Thursday, 23 October 2014

Fall in the Quarry

Yesterday we had a wonderful model for the sketch group.  I produced a reasonably good portrait with my burnt sienna and white pastel pencils but I decided to add some colour.  I got out my pastels and everything went south in a hurry.  I am using the excuse that I only have landscape colours but the fact remains it became the worst portrait that I have painted in quite some time.  Needless to say I am not posting it.

Today on the other hand was a good day.  We were in Kerncliff Quarry.  It was 16 C, the sun was
shining and there was still enough colour to add some contrast to the warm greys in the rock face.  My board was fully sunlit while I was working on this and the glare from my paint was so severe that  I had to move to the side to see the colour.  Even then I was looking at it in full sunlight so I had no idea what the colours would look like when I brought it inside. I think that I got lucky.  I am quite pleased with this.

I see a shade umbrella in my future.

Monday, 20 October 2014

I Love this time of year.

I am going to start by reminding everyone to get out to see Catherine Gibbon's show at Gallery on the Bay.  Here is a sample of her work in the show but it really needs to be seen full size and in real life to appreciate all the subtle colour variations.  Show details can be found in my previous post.

Schedules can be a problem.  Especially when your are trying to paint fall colours.  The Monday Painters schedule is set in December and sometimes, like today, we end up at a location at less than optimal time.  The colour in the Dundas Valley is incredible right now however when we went down Valley Inn Rd in Burlington everything was green.  The day had a definite fall feel to it but the colours just weren't there.  I tried to get the feeling of the season without powerful colour and I think that I managed it.  I managed to finish just before the rain started.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we are back down to Cameron's Pond.  I can't wait.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Exciting Times

First off I have to say that Catherine Gibbon who is my plein air instructor/mentor has an amazing show on right now at Gallery on the Bay in Hamilton until November 16th.  The works are all nocturnes and are all absolutely brilliant.  She is in my mind Canada's premier pastelist.  I cannot image anyone, no mater their taste in art, not being blown away by this exibition.  I have always wanted to own one of Catherine's paintings but figured there was no way that I could talk Debbie into spending that much money on artwork.  Debbie came to me at Catherine's opening reception said "I want that painting." and pointed to my favourite. YAHOO!

I haven't had time to paint since Tuesday.   The colour is incredible this year and it is at it's peak here so I needed to get out and get to work.  I didn't have much time so I went out the front door and painted this tree which is in our side yard. Yes it is that bright.

I plan on getting out painting every day this week so hopefully the colour will stick around for a while.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Painting in the Rain

I found another reason to love my oils.  It drizzled off and on while we were painting in Catherine Gibbon's class yesterday and those using pastels, acrylics or watercolours had to scramble to cover their work every time that it started to rain.  I just kept merrily painting away.

We were on a forested property hidden away at the end of a very narrow gravel road.  There was a pond  with a small cabin tucked away in a grove of mostly beech trees with a few maples here and there.  I could probably come down here and paint every day for a month and still have lots left to inspire me.  This is Cameron's Pond - 12" X 16" oil on gessoed hardboard.  I am excited about this one because I think that I actually captured the scene in front of me and the feel of the day.

I can't wait to get back here next week.

Monday, 13 October 2014

October Paddle and Paint

Debbie and I paddled and portaged in to Byers Lake in Algonquin Park last Tuesday and back out on Saturday.  It was rainy, wet and cool the whole week but we had a fantastic time anyway.  Just the two of us with the whole lake to ourselves for most of the week.  There is a 1470 meter portage with lots of moose muck followed by a 660 meter portage with a big hill to get in to the lake so anyone we did see was looking for solitude so it was very peaceful. This is an unretouched photo taken from our campsite,

My plan was to spend the three days on the campsite learning how to paint with acrylics.  It was rainy wet and cool so all I managed was three paintings.  That wasn't enough to get very good with them but it was enough to learn that I will enjoy taking them on future canoe trips.  All paintings are 8" X 10" acrylic on gessoed watercolour paper and all were painted while sitting on our campsite.

This is my first ever acrylic painting.  It isn't a great one and I struggled to understand just how to use the medium but for a first attempt I was exhilarated.  I forgot to pack a rigger so my smallest brush was a #4 flat which made painting branches a chore.  I tried sticks and pine needles but nothing seemed to work.  With oils I would have just scratched them out.

This is the second painting and the worst of the three.  I got too cocky and totally blew it but a lot was learned.  Mostly I learned not to forget a rigger.

This is my third painting and I am excited about it.  It was fun to paint and it turned out pretty well.  I had the background shore too warm and bright so the painting had no depth.  I loved that with acrylics, as with watercolour, I could put a thin wash over the area to push it back.

The second best part of it all was that I could throw the finished paintings in a bag and not worry about them getting ruined on the trip out.  The absolute best part was that Debbie and I have started paddling in October again.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Grey Day

It was a very grey day today and most of my friends were complaining about the lack of light however I love these moody days.  It was about 18 C with no rain so it was a very comfortable day to be out.  The lack of light meant that the colour variations were very subtle and very challenging to get right.

Desjardins Canal was dredged through Coote's Paradise and then dug the rest of the way to Dundas so that boats could get from Lake Ontario all the way inland to the town.  This meant that Dundas was a thriving mill town until the boats started getting too big to come in the canal and the Harbour in Hamilton was built.

This is my attempt to capture the dull mood of the day.  My perspective is a bit off on the left but all in all I am very happy with this.  I arrived an hour late so I painted quickly which seems to work better for me.