Friday, December 26, 2008

Mexican Cactus

Last winter a friend of mine was heading off to Isla Mujeras, a small island just off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. "Are you coming with?" she said. Well that was all the invitation that I needed. I had never been there before and the Dalai Lama says that you should visit at least one new place a year. I started to make arrangements. I was already booked to enjoy a Saskatchewan Christmas with my family. Was I to go there, then back to the West coast, then south? It was mind boggling.

My partner Jeff said "Why don't you see what kind of flights are available from Regina?" "Regina" I said, "Are you crazy? There won't be nothing flying out of Regina." Well, what do you know, there was indeed a direct flight out of Regina and quite affordable at that. My plans were made. First to Saskatchewan for Christmas, where it was very cold, then off to Cancun Mexico where it was very hot. Talk about extreme weather changes. Another slight problem was the packing, as I had to move through several different climates. Long story short, I made it down to Mexico, had a fantastic time exploring, reading books, snorkeling and just hanging out.

While making our way to the beach for another glorious day of suntanning, swimming and goofing around, I saw this forlorn looking cactus, propped up in a terra cotta pot, ready to be potted. The owners were just opening up a restaurante and hadn't gotten around to potting the cactus yet. With a camera in hand, I quickly took a shot, then headed off to the beach. After returning to Canada and going through my photos I looked at this one and noticed the reflection of the house in the window. What a great bonus to this painting.

"Mexican Cactus"
10 x 12", acrylic

Another great painting inspired by my trip is
"Memories of Mexico"
24 x 30", acrylic

You can view it on my website:
or see a past blog dated October 20th.

Love what you do ... and do what you love!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Arbutus Paintings

Any one who lives on Vancouver Island is familiar with the arbutus tree. It is often found on exposed rocky shorelines overlooking the ocean. It is quite majestic as the often crooked trunk twists and turns reaching up to 30 metres in height. It has a distinctively reddish-brown (artists might say burnt sienna) bark that peels and flakes to expose (raw sienna) bark underneath.

Now that we know about the arbutus tree, let me show you a couple of painting that I had fun creating. As a part-time resident artist at TOSH (The Old School House) in Qualicum Beach, I paint in the gift shop twice monthly. What that means is that I paint for the day, as folks come in and shop around, often stopping to ask questions of the "resident artist", but I also prepare paintings at home, for things to paint while at TOSH. It has started a mad cycle of continuous paint flow and primed canvases.

These two were started at one of my TOSH painting days. They are bright and fun (my usual style of painting) with lots of layers of paint applied. I usually start out with one idea in mind, then half way through the process the magic begins and something takes over. Next thing you know, I end up with these two beauties.

They are both 5 x 7" - acrylic paintings
"Arbutus Heart" (middle)
"Arbutus Face" (right)

For more information on purchasing these pieces of art, please check out my online store

"Love what you do ... and do what you Love"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Along the River's Edge

"Along the River's Edge"
acrylic painting, 24 x 30"

Well I finally did it. I completed and signed this painting last night. Even though it is snowing penguins outside, I managed to photograph it on the deck, ready for my blog.

If you recall I started working on this painting at the end of October. It comes from a photo that I took during one of my dog walks where Nile Creek meets the ocean out here on Vancouver Island. The photo itself was taken on a gloomy day, but having a creative edge, I knew that it had potential for a great painting.

Working on this painting was fun as I used bold brush strokes on the bushes, often using the acrylic paint direct out of the tube, putting it on quite thick in some areas. Painting the water became somewhat hypnotic. Moving the paint back and forth, curving it around to create the motion of the water was a trick as well, as I wanted to be careful not to overdue it and know when to stop.

Once that was complete I knew that the proper work of the boat would be the icing on the cake. Getting the proportions correct and with proper shadowing, completed the piece.

I am very proud of the final painting and it will look great in anyone's art collection.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hot Off the Palette

I'd like to share some of my latest pieces of artwork with you.

"Walk Along the Beach",
18 x 24" acrylic

As you may recall this piece was featured on the front cover of the Beacon for the month of October, 2008.

It's fun to imagine the life of this boat - how many times it has been out to the ocean. I never tire of walking the coast line, looking for sea shells, a quick dip in the ocean .... well maybe just my toes.

Always with camera in hand, this scene grabbed my attention as I knew that some day I would like to capture this image in paint.

"Heading West"
16 x 20" acrylic painting.

Ever since my first drive through the mountains when I was ten years old I've been in awe of the Rocky Mountains. The majestic peaks, snow covered even in summer, glisten like diamonds in the sky.

This particular painting was inspired by my journey from Saskatchewan to my new home in on Vancouver Island.

The mountain and the foreground were painted using a palette knife. Heavy on the paint I scraped and moved the acrylics around to create texture and effect.

"Sunset Nile Creek"
10 x 12", acrylic

This painting is inspired by an evening sunset at one of my favourite dog walking spots. I never tire of this spot, as there are always lots to see from fresh sea shells on the shore at low-tide, to swans and seals splashing around at high tide.

To create this painting I covered the entire canvas with several layers of mars black paint. The Sunset colours and reflections were applied on top, creating a very dramatic effect.

"Lake Front"
10 x 12", acrylic

A warm summer day, a new car, and a drive with my favourite dog ... what could be better. We ended up on the shores of a mountain lake, dipping our toes and paws in the cool clear waters and breathing in the fresh mountain air.

Twas a refreshing and relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

Ah is grand indeed!

Thank you for viewing my recent work. I hope you liked the show. Till next time ...
Do what you love .... and Love what you Do.