Saturday, 26 August 2017

Island on Redstone

Island on Redstone
18" x 20" - acrylic on canvas - $300
I have tried to paint this particular view of a small island - it is just trees and some rocks - near my cottage on Redstone Lake in Haliburton, several times. This time, however, I am quite happy with the result. I think the very stylized forms and expressive palette 'work' - and are more interesting than the reality: green trees on a grey lake, with a grey sky and grey-green background hills.
Hope that you are having a wonderful weekend!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Near La Gacilly, Brittany

Near La Gacilly, Brittany
24" x 30" - acrylic on canvas - $450
While travelling in Brittany last May, we drove through and stayed in an area near the small 'commune' (think village with a population of 3000+) of La Gacilly. One of our stops to stretch our legs was near this small creek, and I took a number of photos, liking the contrast between the various horizontal 'bands' (of water/reflections, shoreline, land and sky) and the verticals/diagonals of the trees cutting through the space. As the painting evolved the lily pads and reflections in the water became the focus. Below are some of the stages as the work progressed. Good memories and good fun.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Madeleine Island Dunes

Madeleine Island Dunes
36" x 36" - acrylic on canvas - $700
In September 2015 we spent a few days touring the Les Iles de la Madeleine - a small archipelago (the red islands in the map below) in the Gulf of the Saint Lawrence, that is part of the Province of Quebec. 

As we drove all around the islands we stopped at many of the beaches, not to swim, but to just breathe the ocean air and marvel at the size, isolation and beauty of the them. Some were rugged and some were surrounded by magnificent sand dunes, like these below, the first of which inspired the painting above.

The painting evolved this way......

When I started painting I wasn't sure how much of the magenta ground would ultimately show through. It did however determine the other colours I used, and I really liked what was happening.  It is definitely a lively, colourful painting, but for me, reminiscent of good times, and a beautiful pristine spot in the world. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Haliburton Rocks Trees and Colour

Haliburton Rocks, Trees and Colour
36" x 36" - acrylic on canvas - SOLD
Rocky shorelines, trees, and reflections on water are things I am surrounded by each summer in an area called the Haliburton Highland of Ontario. It is a theme I continue to explore and paint every year. I began this particular painting last summer. 

The first version appeared on a rectangular - horizontal  canvas, and looked like this (above).
While there were many things I liked about the painting at this point, there were also things I didn't like. I decided to start again but use a square canvas and focus on the areas I thought were the most interesting. 

Comparing the 2 pictures above you can see what I maintained in the square version.
I also decided to limit the palette to blues and greens and at this stage really liked the abstract qualities of the landscape space, and ambiguity as to what exactly was depicted.  
 I continued painting however, and reached this point (above) and it seemed much less exciting. I left it for a few months. At some point last fall I began to tinker with the palette and it looked like this....
and I stopped, not really liking it anymore. In July I decided to give myself and it one more chance and painted a skim of whitish paint over the canvas that left the ghost of the original image. I worked from that but also made changes, re-drew and re-worked the shoreline, background trees and reflected shapes. I came to terms with the palette I wanted. I tried to work quickly and not over work any areas. 
I am really happy that I took another stab at this one, and am really happy with the results, especially the richly coloured palette and the arrangement of and contrast between dark and light coloured abstract shapes.  
Thanks for reading and looking! 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze
30" x 24" - acrylic on canvas - $450
I completed this painting a week ago and am really happy with it. My sister said it 'made her smile'.  I love the sense  of rhythm and energy in the shape of the tree branches, brush strokes, and of course the bright, intense colours. It makes me smile too. The composition was inspired by a group of pine trees on a small rocky island near my cottage, on a lake in northern Ontario - a subject I have painted several times and interpreted differently each time (see this and this). Below is an acrylic study I did on paper first, followed by some of the progressive stages on canvas. Thanks for looking!

acrylic study on paper



Sunday, 6 August 2017

Olive Grove at Les Bassacs

Olive Grove at Les Bassacs
30" x 40" - acrylic on canvas - $700
In July I kept returning to my photos taken in Provence searching for subject matter and in particular, olive trees, which I love. (Maybe it's because I really like eating olives, or associate them with Van Gogh, or just see them everywhere in the south.) I chose a photo featuring a group of olive trees, which as you can see, is quite dark, but once 'lightened' seemed like it had potential.

Here are two of the earlier stages.

I was really happy with how this one turned out, and in particular with the palette and stylized foliage. 

Friday, 4 August 2017

Olive Trees near the Falaise

Olive Trees Near the Falaise
20" x 24" - acrylic on canvas - $300
This is the first canvas I completed after my return from Provence in June. The first time I painted in this spot (near the Falaise de Lioux) was in 2012 and though what I painted then was not exactly stellar, I did photograph these particular trees and once home painted a canvas that I really liked, eventually sold, but forgot to photograph!  This year I took more photos and when I began to paint opted for a more natural interpretation.  I was quite happy with the result and in particular the sense of light and heat, and brush strokes suggesting fluttering olive leaves and the grasses below.