Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Working BIG

In preparation for an upcoming workshop "Large and Loose" with Suzanne Northcott, I decided to work BIG. I just happened to have a 22 x 28" canvas around that was screaming for some attention. Not overly big, but big enough that I could loosen up my brush strokes.

The canvas was already primed with a layer of quin gold. With chalk in hand and an image from Mexico in mind, I sketched in the shapes. What is nice about using chalk, if you can draw and erase easily until you have what you like.
Once I had the chalk design where I wanted it, I started to fill in the lines with paint. Next came many many layers of glaze, keeping in mind some of the techniques learned from David Langevin's workshop, earlier this year.

The process started to get really exciting as I watched the painting come to life. I got so wrapped up with what I was doing that I forgot to take more photos. Sorry, but believe me there were many more stages, many layers of glazes plus a whole lot of FUN.

Here you have the finished piece ....

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Getting Ready for my Show

I have been busy getting ready for an upcoming art show. My intention was to book a show in Campbell River to get some 'up-island' exposure. When the opportunity to be "feature artist" for the month of July at Impressions Framing and Gallery came up, I thought it was a stellar idea. It also coincides with their annual River City Arts Festival on July 26th. That will be a blast!

I sent out a press release to the media, four weeks in advance. I was thrilled when the Parksville Qualicum News printed an excerpt in their paper, along with the full version online. It will also be picked up by EyesOnBC in the July issue. 

I have sorted through my paintings, and picked the ones for the show. This was not an easy task as it involved spreading them all over the living room and not being able to use the couch for a nap until I had made my final selection.

For marketing I made a calendar and art cards. The calendar I started in May, so it only needed a few final adjustments before zooming it into space for my printers. I have been able to stream-line the card making process making it quite painless. The response to the cards has been wonderful. I am just waiting for the calendars to arrive (on time please).

Last but not least on June 30th we will pack the car (by we I mean Jeff) and deliver the paintings, calendars and cards to the gallery. Timing is everything, my friends, as a late afternoon delivery, means a dinner out in Courtenay.

The show runs the entire month of July with a  
'meet and greet' on Saturday July 5 from 10:00 - 1:00
Impressions Framing and Gallery
990B Shoppers Row, Campbell River
(250) 286-1612

Here is a sneak preview. 

See you at the show. Take home some ART that you LOVE.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spending Time Outside

From the frogs and iguanas painted on the garden shed, the metal sculpted bird feeder, to the turquoise window frame hanging on the fence ... my back yard is a work of ART.

Mornings are blissful as I stretch out the yoga mat on the patio and breath. The warm sun caresses my face and birds discuss their daily plan as I stretch up to begin my sun-salutations. I love my new patio as it provides a place to relax and think about nothingness.

I have a hard time throwing out old rubber boots, as they too can re re-purposed and turned into another growing place.

Petunias are always one of my favourite flowers, as they seem to bloom forever.

When the rainy and gloomy days of November settle in, I will be able to go through my photographs  and have endless material for future paintings. Happy summer ....

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Artist Workshop

This past weekend Island Arts Magazine hosted another artists' workshop - Fundamentals of Plein Air Painting with instructor  Brian Buckrell.

Watching the instructor do a demo is always a great learning experience, as we can see how he (Brian) starts and works a painting. The group gathered around and watched as the piece magically came to life, asking questions about the process. 

The weather didn't cooperate for painting outdoors, but the group was eager to participate in the workshop indoors, working from images while wearing their "En Plein Air" hat.

Some of the points that Brian stressed over the course of the weekend were:
- pick a battle you can win
- start with a plan
- make lots of small starts

I think that this painting was a 'good start' for me.

Taking a workshop is a wonderful way to spend time with like-minded people often swapping stories, struggles, laughs and tips over coffee and lunch.

This is the third workshop of Brian's that I have attended, two of which we hosted. I always learn a thing or two and come back to my studio with more resolve. As one of our participants put it ...

"Your approach (Brian) is gentle, supportive, sharing and giving. You were accessible in your delivery and demeanour, non-judgmental in your silences. You make the time to spend with the class as well as individual time. That makes the spirit soar."

