Conversation

People always ask me how I find the time to do a sketch every day. Sometimes I take a lot of time to complete a painting (or ruin several before I post anything!) and other days I just spend a few minutes doing something quick, like a pencil sketch of my dog. There are also days when I stop what I am doing for a time (like garden cleanup today) and draw my activity. What’s important for me is that I draw everyday. In a great online interview with my friend Marc Holmes he says basically the same thing. He keeps a sketchbook in his bag and draws wherever he is. I guess for both of us the advice is the same. Just get out there and draw!

Conversation


Lake meets land

This was a weird experiment to see if I could make a painting from two types of solid forms whose natures are so inherently different — hunks of crystal ice blocks and massive rocks. Transparent versus opaque. Dark versus light. Cool versus warm. I painted this on location, in full sun, which is not ideal but since this phenomena may not occur again any time soon I had to get out there and attack it. Painted on Arches Rough 140 lb paper, 11″ x 15″.
LakeMeeetsLand


Crystal shore

Two days ago I was looking for a good location to sketch the cracking ice on Lac St. Louis but when I got down to the shore, to my great disappointment, it was all gone. Today a friend emailed me a few photos of where the ice had ended up, so I made my way there this afternoon. I don’t know if this happens every year or if this was a freak occurrence, but for a good distance the ice was piled up along the waterfront in Dorval and people were gathering to take photos or just to gawk. With some of the chunks at least a foot thick and four feet across, I can only imagine what the sound must have been when this happened. I found a bench to set up on because there was no place close by to park and sketch from the shelter of my car, but with the wind blowing icy gusts on my palette (and my face) I had to pack up after about 30 minutes and finish the last details in the warmth of my house. I have never sketched outdoors in a colder situation than this, but I have also never sketched a scene as brilliantly gorgeous as this either.

IceFloe


Alice on corduroy

Alice is the perfect model. She holds her pose for a long time, her hourly rate is quite reasonable and she needs no breaks for food or a smoke.

AliceonCorduroy


The end of the ice

With the warm weather today, I thought it might be a good time to try out my new plein air easel (shown below). I went down to the lake hoping to see the ice starting to crack, but with the sudden heat it was almost all gone! I found a bit of it trapped in between the docks at the yacht club but even in the short time that I was painting the mini-icebergs were starting to sink. The easel is one I’ve been coveting for a long time. It’s the Eric Michaels Plein Air Pro, purchased in advance of my workshops out west. It’s light, fits into a carry on/backpack and takes about 8 seconds to set up.

TheEndoftheIce

NewEasel


Fritz Farm

My intent was to take some photos at the opening of the LAA group show on Friday night but it was pretty busy and I never got around to it. Instead I did a sketch of the venue today. Fritz Farm is a great old house, built in 1910, and perfect for the exhibition. As I was sketching it, it occurred to me that this was the first time in five months that I’ve painted bare ground. Except for a few patches in shady spots, the snow is mostly gone, and with a weather forecast of 24°C tomorrow, that might be it until next year.

FritzFarm


Invitation to an exhibition

It’s always an honour to be in a group exhibition with the Lakeshore Association of Artists. I hope you can join me this weekend for our spring show with works by over 40 artists. The vernissage is Friday evening at 7 pm and the show will continue on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. I’ll have 10 recent paintings in the show and I’ll be there on Saturday afternoon as well as at the opening on Friday. For this reason, and also because my students at school will be exhibiting their amazing work at their graduation vernissage tomorrow, I will be taking a short break from my daily posts. Hope to see you at the show and if not, I’ll be back here in a few days. For details about the location of the show, please see the LAA site here.

Freesia


Back wall

It’s near impossible to find something industrial in my suburban neighbourhood so I drove to a nearby commercial area. I realized pretty quickly that even though there’s plenty to draw, there’s no place to park with a good view of the kind of stuff that interests me. I circled back home and the best I could find was this little setup in the back of a big box store. Since the foreground object (pipes) and background (wall) were mere inches apart, I used colour temperature to separate them. The background is a mix of warm cerulean blue and cadmium orange. The pipes have lots of cools: cobalt blue, with a bit of burnt sienna and carmine.

Pipes


Workshop demo

This line and wash sketch is the second of two demos I did in a flower painting workshop I gave today (the first one was wet-in-wet watercolour). Of the two demos, this was by far the faster one. Line drawing time: 10 or 15 minutes; painting time just a little bit more. The point of this demo was pretty simple. 1. Treat each clump of flowers as a mass instead of painting them individually. The same for the foliage. 2. Touch the paper as little as possible with the brush (in other words, get the intensity of colour right the first time). 3. Let some of the magic happen by allowing the colours to mix on the paper instead of overmixing on the palette.

ChrysanthemumDemo


Daffodil day

April is daffodil month for the Canadian Cancer Society. The volunteer who was selling them at the store had just celebrated 20 years cancer-free so I bought 20 flowers. As a bouquet it’s not very impressive, but I love the unopened blooms that seem to be wrapped in the thinnest of tissue paper.

DaffodilDay


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,385 other followers