Saturday, January 13, 2018

Honest Ed's

My other "City Evening" paintings are smaller- 16x20 - but I felt this called for a larger canvas so it is 20x30. Painted last year - this year is too  new for completed paintings!  Alas, Honest Eds has now closed - and the signs here show some burnt-out bulbs as things were headed in that direction at the time of this reference shot. I always am drawn to reflections so I liked the reflected lights on the wet pavement contrasting with the pedestrians almost only as silhouettes. I also liked the fact that there would be a story with each person. Were they shopping -or just heading home from work? My other "City Evening" paintings are on earlier blogs - I'm not sure if I will do more later or not- it is interesting to try to have both the cool of a winter evening and yet some warmth to the painting. There is definitely more working with tonal contrast, than say, a Spring garden scene. Yet, this is the reality of winter in a city and we all know what it feels like!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas Elf

Well, here is another "long pose" from the last Friday session before Christmas. Since we are still in the "holiday season", I thought I could still post a pastel of an elf. Again, this is my multi-media process that I am working on - first the sketch in one colour of hard pastel on watercolour paper.  Then colour washes with three primaries in acrylic. Blow-dryer--- then apply acrylic pastel ground medium... this is quite gritty. Blow dry again -- then work in pastels. Each time is a little different - not just the model and the pose, but also how I mix and blend the paint layer. The pastels are different on a coloured surface, of course, and different as the under-colours vary. I'm enjoying trying out different effects each time. I'm not sure where I am going with this, but I just got some more watercolour paper and I intend to keep working on more figure drawings with this technique. Another bonus is that sheets of paper don't take up a lot of room.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lots of red!

     Well, here is the painting with the most red I have ever put into a painting! On the other hand, I have never painted a poinsettia before. This all started as I was mulling  over what paintings to use on my Christmas card. When I was given a poinsettia, it seemed a natural to have it for the cover painting- the only problem was that the painting had not been painted. I also had the inspiration of two trial tubes of "cadmium red medium" from Liquitex. They were just marked "1" and "2" and one was truly cadmium-based but the other is a new development that eliminated the toxic cadmium and was said to be a very durable replacement. I tried out the two and got some friends to try too - and we could not tell any difference in how the paint handled. This is a terrific step forward for good opaque reds, orange, and yellows in eliminating toxins. Paint manufacturers are always working for improvements. When Van Gogh painted his yellows, they were not permanent and dis-coloured over the years. Cadmiums were a "permanent" replacement but now they will be replaced too. This has happened with many colours over the years- arsenic is no longer used in greens and expensive lapis-lazuli was no longer needed when ultramarine blue was developed. Liquitex, interestingly enough, was the first developer of acrylic paint for fine arts. It was developed after latex paints came into use for house paints... and that, of course, was so toxic lead could be eliminated from house paints. So, bit by bit, some toxins are being eliminated.
     So I'm late with snail-mailing cards but it was fun to do this painting.
    ArtRich is on display in Richmond Art Gallery until the end of the month. I have "Sandpiper Time" on show as it was accepted into this exhibit. The red in it is just a very little bit- the Canadian flag and its reflection.

Friday, December 8, 2017

What I'm reading now...

At first glance, Cast looks like one of those coffee table books-  large and beautiful but not much more. However, Cast goes far beyond being beautiful to being totally interesting and informative. I'm a fast reader usually, but I've enjoyed slowing down, lingering over illustrations and thinking about casts in a way I've never thought before. The book covers both fine arts and every day life. The art of casting, pouring material into a mold, dates back to antiquity but modern manufacturing casting has changed our lives- toilets for modern sanitation, bricks for construction,  mass-produced plastic toys- these only touch castings influences. Beautiful photos illustrate ancient and modern masterpieces. A chapter on jewellery illustrates pieces far beyond what the reader is likely to see in ordinary circles-"from wearable to conceptual". This is the first-ever in-depth resource about casting- truly a book to enjoy over time. Back in my fabric-art and doll-making days, I did a little casting- but the authors tell us that if we have ever made ice-cubes, jello or muffins, we've all done casting. I took the above photos, but you can see more about this book at  I certainly recommend this as a real treasure.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

ArtRich 2017

ArtRich has opened in Richmond Art Gallery and will be on display throughout December. There are 40 pieces on display, juried from 120 entries. It is the final local celebration of Canada's 150th and the themes were Environment, Diversity and Reconciliation. My "Sandpiper Time- Britannia Heritage
Shipyard" was selected. We were asked to write statements for a binder so that people can see where the paintings fits into the celebration of Canada's 150th. This is my statement for this painting " "Sandpiper Time" is about what changes and what endures. Every September, the sandpipers come to Britannia and here they sit on a floating log and on a piling. They were here long before settlers and the great salmon runs of the past - for which the remains of the piers are a mute testimony. Will we protect the environment so that they can always return?" I made a point of making the paint thicker on the pilings above the waterline while the reflections are thinner paint. I think the dimensionality adds to the interest of the painting.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Long pose again

Now that we can get the painting room in the daytime (which we can't in the summer, due to  kid's classes), we are back having long poses again. Most people are painting although some are drawing, and I am back to mixed media. I had a rough grey paper for this ... now I can't remember the name of the paper but it is quite rough and has flecks of something that looks like bits of straw in it. I started with a drawing in black conte' and then used pthalo blue, alizarin crimson and arylide yellow  acrylic in some washes. After using the blow-dryer, I painted on acrylic gel for pastels and then dried that too. Since the paper was already quite rough-surfaced, I then had a nice gritty surface to work on. Giving created the pose from inspiration from a statue who was part person but also turning into a fern and returning to the earth. The statue's hands had already melded into fern fronds. So it was fun to have this different idea. I worked a bit of green into the skin tones. I used some powdered pastel, applied with a sponge to get a base going as both soft pastels and harder pastels tended to sit more on the surface of the rough paper. However, I also liked the effect of the upper layers of pastel on the rougher surface. I think I only have one more piece of this paper but I may do a search to find some more. I recall that it did  come in different colours. So, what should I call it? Lady of the Ferns?

Friday, November 17, 2017

GuessWho? a great success!

This shows the set-up we had for GuessWho? on November 4th at the Pioneer  Church at #3 and Steveston Highway.
We set up grids and hang all the 10x10's on both sides of the grids. We had 137 paintings and sold 52 - all from 10 am to 3pm. There was a terrific selection and we made $2350 for the  Richmond Food Bank. We also had a lot of fun so it was a great success. If you didn't make it this year, mark your calendar for next year when it will be November 3rd. You'll never had a better chance of getting terrific original art for only $100!!