Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chickanishing Creek - An Update

After a few days of painting, I have made progress on the larger canvas. Cliches keep going through my mind as I paint. "Less is more"; "Don't overwork it"; "Relax and the let the paint flow" and even "May the force be with you" from Star Wars. Anyway, it has been fun with the tunes on and the wind howling outside while I have the wood stove cracking inside. I am not done yet but ... maybe I should be... There is glare in the photo but you get the idea. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chickanishing Creek

I guess the two 4x6 footers that I painted for the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Flag burnt me out. It was a huge job and only fellow artists who have walked those paths will understand. That's OK. Since then my studio works have all been tiny hunks of canvas and wood as small as 4x4 inches. I have had lots of fun during this very long and very cold winter - which is a direct result of Global Warming by the way. My plein air work is always 11x14 plus or minus with the plus getting to 16x20 inches.
In any event I picked up a 3x4 footer, gallery mount canvas today determined to breath more life into #0843 "Chickanishing Creek Meets Georgian Bay". That was a special day in 2006 and I think the painting deserves a larger format if I can pull it off. There are still some studio days to come with the wind, cold, snow and rain. The first day on this canvas went well. By the way, Singleton Phil was right about the long range forecast :>))

Monday, March 24, 2014

In the Footsteps of the Group of Seven at Charlton Lake Camp

My friends Jim and Sue Waddington, the authors of "In the Footsteps of the Group of Seven" will be at the Charlton Lake Camp September 19, 20 and 21, 2014. I will be there as well participating in the planned events and presenting "Tom Thomson Was A Weatherman" and maybe more. As a coincidence, my friends Keith and Helen of the Wilson Street Studio will also be at Charlton September 12 to 17 with an Art Retreat. It will be a busy place in the best time of the year. For more information contact Mark and Lori at Charlton Lake Camp, P.O. Box 118, Whitefish Falls, Ontario P0P 2H0, +1 877-587-3474,
I am currently taking one of my Killarney sketches and turning it into a 3x4 footer - let's hope it doesn't loose anything in the translation.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Red Horse Cirrus

Wispy cirrus ice crystals of the west side of a ridge of high pressure can be challenging to capture. I needed my three key colours of blue to match the subtle hues of the cirrus. This is the view looking northeasterly from the the entrance to the west basin of Red Horse Lake after paddling through the Narrows. I wanted to create a rhythm in the clouds and to maintain that tempo in the flagged trees and the choppy water as well.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sunset Deformation

The colours of a sunset only last a few minutes and they are always changing. The stable layer under the subsidence ridge in the lower atmosphere was creating gravity waves in the deck of stratocumulus. The bands of cloud were perpendicular to the southeasterly winds at cloud level - just like waves on the water. The edge of this layer of moisture was as sharp as a knife on the western horizon and clearly had to be a deformation zone. As a meteorological approximation, streamlines are very closely approximated by isobars in a slowly changing pressure pattern. I do not have access to streamlines at every level anymore - in fact, I never did. This approximation allowed me to analyze the low level deformation zone responsible for the moisture edge and one can see that the correlation is pretty close. Singleton is northeast of Lake Ontario and just eastward and on the cloudy side of the green, double-headed deformation zone line. There is a good reason for every line and pattern in the atmosphere. Careful science can reveal that reason and yield a better understanding of the atmosphere in the process.
The colours were gone in ten minutes along with the setting sun.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wilson Street Studio Art Retreats for 2014

Keith and Helen from the Wilson Street Studios have really picked a great line up of places to paint. These are some of my favourites! I encourage you to visit their website to find out more at
There are five retreats and I am painting on the third in the Kawartha Highlands. It should be fun! I understand that there are still some spots available.
By the way, spring is around the corner now - although I have personally loved this real Canadian winter.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gull Rock

This hunk of marble in the west basin of Singleton Lake is a favourite perch for the gulls. They do quite a good job of white washing it. Some of the white wash is rather large and I wonder whether those spots could be from the great blue herons.
The water is quite shallow with lots of opportunities to scrape the hull of your canoe. East of this the water deepens to 45 feet or more. The lines on the rock edges chronicles the changing levels of Singleton Lake. Apparently we are at low ebb now.
The hand stretched canvas on a stretcher frame built by my Dad was different than the canvas used in #1406 "Moon Set". This canvas did not have a lot of tooth. It may have been because I put another coat or two of gesso on the canvas but I truly forget. In any event the oil slipped around quite a bit on the canvas.
I will take better images of these paintings when they are dry and I upgrade my 10 year old camera :-))

Monday, March 17, 2014

Singleton Moon Set

Has anyone been awake to watch the setting moon? It is not nearly as popular a pastime as watching the sun set - but the setting of the full moon can be spectacular. The sun was soon to rise from the opposite direction. The full moon on March 16th was quite remarkable. This is the view westward across Singleton Lake.
The hand stretched canvas on a stretcher frame built by my Dad had a lot of tooth. The canvas really grabbed the paint so I used a lot of it. As always, it was fun. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chip's Elbow

