Tuesday, 30 March 2010


5.5"X7" Pencil on paper

Sweet Maybelline is a Sato. She has brown rings around her eyes, hence the name. She is a very passive and laid-back dog, happy to be a follower. This is just as well because her companion, Trigger, is very much the alpha dog.
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Sunday, 28 March 2010

Pools Beach Evening

7"X5" Acrylic on board

This lovely spot is just a five minute walk from where I was staying in Puntas. It is one of the great surfing beaches in Puerto Rico, being on the Atlantic side of Rincon. It faces North West, so it is also one of the best Sunset Beaches.
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Saturday, 27 March 2010


7"X5" Acrylic on board

He really likes papaya, especially if it is a little over-ripe. As I said in my earlier post, he is some kind of Thrasher.

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Friday, 26 March 2010

Tree, Puerto Rico

A couple of small pictures of the same subject, the tree outside my window in Puntas.

I am going to be straying from my usual seasonal themes for some time to come I think. I still have a lot of material from Puerto Rico and I want to use it while it is still fresh in my mind. I got behind this week, despite my good intentions, because I had issues with Bell and was without internet access for three days.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Hacienda Lamberti

7"X5" Acrylic on board

The orange farm is in the "Montanas de Uroyan" outside of Anasco; 300 acres of jungle and 25 acres of oranges. Apart from picking, most of the work seems to involve ensuring that it doesn't revert to 325 acres of jungle.

These are not nice neat flat rectangular fields like the orchards in the Niagara Peninsula. Just patches of 25-50 orange trees wherever the ground is almost flat enough to work. Sometimes they seem to be clinging to the side of a cliff, sometimes they are in a steamy hollow that by 10 am feels like the first realm of Hades. The working day starts at 6 am, just before daylight, and ends at 11 am. It isn't too bad until 9:30, after that things start to slow down.

Not too many palm trees here, but tree ferns, bamboo, mangoes, bananas, and orange trees of course. There are little green parrots living in the big mango tree but I only saw them from a distance. The orange trees are covered in tiny orchids and bromeliads. Part of the pickers job is to tear off the epiphytes.

I don't have a very good reproduction of this picture, too much glare and the colours don't quite seem right. I am also not sure that acrylic is the right medium, too hard to blend. I think either oil or watercolour would have worked better. Never mind, I have lots of pictures from the two mornings I spent at the farm and I expect I will have another go sometime soon.

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Saturday, 20 March 2010

Morning Walk

7"X5" Acrylic on board

Still in Rincon, looking north-east on "Sandy Beach" at about 6:45 am. This is a surfing beach but not too many are here this early in the day.

With practice we learn to paint certain subjects. I have never been a big fan or the Bob Ross method, "this is how you paint a tree" but nonetheless we learn that certain conventions work in certain situations; one kind of brush, a certain mix of paint. Palm trees are almost entirely new to me and I am realizing that it might take me a while to learn how to paint them. So far they all seem to look like feather dusters.
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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Columbus Rock

4"X3" Watercolour on paper

This is the very westernmost point of Puerto Rico, as seen from Pools beach. I have many wonderful pictures of this point at different times of day so it wil probably appear again. This one was just a quickie done on a pad of Hahnemühle paper which was given away with Artists & Illustrators a few years ago.
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Tuesday, 16 March 2010


7"X5.5" Pencil in Moleskine

Dogs seem to play a major role in daily life in Puerto Rico. Certainly in my family's life anyway. These two are Trigger, a Queensland Blue Heeler and Maybelline, a Sato. Trigger is a very energetic, alpha type dog and Maybelline is just the opposite, very laid-back. They both like to walk on the beach though, and Trigger, being a member of one of the most intelligent breeds, seems to have no trouble in telling the time. 6:30 am and 5:00 pm are walk times, and don't forget the b.a.l.l.
Apologies for the poor quality of this image. My moleskine got slightly wet at one point and the ink ran on some pages and bled into others.
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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Sunrise, Puntas

7"X5" Acrylic on board

It is fun to be painting something other than bare trees and snow for a while. I was beginning to think that I had exhausted the possibilities of the Niagara winter so it is nice to have something different to paint. I took so many photos in PR that I could probably keep going for the rest of the year but Spring is almost upon us so I will probably be drawn back into my more seasonal local pictures soon.

This painting is SOLD
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Saturday, 13 March 2010

Tres Palmas

7"X5" Acrylic on board

Rincon, Puerto Rico has the advantage of both Atlantic and Caribbean beaches. It is the most westerly point of the island and the coast which faces north-west provides excellent surfing while the beaches facing south-west, onto the Caribbean, are good for swimming and snorkeling.

I am told that the Tres Palmas beach has some great scuba-diving but we would usually head a little further south to the public swimming beach where the waves were sometimes a little choppy but perfectly safe.,
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Thursday, 11 March 2010


5.5"X3.5" pencil in moleskine

Every day the "Yellow-eyed-fruit-demander" comes and perches on the balcony railing expecting to be fed. Papaya seems to be his favourite but he is also very fond of bananas and quite partial to avocado. I expect he likes mango too, but they aren't in season until the summer. If his habit isn't catered to he will fly right into the kitchen and squawk at whoever is around. He has also been known to help himself to whatever has inadvertently been left out on the counter or in the hanging baskets. These baskets are of course designed to be rodent and ant proof, but birds weren't taken into account.
This sketch was fast and not completely accurate, I took lots of pictures of him and his mate so I will try to paint him sometime soon. I think he is a Caribbean Thrasher, a close relative of catbirds and mockingbirds and sharing many of their characteristics. They are omnivorous and I would sometimes see him on the tree outside my window with bug or small lizard in his mouth.
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Monday, 8 March 2010


7"X5.5" Pen and wash (no pun intended)

It is a good job that the washing dries pretty fast in the tropics because it was kinda spoiling the view. Behind this line is a wonderful view of the ocean but that is for another day.
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Saturday, 6 March 2010

Waiting for the Plane

5.5"X3.5" Pencil in moleskine

Well I am back from my travels and ready to start posting again. I did some sketching in Puerto Rico and took hundreds of photographs, both with my Canon EOS and with my new toy. I bought a very cheap ($100) mini-camcorder before I left. It has 5 Megapixels, an 8 Gigabyte SD card and a lithium-ion battery which can be recharged with a usb cable. The lens is, needless to say, not very good and there is no optical zoom, only digital. It takes both videos and stills, I had enormous fun with it and took video clips with it like they were snapshots. I still have to find a way to edit them into something manageable, but I have hours of reference material and will start working on it soon.
I will post some of my sketches first, more-or-less in order, and then some paintings as I work on them. This first drawing was just one of my fellow travellers at the airport.
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