Thursday, March 31, 2016

954 Midday Outlet

From March 2008...
Another bit of well spent time at the Outlet of Charleston Lake. I arrived just before noon and set up on the hill leading down into the basin on the Charleston Lake side of the dam. It was a bit steep but was a good view of the boat houses and the far shoreline. The geese were active here as well and a pair of hooded mergansers played along the shore line.

I had lost the bottom plastic cap to one of the legs of the easel on Wednesday... and found it in the location where I had parked. Although I didn't find my palette at least I found the 10 cent piece of black plastic.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

951 Outlet Morning

From the spring of 2008...
Just after 9 am, I set up my easel just east of the dam at the Outlet of Charleston Lake. There were some Canada geese in the shallows on the far shore and they hung around for a while. They were waiting for spring too. The winter birds were busy in the spruce and pine trees at my back. 
The ice had twisted the boat docks into barely recognizable lengths of decking and supports. The pieces were all over the place. The docks would require some major reconstruction before tourist season. 
The temperature started off at minus 6 Celsius and although the temperature did rise, so did the wind and it got really cold by the time I finished!

Friday, March 25, 2016

953 Spring Migration

From March 27th, 2008.
I set up at Mallorytown Landing on the ice just east of the "Bateaux Museum". The ice was still solid. This kept me out of the chilly wind but still gave me a great view to the northeast down the mighty St Lawrence River. The air was full of the sounds of spring. Robins and red winged blackbirds were singing but the chanting honks of migrating Canada geese really set the tone. I had no intention of painting in a flock of geese but a flock flew right into the painting. I also had no intention of putting in the multiple jet contrails but the jets just kept on flying through the scene. The billow type cloud on the south side of the one contrail suggested a strong zonal jet in excess of 125 knots. This supported the diagnosis of an approaching low pressure area. The contrails to the right (south) were casting a shadow on some lower and very thin cirrostratus which was another clue to the approaching system.

The tips of the willows turn a bright yellowish orange when the sap starts to flow. After a winter of storms, the ice was far from white and has developed odd circular patterns with the thicker drifts of snow. The colours are the subject of this piece.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

945 Looking Down River

This River Rat view is from 11:15 am Monday February 4th, 2008. I took some time to paint.
I set up on the ice just off Mallorytown Landing. A couple of snowmobiles didn’t go through so I felt more than safe. This is looking northeastward down the river toward Bridge Island. The sun sparkled off the snow on the island and the red channel markers in the distance.

Bands of cirrus behind the upper level deformation zone, pushed northeastward while I painted. The cirrus thickened up and occasionally blocked the sun which in turn cooled me considerably. By the time I was done, the northeasterly inflow to the approaching low had set up and it was feeling cooler with the wind chill although the temperature was still plus 2 Celsius.

I liked the cool colours of the American shore that contrasted with the warm shades of the trees along the Thousand Island’s Parkway.

Monday, March 21, 2016

1720 Shoreline Roots

This is the last of the tree motif plein air pieces painted this past winter. I have been working on six 3x4 footers in the studio when the weather was too wintry for my bare outs to be out doing plein air work. These paintings are still way to wet to handle and the sixth is still under construction... and the fifth may still see some major changes too. I will post these major canvases when I can. For now, is here a plein air piece from February 4th, 2016.

I have painted this shoreline of trees before but every day is different. The red cedars and white pines are prominent and always draw me to this scene. This time I focussed on the tree roots that have been exposed through erosion. There are still lots of tree roots binding the soil to the shore but sadly, some soil has been lost. This erosion is an inevitable result of the changing water levels and strong current.

The ice formed when the water levels were very high. Oddly, this is the best of circumstances to avoid spring ice jams and flooding. The cakes of ice are hinged higher on the shoreline as I have painted them. The spring floods have to get to at least this height again before the ice cakes could possibly be unhinged from the shore.

I used a lot of paint on this canvas. From across the room, the stabs and swirls of paint merge into something very much more realistic. Although the sun was out occasionally between the streets of turbulent stratocumulus, the wind chill was still enough to affect my hands.

Friday, March 18, 2016

1721 Twin Maples

My approach to plein air painting has evolved over the years. I keep it simple but also have a system that makes it easy to do so. I can share those.
Here is a plein air memory from February 2016 - just over a month ago.
After I named this painting I started to wonder if I had actually used the same name for these same two trees. I had! #1337 "Twin Maples" This time I painted them in the middle of the winter even though there was a total lack of snow due to the Super El Nino event. The blue birds even stayed around all winter. They kept me company while I painted. This view is different from the previous painting by about twenty feet. It was a very pleasant day for early February. There is no shortage of interesting things to do, even if it means outstanding in your field - that's a good thing, right?
I used a lot of paint and some bold strokes of colour on this little canvas. Fun.  This link takes you to the other "Twin Maples" first... funny!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

En Plein Air with Chadwick and Karstad

The flyer says it all... come and have some fun :-))

Monday, March 14, 2016

1728 Scrub Red Cedar

The sun was getting low in the sky but I love the late afternoon light. It was also a chance to test out my brand new snow shoes. After 50 centimetres of snow in one day, snow shoes were a necessity. Red cedars take a long time to grow and are much older than one might think. These scrub cedars are a lifeline to so many creatures. The blue birds that really should fly south, seem to survive by clustering together for warmth in my Peterson Blue Bird Houses and eating the red cedar berries. The deer are always browsing the lower branches of the red cedars. I have even seen the beavers swimming away with some lower branches.

This red cedar has been well used. The browsing has pushed growth up from around the base. These branches and twigs and low sun angles produced some interesting colours and shadows. The oil paints were surprisingly stiff for it not being overly cold at minus 9 Celsius.

After all, I just wanted to have some fun. I found it difficult to walk backward with the snow shoes on but walking in circles worked just as well. The easel should have had snow shoes as well. It sunk deep into the 50 centimetres of snow while I was perched more on top of the snow pack.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

1726 Snow Squalls

The 240 degree winds that are also cold enough off Lake Ontario are quite rare. These are the conditions required to deliver Snow squalls to Singleton Lake. More typically, the winds are 250 to 260 degrees during cold outbreaks and this delivers the snow along a swath just south of Singleton Lake. However, the eye does not lie. I saw these clouds crossing the lake and knew that white out conditions would soon follow. I sketched the patterns very quickly and then went inside the studio to discover that a snow squall watch had just been issued minutes before. The following warnings for snow squalls and extreme cold were more than appropriate.

Notice the gravity wave clouds at the capping inversion of the snow squalls. These bands are perpendicular to the wind at cloud level. The snow squall bands are to the mean wind through the boundary layer adjacent to the ground. Note how the wind veers just a bit with height. That is real meteorology.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Emily Carr Currency?

Emily Carr (1871-1945) was perhaps the most original artist to define Canadian art. After World War One, our society was still very tied to the old country. Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven wished to express a distinctly different Canadian art form. Beginning in 1927 Emily Carr was right there in the thick of things with them. Eventually they succeeded and we live with their legacy.
Emily was a spirited individual who faced a challenging and potentially overwhelming host of obstacles. Eventually with the assistance of patrons and other artists like Lawren Harris, Emily found artistic success at the age of 57. Her life story is a very interesting read.
Net worth should not be measured by dollars but by the personal currency of character and integrity. Emily probably could never afford any of the new 2018 bank notes but it is only fitting that she be honoured with her image and art on that bill. Please take the time to vote...