Monday, 19 June 2017

Travelling and Painting

I have been travelling in France during the last month and did some painting there as well. I am finally over my jet lag, have organized my house and studio and am starting to think about new paintings inspired by the thousand or so photos I took while away. I'll begin, however, with some posts of my plein air work done most recently in Provence, with Arts in Provence. 
This is a view looking up from the road that leads to the small village of Joucas, in the Luberon Valley and very close to where we stay at Les Bassacs. Over the 2.5 hours there I worked on two small paintings. The first was done on a small wood panel with an ochre ground. 

Joucas Vines 1
11" x 14" - acrylic on wood panel - $75
The second was done on heavy paper designed for acrylic paint, and executed mostly with a palette knife.

Joucas Vines II
11" x 15" - acrylic on archival paper - $75

Back in the studio I worked on another painting using some photos I took that morning, looking in the other direction. All in all, a good start.

Leaving Joucas
11" x 15" - acrylic on canvas paper - $75











Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Roadside Attraction II

Roadside Attraction II
16"x 20"  - acrylic on canvas paper - $150
I seem to have an artistic 'season disconnect' as we head into spring. For whatever reason I am finding inspiration in some photos I took last fall when the colours were at their height in Ontario. I am sure I will catch up soon to spring, but in the meantime here is a second painting based on one of those photos from last September. This too was largely painted with a palette knife but the textural creating larger, flatter areas of colour. 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Roadside Attraction I - Autumn Foliage

Roadside Attraction I
16.5" x 22"  - acrylic on canvas paper  - $150
Lately I have become enamoured with 'mark making' while I paint, and have become more experimental in making a wider variety of them in my work. Painting with a brush is still a joy, but recently I have been using a palette knife as well. In this painting I began with the brush, but as paint layers were built up, the knife work created such wonderful texture, suggesting foliage, that I left it more intact than usual. 
The composition (and hence title), and even the colour palette was inspired by a photo I took last October when the autumn colours were at their most intense. It was a beautiful season.





Saturday, 15 April 2017

From Here to There


From Here to There
24" x 30" - acrylic & oil on canvas - $450
This painting evolved out of another based on a similar landscape design that featured 'foreground trees in front of a body of water, with a distant shore in the background'. I worked on both of them at the same time, but this one took an entirely different path. Below are the first three stages.


At this point I started attending a Master Class with painter Tom Stephens at the Sarasota Art Centre. The idea was that you would bring your current work and paint in a collegial environment and receive critical feedback- in other words - coaching. As someone who paints alone I was feeling in need of some peer review, so I signed up. This is the painting I took with me to the group on the first day, six weeks ago. Among Tom's comments was the important advice that you just have to dig in and push the paint around to see what happens next. It was the same advice I would have (and have) given to students, so I did, mostly going with my intuition. 
The result was a simplification of the design into fewer, larger and more interesting shapes, and the toning down of some colour areas with some neutral greys. The surface of the painting became more nuanced, layered and interesting. Eventually all the areas were resolved, with the final touches of oil paint, applied liked icing on the cake. It was not how I imagined the painting would look in the beginning, but I was very pleased in the end. 







Thursday, 13 April 2017

At the Hob Nob Drive-In, in Sarasota

At the Hob Nob
24" x 30"  - acrylic on canvas - $450
This is not my usual subject matter nor style, but one seemed to demand the other. 
The Hob Nob is a 'Sarasota landmark', and its oldest drive-in diner, having been around since the 1950s. 
Several years ago I was with friends touring some artist studios in that area and we stopped at the diner for lunch. While eating a very interesting looking man in full leathers and wearing a helmet that matched his motorcycle, pulled up.  I had to take some photos, surreptitiously of course, and since then have been thinking about painting him. I finally did it this spring. Though my original photo did include all of his motorcycle, I felt the cropped composition worked better on this sized canvas. A fun painting.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Des Nuages Orageux

Des Nuages Orageux
16" x 16"  - acrylic on canvas - $150

As I was painting en plein air near St. Saturnin-les-Apt, last September, storm clouds - des images orageux - were forming in the distance and approaching our group. Everyone kept painting, and happily the storm passed us by. Later that day I painted a small version of the approaching storm, and recently decided to tackle the the subject again. It was a dramatic 'big weather morning' and that is what I wanted to capture in this painting.