Sunday, 17 June 2012

Garden Fresh

Garden Fresh
7" x 7" - acrylic on canvas - $65
The second in my little (in size and perhaps number) series I am calling The Tastes of Provence. I made a delicious vegetable dish using these ingredients plus lots of garlic and of course olive oil - all of which was roasted in the oven.
I leave for that part of the world on Friday and still have lots to do before then. I will continue to cook and eat (of course) this week but may not be able to paint much more. At some point I will just have to pack up the paint tubes and tidy up. 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Painting the Tastes of Provence: Olives

I love to cook and lately have been trying recipes from a big glossy cookbook I bought at a thrift store last year, called Richard Onley's Provence - The Beautiful Cookbook. 
Leafing through it once again this morning I thought that it would be fun to paint some small canvases featuring the foods and ingredients that are closely associated with French and Provencal cooking.
Opening the fridge I found some olives - and they became today's painting subject. Until I can think of something more catchy, this small work is called Olives.

7" x 7" - acrylic on canvas  SOLD
Now I have to think of something to make for dinner with them!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

More Colour Fun

Evening Glow
20" x 30" - acrylic on canvas  SOLD

This is the second of the two paintings I worked on in the last few days. I think it really helped me to stay loose to go back and forth between them. I usually have a couple of paintings on the go, but this was the first time that I can recall, that both were resolved and completed in a relatively short time. Simply put,  I was in the (painting) zone and it was great! 

The subject for this work was another photo I took whilst visiting Vancouver Island several years ago. This shot from the car window is looking up at the giant fir trees. As beautiful as the scenery there is, the real colours (green and grey) were boring and the lighting was flat - so I took creative license and turned day to dusk and green to purple, blue, pink, orange and yellow. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Wild West

The Wild West
24" x 30" - acrylic on canvas  SOLD
I decided to work again with the west coast landscape photo I posted the other day - and after two days of painting, this is the result. If you compare them you will see that the photo provided the structure and the tree-reflection shapes, but the colour was my own exuberant invention. It was fun to paint and gave me the boost I needed as I prepare for my upcoming painting trip at the end of the month. 
I actually worked on a second painting while busy with this one. Going back and forth between two (or more) helps to stop me from getting too obsessive, and tight. Will show you that one tomorrow.

Monday, 4 June 2012


10" x 20" - acrylic on canvas 
Can you tell what you are looking at in this painting? When I first showed it to my husband I had to explain the viewpoint. It's based on a detail from a photo I took a few years ago when visiting friends in Victoria, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. One weekend we drove up towards Nanaimo and I snapped photos of the 'views' outside the car windows, hoping for something that I could paint once home. Here is one of the photos that seemed to have some potential (despite the flat light) as it contained the landscape elements I seem to favour: trees, marsh-wetlands and sky.

This photo always seemed to have some potential and I have returned to it several times since then and started paintings, but nothing really worked. Last week, however,  the 'stars aligned' and I found the right detail and the work came together quickly. I love the intense colours and the stylized and abstracted shapes of the landscape elements. I did wonder about the symmetrical balance but think it works because of the line of small orange shapes above the central orange focal area. These shapes then move the eye out towards the two larger clumps of trees, and then back to the large orange area in the middle. Any thoughts?

As I love the idea of working with one image over and over, I may tackle this one again - maybe even today. Have a good one!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Preparing to Paint in Provence

In less than three weeks I will be packing (or maybe cramming) my paints, canvases, some clothes and an easel in a suitcase and heading off to France, to paint in Provence. Having been an art history major (as well as a studio art student) at university many long years ago it was necessaire to see what I had studied and I have had the good fortune over the last 30 years to have travelled widely in France and seen  much of the art and architecture I once studied and continue to admire, particularly now as a painter.

I have been fantasizing about doing this sort of thing for years - and finally found what I hope will be the perfect course and place in which to paint the landscape that inspired among others, Van Gogh,  Cezanne and Matisse. The course is organized by the Art League of Alexandria (Virginia) and the instructor is the painter Susan Abbott. The group will stay at Arts in Provence, in a tiny place called Les Bassacs, a short drive from Apt and close to Rousillon and Gorde - all in the Luberon area of the Vaucluse, a departement in Provence.

In addition to preparing for the trip and the daily demands of living, I am trying to get some painting time in too, so I will be primed and ready to paint en plein air, once there. The results are some small landscapes based on photos I have taken in the past.  The one below is reminiscent of Georgian Bay cottage country. I don't usually worry too much about 'local colour' when painting nature, but I tried to be  a little more restrained in this one and am pleased with the result.

Trees, Water, Rocks and Sky  
10"x 10" - acrylic on canvas - sold