Thanks Brian.

For more information on upcoming workshops please check our website.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Monday, April 28, 2014

20 Steps Later

After taking a recent workshop with David Langevin, I thought it was time to practice using glazes. David works with glazes and veils, building his paintings up layer by layer. After going through several pages of notes, I decided to give it a try.

I picked my subject, sketched it out on canvas, and primed it with a warm Quin gold veil. I then methodically started to paint, step by step, recording each step on paper and with my camera.

20 steps later ... I had a painting.

In the beginning: manganese blue glaze over the leaves and the stem, makes a nice green. I purposely put the glaze on thinner and thicker in some areas adding more interest.

A glaze of quin gold really warmed up the sunflower and a veil of manganese blue cools the sky.

A glaze of quin magenta helps define the petals of the sunflower.

A lot more layers: glaze of purple dioxine, yellow veil for the highlights, another gold quin glaze and more blue veils in the sky.

As you can see from this closeup there is much going on as different layers of colour show through.

And the finished piece ...

I enjoyed this challenge. It is a more controlled way of painting then I am use to. You must think about each layer and the effect it will have on previous and subsequent layers before applying it. It is a fun way to paint with very interesting effects. 

As David Langevin would say "Only Caravaggio and Langevin paint this way." And now maybe Susan Schaefer can be added to that list?

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Working from Photographs

On my trip to New Mexico last year I took two cameras with me. I didn't want to risk having one camera conk out. I took hundreds of photos, not wanting to miss anything. When I am in the mood to 'paint New Mexico', the hardest problem is deciding what image to use. I can spend hours going through the photos, happily drifting back into time.

Although I usually work from photos as a reference, at some point the painterly muse takes over. Below are samples of my paintings, with the reference image on the left and the finished piece on the right.

 "Colours of Santa Fe", 8 x 8"

The photo was taken on Canyon Road, known for its hundreds of galleries. The streets are lined with warm colours, turquoise painted windows and doors and mucho big potted flowers.

"Taos Pueblo Traditions", 8 x 8"

A tour of the Taos Pueblos was, for me, one of the highlights of the trip. I was drawn to the simplicity of the lines of this design. In the end, I felt it needed a bit more colour, thus I added some strokes of grass in the foreground plus a design in the window curtain.

"Santa Fe Gallery", 8 x 8"

The curves and colours of the adobe buildings was so inviting, and what I would call the real New Mexico. One could imagine walking through the door and finding a lovely garden studio gallery.

Dreaming of New Mexico ....

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why I Love Workshops

I never tire of organizing and attending workshops. This past weekend was no exception.

Almost two years in the planning, it was our pleasure to host David Langevin for a painting workshop; his first on Vancouver Island.

Three days may sound like a long enough time, but the days just flew by. Friday we worked mostly on theory; properties of paint, etc. It's a good idea to have a clear understanding of your materials. Notes were made, great questions were asked and answered and many laughs made for a fun and informative day. We had time in the afternoon to practice glazes and veils.

Day two we worked on a painting using glazes and veils, as the old master Caravaggio painted. David says "Now take the glaze and brush it across the entire surface. Understand? Now you try."

Day 3 we tackled a grisaille painting; a method using different shades of grey. Once you have a strong value painting, you then add the colour.

We all enjoyed David's 'magic' as he went through his process of working on a painting. It  brought on great discussions, conversations and lots of laughter.

Starting with a detailed drawing on the canvas, he puts a warm glaze over the entire surface.
More glazes, more colour, more discussion - the painting quickly came to life.

Looking good now! Asked if it is finished, David says "Nope, not yet."

David is a master of the old masters. As David says "Only David Langevin and Caravaggio paint this way".

I love to organize workshops and bring in wonderful artists to learn from. We keep the class size limited to 12, which makes for an intimate and comfortable group. It's fun to spend the weekend with like-minded artists, a chance to meet new people and to sharpen one's painting skills.

Plus, if the mood moves me, I often make fresh cookies for our morning break.

Check out our website for upcoming workshops. See you at the next one.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...