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Showing posts from May, 2009

Lemon & Mango

6"X6" Oil on panel

I think that this is my 500th post. It is a little difficult to figure out, because I have missed a few days and my first post on Blogger was actually a composite of several days that I had posted on my other blog before I decided to separate them. I can't go by the number of pictures either because I have occasionally posted more than one picture per post.
I had an urge to do something uncomplicated today. There is a reason why fruit and vegetables are such popular subjects for daily painters, they are probably the least complicated things to paint. That is not to say that everyone paints them well, but the combination of simplicity and popularity (almost all the daily paintings I have sold have been fruit or vegetables) is very hard to resist.

Yellow Gerbera

6"X6" Oil on panel

This ended up going somewhere entirely different from my original intention. Anyway I reached a point where I knew that, short of wiping it all off and starting again, I had done everything I could so I stopped.

Girl Reading

16"X20" Oil on board
I am still in a creative slump so I thought I would pull one from the archives again. This is only a couple of years old and is a rare attempts by me to paint solely from a sketch. The likeness is abysmal and I was so unhappy with the head that I painted over it several times. I am pretty sure that this painting no longer exists in this form. I started out thinking that I could do something Modiglianiesque, but somehow when it came to the face I just got all literal (without actually getting it right). The result is that it looks pasted on.I have so many old paintings that I am not happy with, some from my Daily Painting days and some from before. I am wondering if I should start a new project, try to resolve some of these issues, go back and kick the can again? I need to do something different because I seem to have run up against a brick wall. I am boring myself to distraction.

When all else fails, draw the cat

7"X5" Pen on paper

"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth. (John Singer Sargent)" (or the eyes).

The Winery 2

5.5"X3.5" Pen & watercolour pencil on paper
I managed to get out to paint at lunchtime but it was a little chilly so I sat in my car. The last time I painted this was in November.That was an embarrassing occasion. I forgot to turn my lights off and when I tried to start the car to go back to work I found that my battery was dead . I had to walk back, about a kilometer and then find someone to give me a boost. I never seem to have my cell phone when I need it either.This little Moleskine sketchbook is really too small for this sort of subject. I need to be more selective in both my choice of subject and my treatment. I liked the way these vines retreat into the distance, even incorporating a little dip in the middle ground, a rare occurrence in this part of the world. I took some photos too, so maybe one day I will work it up, if I can ever get it together to paint some larger pieces.

Baseball Season

11"X9" Pencil on paper

I still seem to be in a bit of a slump. I tried to do some painting today and couldn't finish, it was so dreadful.
As my kids have been playing their last year of High school baseball I thought that this one from a few years ago might be appropriate. They love the game but have become thoroughly disenchanted with the politics surrounding the "elite" little league teams, so this year they just want to play house league and have fun.

More Common

7"X5" Watercolour on paper

This has been a bit of a disastrous weekend. I can't seem to find the time to paint so I pulled this one from deep in the archive. It seems appropriate because it is the same old theme and about the right time of year. This little bridge carries the old military road across a little stream. It is visible form the theatre and I painted this one about twenty years ago.

May Common Again

7"X5" Acrylic on paper

I thought I would try this again in acrylic. I shouldn't have bothered really, I liked it better in watercolour. There is a very special light out there at high noon which creates a rather wonderful backlit effect. I still haven't quite got it. I may keep on trying, maybe oils are the answer.

More Green Room Lunchers

7"X5.5" Pencil on paper

For any of you who are not familiar with the term, "green room" is used throughout the English-speaking world to describe the space used by performers for relaxation before and during shows. The first recorded use was apparently 1701 but there seems to be little consensus on the origin of this term. Some have suggested that it dates back to the time when performances were almost always outside and the actors were obliged to take their breaks on "the green". Wikipedia cites no less than eight possible explanations. Anyone know any of the words used in other languages? I am afraid I don't even know what it is in French.

Our current green room is a fairly recent addition and has many functions. It is also a cafeteria with a very good kitchen and an extra meeting room/workspace. Because we need to spread out to do the seating plans we use it for this too, consequently I spent most of my week there. This gave me lots of opportunity to…

May Common

5.5 X3.5" Watercolour on paper

Sorry, I have completely run out of titles. I took a break between two seating plans today (Sunday in the Park with George opening tomorrow night and A Moon for the Misbegotten which opens on Saturday afternoon). I meant to go for a walk but I was completely beguiled by the warm sun and a patch of new-mown hay just outside the Festival Theatre grounds. I lay down to read my book and almost fell asleep. The smell was divine, I wish I could paint it.

Between Scenes

3'5"X5.5" Pencil on paper

It is "Opening Week" when we open five plays in four days. There will be more openings in July and August but this week is the busiest, I may not get much painting done. I was busy all day with tomorrow's seating plan so I didn't even have a lunch break but I did slip this one in, looking out through the green room window onto the patio.


7"X5" Oil on panel
I live on a very leafy street and I love the deep shadows that the trees cast now that they are fully out.
The boulevard outside my house is about 10 feet wide and we have a corner lot so that is a lot of extra grass to mow. The regional municipality has recently outlawed herbicides so we are seeeing a lot more people out there battling the dandelions by hand. I have always avoided gratuitous poisons so it makes no difference to me. I usually spend a couple of weekends early in the year eradicating as many of the yellow devils as I can and after that I just mow them. I also have violets and forget-my-nots, grape-hyacinths and star-of-bethlehem but I just leave them alone (truth to tell, I mow around them if I can). Come August the weeds are about the only thing that is still green in my lawn.
I did actually mow it today, right after I did this.
Buy Now $50

Lilac Bush

8"X10" Oil on canvas

While not quite plein air this was at least from life. The boys all went to watch the Jays play this afternoon. This allowed me to paint in the kitchen which is the best room in the house by far for painting. At first I was going to do a still life but I couldn't settle on anything.

