Friday, April 17, 2015

1551 Latimer's Shack

This was actually quite a nice building in its time before it was vandalized and filled with garbage. I was painting with a plein air painter friend and I wanted to do almost exactly the same scene so that we could discuss the painting strategy - the sequence of brush strokes given the drying time of the particular colour of oil and the guidelines of dark to light and cold to warm and back to front and top to bottom... All of these rules are meant to be bent. We bent them all. My friend had a very strong composition and did a great job. The plein air conditions were much more pleasant than in the morning.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

1544 Latimer Bend

This piece of land was originally the Latimer Farm. Henry Latimer was working the land as early as 1822. Henry was a Wexford, Irish immigrant to the Leeds and Lansdowne Rear. These Irish settlers had a good reputation of being quick to develop their property.
I liked the way that the white farm house stood out like a beacon in the cool autumn air. One of the red oaks on the east bank still had a lot of leaves. The largest oak standing on the top of a mound of marble was already bare of foliage. The turbulent stratocumulus was drifting with the northwesterly breeze. It was a beautiful day.
This bend in Lyndhurst Creek is the narrowest crossing but not my much. I tried hard to get Township to move the bridge back to the original location where it went straight across the river. I heard a rumour of an attempt to rename the new bridge... here is my suggestion "De Tour Bridge" - After the French explorer who got irretrievably lost and discovered the longest distance between two points.... just before he perished... I have not heard back yet and do not expect to.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

1546 Another DZ

Another day... another deformation zone. The predicted spring storm was slow to arrive so I headed outside to enjoy some superb plein air weather. At the start the winds were calm and the sun on my back felt like a heating pad. The arcs of thin cirrus marking the leading edge of one layer of moisture in the warm conveyor belt were approaching from the southwest toward Long Reach. Not surprisingly the easterly cold conveyor belt started to develop. They don't call it the cold conveyor belt for nothing.
The air was full of the sounds of spring. A flock of nuthatches kept me company along with a pair of hooded mergansers. The ice was cracking as the Catarauqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA0 continued to drain water from the drainage basin. Shelves of ice that were no longer buoyed up by water, crashed down like ice quakes making quite the noise.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

1545 March Ice

I had some time so I headed out on the first excellent plein air spring day of 2015. I didn't have to go very far. A large beaver kept me coming for a while. I think he wanted to come ashore and gnaw on a big red oak that had fallen the previous summer. He didn't seem keen on waiting a couple of hours so he left. A red squirrel was chattering about something. The birds were still rather quiet.There was no sign in the sky of the approaching storm.
The cold waters of Jim Day Rapids were very dark in sharp contrast to the ice. The ice was every colour than white and I did my best to match them. The snow in the shadows were deep blues and turquiose while the snow in the sun light was a blinding white - Mie scattering... The scene was largely blacklit so the colours are weak at the expense of the strong contrast.
This was a location for artist a century ago... Armstrong 1906... same place - different century.

Monday, April 13, 2015

1549 Under the Storm

This was a strong thunderstorm from the summer of 2014. At the time it was impossible to fully grasp and analyze the many motions within the cumulonimbus cloud. This storm was still developing and it was passing directly overhead. The main updraft was exploding resulting in knuckles of vorticity around the strong wind. These knuckles could join and form a ring if we were able to visualize all of the details. I will draw a few lines of explanation to show that thunderstorms can actually be understood and they are not as chaotic as they might appear. I think the updraft is strongly tilted forward along the direction of travel. This is because of the sign of the vorticity and the darkest part of the cloud. I do not recall if this storm caused any damage but it certainly could have been a severe supercell.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

1548 Open Water

The spring has come so quickly now that I won't be able to publish all of my paintings from the last days of winter...  here is one more from just a couple of weeks ago.
The rain was still a couple of hours away so I decided to make the most of the day. I am always intrigued by the reflection of light from flat and tilted surfaces; snow, ice and water. The range of colours are endless.
The sky was the colour of virga. Although the rain was reaching the surface around western Lake Ontario, it would still be two or three hours before it made the descent at Singleton Lake. When the precipitation arrived it started as heavy rain and then transformed into large flakes up to five centimeters in diameter.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

1547 March Melt

I moved out of the chilly cold conveyor belt wind right into the centre of Jim Day Rapids. The water level was lower than I had ever seen it. Apparently the CRCA did not want a repeat of the 2014 flooding and were taking every precaution to prepare for the worst. The March melt was starting as the temperature climbed above freezing. The temperature might have been going up with the approach of the storm but the wind chill and increasing cloudiness countered any feeling of warmth. The rain started just before 4 pm.
The first pair of wood ducks on the spring cruised in. A pair of Canada geese also landed in and honked constantly at my presence. I liked the way that the sunlight played through the forest. I also thought that it was important to record in oil, the low water levels.

Friday, April 10, 2015

1550 Long Reach Ice

This was the first day of the Paint-Out with an artist friend from a previous workshop. Jim Day Rapids offered some Group of Seven subject matter. It was rather chilly at minus 12 Celsius but that was acceptable until the wind picked up. My friend painted looking northwesterly and I looked southward.
I wanted to capture the pattern of the ice on Long Reach. the deformation zones marking the edge of the ice were linked to the swirls in the water underneath. The dark bank of Long Reach was completely in the shade. The shadows of the white pines and red cedars on the shore made the shade even deeper and colder. There would have been quite a vortex of water in this pool when the ice sheets were melting. At one time the ice sheet was a mile deep over Singleton Lake - amazing.
Like many paintings that I do, this one only makes sense if you elevate yourself a bit - pretend that you are a drone and looking down at your subject just a bit. Otherwise the composition would be very flat and uninviting.
There is art ... and science everywhere we look. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it is the life blood of artists and scientists...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

1552 1840 Farm

We headed to the old log buildings that the settlers constructed perhaps as early as the 1840's. There is still considerable historical research to do to get all of the facts straight. These structures are slowly falling apart without any ongoing care. The roof of the barn has caved in along with the centre beam. The walls will follow. The construction was actually really quite excellent as viewed from 150 years of so later. If there had been some maintenance to the roof, these structures would have another 100 years left in them.
We stood in the middle of the sumac patch. We painted the same composition again so that we could tackle the scene together. I do hope that it was helpful. The weather was fantastic for plein air painting but a storm was indeed on the way for that night.