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″.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.