Tuesday, 16 September 2014

High Heel Style

High Style
16" x 20" acrylic on canvas  $225

When my 23 year old law student daughter was little she always wanted me to wear shoes like this - but being a sensible-shoe-kind-of-person who preferred comfort and stability over high fashion (at least on one's feet), I generally stayed away from this kind of footwear. These were her first pair of high heels, and I just had to paint them. A fun painting and a nice break from landscape.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Blue Pines

Blue Pines
24" x 24"  acrylic on canvas
I became fascinated with this view of 'two dead pine trees growing out of some rocks with a lake and a grove of backlit trees' during the summer, after taking some photos of that scene when visiting my good friend Kate at her cottage on Weslemkoon Lake in Ontario. The first version, called Summer Pines (posted in July), was larger, rectangular in format, and more abstract and whimsical in colour - and I have to say that I love it.

Summer Pines
 I started another version soon after and began with the easy changes, to format (square) and palette (analagous: blue, green, yellow). I then started painting the background trees and foliage, and liked how it was evolving and looked - more abstract and painterly. 

stage 1

However, the trees, rocks and water were proving a challenge, so I in frustration I decided to leave the painting for a few days (which turned into weeks), hoping that inspiration, or an idea, or a greater willingness to risk something new, would eventually occur. Sometimes that works. Last week my gaze wandered to this canvas stacked against the wall with others, and I realized how to finish it - by making changes to the foliage, and to just keep painting. Which is what I did, thoroughly enjoying the process. And I love it, too.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Another Promenade from Les Bassacs

Les Bassacs Promenade II
20" x 16"  acrylic on canvas

This painting is based on a photo I took at Les Bassacs, on one of my last glorious days there, walking along one of the many paths towards the vineyards. I spent a long time thinking about how I would paint this view, wanting to capture the sense of light and shade, foliage and sky in the scene. I knew that I did not want detail or tight forms, so decided to work quickly and keep my brush loaded with enough paint to produce fluid strokes of colour. I love painting this way and always wonder why I don't work more often like this!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Les Bassacs Promenade I

Les Bassacs Promenade I
20" x 16"  acrylic on canvas

Les Bassacs is the hamlet - really a collection of old stone provencale buildings surrounded by cherry orchards, lavender fields, and vineyards in the Luberon Valley, where I spent a week painting in May. This is one of the views, based on a photo and inspired by memory of the place - peaceful, serene and idyllic. 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

North Thompson River Landscape

North Thompson River, Looking South
24" x 36" - acrylic on canvas - $500

I have been meaning to paint this view of the North Thompson River ever since I took the photo on a road trip in western Canada last September. The terrain along the river as we drove from Kamloops in BC towards Jasper in Alberta was really interesting - sparse and even scrub-like. Despite liking the the muted colours of the real landscape I chose a palette of blue, violet and green hues for the painting. I really enjoyed the process of simplying the landscape elements, and working large - and I really am happy with the results.

And, just a note about the painting - the colours in the actual painting are deeper, darker, more varied and therefore richer looking than in this photo. 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Summer Pines

Summer Pines
30" x 40" - acrylic on canvas  - $600

Like two recently posted paintings, this large canvas was inspired by a photo I took while visiting my friend MK at her cottage on Weslemkoon Lake in Ontario. 

After the visit I explored a few of these images in my sketchbook, simplifying and exaggerating basic shapes. 
I quite liked this drawing in particular, but I put it aside as I had no idea how to paint it. Sometimes, however, you just have to 'jump in' to figure out the 'how to, and eventually that's what I did.  

I coated a canvas with some cadmium yellow and then roughed in the line drawing image with a red pastel, then added some white to define the trees and foreground rocks, knowing that they would be the lightest areas in terms of value.

I wanted to use a palette with lots of pink, yellow and turquoise, so began to add those colours, attempting to define the always-challenging tree foliage, further. Though I liked the white trees, I added some blue just to see how they looked.

At this point my husband thought it looked like the forest was on fire. As this was not what I was intending, it seemed like a good point to stop and take a break from it.

When I did return to it after about 4 days, I decided to outline the smaller abstract shapes of colour I could see within the large colour areas, with a paint marker. That gave me a way to work with the foliage, and I liked how the whole image was becoming more abstract.

Then I just kept painting using both opaque mixtures and glazes, building up a rich, multi layered surface. I really enjoyed the process and watching it come together, and I love the finished piece. So while the sun may not be shining where I am - in fact it has been a cool and wet July, I have been basking in colour and light. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Weslemkoon Pines

Weslemkoon Pines
16" x 20"  - acrylic on canvas  - $300
This is the second painting based on a photo I took while visiting my friend MK at her cottage on Westlemkoon Lake.

I worked on this painting at the same time I worked on Mystic Light, and while this one may look less abstract, it is similar in its pared down simplicity. I was really happy with how this one came together. I love the pine trees, and despite the absence of signs of growth and life (green pine needles), they still appear vital and strong through colour and light.