Thursday, April 30, 2015

1573 Stratus Day Singleton

The sky was overcast with stratus. Low fog hung over the western shore of Singleton Lake. The difference in colour between the fog and the stratus was subtle but still visible and very interesting. The tops of the stratus were shaped by the wind shear. The winds in the high friction regime near the surface are typically much lighter than the winds aloft - especially in a case of the warm sector and a stable environment. The horizontal rolls of vorticity behave like pencils rolling across a table top. The rolling "pencils" create waves in the cloud tops that are perpendicular to the wind direction like waves on a lake. The edge of the pencil that is on the up swing produces a higher bump in the cloud top. The downward rotating edge of the pencil creates a valley in the cloud.
The ice that covered the west basin had been pushed to the far shore by the warm sector winds. This ice was a brilliant white in sharp contrast to the grey of everything else. I call the ice "white" but there are actually a lot of different colours in that pigment.
This painting is paired with #1571 "April Sunrise Singleton".

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

1571 April Sunrise Singleton

Now for something completely different...The view from our shore actually lends itself to a long and narrow canvas. I just happened to have such a piece of panel and decided to use it rather than waste it. I do not discard anything that might be useful and I don't think I am a hoarder - but maybe that is the main symptom of being a hoarder. I hope someone likes this effort. I used a lot of paint.
The rising sun was still at a low angle. The forest on the south side of Singleton Lake was still casting a long shadow on the west shore. At this time of day the changes in the lighting are lightning fast and it is almost impossible to keep up with nature.
This painting is paired with #1573 "Stratus Day Singleton".

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

1570 White Pine Sunrise

An artist friend had a bunch of panels with a lot of tooth.The really bite into the oils. I always admired the way that this group of white pines reached into the sky. The shadowed snow was also a very cold and distinctive shade of blue - my secret formula of some unorthodox colours.

Monday, April 27, 2015

1575 Singleton Sunset Stratocumulus

The clouds change by the minute. This shape-shifter attribute of clouds can be good if you are a curious artist or simply an observer. You just have to wait a few minutes and there is another "seen" to be played with. This is a similar view of the southwesterly streets of stratocumulus depicted in #1574 "Cloud Street Sunset" - but just a few minutes later.
The accompanying graphic describes the meteorology of parallel streets of stratocumulus clouds in an unstable planetary boundary level. It also explains why the bands get further apart and weaken due to friction as the sun sets and the daytime heating instability dissipates. Think of the circulations as three dimensional helical coils ( a slinky) with the updraft branch supporting the formation of the cloud and the downdraft branch enforcing the clear skies in between the cloud streets. The slinky comparison is actually quite appropriate.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

1567 Three

I have stood in this exact same place to paint other "seens". It is just south of the Singleton Studio and it offers a great view of three white pines reaching for the sly. The sun was on my back and it was the second warm day of the spring of 2015. A group of turkey vultures soared by and I think they landed near the pioneer homestead. There seemed to be three of everything - threee white pines, threee turkey vultures, threee blue birds, threee honey bees that investigated my palette ... It made me think of the letter from Robert Genn which was republished the day that I did this painting ... He used threee Tom Thomson paintings to illustrate his thoughts.... and yes, why shouldn't there be three e's in threee?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

1564 Making Tracks

I wanted to paint all of the snow that I could before it melted away. This is the same morning as the 1840 Homestead panting. I took a bunch of images as I was hunting for the right bit of inspiration. It was a really wet, windy day with wascally thunderstorms - the studio was the only game in town.
The tracks were much too large for the red fox that we were seeing regularly. These tracks had to be from a coyote or coywolf. The coywolf is a cross-bred predator that shares the property with us. There are many predators at Singleton Lake but they were here first and belong on the land more than we do. I give everything a safe habitat - safe from humans that is. They are not necessarily safe from each other. Brere Fox wanted to have a piece of the family cat just previous to painting this work.
I was walking. You will not see any toe or heel kicks in my tracks. The coywolf was walking as well.

Friday, April 24, 2015

1566 Pioneer Paddock

The split cedar rail fences were falling down. They were also overgrown with brambles and nasty shrubs with thorns. I imagine at one time that the livestock even had the paddock churned into mud as is the case with most barn yards. Thick grasses dominated the snowy paddock. The sumacs were spreading their influence as well. In another twenty years there would not be much left to identify the pioneer lives that were lived here. The foot prints in the painting belong to me...
The horses in the photos below would have used those paddocks.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

1562 The Paddock

This is the pioneer paddock beside the log barn painted in 1552 "1840 Farm". The split cedar rail fence would be hard pressed to keep anything out, let alone anything in. Like everything, fences need to be kept up. As they say, "Good fences make good neighbors." I guess that the saying means that it is easier to be friendly with your neighbour if neither of you trespasses upon the other's property or privacy. I would have really like the pioneer family. They knew how to work and build something from the wilderness. The hard work of the pioneers built Canada.
The sun sparkled across the old, crystalline snow pack. A heavy rain the following week would wash the snow away.
The horses in the accompany picture from around 1920 would have used this paddock.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

