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Showing posts from 2010

Canada Geese

7"X5.5" Pencil in Moleskine

It was supposed to rain all day but we seem to have been spared. I went out at lunchtime, down to the river, and watched the geese for a while. They are always entertaining.

These might be sketches for a bigger piece. We will have to see how it goes.


3.5"X5.5" Pencil in Moleskine

I went to a conference yesterday. I had to leave home at 5:30 in the morning in order to be in Toronto for 8:00. The conference lasted until 5:30, I wasn't home until 7:30. I am not even sure why I was there as it was for some software I barely use.
Oh well, the food was quite good. This chap seemed to find it much more compelling than I did.

Grand Union Canal

7"X5" Acrylic on board

Anyone who has been following this blog may have noticed that I haven't posted anything for a couple of months.

Believing as I do in truth in advertising, I stopped calling this a "daily painting blog" some time ago, but I really did mean to continue with a "two or three times a week blog". I have been doing some sketching, and I am working on a linocut, but generally I am just uninspired, I really need to move in a new direction.

However, I did shoot a few pictures during my brief visit to London last month and I hope to take some paintings from them over the next couple of weeks, before I lose the mood.

The Grand Union Canal connects London and Birmingham. This section is somewhere in North Kensington, lots of houseboats along here, all apparently inhabited and in running order. It might be an interesting way to live in the heart of the city but I wonder what it is like in the winter. My sister lived in one about 40 years ago,…

Hibiscus 3

5.5"X8" Pencil on paper

As I was sketching this I realized that I had added an extra leaf. Oh well, one of the advantages of drawing plants, you couldn't get away with giving a dog an extra leg.

Summer Flowers 3

8"X6" Acrylic on board

The garden isn't at its best at this time of year but I managed to find this bunch of assorted daisies, phlox and mallow. There is also a kind of white berry which I remember from my childhood, but can't for the life of me name. I didn't plant it, it seems to have volunteered.


Pencil & Watercolour in Moleskine

I just got a new scanner so I have been looking for things to test it with. I found this in my sketchbook from a couple of weeks ago. The building is the Shaw Festival Theatre.

Geraniums on the Patio

7"X5" Acrylic on board

It has been a busy few weeks, with a daughter getting married and two boys off to first year university. I haven't been very productive.

I have always been very fond of geraniums, especially in pots. I keep them in the basement over the winter, they only need to be watered about once a month and in the spring they have a head start.

These ones are bravely withstanding my tomato plants attempts to take over the world. I am afraid I rather let them get away from me (the tomatoes that is), but they are at last producing fruit and I can't bring myself to discourage them now.

Cuckoo in the nest


Sketches in Moleskine

I spent a lot of time watching the passers-by in Mile-End when I stayed in Montreal. I tried to sketch the people from memory because they moved around too much to get any kind of likeness, I tried to just capture some types. The gentleman's hat in the foreground is a little off, although they do wear them right on the top of the head, I haven't quite got the angle right.

I have finally finished painting the back porch and am now determined to take a few weeks off, so maybe I will actually do some more creative painting over the next couple of weeks.

Annual Peach Challenge

7"X5" Oil on board

Every year I seem to need to torture myself by trying to paint peaches. Maybe if I painted them every day for a week or two, like Julian Merrow-Smith, I would eventually get it right. As it is, I fuss and worry at it for an hour or two and finally give up and call it done. The one in the background gave me the most trouble, for some reason I couldn't seem to maintain the volume.

Anyway, as usual I spent most of the day painting the house. It was the porch floors this weekend. I really am almost done. Maybe I will get some gardening done tomorrow, thank goodness for civic holidays. one of these weekends maybe I will actually take a day off.



Various sizes in Moleskine

I am still not getting any painting done so, in the interests of keeping this blog alive, I am posting some sketches I did last week in Montreal. 

My daughter lives in the "Mile End" region of Montreal, in one of the noisiest apartments I have ever been in. It isn't so bad in the winter, but with no air-conditioning, all the windows are open right now and with a busy street on one side and a rouelle that is used by delivery trucks on another.....

I am not really complaining though. There is constant entertainment, and the bakery across the street is open from around 7:00 am until 11:00 pm, with a steady stream of interesting characters in and out all day long.


5.5"X3.5" Pen & wash in moleskine

Still not very productive, maybe it is the weather but I can't seem to settle to anything. I have been doing some sketching and have just gotten around to scanning some of it, so I may post some over the next few days. I enjoy using this combination of fountain pen and waterbrush with a Staedtler pigment liner. It seems to suit my need for simplicity right now.

I have almost finished painting the house, just finishing the back porch right now. There is still that bathroom dormer that I am trying not to think about. As far as I can see it can only be reached by standing on the 45 degree angle of the roof. It isn't so much the getting up there as the getting down again that bothers me. To paraphrase Rincewind " it isn't so much the heights that bother me as the depths".

Morning House

5.5"X8" WC pencil, pen & wash on paper

Happy July fourth to my American friends!
This is the house just kitty-corner from my house. I used two kinds of pen, a brush pen with permanent ink, and a fountain pen with water soluble ink. I am just getting used to the brush pen, I am still a little clumsy and heavy handed


8"X6" Oil on board

Another glorious day. I sat out on the porch again but this time attempted a still life. I used to do a lot of these food paintings but they have lost their flavour for me :-).

We don't have any local tomatoes yet, these are the hot-house variety. My plants are big and very healthy, so I should have some of my own before long.

Canada Day

5"X7" Oil on board

I finally finished painting my porch so I can actually use it as a porch and sit outside to paint!