My friend Chip and his wife own this pretty point that pokes into the Long Reach separating Singleton from Red Horse Lake. I do not know if there is an official name for this point but I suspect it has many - all different. This is the name that I use. The view is looking northwestward across the shallow waters of the point. I found the rocks with my canoe. Even a very light carbon canoe has some draft and will not clear all of the hidden obstacles. The sound of Canadian Shield scratching the bottom of my craft always makes me grimace.
I like the way that the red cedars and white pine thrust into the sky. I keep inventing new ways to capture the effect of the back lighting while keeping my colours clean. These techniques may not always be successful but they are always fun. This small canvas has a lot of tooth and it grabbed the thick paint and held on tight.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Foley Farm in Winter

The approaching cirrostratus was low on the western horizon. There was a gentle easterly breeze that was characteristic of the cold conveyor belt being drawn into the approaching low pressure area. Another winter storm was on the way to add to the deep snow already in the fields.
This painting is on a small basswood plank which had almost no tooth. It is another SSS - small slippery surface painting and I had fun. The piece of basswood is one I had saved for many years - I had obtained the wood from my friend Jack of Schomberg - probably around 1990. It is only 3.75 x 5.12 inches. I scratched my name in the thick wet paint with a toothpick. I like to keep my signature subtle.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Morning Forest

The March sun may pack a punch of warmth but not until it climbs high enough to shine on your back. This is part of our forest at Singleton Lake. It is a very healthy ecosystem full of wild life. We just try to make it better. The forest has never been logged and there are some trees in it that are very, very impressive indeed. One red oak tree is about 7 feet in circumference and still healthy. A few very large red oaks were blown over in a wind storm during the summer of 2013. There is so much wood down that we could be furniture for a small city from it.
This view from a distance does not do the individual trees justice but that was the point behind this painting. I wanted to see the forest for the trees. I used a lot of paint and colour and had even more fun!
Oils on medium burnt sienna oil tinted foundation on commercial canvas. - 12 X 12 (inches) by 1.5 inches thick. I painted all of the edges too. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Significant Cedar

It snowed again overnight. Some people may be getting tired of winter but I have been loving it. It was too cold to paint this outside given the significant windchill but the environment inside the studio with the wood stove glowing red, was just right. The wind blew the snow that was laden on the branches off the large cluster of red cedar trees. This was a good thing for the flock of a dozen or so robins that never left for warmer climes. It exposed the small purple berries that were keeping them and the blue birds alive.
The view to the northwest is across the provincially significant wetlands that we protect, The forest lies beyond the frozen wetland. I really like how the sky colours peak through the forest. It was a fun day and I didn't freeze my hands and was not attacked by biting insects.
This is 12x12 inches in size and not quite done but you get the idea. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Charleston Portage

This is the Charleston Lake end of the 800 pace long portage from Red Horse Lake. The view is looking southerly in the mid afternoon. The water levels were down judging by the etchings on the marble. This is the very last of the 4x4 canvases that I have. It was a fun series to play with - using lots of paint and even some colour. Soon the weather will be warm enough on my frost-bitten hands to allow me to paint outside again. It was minus 24 Celsius this morning.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Reach to Grippen

I was canoeing on Long Reach in the clearing behind a cold front. The high cirrostratus cloud were the last vestiges of the cold front. Meanwhile the chillier northwesterly winds in the cold air mass were beginning to have their impact. Streets of turbulent stratocumulus clouds were developing as the subsidence in the wake of the cold front subsided - so to speak. The sun was still high enough in the sky to give daytime heating and generate the low cumulus. These cumulus clouds align themselves along the wind direction in helical bands that nest together in wind parallel streets in the earth's boundary layer.
There is a bit of cloud iridescence in the higher cirrostratus.
This is only 4x4 inches - another small piece of fun with lots of paint and texture. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Red Horse Narrows

I was kayaking and this is the view looking westward from Red Horse Lake toward "The Narrows". This little community has been thriving for a century and not much has changed over the years. From my perspective, if something is near perfection, it shouldn't change.
The water levels were down judging by the etchings on the marble. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Singleton Cliffs

I like to paddle early in the morning before the sun gets too high. These are the high cliffs on the south shore of Singleton Lake looking toward Jim Day Rapids. There would be no recovery once you started down those steep slopes. Once again, I just wanted to have some fun on one of the small 4x4 canvasses that I had.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Red Horse Road

This is the way that Red Horse Lake Road looked for most of the winter of 2013-2014. The snow banks were high on each side and there was always snow and ice somewhere. This is the view looking eastward toward the fork at Jonas Street. This painting is 8x8 inches. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Singleton South Shore

It was brutally cold and windy with a lot of blowing and drifting snow so I decided to paint in the studio to save my hands. My hands freeze faster now.
This is the south shore of Singleton Lake. The ridge of marble drops precipitously down into the water. I was out paddling early in the morning before the sun got too high. The water levels were down almost two feet from the high water marks. Painting is all about having fun. I was using my handy dandy small canvas holder that allows me to paint the sides and still keep my hands clean.
This is only 4x4 inches... fun!