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Showing posts from September, 2009


7"X5.5" Pencil on paperLast night we went to the brand new Koerner Hall to see the legendary Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer in concert with tabla player Zakir Hussain. Unfortunately, what should have been a stunning concert was marred by terrible seats. We booked late and purchased the only seats available, in the first balcony behind the stage. We consoled ourselves with the thought that, although the view wouldn't be good, the sound should be just fine. The newly opened hall has been getting rave reviews for its acoustics and I think that for an unamplified show these seats would have been fine but the sound was badly designed and all the speakers were facing out into the hall. Even then there was a fair bit of feedback, unforgivable in a concert of this calibre. The sound was muddy and the tablas rode roughshod over everything. Ah well I did quite a few sketches of the players


12"X9" Watercolour on paper

Very uncertain weather today made drawing outside a risky proposition so this one from the archives is at least seasonal

Bridge at Lock 2

5"X7" Acrylic on board
I seem to be doing a lot of acrylics recently. Am I getting the hang of them yet? I am not sure, I am getting better at the colour mixing I think, but am still not used to the lack of blendability. The clean up is certainly a little easier.
This is another familiar sight for me, here the overcast sky has created an early twilight. Fortunately there is no boat or I could be waiting another half hour.


Fall Again

7"X5" Acrylic on board

Queen Street is the main street of Niagara-on-the-Lake but when it crosses King Street it becomes Picton Street. Then at the Shaw Festival it becomes Queens Parade and at John Street it becomes the Niagara Parkway and continues as such all the way down to Fort Erie. This is pretty confusing for the tourists.This little bit is Queens Parade and I drive along it almost every day. It is really very beautiful but I tend to take it for granted much of the time. The trees are almost all oaks and maples. There are a few chestnuts, hickories, walnuts, crab-apples and sumacs. This is from last year's photo and I think it was probably a few days later, we aren't quite this far along yet


5.5"X8" Mixed media on paper

The parking lot is littered with these things and they present quite a hazard to pedestrians who walk under the trees as they fall.

Horse Chestnuts

5.5"X7" Mixed media on paper

You know that Autumn is really here when the ground is strewn with shiny chestnuts and their spent casings.This one is fountain pen and watercolour pencil. I have used my waterbrush to spread the colour.


5.5"X3.5" Mixed media in paper
Shasta Daisies on the patio. Not much to say really.I have been wasting far too much time this evening playing with the new Picassa face recognition programme. My husband, the Mac man, says that Apple has had this for a while, but it is new to me. It is uncannily accurate some of the time but has a lot of difficulty with my sons. Like the rest of the world, it doesn't seem to be able to tell them apart. Most of the time I don't have any difficulty, even fuzzy little images with half of the face missing. Sometimes even I can't manage it though, so I just guess and come back to it later.

More Vineyards

8"X5.5" Watercolour & pen on paper

I am really going to try to get back into the daily routine. I like this time of year and the colours are just starting to turn, so there should be some more interesting subjects.

Bumble Bee & Goldenrod

2.5"X3.5" Gouache on paper

It is amazing how the drawing muscles atrophy when you don't use them. I found this really hard but I felt that I had to contribute something this weekend. I am still battling to finish painting my house and have spent about 20 hours at it over the last three days.I am very fond of goldenrod, it is native here and consequently considered a weed. Worse than a weed actually because many believe that it is responsible for the seasonal outbreak of hay-fever. This is a myth, the pollen of goldenrod is disseminated by bees. it is the plain green ragweed, flowering at the same time, which is wind pollinated and the guilty party.


5.5"X3.5" Pen & WC pencil on paper

To be "bridged" is a local term which refers to the state of being delayed at the canal while a laker makes its way through one of the lift bridges. Such was my condition this morning.
Instead of playing the guessing game of trying to decide which alternate route to try, which often results in the state of being "double bridged", I decided to sit and sketch the boat as it crept towards me. These boats are often as long 260 meters (850 ft)but no more than 24 meters (78 ft) wide. This constraint is imposed by the size of the locks through which they have to pass.


8"X10" Ballpoint on paper
A little bit of silliness and very, very old. Do we all do this sort of thing when we are teenagers? This was probably inspired by Beetles album covers rather than any personal experience with hallucinogens.
The château is the one at Blois I think, or maybe Amboise. I visited several along the Loire when I was 15 and hitch-hiking to the coast with a French friend. Needless to say my parents knew nothing about it and thought I was safe in Paris.

