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Showing posts from April, 2008

Noon on the Common

5"X7" Watercolour on paper

I did something that I don't often do today, I sketched outside and then tried to turn it into a painting at home, without the aid of a photograph. Usually I either paint directly in plein-air, or use either photographs alone or photographs and sketches to create a painting later. I have never had much luck painting just from sketches and this is no exception. Others seem to do it brilliantly. Still, it is probably something I should work on.

April Sky

5"X7" Pencil on paper

I was drawing this while waiting to connect to the CCRA website. This is tax-filing day and, having left it to the last minute as usual, I am having to compete with everyone else trying to do the same. It was very cold today, disheartening after all the lovely weather we have been having. But at least my grass seed is sprouting, so some of the mange in my "lawn" is filling in.

The Cellist

5"X7" Pencil on paper

I thought it was time to do some more figure studies and I haven't drawn my kids for a while. I love drawing them when they are playing, their instruments are so beautiful and the intense concentration with which they play is very appealing. Drawing and painting people from photographs is actually very hard, I try to do it only when I am painting people I know very well. Even then it is easy ro allow distortions to creep in.

Two Peppers

5"X7" Oil on panel

Well I couldn't find anything to paint outside today, not in the back anyway, and I am still too self-conscious to sit and paint out front (it is bad enough when I am house painting, I get everyone telling me what I should be doing differently and how they have a cousin who could do it better etc.), but these luscious peppers caught my eye. I haven't painted a pepper since January, I think it was one of my first oil studies for this blog.

This painting can be purchased in my Etsy shop

Hibiscus 2

7"X5" Oil on panel

The hibiscus is flowering again, so here is another indoor study. I may try to paint outside tomorrow.

This painting is SOLD for more like this, please visit my Etsy shop

Another Morning on the River

5"X7" Watercolour on paper

Same spot as the other two, looking slightly north-east this time. It made a change to work with watercolour, instead of watercolour pencils, today although I did resort to pencil again for some of the finer lines.

Chèvre contre jour

5"X7" Pencil on paper
I see this chap (or one of his brothers) most days now that the weather is warmer, he sits out on top of his shed, basking in the sun. Goats have always fascinated me. How animals with hooves can climb like a cat, it still something of a mystery to me.

Little House, Big Trees 2

5"X7" Pencil on paper

These daily paintings and drawings serve a dual purpose for me. They are partly to provide exercises in still-life that will ultimately improve my technique. The other purpose though is to work out compositions and ideas, with a view to one day creating larger works. Most of my weekday pencil studies fall into the latter category. For years I have been driving around the Region seeing things that I think might make a good painting, but I rarely do anything about it. Now I have dozens of thumbnails which I can study on the computer and decide which ones work best. All I have to is find some time to do some larger paintings!


5"X7" Pencil on paper

I am spoiled for choice now. Every day I see half a dozen things I want to paint. I love the light coming through the trees. This season is so short, before we know it the weather will be hot and too humid to move.

Almost Lilac

5"X7" Pencil on paper

This weekend the lilac went from tiny little green flecks to big fat purple knobs in 24 hours. This time of year is very exciting, everything is moving so fast. It is a little like living with a baby, your afraid that if you don't pay attention all the time you might miss some major stage of development.

Yellow Tulip

5"X7" Oil on panel

Another plein-air study in morning light. It doesn't look bad from a distance or as a very tiny thumbnail. These tulips are rather fun, they open right out in the sun and close again at night. This one has eight petals, all the rest, and most tulips, only have six.This painting is available through Etsy


5"X7" Oil on panel
I tried to paint outside again, it was a beautiful day, but I just couldn't settle on anything. The light was wrong, there was nowhere to sit, there was too much else to do!
I have had this jug for many years, the handle has been broken and mended, I can't use it for anything, I don't know why I keep it really, except perhaps for this. This isn't a very good reproduction, sometimes it just seems to be impossible to get the colour balance right and get rid of the shine. This is part of the problem with posting them the same day, I guess. I know some people get up to a week ahead and are then able to wait until their paintings are much dryer before photographing.

This painting is SOLD

Forsythia 2

5"X7" Oil on panel

I managed to paint outside today at last. Although I have painted plein air with watercolours, it is something that I have rarely (never?) done with oils, so I am back on the learning curve. Painting in natural light always has its challenges, today perhaps more than most because the actual subject was the quickly changing shadows. Of necessity this one was a pretty quick, impressionistic study, painted in under an hour. Even so, by the end I was painting from memory and imagination.

This painting is SOLD

Down the steps

5"X7" Pencil on paper

Between two stores on St. Paul Street in St. Catharines, there is a passage which leads down to the lower level parking lot. I have wanted to find a way to capture its eerie mystery for some time, I am no quite there yet. One day soon I will paint the place where the steps come out although I kinda have already, because it is right under here. It is also included in this painting which is part of a triptych I made of the Lower-level parking lot. To see the rest you can visit my web site.

