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Showing posts from October, 2008


5"X6" Marker on paper
It's hard to get much done this evening. J. is teaching and my kids are hiding, so I am doorman. All these kids in outlandish costumes should be a great opportunity for some figure studies, except of course that they move fast and it is dark out there. I was quite impressed with the horse costume and his witchy sister seemed to think that he was doing better than she was.

Fall Colour 8

4"X4" Watercolour on paper

I have mentioned the problem of finding a good place to sit, or in this weather, park while painting. I decided to try the parking lot! Lots of colourful foliage, deep shadows etc. Of course one the the problems with parking lots is that people park there. Three cars drove in and spoiled my view while I was in the process if painting this. Never mind, It forced me to give up before it became overworked.

Ella's Chair

5.5"X8" Marker on paperI have a weakness for old wooden chairs. This one is a child's chair, made in Quebec sometime in the 19th century. I found it in a garage sale many years ago when my daughter was small. It had a red vinyl seat which I replaced with woven rush and I made a little patchwork cushion.It has been a favourite spot for many small creatures, both human and feline.
My N3 (very pale grey) Copic marker is running out and the store where I bought it has gone out of business, so I don't know how I will replace it. Art stores don't last long around here.

Plants in the Window

5"X7" Pen on paper

Now that frost is threatened we have all sorts of large plants that suddenly need to come inside. Where did we put them last winter? Some of the hibiscus are covered in buds so I hope we will get a good show soon.

Evening on the Common

7"X5" Watercolour on paper
Blobby trees, a bit of a dogs breakfast really. I haven't been too happy with anything recently, it is hard to stay motivated. I think I will do some quick line drawings for the next few days to try to loosen up.


7"X5" Oil on board
I spent far too much time on this one.
The teapot must be 100 years old and belonged to my grandfather. This is just a humble "two-cupper", it has "Imperial Restaurant" engraved on the side and my grandfather used it all his life for his morning tea. I am ashamed to say that I was the one who dropped it so that the lid doesn't fit properly any more.
My great-grandfather was part of the diaspora from Ticino in the late 19th century. Like so many of his countrymen, he was a restauranteur, the Imperial was one of three restaurants that he owned when my grandfather was growing up.

Time Again

7"X5" Oil on board

Well I said I may have another go at this theme, I am not sure that it was worth it really. I don't think that trite symbolism is really me, and the composition is boring. A useful study though.

Another Fall

7"X5" Watercolour on paper

Another photo from a trip to Algonquin in a previous autumn. Being a bit punny I am afraid.

Fall Colour 7

7"X5" Acrylic on paper
I am running out of things to say about these. I have a few more to go before I am through


5"X7" Graphite on paper
This should have been colour really but I didn't have time (groan). I might do it in oil on the weekend.

Fall Colour 6

7"X5" Acrylic on paper

Still struggling with the acrylics. I will probably do at least a couple more before I am through with the Fall Colour theme. It will all be over soon enough, the weather is already turning cold and there is snow in the forecast.


5.5"X8" Graphite on paper

Humphrey is almost as old as I am. In fact he might even be older because he was found in a parking lot by my favourite aunt when I was three years old. Jo's children were already grown up, so she gave him to me and we were inseparable for many years. He lost half an eye falling out of a "lift", in the form of a shopping basket on a string, which was taking him from the brick patio behind the house up to the verandah above. I seem to remember that the verandah was supposed to be off limits because it was unsafe. Well it was certainly unsafe for Humphrey. My mother made an eye-patch which he wore with great distinction for some time.
For some reason he has been living in the basket where I keep my clean paint rags for a while and I just found him this evening.

Fall Colour 5

5"X7" Oil on board
Any waterway flowing towards Lake Ontario (North) in the Niagara Region has to fall over the escarpment eventually. Niagara Falls is only the biggest and most famous, there are many other smaller falls which are just as pretty and much less spoiled. The one at Morningstar Mill is one of the prettiest, especially at this time of year. This doesn't really do justice to it, merely a glimpse between the leaves, but it does present a nice backdrop.
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Chocolate Pot

5"X7" Oil on board

Sometimes I paint things for no better reason than I think they will be a challenge. I think this falls into that category.

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Morning on the Canal

7"X5" Acrylic on paper

I got caught at the bridge this morning, so I took some pictures. I am always attracted by these dark autumn skies, especially when the middle-ground is lit up by the early sun like this. I am still struggling with the acrylics but they do have some distinct advantages. It is certainly easier to prevent things from getting muddy, but at the same time it is almost impossible to blend.