Bumble Bee & Girasol

7"X5" Acrylic on board

Jerusalem Artichokes have nothing to do with Jerusalem or artichokes. Tasting somewhat like artichokes (it is the root which is eaten) the early european settlers called them girasols because of the way they turn to the sun like their cousins the sunflowers. Ours must be close to three and a half metres (twelve feet) high and are much loved by the bees.


6"X4" Gouache on paper

My muse has deserted me. I haven't been able to do so much as a sketch all week. The fact that I am in a race against time to finish painting my house (as in gallons, 3in brushes and ladders, not tubes, brights and easels) before the weather puts an end to my efforts for another year, drove me to try something different today. I don't use gouache much and I am not good at leaving well enough alone. I try so hard to keep things loose but only the constraint of time forced me to finish this one quickly.
Tomatoes, bushels of them keep on appearing on my back patio. If we all pitch in we can usually process a bushel in under half an hour. This fills a 20 litre pot which then needs to be boiled down for several hours, stirring all the time. When the sauce has reached the right consistency (i.e. it can't be boiled down any further without catching on the bottom of the pot) it is cooled, bagged and frozen. we usually do 15-20 bushels each year and …


10"X8" Watercolour on paper

One of the big disadvantages of using archival material is trying to remember whether I have already posted it. This one goes back a few years. A friend had a very primitive cottage, only accessible from the river. It was unusually built of vertically placed logs and had no electricity and no running water. But it had a good clean well and a propane fridge and an idyllic setting so who could ask for more really?

Arizona Morning

7"X5" Pencil on paper
From a trip to Tucson a couple of years ago. I think these are the Santa Ritas as I was looking south from the Catalinas.

Good Sky

7"X5" Acrylic on boardWe are getting into the season of the good skies. One of the things about this flat landscape is that it makes for some excellent skies, something really worth painting.

Smugglers'Cove 2

5"X7" Acrylic on boardThis time looking South-East, more or less toward Niagara Falls.I based both yesterday's and today's pictures on very low resolution photos from my cell phone. I then cropped them even further so it certainly prevents the inclusion or unnecessary detail. The colours aren't very good either so I am left calling upon memory to keep it real.I am still not sure that I wouldn't have done better to finish them with oils. I am persevering with the acrylics because I can see the advantages, easy clean up, quick reworking etc. I have a stay-wet palette which helps a lot but I am still not used the the incredibly fast drying time on the canvas and I miss the soft, buttery texture of oils.

Smugglers' Cove

7"X5" Acrylic on board

Smugglers' Cove Boat Club sits on the west (Canadian) bank of the Niagara River about a mile south of Lake Ontario. I am not sure whether there is history to the name, it certainly seems like an ideal spot for some clandestine traffic. The history may not be in the too distant past either. The shore in the background is NY State and there must have been an awful lot of contraband, of one sort or another, passing across this stretch of water over the years.

Reading on the Patio

7"X5.5" Pencil on paper

This was the first time I managed to put pencil to paper all week. I am not quite sure why, the weather has been beautiful, the best all Summer. I have a lot to do this weekend so I hope I will be able to get some painting done


From Sarah Lynch
(revision: this image did not upload properly last night, I have updated it now)

10"X16" Watercolour on paper

This has been a fairly unproductive week (for painting anyway) so I am digging into the archives again.
I have always loved nasturtiums, especially the old fashioned rambling kind. Strangely enough it seems to be hard to find the right kind of seeds, plenty of dwarf varieties "guaranteed not to grow more than 12" high". Why bother? Surely the whole point of nasturtiums is to have them sprawling all over everything. I did pick up some of the right kind of seeds when I was in England this Spring but I planted them awfully late and they still haven't flowered. I suppose I might get something out of them yet.

Date Palm

5"X8" WC pencil on paper

Dipping into the archives again. A couple of years ago I was in Tucson around this time of year, for a conference. I was lucky enough to stay with some friends for a couple of days before and after and I got to see a bit of Arizona. This stately palm was just outside their house.Drawings and paintings done from life can evoke memories so much better than photographs. Looking at this little sketch I can smell the early morning desert and feel the dry air on my skin.