Thursday, 28 January 2016


Wednesdays sketch group was very crowded this week.  There was at least a couple of dozen artists all vying for a decent spot in front of the model.  I got there early so I did get a good view however I couldn't get back from my work to see it at a distance.

Leah is a wonderful model and a joy to paint.

I need to hearken back to grade nine art class.  We did a painting that looked like the inside of a lava lamp as an exercise in painting rounded forms. When I painted Leah I was attempting to copy the shapes of the shadows without thinking about the actual form that was creating the shadow.  If I had been thinking of the form I would have realized one cheek is higher than the other and one eyelid is fuller than the other.  At least I now have a warm skin tone that I am happy with so onward and upward.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Horses and a Barn

Today was a fun day to paint.  It was about 2 C and mostly sunny with some wispy clouds so not at all cold.  We painted at Debbie Carson's farm just outside Dundas. The property has horses, a big red barn and a view of the Dundas peak none of which I painted.  I painted a scene looking off the back of the hill mostly because everyone else was painting the obvious.

I am excited about this painting mostly because it was fun.  I felt that I was always painting with the same palette and it was getting rather formulaic and stale so I switched back to the cyan, magenta, yellow colour wheel to get me thinking about what I am doing.  I may stick with this for a while because the colours are much more transparent, less prone to mud and very intense.   It will take some practice to tame these pigments but I had a great time working with them. Now to figure out a way to get the very intense Thalo blue off my nose.

Thursday, 21 January 2016


I managed to get to the sketch group for the first time since November.  I was getting ready to go when I realized that I didn't have any pastel paper so I took my watercolours.  I was more than a bit nervous because I haven't done a watercolour portrait in years and there are at least twenty very good artists in this group.

Mary was an excellent model and a pleasure to paint.  I captured her likeness however she isn't quite so purple even with the reflections from her outfit.  I am okay with this since it has been so long however I really do need to remember what my portrait palette was.  I had forgotten how much fun it is to work with watercolours and I may stick with them for portraits.

I also did a little work on the painting form Monday.  When the ice crystals
melted it left a very ugly grainy texture so I smoothed that out.  I also softened the foreground tree a bit and removed some of the ragged brushwork.  It is better but I am still not happy with it.  I love the background but the tree still bugs me.

Monday, 18 January 2016

A Great Day to Be Outside

But not such a great day to paint.  About half a dozen of us decided to brave the -10 C temperatures and 60 Kph winds to paint at Princess Point.  I managed to find a wonderful view of the high level bridge with the snow swirling across Coote's Paradise and a great tree in the forground.  About five minutes in it started to snow.  Boy did it snow.

The scenes around us were amazing but the snow piled up fast.  I went and spoke to Gloria for about two minutes and when I walked back to my palette it was buried and I had to blow the snow off to see my paints. We likely would have packed up and left except it was such a great day to be outside.

This painting is horrendous because the snow flakes turned into large crystals and mixed with the paint.  The paint takes on the consistency of play-do and it would rather stay on the brush than adhere to the icy board. The whole painting has a rather gravely finish. Fine lines are out of the question.  It is quite simply a frustrating but funny exercise in futility.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016


I didn't have much time to paint today but I decided to use it to repair two paintings.  I have found that a wonderful way to paint and to learn at the same time is to take old rejects and play with them.

This firs painting was painted on a cold December day and it was the second to last painting that I painted.  Like the last one it too fell over and was damaged.  I wasn't concerned at the time because I didn't like the painting.  It had the sun hitting the top section of the castle but no highlight on the lower floor.  It was the way it was in reality but in the painting it looked wrong.  I added the highlight to the bottom and like it a lot more.

This is the painting from yesterday mostly repaired.  I eliminated most of the scratches and smudges and removed the big chunks of debris.  The smaller pieces will brush off once the painting is dried.  I look at this painting and I am happy with it and the next time I look at it I think reject pile.  I will have to look at it for a while.

I need to spend more time painting in my studio.  Most of what I don't like about these paintings is the sloppy brushwork, mostly from the cold.

Monday, 11 January 2016


I am embarrassed to say that I am not even sure when the last time was that I held a paint brush.  It was at Dundurn Castle in early December.  The good news is that I went out and painted with the Monday Painters today and I am re-inspired.  Not a day goes by that I don't think a lot about my art and painting but that is meaningless if I don't pick up a brush and actually paint.  I am going to attempt to do a painting a day for at least a month. Most will be watercolour and ink sketches but I need to paint.

Today went great until disaster struck.  I was happy with my painting but ill prepared for the cold and got too numb to continue.  That was at first a good thing because the painting was done and it was time to stop.  Unfortunately while I was chatting with other equally cold artists a gust of wind came up and blew my easel over.  My painting ended up sliding face down on a gravel path.  I may attempt to repair it in my studio tomorrow when my fingers have thawed.

I do love painting this time of year but I need to remember to eat a high energy breakfast and to put on my snuggies and heavy socks in non tight fitting boots.