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Showing posts from January, 2009

One Red Onion

5"X7" Oil on panel

Back to basics. I am remembering why I spent most of last winter painting fruit and vegetables. There is only so much snow and grey skies that you can paint before going bananas.

St Mark's 3

7"X5" Marker on paper
My latest online love affair is with Urban Sketchers. I found the blog first and immediately fell in love with the incredible variety of contributors from all over the world. Membership is by invitation only and the calibre of work is high. I soon realized that there is also a Flickr group, which is open to all comers. I decided that, with my limited opportunities to sketch in the city, I might attempt a membership there. They, like the blog, have certain rules. Only sketches with an urban theme are allowed and no photographs or drawings from photographs. Well there is the rub! In Ontario in the winter, drawing outside from life is well nigh impossible. The fact that I actually live in a city but work in a very small country town also limits my opportunities, as most of my drawings are done in my lunch hour. Anyway, all this is a roundabout way of confessing that this is not in fact done from life, even though the style might suggest it. I have been prac…


7"X5" marker on paper

I apologise for the paucity of my offerings lately. I have a bad case of the January blahs. I am sick and tired of drawing from photographs, painting or drawing outside is completely out of the question when it is -10-15C and I really don't do well with artificial light. I need some new inspiration I think , or maybe just some new weather. On top of everything, I feel like I am coming down with something, although it probably won't amount to much as I usually throw things off pretty quickly.

Pointsettia in the Window

8"X10" WC pencil on paper

A typical January sight, the fading shabby pointsettia. I always hold onto them much longer than they deserve, as they drop their leaves all over the floor, threatening to poison the unwary cat.

Bottle and Jar

5"X7" Oil on panel

I don't think I am finished with this yet. I was working on it yesterday as the light was failing and I want to take another good look at it in daylight, that won't happen until next weekend. One of the reasons I have stopped putting the "Buy Now" button on these pages is because I felt that once I had done that there was no going back. Even though most of these have been, and will continue to be, finished "alla prima" there are times when I need to review in different light or I need to wait for things to dry. This one actually looks a little better on screen than in reality. The shrinking effects disguised a lot of flaws.
I have a number of these little cut-glass bottles and jars with silver tops. I inherited these two from my mother-in-law and I have some more that were my mother's. Lovely useless little dust-collectors.
I should put in a plug for these new canvas panels that I bought online from Twelve Oaks Studio Supply, K…

Starbucks Again

7"X5.5" Marker on Moleskin

I try to swim three times a week. It is very hard to get motivated when it is -13C out there but I reward myself with a tall latte on my way home. I don't always find somewhere to sit but when I do I try to find something to add to my urban sketchbook. This seemed like the perfect subject as the items on the left at least being inanimate, I would get a chance to have a static anchor to secure the rest of the drawing against. I forgot that they would be constantly moved around by pesky people who would also block my view of the guy in the window seat. Never mind.

The Golden Section

40"X8" Oil on prepared panel

I spent today working on my Monthly Painting so I thought I would pull one from the archives again.
As I just sold this one last week I though it would be a good candidate. The title is a pun of course, the proportions are far from the golden mean but this shabby little row of shops all seem to be owned by the "Golden Brothers". I had fun doing it although it was a lot of work. I photographed each building separately and then pasted them together. I took this and drew a draft on a roll of shelf paper, adjusting for perspective as I went along. Finally I transferred the whole thing onto a panel that I had wrapped in canvas and prepared with old fashioned gesso.
I definitely had qualms halfway through this one. I really wasn't sure why I was bothering with it and it languished in my cupboard for some time but it finally redeemed itself and has now gone to a good home.

The Fiddler

5"X7" Marker on paper

Still having difficulty finding my muse. This is left over from a New Year party.

The Lobby

7"X5" Pen on paper
Actually this is not the main lobby of the theatre but the entrance to the Annex, drawn from the donors' lounge. Not being an architectural draughtsman I found this to be quite a challenge, it certainly was a lesson in perspective. It would actually make quite a good subject for a painting, the light is very interesting and the reflections on the polished brick floor add to the layers of perspective.
I am running out of inspiration, I may have to return to fruit and vegetables for a while, anything but more snowscapes.


5"X7" WC pencil on paper

This is one I pulled out of the archives, it actually dates from almost exactly two years ago. Somehow we haven't managed to start any amaryllis this year.
I googled "plural of amaryllis" and found four possible answers. Wiktionary says that the plural of amaryllis is amaryllis. However, other websites suggest: amaryllii, amaryllises, and amarillides. Take you pick.


5"X7" Graphite on paper

A day to remember. When before has so much been expected of one man? Washington was a sight to behold, so many people wanting to be a part of history in the making.

Starlings in the Snow

8"X5" Pen on paper

Sitting up in the donors' lounge again at lunch time, I watched these starlings as they flocked to the narrow strip of bare ground along the edge of the building. I don't know what they were finding to eat there but there were hundreds of them. Of course they weren't still for a second, so they didn't exactly pose for me, but I tried to capture their busy flurry as they came in and out of my view.