1565 Sumac Snow Shadows

I was standing in the middle of the sumac thicket in late winter. The morning sun was casting rather long shadows.The edge of the pioneer log barn can be seen in the upper right. The sounds of spring were in the air but winter was still on the ground.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

1561 Jim Day Thaw

A few more early spring plein air works to publish...
There was still some snow and ice that needed painting. The next spring rain storm was on its way so there was no time to waste. This is the view across Jim Day Rapids from our sheltered bay. The easterly, cold conveyor belt was well developed so I needed some sheltered location out of the wind.
The Canada geese honked continually at each other and me. There were numerous turf battles over nesting sites. An otter and muskrat paddled by along with a broad winged hawk.
I was very heavy on the paint as I wanted to loosen up after spending most of the winter inside in front of the wood stove. If I was a smoker like Tom Thomson, I might have been inclined to flick matches at my efforts in front of the evening fire. The paint was on so thick that I am fairly certain that one would have stuck and started a small blaze.

Monday, April 20, 2015

1569 Flooded Land

This image is a detail of the right centre of the painting. One uses as big a brush as you can when outside. That prevents you from getting to caught up in the detail which you don't need anyway. This male red winged blackbird was showing off for prospective mates. It is only three jabs of paint but the mind fills in the imperfections.
The swamp just to the north of the studio is a provincially significant wetland. I totally agree. When one stands in a swamp for a couple of hours, you are exposed to just a bit that the wetland has to offer. The chorus of spring frogs played out like a huge church choir. Sometimes every frog in the entire choir would compete to be heard. Then for some unknown reason they would fall almost silent within the space of a few seconds. After a few minutes one voice would struggle up again and the choir would be at full volume again. Red winged blackbirds, ducks, geese and even a mute swan were also in the congregation. A pair of sand hill cranes also flew by as I painted.
The wetland is a rich place indeed. It is not flooded land as the name might suggest. Flooded land might not have any value which is not the case for a wetland. There are three creatures deliberately included in this painting. Remember that I was using a fairly large brush so they are just stabs of colour. I resisted the temptation to make those stabs better in the studio...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

1557 Homecoming

This couple were the most vocal of the Canada geese who watched my every move while I painted #1556 "Awakening Wetland". The bonded pair were also equally bonded to the beauty of Singleton Lake. They seemed to have claimed these particular rocks as their own and repeatedly rushed at the other pairs who came too close for their liking. With their necks low and threatening, they were an intimidating pair of geese. They didn't try those threats on me. They would also not pose for me so this painting was mainly a studio work.
This painting is quite similar in composition to #1516 "Ma and Pa Canada". The water of Singleton Lake is much more clear and blue.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

1558 Spring Melt

Some rain was more effective than the warm weather in dissolving the thick snow pack. A couple of warm sector rains, and three feet of snow disappeared in a week. There were still some icy remains from the thicker patches of snow in the field. The colours from the April sun were just coming up over the Long Reach hillside - peaking through the trees. The sun itself was still below the marble horizon. Snow started to fall and pushed me inside. The sketch was good and the heat from the wood stove felt even better.

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.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2015 with Phil the Forecaster Chadwick...

Phil is going to stick closer to home this summer... Algonquin, Killarney, Georgian Bay and Lake Huron are beautiful but the Frontenac Arch Biosphere that surrounds Singleton Lake can be even more inspiring. Here is the poster for the only scheduled workshop - come and let's paint.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

1553 Singleton Storm

There was definitely a storm coming. The clues were clearly written in the clouds. One just had no know how to read them and I hope that this helps. These clouds are all backlit by the setting sun.
All of the cloud clues are linked to the structure of the conveyor belt conceptual model. Each conveyor belt is a current of air moving faster than the surrounding air. This faster relative motion causes vortices both to the left and the right. A vorticity maximum which spins cyclonically or counter-clockwise when looking downward toward the earth's surface is always found to the left. A vorticity minimum which spins anticyclonically or clockwise when looking downward toward the earth's surface is always found to the right. These vortices chape the clouds. The vortices are related to the wind bringing the weather. So there is a direct link between the weather and the shape of the clouds - much more than just the presence of the clouds themselves. I believe that the early settlers knew all about what the shapes of the clouds meant. I can fill in the folklore to describe the meteorological linkages between cause and effect. The meteorology that I describe is much easier to grasp when you place yourself in the frame of reference attached to the atmosphere. The earth is not the centre of the universe.

Monday, April 6, 2015

1555 Original Homestead

This snow is all gone now...
The squared off timbers in the middle of this painting are all that remains of the 20 foot by 20 foot pioneer log cabin. It had a basement probably with a mud floor. The trees have all grown up around the forgotten homestead, blocking the sun and the southerly view. It was a good place to build on - a little rise at the very top of the marble ridge. I wonder how much digging they had to do to achieve the basement? The sun was warm on my back during this late winter painting session.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

1556 Awakening Wetland

The last painting completed from last Wednesday... The sounds of the birds filled the air. The provincially significant wetland that neighbours our property was coming alive after a long winter. Another ice storm was on the way but the sky did not reveal any significant clues. The Canada geese were certainly the most vocal. They honked and hissed at each other and kept an uneasy eye on my activities.