On the Lake

5"X8" Graphite on paper

I know the pickings have been slim the last couple of days. I have been busy, OK?

Fall on the River

7"X5.5" Marker on moleskin
The weather is still wonderful. It is the time of year when we wait for the other shoe to drop.


7"X5" Acrylic on paper

Further adventures in acrylics. I have always been fascinated by the way that these three trees turn at different rates. Larches have always interested me anyway, why are they deciduous when all other conifers are evergreen? According to Wikipedia "Larches are among the dominant plants in the immense boreal forests of Russia and Canada." These would be Larix laricina or "Tamarack". The timber is resistant to rot and is in great demand for building yachts and other small boats. Also for exterior cladding and interior panelling apparently. I wonder why I have never noticed it in my local Home Depot, you would think it would be all over the place?

Autumn Fruit

7"X5" Oil on board

Quite often I quite like these until I see them on-screen. It is a little like that old trick of holding your work up to a mirror. If I wasn't so pressed to post something every day I would come back to it tomorrow, but as it is it will have to stand. Next year I plan to be a little easier on myself and take the time to do things right. I might even try to do a weekly larger work.

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Grand Lake

7"X5"Oil in board

This could be "Fall Colour 5" but I have strayed from the Niagara Peninsula here so I thought I would leave it out of that series. Last weekend we were supposed to be going up to Achray which is in the northeast quadrant of Algonquin Park. Circumstances intervened and we didn't go. I was feeling a little deprived having set my heart on doing lots of painting up there, so I decided to pull a photo from a previous visit. I don't often do oils from photos as it is virtually impossible to paint direct from the screen with my current setup and I don't find printed photos nearly so easy to work from. However, this turned out better than I hoped.


Maple Leaves

7"X5" Oil on board

What could be more Canadian on this Thanksgiving weekend?

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House in the Woods

8.5"X5.5" Pencil on paper

The title is a little fanciful, it is actually an historic building which has been preserved on the edge of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Common. I can't remember who it belonged to now but it is adjacent to Butler's Barracks and probably housed a commanding officer at some point. It appears to date from the late 18th or early 19th centuries and although it has been preserved, it hasn't been restored and the inside is sadly derelict. It nestles prettily under the trees though, and the atmosphere is of a woodsman's cottage encountered on a country hike.

Fall Colour 4

5"X7" Watercolour on paper

Yet another in the Fall colour series. There will no doubt be more to come as the splendour of Fall is really only just beginning. I took some photos this morning on my way to work that I will no doubt work up into something soon.

Conker ACEO

3.5"X2.5" Acrylic on paper
Conkers is a game traditionally played by children in Britain, Ireland and some former British colonies using the nuts of horse-chestnut trees – the name conker is also applied to the nut and to the tree itself. The game is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns to strike each other's conker until one breaks.

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Wierd Bean

7"X5" Watercolour on paper

This is the "Different Strokes" picture for this week. I was in two minds whether to do this one at all because, although a very interesting photograph, it really didn't speak to me as a painter. But I have been told that I should do something outside of my comfort zone at least once a week. I thought I would try it as a loose abstract watercolour but as usual I started to get finicky with it so I decided to stop, for better or worst.

Bin Scrumpin'

7"X5" Acrylic on canvas

Scrumping: a wonderful English word meaning stealing apples, or at least taking apples from someone else's trees. Apparently it comes from the Old English word scrump, meaning apple. Scrumpy is also a colloquial term for hard apple cider.
J. took his bicycle out yesterday along a trail which goes through some abandoned orchards. He came back with saddlebags laden with fruit, about 8-10 different varieties of apple including several different kinds of crabs. Some look just like bing cherries, small, dark and glossy.

The bowl is a lovely example of Canton Ware , sometimes called Cargo Ware or Ballast Ware.Amazingly, I couldn't find a Wikipedia reference to this charming style of Chinese porcelain, so popular in North America in the nineteenth century.


5"X7" Oil on board
I think it was once a grape juice jug. A previous owner left a half dozen of these behind in a house we once had. I find them rather attractive and keep this one full of water on the cedar chest in front of my bedroom window. That way I always have water available for the orchids.

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5"X7" Oil on board
I can never resist picking up feathers that I find. I tell myself that I will use them one day for quills, but I rarely get around to using them.