Thursday, October 6, 2016

Aquatarium Tuesday November 1st, 2016

What a great venue! Please come to the Aquatarium on Tuesday November 1st. I will be doing a little bit of Tom Thomson but also talking about the weather for this coming winter - maybe some climate change - bring your questions ... it will be fun!

Here is some very recent art as well from the IPAP Paint-Out in Portsmouth Harbour.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tom Thomson Was A Weatherman at Bon Echo Provincial Park
I will be doing this presentation at the Bon Echo PP Amphitheater on Saturday August 13th... in the Amphitheatre at 7 pm... It will be fun. Come and support the park...

The above is a study of one of Tom's records that he observed. There is a lot of meteorology in this one! The paint just flowed as I painted. On close examination Tom's brush strokes were really fast and furious. It would have been dark as well and tough to see if by lantern light or the light of the full moon. His brush picked up paint from either side of his stroke and blended them together. There were really not many double strokes so the colours still remained unmixed. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

1761 Long Outlet

I didn't even notice that I had left my glasses at home... until after I had gotten home after completing two paintings en plein air. That is the way it should be but I normally have my glasses with me just in case.

There was still a trickle of water flowing over the beaver dam that I painted at the same location in #1751 "Dam Beavers". The spring flood was over at the outlet of Long Lake. The grasses had also grown a bit in the twenty-three days since I was there last.

Those are painted turtles on the log. It is neither feasible or appropriate that one includes small detail in a plein air painting - detail smaller than the mid to large brush that you should be using. The best that one can do is a stab of the right colour in the right place and hope that the viewer can fill in the blanks and the correct interpretation. If you look closely you can even imagine that I painted the eye of the turtle.

I accidentally disturbed a rather large northern water snake twice. It just wanted a place in the sun as well. I meant no harm but it was still very frightened of me.

I picked up 80 cents in beer bottles plus a lot of rubbish... Who says there is no money in art?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

1751 Dam Beavers

I am sure that some property owners think the word in the title should be "damn". It fits according to both the dictionary and the landowners wanting the industrious beaver condemned by God to suffer eternal punishment in hell.

I like beavers. We all need a place to live. I used the word to mean a barrier constructed to hold back water and raise its level. The resulting reservoir is used in the generation of of a beaver's family and not electricity. The beaver lodge is clearly evident in the Google Earth image. I painted the beaver lodge in #1734 "Long Lake Outlet" a month previously.

There were indications that someone was trapping the beavers. I am no trapper but I could read the signs. Someone had breached the dam and the spring flood was pouring over the top. There were also some steel posts embedded nearby probably securing underwater traps. I do know that this particular dam had let go in the past and flooded out Black Rapids Road at its lowest point.

The reflected colours of the spring forest in the beaver reservoir attracted me to this scene. The colours of the overflow were also distinctly different. This is were the Prussian and phthalo blues really come into play to achieve those special blends of pigment. I remember the drumming of ruffed grouse and the gobbling of a harem of turkeys bit I did not see any sign of beavers.

I would visit the same location twenty-three days later in #1761 "Long Outlet".

Sunday, May 29, 2016

1749 Long Lake Marsh

The morning radar showed that I had a couple of hours to paint en plein air before the snow started. I headed to the outlet of Long Lake. Overcast altostratus certainly limited the warming effects of the April sun but it was still pleasant enough when the wind died down. Conditions were rather chilly when the easterly cold conveyor belt feeding the approaching storm, frequently interrupted the calm. The temperature may have been zero Celsius (Canada started Celsius roughly forty years before on April 1st, 1976) but the wind chill on my bare hands was brutal. The weather certainly does not encourage the over-working of a plein air painting and that may be one of the strengths of the open air approach to art.

The sound of the spring melt running over the brim of the beaver dam provided the backdrop of sound. There was a thin skin of ice along the shore and this affected the colour of the surface and the reflections. I painted imagining that I was a bit elevated for a better look at Long Lake past the beaver dam.
A pair of Canada geese kept a close eye on me. Some turkey vultures also swooped by but I kept moving and they decided I was not quite ready to eat yet.

Monday, May 9, 2016

1714 White Pine Island

I paint a lot of sunrises and sunset. The light is best then. The shadows are long and the lighting unusual. It is the time to paint. But I needed to have a unique title for this painting and ol' Neil Diamond was playing at the time. September Morn was easily adjusted to December Morn which is only appropriate given climate change.

It was a rare December day to be kayaking but that is what I was doing. The cloud was spilling over the upper ridge in heavy sheets of cirrostratus. A system was on the way and the kayaking weather could not last. The cliffs of the south shore of Singleton Lake were impressive, even at this distance. The white pines on the point were very exposed to the winds which kept the gaps in the branches large enough to paint through.

I turned the 8x10 inch #1713 "December Morn" into the 3x4 foot #1714 "White Pine Island".

Sunday, May 8, 2016

1719 White Pine Reflections

This is new work from a period of high wind chills this past winter. It is a loose re-interpretation of #1683 "Autumn Shore". I like white pines and paint them a lot as they reach above the forest canopy. White pines are almost always silhouetted against the sky.

There are lots of hidden creatures in this painting - almost all were unintentional. Making a large painting out of a smaller plein air work is not always easy. You can kill the life out of any painting with a thousand strokes.  Every artist needs someone with a sledge hammer behind them, to let them know when it is done...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

818 Making Waves in Oil

From Friday, June 9th, 2006 - This is the fourth demonstration piece for the second week of teaching at the Southampton Art School. I asked the group what they wanted to have demonstrated. They all said waves. It was most appropriate given the title of the course. As a result I headed down the road to overlook Lake Huron to the northwest. This put me and the group right in the blast of the cold air advection. One girl darn near froze. The twelve participants were huddled up behind me. I let all of the enthusiasm for plein painting out and this is what resulted. It was an experience that I won't forget.

Unconsciously I painted the surface of the lake curved as though the earth was a smaller sphere. You can see the curvature on the horizon. That is what I saw. The streets of stratocumulus were aligned with the wind direction in the unstable boundary layer. There is a lot of meteorology in this painting. It is interesting how the combination of wind and current even shapes the shoreline.

The view is northwesterly with streets of turbulent stratocumulus and lots of waves. A huge cedar log was up on the beach in 2006. That very same log was still there in 2014.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

806 Saugeen Sailboats

From Wednesday, May 31st, 2006 - This is day three of the three "W's" - "Wind Waves and Weather". The group set up on the north shore of the Saugeen River in Southampton. Everyone picked a different subject matter. My view is slightly upstream at a group of sail boats tied to a floating dock. This was going to be a "waves" demonstration! It is difficult to talk as you paint, explaining what you are doing and why you are doing it. The exercise forces one to be very deliberate on your actions and words and sometimes what you do doesn't match what you are saying and vice versa.

The upper cold front had gone through but the surface cold front was still to the west when we started to paint. This was a classic example of a split front. A few of the elevated altocumulus castellanus dropped some small evaporating drops but not enough to spoil our plein air painting. The surface cold front arrived at 11:45 am and we had to bail then. It was quitting time in any event so some went home and some retreated with me to the classroom. Among the many weather features to discuss, I explained how to observe a precipitating cloud from one that is not - from a distance.

Note that the Ojibway term for confluence of the waters is "Saugeen".