7"X5" Oil on board
Yes it is starting to look quite Christmassy out there and it has been quite cold (well not by Winnipeg standards) around -7 C. I am not sure how much painting I am going to be able to get done over the next few days but you will probably be seeing a few more of these winter scenes.
11"X14" Oil on board I am still not achieving very much so I thought I would post something from the archives just to keep this blog warm. This is one of my sons, he hasn't been playing much recently, unfortunately. I hope he returns to it one day, I love the sound of the double bass.
I am still having some difficulty finding my muse. This is from a photo I took a month ago at the same time that I did a sketch. I tried to use the photo, which was a very low-res cellphone picture, just as a starting point. I didn't refer to the sketch either. I am trying to work less literally and to use my memory and imagination more. I am still struggling with my commission which is a pet portrait, not one of my strengths. It is made especially difficult because I don't have a good reference photo of the two animals together, just a bunch of snapshots, some of which I took myself and some taken by the client. I am trying to come up with a montage that works but I still have deep misgivings.
Various sizes pen & pencil in Moleskine These are probably the last of the sketches that I will post from the craft show last week. Rebecca was selling photographs and paintings, Susan is a Jeweller, Melyssa makes lovely things from handmade paper and Charlene is a potter who makes ceramic jewelry. I don't know the name of the rather beautiful (and "julian") young man, he was volunteering I think for a non-profit arts centre which had a stall there. I did do a few more I have been doing some sketching this week but never seem to get anything finished, even as far as these. I am also starting to work on the commission that I have been putting off for so long. I can't really post a WIP of that, but I may post it when it is finished.
7"X5" Acrylic on board All artists in the Region are probably familiar with this building on St. Paul Street, St. Catharines. This is almost the only source of art supplies in the whole peninsula. There is now a Michaels, a store which I find deeply depressing and prefer to ignore, and WalMart sells some basic stuff. Even NCH is not a dedicated art-supply store and their selection is limited but it is what we have. The next best thing is a trip to Currys in Hamilton. What Niagara Central Hobbies does have is one of the best supplies of model train paraphernalia in Southern Ontario. More than Half the store is dedicated to model railroad supplies and there always seem to be at least two elderly male shop assistants for every customer. They are very knowledgeable and sometimes I wonder if they are actually volunteers. I cheated a little with this picture. There is actually an ugly apartment building behind the store which ruined the composition so I left it out.
This is our fearless leader. Erin did all the hard work of organizing this weekend's show. I think it should be counted a success, even though it wasn't really for me. It was the first show for this particular group and it always takes a while for these things to get noticed.I have had a busy weekend and I may not get to do any painting, also I have a commission which I really must start working on, so my postings may be a little thin for a while. I will continue to sketch and post these from time to time as well as some archival material. I think it is time to reevaluate for the new year and decide how I want to move forward.
Day 2 at the artisan market was no better than day 1 for me. It was a learning experience and if I ever do anything like that again I will be sure to take some more inexpensive items, get some greeting cards printed perhaps. There was some interest in my local scenes, but not enough to encourage anyone to reach into their wallets.Having spent most of the morning yesterday doing quick sketches of my fellow vendors (more to come) I decided in the afternoon to paint the stall across from me. They weren't selling any more than I was so I thought it would be a good bet that it would remain unchanged for a while. When I was about half way through the owner decided that the reason they weren't selling anything was because of the poor display and she completely rearranged the whole thing!
7"X5.5" Pencil on Moleskine I spent the day at a craft show, the first I have ever taken part in. I am not sure whether it is the right venue for me, but a fun experience anyway. It is showcasing the local chapter of Etsy sellers, mostly jewellers. This lady was selling all sorts of handmade baby clothes and sat knitting all day.I spent most of the day sketching my fellow sellers so you may see some more over the next few days.
I am going to have to rename this blog if I don't pull my socks up. My postings have been far from Daily for the past few months. I did well for the first year and really did post something every day, but this year has been tough. I am hoping that after Christmas, once I have got a few things out of the way, I will improve. Here again is an older painting. I always enjoyed drawing and painting my boys as they practised. They don't play much any more, maybe they will get back to it one day.
I admit to being rather fond of squirrels, even though I know they are just bushy-tailed tree-rats. Ours must be among the fattest in the city. They raid our compost for moldy bread, it doesn't seem to do them any harm but I am not sure that I would recognize a squirrel with ergot poisoning. It probably just makes them squirrelier than usual.
