Thursday, May 26, 2016

The other painting...

     This is "Gary's Woods" which is the other painting going to Shanghai. It was inspired by my cousin's wooded property. Harder to see online in a smaller size, the painting itself has red leaves from autumn still poking through the snow and floating on the almost-frozen water - to bring a welcome touch of colour to this serene landscape.
     Back here in Richmond, I am getting ready for DoorsOpen - June 4th and 5th. I have a couple of smaller snow scenes but now, with this Shanghai show, the rest of my snow series have gone.
I'm beginning to think I will have to travel a bit farther afield to see any more snowy landscapes, It has been a few winters now since there was any "paintable" snow around here.
     Currently, of course, the garden is in full bloom with more subject matter than I can immediately handle. Sketchbook and photographs are coming to the rescue and reference material is being saved for winter studio painting. Plants seem to be blooming earlier but also finishing up earlier. The columbines have mostly gone to seed already. The pink peonies are over but the white ones are now out . I wonder why they didn't  bloom together?  I'm not sure that peonies appeal as individual subjects on their own - I think I'd like them in a  bouquet - but then I'd have to pick them and I hate picking peonies as they never last indoors.  Maybe later if any are available, I'll see if I can buy a bouquet  - right now I seem to be busy enough with already painted paintings, setting them up for DoorsOpen,

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Shanghai and Sketching

     Here is "Winter Pond" that has gone of to be in an exhibit in Shanghai. This view was a few years ago - now I find myself wondering if - with climate change- it will ever happen again. As it was, it was one of those "miracle" days when, instead of snow being followed by grey skies and rain, we got snow and then a few crisp sunny days. Sturgeon Banks, just beyond the dyke, was a beautiful sight with sunshine on bulrushes making a great contrast to the shadows and highlights of the snow. It was a great day to be out. I can relive the day when I see the painting - or even a photo of the painting since it now seems the painting is destined to live elsewhere.
     The Travel section of the weekend Globe and Mail runs a series of first-person stories from the road. This week, features "The pencil is mightier than the flash" by David Gillett on the joys of sketching. He tells about sketching in Oxford and notes, "Even now, five years later, I can flip open to these pages and smell the clematis that wound around the solid columns, hear laughter and the crack of a croquet ball on the lawn behind us, see the radius of the Palladian arches, feel the warmth of the May morning sun as it fluttered through the dappled leaves of Oxford. One look at the sketch and it all comes back to life."  This is so true- it is nice to have photos but sketches somehow penetrate the memory much deeper so that all the senses bring their parts to the remembrance. Apparently some art museums- such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam  are now encouraging deeper looking by providing sketching materials so that visitors will pause and sketch to greater enjoyment than snapping a photo and quickly moving on. I've been out sketching columbines in the garden for a future painting. Somehow, drawing helps you see more.  I think I will have to get back to even more frequent sketching.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Bleeding Hearts

Here is the "full square" of the newsletter painting. It is 24 x 24 and was an interesting challenge. At one point I was crouched down in the middle of the garden trying to get the right angle on the hanging bleeding hearts. I wanted to do them in the early stages when not all the hearts are fully out. Another challenge was to do a painting that is red and green and not have it garish. In reality, the brighter green looks great but in a painting it becomes a bit too much of a hit in the eye- so I toned down the greens somewhat.  I wanted the complementary colours to be complimentary too! I also had to tone down the splashes of brighter light coming through the plant. The problem with painting garden plants is,  unless one is wealthy enough to have a full-time gardener, the garden still has to be cared for - not just "painted". There is weeding, staking, trimming and lots of other tasks. Still, with painting from one's own plants, there is no doubt but that it is an original in every way. So far, the title is just "Bleeding Hearts"  but I might think about something else. Usually, I tend to be pretty straight-forward with titles. I think going Latin and calling it "Dicentra spectabilis"would be a bit pretentious- although I like the "spectabilis" part because I did think it was spectacular.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Lanterns" in Taiwan

I just got the catalog today as Annie Tsai is back in town from Taiwan. The catalog is from the 2016 Group Exhibition of Artists from North America. The exhibition took place in the National Taiwan Arts Education Centre. Now it is touring to other locations   in Taiwan for three months. My painting "Lanterns" was one of two of mine shown in this exhibition and I just found out it has sold ! The farthest back lantern is a camping lantern, then there is the miner's lantern that I have painted a few times before and since - and then the "lanterns" plant. It is interesting to think that a painting with  my Dad's old lantern has now found a new home far away.This painting is 20 x 16 - on canvas and painted with acrylic.
And this is one I painted at the beginning of this year. It is 20 x 10.