Thursday, November 28, 2013

Singleton Snow Day

Snow is beautiful especially if you don't have to travel. We had about 30 cm of snow overnight. Light snow continued as I painted. The only sound was chatter of the mergansers on the lake and the hum of the backup generator. Hydro went out at 5 am and wouldn't be back for hours. It was a perfect day to paint. The forecast was perfect from my good friend Robbie Kuhn.

The scene is a tangle of branches and boughs weighed down by heavy, wet snow. I had fun.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Marble Sliver

My subject was a sliver of silver marble marking the shore of Long Reach. The colour may not be exactly "silver" but it makes a humourous dyslexic play on words that I enjoyed. The granite looking shoreline is actually marble which is limestone rock that has been melted and stirred around again. Here is another silly play on words as how can a round "marble" actually be a sliver? Simply, I liked the colours and the way that the relection of the trees played in the water.
Painting on the "toothless" panel forced me to again paint very wet on very wet and forget any mixing of the pools of oil. It was fun which is the only reason why I paint.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November Sunset

The sky was on fire. The approaching winter storm was following the warm conveyor belt carpet in the atmosphere. The reflection of light through the ice crystals of the cirrostratus emboldened me to make note of the many colours. Although I tried very hard I couldn't do justice to the beauty of nature in the sky.

There is almost no "tooth" to the gessoed panels so I have to lay the paint on thick - very wet on very wet. It is a fun change for me... painting with pools and swirls of oil and pure colour.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Common Mergansers at Singleton Lake

I suppose it is a sign of a very healthy ecosystem. The common mergansers have been on the lake for almost a week eating minnows. They actively and cooperatively corral their prey before simultaneously plunging under the surface to chase them down. They are very successful. When I put my canoe in the water or round a corner the sound of hundreds of these heavy birds making their surface running take-off is like the applause at a Jimmy Buffett or Great Big Sea concert... even though I am anticipating the sound, it always causes me to wonder just what is making that noise. That is a steel great blue heron in the foreground. It rarely moves except in a really big wind. There is still a real great blue heron on the lake. There are even blue birds still at the lake. They normally migrate in August with the insects.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wilson Street Street Studios 4-day Back Country Art Retreat with Phil Chadwick August 6 - 10, 2014

There are only 8 spots available - the really long range forecast is for mainly sunny skies with highs of 25 Celsius - of course we can't rule out the chance of a passing shower or thunderstorm. The showers will be in the passing lane and not on the slower, right side of the road so it will all be "OK".
For more details, follow the links ... hope to have a full group!

Let me know if you are interested or if you wish further information. I am here to help.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

John Ross Matheson and Brockville's "Fly More Flags"

John was very moved with the ongoing support of Home Hardware and Brockville. On Friday November 22nd, 2013, the 50 Years of Our Flag Committee Chairperson Bob Harper showed John the coupon used by people to purchase a 3x6 foot Canadian Flag from the Home Hardware Building Centre. I was behind the camera with John's permission. The ground swell of support and pride in the achievement of the Canadian flag is starting to grow. The 50 Years of Our Flag Committee would like to thank John and the generous support of Home Hardware Brockville. Together we are doing great things.

Friday, November 22, 2013

MerryBookmas, December 14th at the 1000 Islands Mall, Brockville

I have been invited to participate with the Friends of the Brockville Public Library in their first Author's merrybookmas event. It should be fun. I have a few copies of the 2008 "Connecting with Nature" book that generated a significant contribution to conservation on the Oak Ridges Moraine. I also have one copy of the "Passion of Phil the Forecaster" which is a summary of my art up to 2012 - this is my copy and is for display only. I hope to have more published. The main book is the "Weather of Ontario"... and I hope to have quite a few copies of that one.

Looking forward to seeing you at the 1000 Islands Mall on Saturday Decemeber 14th.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Point Paradise

This is the "far point" of our Singleton Lake Property. The marble finger points to the deepest part of the lake which is about 49 feet deep. The red spruce that line the ridge of the point are probably older than Christ. The red spruce trunks are gnarled and marred by ancient scars so they deserve the respect of the ages as they eke out an existence on the rocky and minimal nutrients they can find. Every so often the wind will push one of the small "bonsai" trees over. New growth and seeds emerge from the root and life goes on.

