Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Big Tree at Les B

The Big Tree at Les B
36" x 36" - acrylic on canvas - $700
This tree is down the path from the house at Les Bassacs in Provence, where David and Liz run their painting holiday business (for lack of a better term) called Arts in Provence.  
It has figured in various plein air paintings I have done there, and also in later studio works. 
Of course I have taken liberties with palette and interpretation. I love the red foreground and violet sky  surrounding the tree and the blue, green and yellow complementaries in the foliage.  Yummy colours. Love this one - a good tonic for dreary grey winter days. 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Ochre Woods Inspiration

Ochre Woods Inspiration
24" x 30"  -  acrylic on canvas  - $450
I keep returning to the subject of 'trees in woods', and have a large number of photos based on this theme to use as a starting point. This painting was inspired by the surrounding woods at an old ochre quarry in the Luberon Valley (Provence) where I painted on two occasions in 2015. In this painting I wanted to create a sense of 'place' through colour (all values of red, red-orange, and yellow, including ochre yellow) more than through an arrangement of landscape elements from a reference photo. And I also didn't want anything too literal. The photos below show how the work progressed. 

At this stage you can see how I added surface marks using using soft pastel. Creating these surface shapes and marks allowed me to break up the foreground space into mini abstract paintings. 

At this stage I was almost finished. It was the upper wooded area that was the most challenging to develop. 
I am really happy with the  finished work, and the very warm, palette, pushed a little to the extreme perhaps, but using colours that are certainly there in nature. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Golden Days

Golden Days
16" x 16" - acrylic on canvas - $150

True Confession time - I painted this earlier this year, during the winter - but put it aside thinking it needed more work. I took another look at it recently and realized that it was, indeed, finished. I have grown to love painting trees in a clump in a field. I love the challenge of painting the foliage between the tree trunks. It never gets easier, but that's ok! 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Pretty River Valley

Pretty River Valley
20" x 24" - acrylic on canvas (with some pastel on top) - $300

It has been awhile since I lasted posted. I have been painting, however, and as usual, I have been working on several  canvases at once. I started this work about 2 weeks ago, and after a long time thinking that it was finished, I changed the big tree, just a bit. Done!  The subject is based on a photo I took last Christmas when there was no snow in the Collingwood area (in Ontario, north of Toronto) where I happened to be for a few days celebrating with family.

As you can see in the photo, I maintained the basic composition in the painting, but exaggerated the colour of the vegetation and landscape .  Here are some photos showing how the painting progressed.

I am really happy with this one, a bit of a change in palette for me - and I love the addition of the graphic pastel lines on top of the painting surface.  Very autumnal, and for me, painterly and loose!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Edge of the Lake

Edge of the Lake
20" x 16"  - mixed media: rice papers and acrylic paint on canvas - $125

I have been experimenting with this landscape view for over a year. It is based on a photo I took at a friend's cottage in 2014, and then used as a reference for a painting at that time.

In this new version I have maintained the same overall theme and composition as in the photo, but wanted to try something different with media, and the surface tells the tale - though I realize it may not be as visible in the photo! If you could see it closely you would see how the surface and image is built up with rice collage papers and how the paint is applied over top and then more paper was added and then the edges were softened with acrylic paint. Back and forth until finished. It's really quite lovely! 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Old Florida Palms

Old Florida Palms
14" x 11" - acrylic on heavy archival water colour paper - $75

Limited palette, simple shapes, loose painting and some graphic lines. 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Autumnal Intensity

Autumn Intensity
8" x 10"  -  acrylic on Canson canva paper  - $65.
The weather in SW Ontario where I live, at least some of the year, has turned from beautiful autumnal warmth to bitterly cold, rainy and glum. What can I say, it's feeling like November. Yuck. I painted this yesterday when I was feeling in need of some heat and colour. (Note: while the colours are accurate in this photo, it was difficult to capture the brush marks; the painting is much better in real life). 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Redstone Rocks

Redstone Rocks  -  $75
12.5" x 17" - acrylic on Canson canva paper
When the water in Redstone Lake goes down each fall, the rocks that made up the original shoreline are exposed.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Knock Castle

Knock Castle on the Sound of Sleat  - $75
12" x 16"  -  acrylic on Canson canva paper
This painting is based on one of the photos I took in Scotland in June....

