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. 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Amandier Abstract

Amandier Abstract
12" x 9"  -  acrylic on Canson canva paper
This is the second painting I did on the day we painted in the village of Viens in Provence in late September. The first painting showed one view of the old almond tree, and in this you see the other side of it. This was the one I actually started first and got as far as the yellow and black stage. At that point I was in too much sun and had to move and in so doing lost the viewpoint. However,  I later returned to my start, and as I painted, simplified the forms, and eventually added the reddish pastel lines. It was a great day, and I had lots of fun doing both paintings, and was quite pleased with how each turned out. 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Viens 'Amandier'

Viens Amandier
12" x 16"  acrylic on Canson canva paper

Near the end of our second and last week of painting in Provence, in September, we spent the day in Viens.....
one of those gorgeous villages in the dramatic, wild landscape east of Apt that happily 
the guidebooks don't bother with. Perched on a rocky crag for the last 1000 years, 
Viens gives three distinct impressions depending on which route you approach it on:
 a fortress from the north, citadel from the west and a typical perched Provence village from the south (from The

As it was a beautiful sunny day it was necessary to find some shade to set up and paint in as well as find the perfect view. After a cafe and a walk through the village we found this scene (it looked better in life!) but in order to get the best view of it and the ancient almond tree (an amandier) in the centre, we had to climb the 4 foot stone wall, which we did and then realized we were on private property. We debated for awhile whether we should really do this but eventually decided to go ahead - and it proved to be a lovely spot.
You will note however that this is not the same view as the painting above. As it became too sunny  where I first set up I had to move to an area where it would remain shady into the afternoon and I ended up with another view of the amandier which I was quite happy with. I was very happy with the finale painting - the simplification of form, with some abstraction, local colour palette, and a good rendition of the gnarly tree itself. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Les Bassacs Vineyard

Les Bassacs Vineyard
   10" x 12"  - acrylic on canvas paper - SOLD

Our morning painting in Murs was followed by a late afternoon session down one of the laneways from the house where we stay in Les Bassacs. The light was much better than earlier that day and I found the views more interesting - winding pathways, olive groves and vineyards. I had been hoping to paint or at least try to paint some sort of vineyard view and I had several to choose from. After a false start, I changed locations and completed stage one fairly quickly as the light and day were waning. I finished the final painting in the studio and was really happy with it. The vines and branches were a challenge but I will definitely try this subject again in the future.

Below is the actual view and stage one, and some other views I could have chosen.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Painting in the Village of Murs

This is my painting from our excursion to Murs, looking away onto the surrounding farm fields from just outside the walls as you enter the village. As you can see in the photo it is not the most colourful or exciting landscape, however I enjoyed the challenge 'to do something' with what I saw, and the abstracted version above is the result. 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Painting in Oppede-le-Vieux

Oppede-Le-Vieux Olive Grove
11" x 13" - acrylic on Canson canva paper

We had a wonderful day (I think I say this a lot) painting in the perched village of Oppede-le-Vieux. 
"Perched on the northern flank of the Petit Luberon, Oppede-Le-Vieux is a stunning mix of buildings sitting on a rocky fold that flows from the long flat summit. The properties there range from grand houses decorated with elaborate stone carvings, to ivy-clad, skeletal remains of others that open onto the street, winding its way towards ruins of the once impressive castle. Whilst most villages in this area have a polished appearance, Oppede-Le-Vieux has a natural, relaxed character that hasn’t changed over the years...." (from French Entree)

As we were staying until mid afternoon and having a picnic lunch I had lots of time to first walk through the old village, looking for a perfect view to paint, and though I saw many possibilities, I ultimately chose the one I saw last - the olive grove just outside the walls. I particularly loved the shapes of these olive trees, and had lots of fun painting them, in 3 different paintings. A fantastic day. 

After lunch I still had some time and worked on two smaller paintings featured just the trees. 
Oppede-le-Vieux 2
7.5" x 10" acrylic on Canva paper

Oppede-le-Vieux 3
7.5" x 10.5" acrylic on Canva paper

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Painting In Rustrel

Rustrel Village View
11" x 13" - acrylic on Canson Canva paper - SOLD

On Monday of week two we went to the small village of Rustrel, and this is the scene I chose to paint, showing the towers of the fortress-like chateau located there. The trees in front seemed doable at the time. I have to say that I struggled with all parts of this one but in the end I was happy with the final painting.
And here are some earlier stages.