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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Line and wash flowers

As prep for a workshop on flower painting that I’ll be giving this weekend, I took out my Lamy Safari pen (which I haven’t used in a long time) and doodled some flowers on hot pressed Fabriano paper. Colours: Carmine, Cadmium Orange, Azo Yellow, Cerulean Blue and a bit of Cobalt mixed with Raw Umber for the darker green spots.


Sugar Shack Panorama

It’s not for vegetarians or diabetics, but the Cabane à sucre is an annual rite of spring for many Québecois. The sugar shack is where the sap from the maple trees gets boiled into liquid gold: maple syrup. A few weeks ago I used the other side of this panoramic sketchbook page for another epic meal — dim sum with the Montreal USkers — so I thought it would be appropriate to cover the verso with this feast.

Along with my students (and a few French students spending a semester with us) we arrived at Cabane à Sucre Oswald on one of the first sunny days of spring. In fact, the sap in the maple trees has just started flowing so our timing was perfect. In olden days the sap dripped into a bucket from a spigot inserted into the trunk of the tree. Now it’s collected via a superhighway of plastic tubes that flows into even bigger plastic tubes that feeds the sap into big vats before it gets boiled. After a walk in the woods, we settled down at long tables and dish after dish of foods that either contain maple syrup or are meant to be doused in syrup began arriving. Ham, sausages, pork rinds, meatballs, baked beans, pea soup and omelettes to start, followed by sugar pie and crepes with syrup. And then if you haven’t had enough sugar, hot syrup is poured on fresh snow and into this you insert and twirl a popsicle stick for your very own maple syrup lollipop. After this there’s really only one thing left to do on the bus ride home: sleep off that sugar high.






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