11"X14" Oil on canvas This is another one from the St. Catharines series, again a couple of years old. Anyone local will remember this landmark on Geneva Street, it was such a vibrant shade of emerald green. Unfortunately, last year they covered it in brown vinyl siding.
I was never quite sure that this one was finished, but here it is anyway.
Well we are nearly done with Fall. The reference photo was taken a couple of weeks ago but there are still leaves on some of the trees. There is a big maple on the corner by our house that still has about 95% of its leaves, some of them are still green. It is always one of the last to drop and one reason why we end up doing much of our raking in the Spring. Last year the weather got really crummy before we could get any raking done. At least the boys have filled 25 bags already this year, we will probably fill as many again, one of the disadvantages of living on one of the leafiest corners in Canada.
I haven't posted for a couple of days but I do have a good excuse. On Monday night we hosted a house concert with brilliant guitarist Laura Young who was visiting from Barcelona where she lives. I managed to sketch a few pictures as I was sitting at the back, but I really had to be quiet as you could hear a pin drop in that setting. We had about 25 people, so it was intimate but very well received and I think a great success. As you can imagine we weren't up to cooking much beforehand (I would have had to clean the kitchen again), so we mostly feasted on the wine and cheese we had provided for the post show reception. Last night I went to a silent auction and performance in aid of Carousel Players, a local professional theatre company who specialize in taking theatre to schools all over the region and occasionally tour further afield. It was great fun, they did a reading of Danny, King of the Basement by David Craig which I hadn't …
7"X5" Acrylic on board Herring Gulls are ubiquitous. This one is quite young, he still has some of his juvenile spots in evidence on his neck and head.I grew up by the sea and got used to seeing them everywhere, they are sea-gulls after all. The Herring Gulls were only one of several species one would see on Worthing beach. There were Black-headed Gulls and Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, as well as terns, divers, sandpipers and plovers. It was only when I found myself in the centre of this vast continent that I realized just how far the Herring Gulls disperse. Anywhere around the Great Lakes they are almost as common as they are by the ocean. I am not sure how far away from the Lakes they can be found. I don't think I have ever seen any in the desert, but I am willing to be corrected.
I didn't really have any time to paint today. I went to Toronto and visited the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario). They have a great collection of Canadian art thanks largely to the bequest from Ken Thomson. I think they must now own every Krieghoff on the planet and a pretty enormous collection of Lawren Harris, amongst many others.
I have mixed feelings about the new Frank Gehry addition to the building although it has received rave reviews from many. I think I will just keep my opinions to myself though as I would probably simply display my total ignorance of modern architectural form.
Not much of an offering but at least I tried. I went for a short walk at lunchtime and sat for a few minutes to do this quick sketch. I wasn't helped by the fact that I was drawing "contre jour". It was also a bit chilly and I didn't have my fingerless mitts with me. I did find a great place to sit however, back-to-front on the soccer bleachers. This provided a ready-made table. I used watercolour pencils, "Graphitint" pencils and three different pens for this. As well as the fountain pen which I use quite a lot, I also used a Staedtler pigment liner and my latest toy, a Pentel pocket brush.
Another of my St Catharines series. Locals will recognize this distinctive building. They are trying to revitalize the downtown area, much like every other city in North America. It would be a shame to lose buildings like this, so much has gone already.
This one is a couple of years old. I had an ambition at one time to do a series of local landmarks but I ran out of steam. At least I started do "daily paintings' and they sapped all my energy so that I had nothing left for larger pieces. I think the great appeal of the little paintings is that they are so much less of a commitment. When it is just a 5"X7" and only takes an hour or two I feel that it doesn't matter if the result is uninteresting or second rate. When I have wasted a whole lot of paint and time on an expensive canvas and at the end of it I feel that the subject and composition weren't worth the effort, I get very depressed.This painting is SOLD
I should know better than to start a natural light painting at 4:30 pm on All-Saints Day (right after the clocks have gone back). The light had gone long before I finished.
I am a big apple fan and Mutsus are among my favourites. J. went out and bought three bushels today. They should last for a while if we can just find somewhere cool enough to keep them.
I switched back to oils today and, as I finished rather late (I had to carve the pumpkin first), I wasn't able to get a very good reproduction. It is a lovely night for trick-or-treating but I am wondering how many we will get. Everyone is so spooked about H1N1.