Vineyards in Snow

7"X5" Oil on board
I started work today on a 16"X20" piece that is an enlarged version of one of my favourites from January last year. In fact I have already revisited it once this year. It you are interested in my Monthly paintings I will be posting the WIPs on my other blog.
I wasn' t sure whether I would get to do a smaller one too but in the end I did this. I was finishing it in twilight though so the copy isn't very good. This is one instance where I can say with confidence that the original looks better than this.

Buy now on Ebay

Market Day

7"X5" Oil on board

I bet these people are glad that we have an indoor market now. It's no fun standing outside when it is -17C!

This painting in SOLD

Trailers in the Snow Again

7"X5" WC pencil on paper
The high temperature today was -14C at noon. Going to work this morning and coming home, it was a lot colder than that, especially with the "wind-chill factor".

I have had this photograph since around this time last year, but I drove past them today and the light looked much the same so I thought I would give them a shot. I really must give up trying to do anything in colour at night though, the light is just too bad.
It was one of my ambitions for this year to take one a month from last years posts and develop it into a larger painting. I find that looking at the thumbnails actually helps decide whether the composition really works. However, here I am halfway through January and still haven't started. I wonder how much longer I can continue to use my computer breakdown as an excuse?

Man with a Hat

7"X5" Pen on paper

I rather liked him with the hat on but it was not to be.


8"X10" Pastel on paper

Part of my new regime includes allowing myself to post some older pieces. I chose this one because I don't think I have posted any pastels here yet, and because the weather looks about right for the time of year. I did it about four or five years ago and it was actually a composite of a couple of pictures, both taken down by the old Welland Canal, which is a lovely place to walk at this time of year.
I probably should try more pastels, I don't find it a very easy medium. It is incredibly messy and hard to store the finished peices.

Noon on the Common Again

8"X5.5" Pen on paper
I have lost track of how many "Noon on the Common" drawings and paintings I have done. I realized that I have this great view from the lounge at the theatre, so I may do this same view a few times over the winter and spring, before the season starts. I took a photo too, so I might even try this in oils on the weekend.

Sarah's House

8"X6" Oil on board

I have painted so many gloomy winter days recently, so when I woke up to brilliant sunshine and a fresh dusting of powdery snow, I thought I should redress the balance.
Shortly after we moved into this house I painted this same view in summer. It was a different colour then and still had the old aluminum storm windows. Now we have our handsome new/old wooden storms which are much prettier but I don't have the shutters back up, because they haven't been painted yet. Eventually the doors and shutters will be red.

Golf Course

7"X5" Oil on panel
It doesn't look much like a golf course right now. The bunker-like building in the distance is Fort Mississauga, an interesting old brick building that I really must try to paint sometime. This is the first time I have painted in oils since before Christmas I think, whenever it was that my computer died anyway.
I have just discovered that Canon doesn't have any Vista drivers for my old G2 digital camera. Fortuneately I have a card reader, so I was able to get around it, but what a pain!
I am gradually getting back on track, but it may be a week or two before I can establish my new routine which I want to include some larger paintings.

St. Mark's 2

5"X7" Marker on paper
The weather is about as vile as it gets. Hovering close to freezing with alternate snow and rain, turning the roads into slush and then ice, and back to slush again. Walking wasn't much fun either when I went out for this one.

Charcoal Cat

9"X7" Charcoal, chalk and sepia on grey paper

There was time when I used this combination a lot. I do find it very messy and it is difficult to copy because you can't just put it facedown on a scanner. However, I am determined to use more different kinds of media here and this was always one of my favourites.

Klein's Chair

5.5"X3.5" Pen on paper

This is my chair really, but we agree to disagree on this point.
Well I missed a day, more for lack of computer (and scanner) access than anything. I think that it will be mostly Mondays and Wednesdays that I will be taking off though, because they are the most difficult for me. I see that my new computer is now in stock, so I should have it fairly soon I hope. Now I just have to pray that the backup that I did just a couple of days before everything fell apart actually worked.

January Dawn

7"X5" Watercolour on paper

"Shepherds warning" they used to call this sky. So far nothing too drastic. It is actually getting warmer, maybe we will have a major snowstorm tonight.

Fruit Trees under Snow 2

7"X5" Mixed media on paper

I did several things here that I don't usually do. I combined watercolour and acrylic ink, using the white acrylic ink for the snow on the trees. I used a hairdryer to speed drying between washes, and I used salt for the snow effect. I have actually painted this image before, in oils, back in January or February of 2008.This is my 366th day, the year is up. I don't know where I will go from here. I might take tomorrow off, just as a symbolic gesture of independence. Then again, I may not.


5.5"X3.5" Pen on moleskin

My computer (the new one I ordered online) is out of stock, they will ship it to me as soon as it is available! I went out today to see if I could find anything comparable, but I think it is still the best deal I am going to get so I will just have to be patient. I took five minutes to have a tall latte in Starbucks and there was actually somewhere to sit, so I used the opportunity to do some "urban sketching". One of new favourite blogs is Urban Sketchers. Check it out there are some very cool and talented people on there from literally all over the world.

Tree and River

5"X7" Watercolour on paper
Being without a computer is odd, I am lucky to have access to this one or I would have had to break my promise to finish off the year. I had meant to write a long post about my plans for the coming year but I don't really have time to do that now. By Monday I should have a new computer and once I have it all set up I should be back on track. Unfortunately I will also be back at work, so many things will  remain undone.