Lonely Daffodil

5"X7" Pencil on paper
A couple of years ago I planted a couple of hundred daffodils, I doubt that two dozen remain. I am not sure why this is, the tulips and crocii do just fine, despite the predations of the squirrels.

April Morning

5"X7" Pencil on paper
Almost exactly the same place as Morning on the River, but already the sun is a little higher in the sky at 8:55 am

Fort George - battlements

5"X7" Pencil on paper

More Fort George in the rain. Growing up in England, these early North-American forts seemed incredibly exotic to me.

Self Portrait 1

4"X6" Oil on panel
It has been many years since I have attempted a self-portrait and the intervening years have not been kind. The result is both more and less hideous than the reality and even more humbling than this daily painting exercise is wont to be anyway. Is my face really that long? Probably not, although long and narrow has always been one of its defining characteristics. Nonetheless, I need to do more portraits and life studies and the self-portrait is the time-honoured method for honing that skill. I used a small make-up mirror, I was tempted to use the other side which would have given me a more abstract and even less recognizable picture, I may try that another time. I think I am going to try to do a self portrait every week or so in various different media.
Update on the digital picture frame: I ended up taking it back, it turned out to be a piece of junk. It had a flicker which started after about 30 seconds, I was going to start rolling on the floor and foami…


5"X7" Oil on panel
What would we do without garlic? This is not the fat, clean, white stuff you buy in the supermarket, but the little organic bulbs we buy from an old Italian farmer who also grows our tomatoes. I think he is retiring, so we will have to find another source, we have enough left for a couple more months and then that is it.

This painting was SOLD through Etsy


5"X7" Pencil on paper

Fort George is a major tourist attraction in the summer months. Although very authentic it is almost entirely a recreation, built in the 1960's on the original site.
Right now it just waits for the crowds to arrive.

Chat Contre-Jour #100

5"X7" Pencil on paper
Cats and sunbeams just seem to go together, at least that has always been Klein's opinion.This is my one hundredth day of posting these daily drawings and paintings. I am not sure that I ever thought I would make it this far. So far I haven't missed a day, although it is bound to happen sooner or later.

Morning on the River

5"X7" Pencil on paper

East-West Line ends right at the Niagara Parkway. At about 8:55 on an April morning the sun is reflected in the glassy surface of the river and the opposite shore is just s misty smudge.

Pepper and Salt

5"X7" Pencil on paper

Fresh ground black pepper is still one of my favourite spices. I don't actually use very much salt but when you want it there really is no substitute.

Niagara in the Rain 2

5"X7" Pencil on paper

Another one from my lunchtime walk in the rain last week. Mondays are a struggle and it is all I can do to get something posted before midnight, so I can't think of anything original to say here.


5"X7" Oil on panel

This feels like the beginning of Spring. Finally we have temperatures in the teens (Celsius) and the spring flowers are bursting forth. You can almost see them growing. These irises were in tight bud yesterday, there are big daffodil buds today that were still underground yesterday. I am going to have to take lots of photographs this week, most of this stuff will be gone by next weekend, but replaced by plenty of other stuff I hope.

This painting is available through Etsy

Two Limes

5"X7" Oil on Panel

I have painted limes before but these were quite different, smaller and less glossy. Spring is finally here and we have snowdrops, crocii, aconite (which I thought we had lost) and a little iris reticulata should be ready to flower by tomorrow. I am really looking forward to some more Spring themed paintings.

Niagara in the Rain

7"X5" Pencil on paper

I went for a walk at lunchtime and took some photos, I should have enough to keep me going for a few days. I wanted to actually sketch outside, but it was too wet and still quite cold. Still, at least I got some decent pictures without having to snap them through the car window.

I guess most people (if they have the choice) live in the country and work in the town. I, on the other hand live close to downtown in a small city and work, well not quite in the country, but on the edge of a very small, very picturesque town. This means that at least I get to take very scenic lunchtime walks.

Canada Hair Cloth

5"X7" Watersoluble pencil on paper
This is one of my favourite buildings in St Catharines. I have painted it before and probably will again.
Until last summer it was still a working factory but it has been empty since and its fate is uncertain. There is some talk of using it for the Fine Arts Department of Brock University.


5"X7"Water-soluble pencil on paper

Two of these cannons stand guard at the entrance to Fort George, they must weight a few hundred pounds. A few years ago someone stole one of them, much to the embarrassment of all. I don't believe it was ever recovered, but a replacement was found.

[edit] Well I guess it was inevitable that I would do it sooner or later, post the message without the picture, here it is.