When thinking about how to title this I wondered where it actually was (of course I took no notes!) and because I was on the A851 road at the time and Knock Castle is a known historic site, my iPad camera recorded that data (cyber magic) and I was able to find out the location details. So here it is.....
Knock Castle occupies a rocky headland projecting into Knock Bay on the coast of Skye's Sleat peninsula just over four miles north east of Armadale. The castle is also known as Caisteal Uaine or Caisteal Camus and is seen to its best advantage from beside the recently upgraded A851 which now sweeps past the landward side of the bay. From here the castle stands out against the Sound of Sleat in the background, the scene completed by the rugged landscape of Knoydart in the distance.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Lake Reflections: Light and Colour

Lake Reflections: Light and Colour 
30" x 30" - acrylic on canvas 
I started this painting over a year ago, liking stages 1 and 2 but stopped at stage 3, because I was not sure exactly how I wanted to finish it. I liked parts but knew that other parts needed work.  In the last couple of weeks I have been trying to complete a few paintings that have been lingering, and once again turned my attention to this one. Stage 4 shows what I did with the trees and their colouring.
I finally concluded that I needed to balance the drama of the coloured reflections with a similar dark value in the rest of the water, which I did. It made pictorial sense, and I am very happy with the result. Cheers!

stage 4

stage 3

stage 2

stage 1

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Highlander - the bovine variety

14" x 16"  -  acrylic on paper  -  $50

This was my submission to the Daily Paint Works Challenge a few weeks back. It was based on a photo I took in Scotland (in the Highlands) in June and I had been waiting for an opportunity to paint him (or is it a her?).
This beautiful beast was with other of her kind grazing alongside a road behind a meagre wire fence. We stopped the car so I could take a few photos and this fellow spotted me right away and made approach as if he knew me. 
Wasn't really sure what she was going to do when she got to the fence, so we did not hang around too long. Here are some photos.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Theme and Variation: Rockwood 3

Rockwood 3
48" x 36"  -  acrylic on canvas  - SOLD
At the end of the summer I wrote a post about creating several paintings using one image, essentially theme and variation. This is the third painting in that series. After a good start in August, I had some interruptions and then challenges with the palette, the composition and how to paint the foliage. However I kept painting, and had a chance  to take a visual break from it while in France. When I returned, and saw it again with fresh eyes, I was very happy with the painting. Finished.   Here is the original inspiration and a few shots showing how it progressed.

At this point I didn't like the placement of the trees, especially the one in the middle!!! I blacked them out and started again, then I began to section or block in the spaces between the trees, and kept painting.


More Autumn Colours

Autumn Colours
13.5" x 15"  -  acrylic on Canson canva paper  - SOLD
I painted this one a few weeks ago, when at my cottage and surrounded by the glorious colours of autumn. 
Here is the inspiration. I knew I would abstract it from the start and I was very happy with the result. Maybe I need to try this one on a large canvas......

Monday, 17 October 2016

Painting The Colours of Autumn - Klondike Road Meadow

Klondike Road Meadow
13" x 17"  - acrylic on Canson Canva Paper  - SOLD

Earlier this month I spent a few days at my cottage in the Haliburton area. The fall colours of the tree foliage, sumac, and vegetation were incredible ranging from dark purple-reds through orange-reds, yellow-greens, dark greens and all shades of yellow and orange. This meadow is on Klondike Road and it just had to be painted.  

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Goult Topiary Trees Abstracted

Goult Topiary Trees
10.5" x 13"  - acrylic on Canson canva paper
On the final painting day of my two week sojourn at Les Bassacs in September, we went to the village of Goult. There are probably many views one could paint there, but once again I returned to the cemetery because of the fantastic topiary trees that are scattered throughout. See for yourself below - how could anyone resist painting them?

The third photo(above) shows the view I chose to paint. I knew right away I wanted to really simplify and push the forms of the trees to their geometric limits so that's how I began, but I also allowed the contour lines of the shapes to extend and overlap and intersect with the shapes next to them, and these lines then created an interesting overall composition of geometric shapes. 
Then I began to paint using a blue, green, yellow palette.

It was another great day of plein air painting, and a great end to a very rewarding and creatively re-juvenating two weeks. I flew home on September 25th, and since have been enjoying re-living my painting experiences there. Of course I have been painting since then, and will write about that tomorrow! Cheers.