I have day-lilies all along the front fence and they are very jolly at this time of year. This is the first actual "plein air" oil I have done in a long time. I really must try to do more.


5.5"X3.5" Watercolour & ink in Moleskine

Not a very good photograph but I was too lazy to scan it (I have to take my laptop into the other room). This is really "Noon on the Common 158" or something, but I thought I would take advantage of the date to call it something else. I found a great spot with my back to the wall of RH1 (the main rehearsal studio, otherwise known as the Studio Theatre for a few weeks of the year). I think that this tree has figured in a few paintings and drawings over the past few years too.

Noon on the Common Again

11"X3.5" Watercolour pencil in moleskine

Another view that gets somewhat overdone due to the location of a strategically placed bench.
I remember having a conversation with a friend, someone that I had thought was fairly enlightened, who couldn't understand why the Common was so jealously guarded by the town. It seemed to him that, in a community surrounded by farmland, it was quite unnecessary and should be made available for development. I remarked at the time that people may once have felt that way about High Park in Toronto or Central Park in NY City, and that in a hundred years the people of Niagara-on-the-Lake would be glad that the Common had been protected.

That was about twenty years ago and suburban sprawl is already hemming in the town on the West. There is water to North and East so this pastoral haven to the South is a very precious thing. Long may it remain protected!

Youngstown NY

8"X5.5" Pen & Ink
An interesting day. I must have walked through half a dozen climate zones on my lunchtime walk. It went from cool and overcast to gale-force wind to blazing-hot sunshine to storm-laden clouds and back to sirocco-like hot wind again.

I have drawn and painted this scene several times already. That's what happens when there is a strategically placed, comfortable bench by the river on the Niagara Parkway.

By the time I had walked down here I only had about half an hour but I provided entertainment for some passing cyclists and helped them to avoid an extensive detour by pointing out that they were in fact on the right track to get back into Niagara-on-the-Lake. They were ready to go back the way they came, which might have taken them to Niagara Falls, about 10 miles!

A Taste of Empire

7"X5.5" Pencil in moleskine

Jovanni Sy is playwright in residence at the Shaw Festival this year. The likeness is not good (sorry Jovanni but you wouldn't stay still). He has been working on a performance piece scheduled for production next month (June 29 to July 24) at the Miele Demonstration Kitchen in Toronto's St. Lawrence Market, presented by Cahoots Theatre Company. Today we were treated to a reading of the play.
In the full version he will "cook a traditional Filipino fish entree in real time while humorously deconstructing the historical, political, and ethical aspects of the dish". We had to imagine the kitchen and the delicious aromas as well as the video which provides instructional and humourous counterpoint to the text. It was all great fun though and one of the many perqs of working in the theatre.

12 Mile Creek 2

7"X5" Acrylic on board

I apologize for my lack of posts recently. My problem is partly that I have been coping with all sorts of "stuff" in my life and partly that my muse has deserted me, perhaps the two are related.

This one is rather a poor excuse for a paintng but at least I managed to achieve something. Actually I have been doing a fair amount of sketching but my scanner is in an awkward place and not as easy to use as it was, so I haven't bothered posting any of my sketches. I will try to get back into my routine soon but I think that it is time for a change, so it might be a new medium, format or subject. we shall see.

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Blossom 2

7"X5" Oil on board

More blossom, this time caught against the backdrop of Lake Ontario, glistening in the noonday sun.


7"X5" Oil on board

I spent most of the day painting doors and digging dandelions. It isn't nearly as much fun as painting blossom but the weather was good and we have to strike while the iron is hot, make hay while the sun shines etc.

This image of the tractor almost obscured by the fruit trees caught my eye. The blossom is early this year I think, we had some unseasonably warm weather a couple of weeks ago and everything was excelerated. It did get cold again but at least there was no frost

The Birds

7"X5" Oil on board

As the lakers pass through the canal they are followed by a flock of hungry gulls. The trees are at that point where they look just as if they have had a dry brush of yellow green dragged across them, only a few more days and they will be in full leaf.

I switched back to oils for this one. No particular reason really, just wanted a change. It would probably have been easier with acrylics as there was no blending required to speak of, and quite a lot of light over dark and dark over light. It might be a good idea to use a little more logic in my decision making


6"X4" Watercolour on paper

And now for something completely different. It is time to get back to matters closer at hand. I haven't been working much in watercolour and I thought that these little snowdrops, almost buried still in last year's leaves, would be a good place to start.

I used some hand made paper that I bought at the Tate gift shop last year, it makes a change and I really need to practice more, especially doing deep saturated colour like this one.

I see that I just acquired my 50th "follower" and I now occasionally have over 80 subscribers according to Feedburner (the number fluctuates wildly, but rarely goes below 75 and has been as high as 82). I find myself  to be both gratified and somewhat intimidated by this. I hope you all find something interesting here, I haven't been posting as regularly for the past few months as I did in my first two years, but perhaps that is a good thing!


7"X5" Mixed media on paper

This might well be the last of the Puerto Rico paintings, although I do still have quite a few sketches that I might post sometime. Spring is well advanced here in the Niagara Peninsula and I really must get back to painting some local scenes.

This is the view behind the laundry, painted while standing at the railing on the porch. The white roof in the distance is a condominium, locally referred to as the "Iranian Embassy". It is quite hideous but fortunately Rincon's beach front buildings are not too tall and there are still plenty of magnificent views.

The tree on the right is called an almond, although it is nothing like the almond trees that grow further north which are similar to apricots or peaches. This tree is deciduous but goes through a very short "winter". While I was there its leaves turned red and dropped off but the new leaves where already budding on the branches before I left. In the foreground you can see th…