concern is what detail to leave out. Here I have no detail and have to decide what to add.  After a lot of hand wringing, hair pulling , and planning  I came up with what may be one of my best paintings ever.

I gave this painting to Angela so that she could interpret it in fused glass.  Glass is unforgiving and unpredictable so Angela spent hours struggling to come up with a decent landscape.  Many bubbles and cracks later she ended up with two pieces that I think are brilliant.

I am not posting our finished products here.  To see them you will have to come to Angela's Studio during the Beyond the Valley Studio Tour where they will be shown prominently with the originals.  We hope to see you there.

Monday, 17 September 2018

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Today was another great day to paint (aren't they all). The Monday painters were at La Salle Marina in Burlington.  All my friends elected to paint the many sailboats in the marina however I chose to look across the bay to the steel companies.  More than a few passers by asked how I could make the ugliness of Stelco look so warm and inviting.  It is simple really.  I am inspired by the fact that these companies, now much reduced in stature, built the city of Hamilton and also by the fact that they may be ugly polluters but they have worked hard to clean up their acts.

A pension from this company allows me to eat and buy art supplies.  It wasn't always clean and easy work however I have many fond memories of the many wonderful people who I worked with.  I painted this quickly and I am pretty pleased with it.  I am not sure weather my paintings are better than ever or if my perception of them has changed.  Either way it feels great.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

I Am Excited

I am honoured to announce that Fred and Angela Sirrs kindly invited me to be a guest artist in their studio for the 2018 Beyond the Valley Studio Tour.

They both produce exquisite fused glass jewelry and Angela has started creating amazing landscapes in fused glass.  The image of the birches in the upper right of the invite is actually in glass.

I will be showing my paintings from this summer on Georgian Bay and Lake Superior and a few from last summer in Newfoundland.  I am finally getting comfortable with acrylic paint and I am producing my best ever work so I can't wait to get your feedback. 

Beyond the Valley Studio Tour
Saturday October 13 and Sunday October 14
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
218 Mellville Street
Dundas, Ontario

For more information about the tour visit their website at

Monday, 10 September 2018

A Day of Art at the Lake

Debbie and I spent Saturday with ten or so artists that we met this summer at Sylvia and Peter's cottage on Lake Erie near Selkirk.  I was a day filled with painting, wine, laughter and friendship.  I always thought that painting big water would make for a rather boring composition however this summer has me thinking very differently.  Lake Superior and Lake Erie have inspired me enough to produce what I think is some of my best work and that is exciting indeed.

I produced four painting and am happy with two of them.  I was offered a wee dram half way through the second painting and things started to go down hill at that point.  The fun and laughter started to increase though so it was all good.

This first painting was painted in the morning looking north east from the shore in front of their cottage.  I was excited with this one because it is about my third or fourth painting where I managed to get waves that looked like waves but were still painterly.

This next painting is actually my third painted with the taste of a good single malt lingering on my taste buds.  Thank you Wendy.  I was standing in almost the same location as the first painting however I was looking south west.  I don't think that I would ever tire of the views from their cozy retreat.

I would once again like to thank Sylvia and Peter for being such amazing hosts.  We are still giggling every time we think of some of the stories.