23 July 2012

a gradual reckoning

the view:

 the set-up:

the palette:

 the sketch:

the underpainting:

the struggle:

the completed work:
 oil on canvas

The reckoning is that I need to find different ways of applying the paint.  This sort of cutesy dappled effect is not what I see when I look out.  

Ok, it's the largest plein air landscape I've done so far, and I squeezed out a lot of paint, thinking of the larger surface area... a mistake because then I applied the paint so thickly.  Those bright blue shadows don't help either.  Looks like student work.  Which is appropriate, since I'm still pretty new at this plein air thing.

Hmmm.  Maybe I ought to take a plein air workshop, learn in a weekend with an instructor what would take me 2 years to learn on my own...

19 July 2012


The gallery which offered me a show for December wants to shift it forward to October.  This is great, since October is generally a better month for sales in the gallery world - but now I really have to boogie!

Gradually things come together.  I have been feeling a bit pressured about whether I'll be able to make enough good work for October, but then I stop and look around and this is what I see:
It's good to shift perspective, step back and get my nose out of the paint, adjust the focus.

This one is looking interesting.  I almost want to call it finished... but let it sit awhile and then we'll see.

16 July 2012

the end is near

Today I spent a few hours trying to bring to fruition an idea I have been thinking about.  It is for a collective show of works with the theme "the end is near", organized by the Potemkin Collective.

I really like this theme because endings are also beginnings.  Endings can be sad or unsettling, as an end to life or love, but they can also be very exciting or calming, as an end to pain or an end to restriction.  I guess it boils down to the idea of moving from one state to another.

As a way of showing that change of state, I was trying for a human figure moving from dark into light, or light into dark, coming out of the canvas or going into it - but my figure wound up looking rather like an alien emerging from some sort of womb.  Although I am a fan of some types of science fiction literature and can see how this might work for the theme, it wasn't quite what I wanted to portray.  
So I began to explore some other ideas about waiting and/or balancing.  Still not getting across what's in my mind.  

Then I did a little reaching figure in a white circle.  Hmmm, not bad.  I made another one on the purple canvas, so they are reaching towards one another:

Or perhaps one is pulling and the other resisting.  Perhaps they're arguing, or perhaps they're supporting one another.  Perhaps it's simply a more formal case of contrasting the rectangle shape with the circular.  Anyway, it seems to embody the idea of a change of state, which is my interpretation of "the end".

15 July 2012


I have stretched the music canvas and I am also stretching my mind.
Envisioning something more abstract than what has become usual for me.  Now to stretch my skills as a painter and not overwork this one!

12 July 2012

blue sky

Life is good!

today: building stretchers

yesterday: stitch and stretch a new piece

sometime last week: red/brown added

Now off to the library to pick up cds, the greenhouse to pick up parsley, and finally to the bank with cheques for paintings sold - hooray! it's been awhile since I had cheques in the mail!
That's a nice change from the sometimes endless bills. 

11 July 2012

eyes and ears and hands

A musician friend who also composes music had sent me a few pieces he recently wrote.  I've been listening to them off and on at various times of the day.  This week I put on one of the pieces and listened to it repeatedly while stitching a new canvas.

on the wall

on the canvas

Pardon my severe look, I was very tired after a long spell of working.  Wanted to put myself in the photo to show the scale of this canvas, which is the largest I've made so far in the basement studio.  Once stretched, it will juuuuust fit up the stairs and out the door.  I am thinking of cutting a slice out of the stairs to facilitate movement of larger works... more on that later, perhaps.

06 July 2012


57w x 25h
acrylic on stitched canvas

fantastic sky last night

04 July 2012

bash on

Beautiful sunny morning brings lots of natural light into the studio!  Thought I should take the opportunity to photograph these works without having to use artificial light, which always affects the colour.

I have added a plant to the studio decor, there it hangs in the upper left corner.  Plants improve any space in my opinion.  The yellow areas on the ceiling are where I intend to cut through the drywall and install my florescent lights into the spaces between joists.  Right now they hang down from the ceiling and sometimes I hit them when I'm moving things around.  If I raise the lights I'll have an additional 3" of head room - every little bit helps!

71 x 31"
This is still in progress, but I like where it's gotten to so far.  Next I intend to add some deep brownish reds, not too dark and not too bright.

31 x 32" each
After making the "Stained Glass" series, I thought I'd try some larger colour-field paintings.  Not sure I like the effect on this scale, and have almost painted them over several times... but I tell myself to wait, just leave them for now.  

24 x 57"
And another canvas stitched yesterday, using bits of the same painted canvas.

Yesterday it rained and I took a photo of the fence paintings with raindrops, very pretty.  In addition to beautifying our yard, this is becoming an interesting test of Golden's MSA varnish!

my beautiful studio wall :)