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Showing posts from September, 2008

Rain on the Lake

5.5"X3.5" Marker on paper

I went out at lunchtime, hoping to paint, but it poured with rain. So I sat in the car and did this, Lake Ontario looking north.

Fall Colour 1

4"X3" Watercolour on paper

The colours of Fall are endlessly fascinating. Not just the reds and oranges of the maples and sumachs, but the purple and gold of the michaelmas daisies (today is Michaelmas) and the goldenrod which cover every patch of uncultivated land in Southern Ontario. I will be exploring this theme for the next little while I expect. This is certainly the time of year when Ontario is at its finest, even the flat fields of the Niagara Peninsula have a special charm under the October sun.

White Pumpkins

7"X5" Acrylic on paper

This is my contribution to Different Strokes this week. I decided to concentrate on the abstract shapes instead of the tones and I thought that acrylic would best suit that purpose. I am still not terribly comfortable with the medium, but I am finding that my "Stay-wet" palette is a big help. It even kept them workable for the last couple of weeks, as promised, so I will try to use them more often. Thanks again to Karin Jurick for providing the subject for this.

Chestnut & Acorn

7"X5" Oil on board
This was another of those days that got away from me. I meant to paint this afternoon but instead spent the whole afternoon on the roof priming the west wall of the house. I painted in artificial light, resulting in cooler colours than I wanted I think. Also, photographing in artificial light always seems to cause a lot of glare on the fresh paint. Altogether a rather unsatisfactory session. On the plus side, this one went quite fast, I managed to get the overall shapes quite well without the excessive overworking that I am sometimes prone to.

 $75 - Please contact me for more information.

Noon on the Common 7

9"X5.5" Graphite on paper

A beautiful day today, I will do more full-colour sketches soon.

Damsons ACEO

3.5"X2.5" Oil on paper

More of these lovely dark plums. I like them best as jam.

$20 - Please contact me for more information.

Maple Turning

5.5"X3.5" Marker on paper
All the trees are turning now. The weather has been marvelous, perfect Fall days.

In the bar

3.5"X5.5" Marker on paper

The bar and the greenroom at the Courthouse Theatre share the "John Drope Hall", a magnificent room which has a temporary divider installed for the summer season only. In the winter it is restored to its former glory and is a lovely place for wedding receptions and events, with these floor to ceiling windows looking West over the Niagara-on-the-Lake rooftops.

Lunchtime Walkers

7"X5" Marker on paper

A beautiful day, the first day of Autumn. The tourists are still out in force in N.o.t.L.


7"X5" Oil on board
Another week, another fruit. Soon the harvest will be over and who knows what I will find to paint.

$75 - Please contact me for more information.

Echinacea Purpurea

5"X7" Oil on board

Otherwise know as Purple Coneflower. According to Wikipedia, the genus name is from the Greek echino, meaning "spiny," due to the spiny central disk. The plant is native to eastern and central North America and this is the same plant that has become well known for its use in herbal cold remedies.
The soil in our garden is very sandy and the only things that seem to thrive are the natives, black-eyed susan, columbine, jerusalem artichokes, michaelmas daisies. I don't have any echinacea yet, but I saw this in the market today and decided to grab it before it gets to late to plant. I suspect it will do well.

$75 - Please contact me for more information.

The Water Tower

5"X7" Watercolour pencil on paper

It could probably be in just about any small town in North America, but this one is Niagara-on-the-Lake. The trees are starting to turn so fast that I am going to have to keep on top of these if I want them to be seasonal. I only took this photo a week ago, but the colours are already slightly out-of-date.

Man Reading Newspaper

7"X5" Watercolour pencil on paper
This is my contribution to Different Strokes this week. I thought I was being smart cropping the photo to eliminate a lot of the detail but I hadn't reckoned with "The Hand". Never mind, I am very grateful to Karen for providing me with a subject once a week. This one was rather fun because I don't actually do all that many figures. I will probably continue to participate for a while at least. At least there is one day when I don't have to come up with something on my own.


10"X7" ballpoint on paper

I spent all day in meetings. I couldn't go out to sketch at lunchtime because I didn't get a lunchbreak. Many of my colleagues appear to be as enthralled as I was by this "webex" session. This is a virtual meeting where the chair is at a remote site and we connect through the PC and telephone.

Avondale Dairy Bar

6"X9" Marker on paper

The Avondale Dairy Bar is one of my favourite places in the Niagara Peninsula. I have wanted to paint it for years but it is very hard to encapsulate in one painting. One of the best parts about it is the view, especially on a summer evening when there is a boat going through the canal. Then there is the inside, with it's 1950s decor and the Buddy Holly and Everly Brothers hits that they play incessantly. The best part about it is that it isn't "retro", it just is, I don't think it has changed since it was first built. Then of course there is the ice-cream! I may well try a few more of these studies to see if I can find anything that works. At least this one has the evening sky reflected in the upper glass.

