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.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

What a Great Summer

I have been camping and painting for almost six weeks.  It has been very hot but also quite productive for me.  We were camping in various parks from Killbear near Owen Sound all the way across to Neys Provincial Park near Marathon (almost to Thunder Bay)  Many of the group of seven painted extensively in this area so I researched some locations before I went and tried to find them.

My favourite was near Wawa.  A Y Jackson had a cabin on a Lake Superior beach just south of the town.  One of his paintings called Shoreline Wawa Lake Superior was painted in 1955 in a small cove just north of this beach.  I had to scramble over some rocks to get to it but I found the cove.  It was a huge thrill for me to be standing painting almost exactly where he stood to paint his.  I think my painting shows how inspired I was.

I painted about 25 paintings on this trip and I think I produced some of my best work.  Many of the others can be found at

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Waiting for the Night

We were down on Pier 4 last week to do a nocturne. We arrived at 5 p and the sun didn't set until 9 so we had lots of time to do some warm up paintings. The view on one side was across the bay to the high level bridge and the other way was towards the skyway bridge. I am playing with a new palette and I am determined to get control of Phthalo Blue.  It is very intense and wants to take over everything.

This first painting is looking towards the high level bridge.  This is a very imposing structure that few artists have managed to capture very well.  There is lots wrong with this painting and yet I like it.  This palette may just work for me.

This second painting is of the same scene.  I elected to leave out the forground structures, move the bridge away from dead center and let the phthalo blue show more to its advantage.  I like this one even more.  I am on a roll.

This third painting was done just as the sun was setting and lights were beginning to come on.  I wanted to paint the skyway in the dark so this was a set up painting for my final of the night.  I am excited about this one mostly because I used phthalo in three painting is one night and I like all three.

Bring on the dark.  That is for next post.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

I Got Agressive

Catherine Gibbon told me to pay more attention to the light and while looking at my past paintings I reached the conclusion that I have to be less timid when I paint.  My best work, in my mind, is where I was bolder in both brush strokes and colour.  If I am not sure how I want to approach a subject I get cautious and mix little piles of paint and keep reworking it in an attempt to get it right. I need to mix big piles of paint, get the colour right, load up my brush and think about every stroke.

We were at Cedar Haven Farm on Tuesday evening.  I love this place and am always inspired here.  I did three paintings.  The first one took about an hour and a half and was just okay so I wont post it.

This one was done in about 45 minutes and is much better.  I decided to step outside my box and did a magenta underpainting.  This colour was so intense that anything that I put on top of it seemed very dull in comparison.  I also discovered that a glaze of yellow turns the magenta into the  beautiful warm orange seen in the foreground.

This third and last painting was painted in about fifteen minutes while I stood in the parking area waiting for everyone to gather.  The sun was just starting to set and I made no attempt to tone down the magenta.  I am really excited about where this will take me.  Catherine said that she thought that this was my best painting ever.  High praise from my mentor.  I think that I might just agree with her.  I know Debbie does.

This is going to get exciting.