This is through the west window and the time is afternoon so the light is very bright, shining through some leaves and glancing off the surface of others. It was quite windy and the light was changing fast so I decided that there was no hope of being at all precise. I didn't even do a preliminary drawing, just jumped right in with both feet and a full paintbrush.

Lilac & Solomon's Seal

8"X10" Oil on canvas

It is lilac season again and I can't let it go by without doing at least one lilac painting. This is just a little larger than usual, I am still trying to move up to larger paintings but I really need more space before I can go much larger than this.

Another Tree

11"X8" Marker on paper

I wasn't going to post anything tonight, feeling a bit under-the-weather and sorry for myself, then I remembered that I had done this a couple of days ago out on the common at lunchtime. I did rather a lot of these last year, combining Copic markers and office highlighters, it must be a Summer thing.
I love the trees at this time of year, the foliage still thin enough that the "bones" are still visible, and the leaves themselves still so new that they seem almost transparent in the strong Spring sunshine.

Yellow Slicker

5.5"X3.5" Pen, pencil and watercolour on paper

It was a strange day, starting out very wet and windy, by lunchtime the sun was warm and very bright. The yellow slicker probably seemed appropriate when he left the house.

I started this one in pencil and finished the colour and pen at home. I haven't quite summoned the courage to take out my complete kit at work yet, a little unobtrusive scribbling in my sketchbook is all I can manage.

Navy Hall 3

5.5"X3.5" Watercolour in paper

I used the tiny watercolour Moleskine that I bought in England for this one. I have painted Navy Hall before, a couple of times at least. I did this at lunchtime today, sitting on the ramparts of Fort George, the Niagara River is in the background.

Watering cans

6"X9" Watercolour on paper

Another one from the archives. I can't remember exactly how old this one is, it might be more than 20 years. It is for Gail and Anna and Georgina and Ella, all of whom should recognize this spot and maybe remember it as fondly as I do. This collection of old cans and jugs sat under the tap by the backdoor of my parents house. This would probably have been early Spring, the plant was a hyacinth which had been in the house but was put outside when it passed its best.

The Tree

6"X6" Oil on panel
This tree sits in the middle of the Niagara-on-the-Lake common. It lost a branch in a winter storm and it is very lopsided. I don't think it is long for this world.

This painting is SOLD


7"X5" Oil on panel

They often go around and prune the fruit trees in late Spring. The branches that get left on the ground continue to blossom just as if nothing had happened.
I have been feeling uninspired recently, I think I need to try something radically different. This was a little different because I used water mixable oils for the first time. I bought a small inexpensive set just as an experiment, I am not sure how I feel about them yet but I will probably try a few more. I plan to do some more linocut prints but that will require that I work on them over a few days, so I may post less frequently for a while.



11"X7" Graphite on paper

Another "noon on the common" sketch, although it actually looks rather gothic and could pass for an Edgar Allen Poe illustration. These dead branches broke from a tree during a winter storm and the starlings love to congregate there. I only had five minutes yesterday lunchtime to get this down quickly. I also took a picture with my cellphone and may try a painting sometime soon.

Life Drawing

9"X12" Watercolour on paper

Busy to day, not much time to paint. Here is one from deep in the archives. From a watercolour life-drawing class many years ago. I am not quite sue why I kept this particular one but I guess I liked it.

More Drawing in the Dark

Various sizes, pencil in moleskine

I love drawing players on stage, even though the challenges are not to be underestimated. One of the perqs of my job, I watched a preview of A Moon for the Misbegotten, the Eugene O'Neill play presented this year at the Courthouse Theatre. An awesome production, directed by Joe Zeigler with some stunning performances by Jim Mezon, David Janzen and Jenny Young, this is going to be one of this years winners.

Ladies who Lunch

7"X5.5" Pencil on paper

Not feeling very inspired today, still a little humbled by yesterday's fiasco.
Here are some ladies of the wardrobe or "sewers" as recent email labelled them. We have one of the finest wardrobe departments in North America and these ladies are highly skilled.


6"X8" Oil on board

This was definitely one of those "what was I thinking?" paintings. I chose the subject because I thought it would be a challenge, but it was bit more of a challenge than I really wanted. I was picking at it for most of the day, on and off, and wiped off the entire staircase and started again at one point. I have painted this staircase from a different angle before. It was a lot easier last time.
I did manage to achieve one or two other things today, apart from the usual 6 loads of laundry and two shopping expeditions. I also painted the peak of the west wall of the house. I should be able to reach the rest from the 16' ladder which will be a relief. I can't move the big one on my own and have to get the boys to help every time I need to shift it.

Another Posy

5"X7" Oil on panel

It must be that time of year. I did a couple of these last year about this time. There are violets and grape-hyacinths from the lawn (well, patch of weeds that masquerades as a lawn). There are perennial candytuft and something that calls itself rock-cress, both of these are crucifers so distantly related to cabbage, I guess.
I was delighted to see today that I have a couple of paperwhites in my front garden, I must have planted them by accident. I threw in a bunch of bulbs that I found in the shed last Fall but wouldn't have bothered with these if I had realized what they were. Everyone says not to bother because they never survive this far north.