Saturday, July 03, 2010

Freshly tilled

Sunshine, a little heat, reality and some imagination came together to create this pastel.  The view was of a strip of freshly tilled soil on the side of the meadow that will grow vegetables.

I was originally planning an oil sketch of the meadow, but the black flies came out in numbers and drove me to the relatively bug-free zone of the gazebo with the screens in place.   I still had a few of the meadow, just not the one I planned.  I added some things, took away some things and tinkered with colours.  Where the red came from I don't know,  but i like it.

Its 9 x 12  on colourfix paper.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Black and white to colour

When working with portraits there are all kinds of challenges thrown at you and you learn over time to work with them.

This current commission is being completed from a black and white image that was requested to done in colour.  Another image was provided that showed the colouring of the individual as a child.  So I'm slowly working up the colour on this piece based on my knowledge of redheads and their pale skin and from researching online as well as real life people with the same colouring of around the same age.  Luckily in Newfoundland there is a strong Irish influence in genetics so naturally red hair is fairly common, giving me more models to observe.

According to Wikipedia:
Red hair ranges from vivid strawberry shades to deep auburn and burgundy. It is caused by a variation in the Mc1r gene and believed to be recessive. Red hair has the highest amounts of pheomelanin and usually low levels of eumelanin, and is the least common hair color in the world.

Also hair usually darkens as we age from childhood, so the redness will develop into a darker shade of its original childhood colour.

This portrait is being completed with coloured pencil.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The rodent wall

You know how your mother always told you not to draw on the wall?  Well, I've thrown out that premise and started a little group of creatures - my studio buddies - who keep me company while I draw and paint.

The mice were the first and have been there for awhile but tonight a new rodent joined them.  A young squirrel who is just poking his head out to see what's going on.  The details are a bit sketchy (pardon the pun) right now, but he will become more detailed soon and be joined by others as word gets out I'm sure.

What's on your studio wall?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The creel

I take a lot of photographs.  Sometimes they just happen with a composition at the moment almost landing in my lap.  Other times I go in search of inspiration and often the barn helps things along.

Aside from animals and birds that come and go in the barn, there are an assortment of the usual tools, farm equipment, dust and cobwebs.  Looking up towards the door that once led to an old original chicken coop, I saw this creel and rod with years of dust and cobwebs accumulated.  No one has done any freshwater fishing for quite awhile, though I may well get these out into the light of day again and see if I can add a trout or two to my arsenal for my gyotaku project.

The creel and rod seemed perfect for a black and white photo and lent an air of nostalgia to the image.  Its now available in my Etsy store.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I played around this weekend with the image of a pineapple.  I wanted it to feel tropical and loose, but have enough detail to be recognizable too.  Pineapple is about the only thing tropical in this summer so far.  We get a decent day, then the north wind whips around again and brrrr.  So a foray into something more summer like was warranted. The texture of pineapple is fascinating with each segment looking rather like a little wrapped parcel.

This is done on a half sheet of 200lb paper.  Its at the cusp of being overworked as sometimes its easy to overstep the mark without even realizing it.  I hope I stopped before I got in too deep on this one.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tangle of Capelin - Part II

I created, or started creating, a painting of capelin using a batik technique on masa paper - A Tangle of Capelin. This was done as a demo of the batik process and gives the basics to achieve the fractured surface of the masa and proves to be one of the most commonly visited page on my blog - along with gummy bears and laptop sleeves! This piece had been sitting on my drawing table waiting to be completed, so today was as good a day as any to do so.

I also wanted to try out some iridescent colours that I had ordered that I hoped would give a subtle sheen to fish skin.  These are Daniel Smith watercolours and they work beautifully over a darker surface, giving a slight reflective quality dependent on the viewers angle and work well for these fish. You can see the effect of a wash of iridescent gold over the gill plate of this fish.

I have intensified the colours in the piece with more layers of turquoise and phalo blue with touches of quinacridone red to and burnt orange (my new favourite) to balance and complement the overall blues.  This piece of masa is mounted on an 11x 15 sheet of 140lb watercolour paper.  The washes buckle it a little, but some pressing under weights should take care of that.  I should have stretched the paper prior to painting but it was a demo at the time and I didn't think it would go further.  Isn't that always the way??

So a little more definition of the fins for a couple of these fish then it complete.  I have a couple of commissions to work on this week, interspersed with more fish.