Rehoboth Beach Landscape

5"X7" Watercolour Pencil on paper

Today I am breaking one of my own cardinal rules, never to paint from a photograph I haven't taken myself. I couldn't resist the challenge presented by Karin Jurick on her new blog, Different Strokes from Different Folks. The idea is that she will post a photograph every week and challenge other artists to make their own rendition of it. Mine is pretty straightforward, some have come up with quite imaginative renderings, check them out. I actually found it quite hard to paint a believable picture of somewhere I have never been. Usually I use a combination of photo reference and memory and often sketches too. Here I had no idea of the atmosphere of the place, couldn't feel the wind or the sun beating down, couldn't smell the sea.

Winter Squash

7"X5" Oil on board

There is something very autumnal about squash. These are called Ambercup
and are very delicious.
It seems that most of the best painting spots in the house are back-lit which always presents a challenge for me. My favourite spot is on the kitchen table but it isn't always practical. When I can be bothered and have time I set up a light box with an artificial light source, but there isn't really a good spot to put that either, so I just have to make do. These were on the old chest in front of my bedroom/studio window, so the direct light was pretty intense.
We are supposed to get the tail-end of Ike through here today and all the forecasts say 90% chance of torrential rain all day, but so far we have had 30C and bright sunshine. I should have been working on the house, but took the bad forecast as an excuse to take the day off.


Tomato Night

5"X7" Acrylic on board

I have talked a lot about the tomatoes that we process every year, I thought it was time to immortalize the ritual with a painting. We are about halfway through the 14 bushels we plan to freeze this year and here are my boys hard at work last night. I took half a dozen pictures before they got fed up with me and I chose this one as having the best composition.
This is quite a departure for me, I have very little experience with acrylics and I think this is the first time I have ever done a figure study with them. My old friend Georgina, a very accomplished artist herself, encouraged me to give them another go. I bought myself a "Stay-wet" palette today and I must say it does help, although I do miss the buttery texture of oils, and I am used to being able to paint wet-in-wet. I will definitely persevere though.

Pepper ACEO

3.5"X2.5" Oil on paper

I finally got around to joining the Pumphouse today. They have drop-in life drawing sessions on Tuesday evenings, so maybe I will avail myself of that. I could certainly use the practice.


Bedside Light

6"X9" Marker on paper
I went out to draw at lunchtime and found I had left my sketchbook behind! Oh well, a homey little still-life instead.

Fort George Battlements 2

4"X5.5" Marker on paper

This is about 100 metres south and six months after this one. I have been a lot better about doing something at noon every day this week. I am lucky to have such great subject matter close at hand. This one was a bit awkward because I had to do it standing up, which I always find challenging.
For more information visit the Friends of Fort George website.

McFarland House

5.5"X4" Marker on paper
This House was the home of John McFarland and his descendants for 150 years. The original John McFarland, emigrated from Paisley, Scotland around 1782. John McFarland and his sons built the house about the year 1800 from bricks made in a kiln on the property.
These marker sketches sometimes turn out better than I expect. I have a new scanner, and although it is much better than the last one (no pink caste) colours are often a bit subdued. I usually correct to bring the copy closer to the original, but this time I didn't because the lower key is actually closer to the brick colour I was looking for than the orange highlighter gave me. I am not selling it so I don't feel too guilty.

Tyler on the Patio

4.5"X3.5" Marker on paper
I have been away such a lot recently that I don't have much in reserve. There will be a lot of these for the next little while. They are sort of fun though. The umbrellas on the green-room patio are all broken and keep falling over like this one.

Pear 2 ACEO

2.5"X3.5" Oil on paper

I loved the colour of this one.

$20 -Please contact me for more information.sarah[at]

Daisy ACEO

3.5"X2.5" Oil on paper

Posting ahead again while we are in Connecticut for a couple of days.

Daisies again

5"X7" Marker on paper

And now for something completely different. Sometimes it is good to use this continuous line technique just to loosen up. I may be doing more of these when I have very limited time like right now. Going to Connecticut tomorrow, seven hour drive, so I won't be painting much.

Field Tomato ACEO

3.5"X2.5" Oil on paper

What a frantic time of year this is, both at home and at work. There seems to be a mad scramble to get everything done that we hoped to do over the summer. The baskets of tomatoes are waiting for attention, it is hard to find the time to paint. This isn't a good photo, there is a fleck of something on the painting that isn't there anymore. I can't find the time to re-photograph it now, maybe later.

$20 -Please contact me for more information.sarah[at]

Peach ACEO

3.5"X2.5" Oil on paper

Back to work, one and a half hours just triaging the emails. Got home late and didn't get anything done on the house today, but I did deal with a nest of yellow jackets which have been holding us up in the north-west corner. At least I hope I have dealt with them, we will see. J. threatened to take a picture of me in my moon suit, but didn't, so nothing to show for it.

$20 -Please contact me for more information.sarah[at]

Daisies 2

5"X7" Oil on board

Busy day, back to work tomorrow, kids go to school. I managed to finish the east wall of the house, not as much as I hoped to achieve, but not too bad. I may try for the west wall too, but I really should spend some time working on the windows and other finish-up projects.

This painting my be purchased through Etsy