There is almost no "tooth" to the gessoed panels so I have to lay the paint on thick - wet on very wet. It is a fun change for me... painting with pools and swirls of oil and pure colour.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Long Reach Rain

The title is meant to sound like the name of our lane as well as to describe the spits of liquid that I observed as I was making a note of the scene. This view is looking southeasterly across Chip O'Connor's point toward Long Reach. The thinner and brighter cirrostratus cloud on the southeastern horizon was being replaced by nimbostratus cloud and rain. The sliver of altostratus cloud behind the mid level deformation zone was a classic signature for the approaching low pressure area. The calm winds would be replaced by blustery and potential damaging westerly wind not long after I got back. The approaching storm had a precipitable water content about 300% of the climatological normals for November. Heavy rain and severe convection was likely. As it turned out, thee were more than 80 tornadoes across the United States.

The painting was completed on a panel mounted to a stretcher frame built by my Dad. Panels are conducive to the use of a lot of paint. I painted wet on wet. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reach Long

The title may be the dyslexic version of our street address or it may refer to the way the reflections of the spruce and pine trees on the granite point extend well down into the painting - virtually to the gunwales of the kayak. Reflections tend to have a long reach if you are sitting very low in the water - as I was.

It was an overcast November day and I was having a lot of fun on the water. There were just a lot of ducks and geese and a single loon to keep me company. The overcast altostratus skies were a harbinger of the rain that was on the way. The first spits of rain would signal that the altostratus had by definition thickened up into nimbostratus. This happened after I had paddled just a few hundred more metres to the other side of Chip O'Connor's point.

The painting was completed on a panel mounted to a stretcher frame built by my Dad. Panels are conducive to the use of a lot of paint. I painted wet on wet and resisted the temptation to smooth out the brush strokes. It was fun and the energy in the paint is almost tangible.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November Altocumulus Singleton Lake

I was out for a rare November paddle on Singleton Lake. It was a beautiful day. This skyscape is looking northward from about the deepest portion of the lake. I liked the patterns in the altocumulus and thought this would be a good Christmas gift for a grand daughter - lots of paint and lots of fun.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November Paddle

The loon youngster is still on the lake ... along with a great blue heron and hundreds of common mergansers. Those white dots in front of the kayak were only a small fraction of the mergansers that had taken flight when I turned a corner. It was a great paddle on a rare November day before the rain and winds arrive. The only recipe that is worthwhile to cook a merganser is the following...

  1. Take a pine plank soaked in water and lemon jouce for three days
  2. Lay the merganser duck on the plank
  3. Sprinkle with herbs and seasonings to taste
  4. Barbecue for 7 hours over a low flame
  5. Eat the plank...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fly More Flags Brockville and Home Hardware Building Centre

The 50 Years of Our Flag - "Fly More Flags Program" has partnered with my friends at Home Hardware Building Centre in Brockville. For only $15 and a Coupon soon to be printed in Brockville papers one can purchase a 3x6 foot flag for less than half price. What a brilliant idea! The image is a first draft of the coupon. Please remember to visit "" and the Aviva Competition.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November Sunset

The sun broke through between two thick and dark layers of stratocumulus. For about 10 minutes the forest along the edge of Long Reach Lane was on fire with sunset, sunlight. The colours and the tall white pines were so striking that I had to give a painting a try. It was Remembrance Day and maybe the sun was saluting with its own blaze of glory. I have painted these white pines before.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Shagbark "Nuts"

For the last several years we have had a bumper crop of nuts from the shagbark hickory in the front yard. They bounce off the metal roof. Normally I just leave them for the squirrels and chipmunks to harvest. This year I picked thousands of nuts and shared those with the Land Stewardship Council who also came to pick their own. They will start these nuts and then distribute the small trees to land owners in need.

I also scattered nuts throughout the property. We already have many shagbark hickories but a few more are certainly welcome. They are excellent mast trees and grow well on this land. I also placed a large pile for the squirrels to enjoy and plant. The cat must have discovered that the squirrels, mice and other rodents also like the pile of shagbark nuts. She stalks the pile of nuts full time. I try to discourage her from hunting but that is her instinct.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Trees on Fire

This blaze of colour was looking down the steep, slippery slope to the tops of the deciduous trees that line George Lake. It was a fun experiment to see if I could capture the moment. I was still working on the painting when  I snapped this picture. There was still much to do.