Saturday, October 16, 2010

Palette knife

oil on canvas  12” x 12”

This piece is available for purchase on the Available Works page

Its been awhile since I used a palette knife for painting but today I had the urge. I had come across a photo I had taken of an iceberg that was grounded in Flatrock cove one spring and thought I'd play around with it.
I'm in the process of framing gyotaku prints as well as printing more.  However I'm waiting for a big crab to unthaw before I can go further so I had a little time to play today.

palette crop 1 sml
Using a palette knife to paint with is like scooping butter onto a slice of bread.  Its very satisfying and speeds up the process of applying paint to canvas.  I don't know if I'm particularly proficient at it and I was a little frustrated at not having the right colours or being able to mix what I wanted from the ones I have.  I do have some oils on order but hate the waiting period between order and receipt.

My October newsletter went out on Friday and thank you everyone for your kind comments.  I have a special offer for pet portraits in the issue and have seven commissions already!  The offer is open until November 1st, so sign up by clicking on the box in the right hand side of this blog, if you're interested, and I'll make sure you get a copy of the current newsletter.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Simple things

landscape1 sml 

Often we overlook the simplest things in life only to find that they are the ones that provide the most pleasure or contain the most beauty.  We look for the perfect composition, the pristine flower, the right light - all to achieve a pleasing piece of work.  We work so hard at achieving perfection that we often miss it entirely but ignoring the obvious and searching for the unobtainable.

This is a quick acrylic sketch of a view stretching across a field in Saskatchewan.  To the farmer it represents revenue, hard work and investment.  To the average person it is 'just a field'.  To an artist it represents values, light, form and potential to make the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ode to the Sea - the study

" It slaps the rocks and when they aren't convinced, it strokes them and soaks them and smothers them with kisses. With seven green tongues of seven green dogs or seven green tigers or seven green seas, beating its chest, stammering its name.  Oh sea, this is your name."

I always have an affinity with the sea and Pablo Neruda is my favourite poet who has written so many exquisite poems that have the sea in them.   I have been listening to this one - Ode to the Sea - while I paint a little slice of the sea.

This piece is a  6 x 12  study in oils and right now I'm concentrating on getting the shapes of the water reflections in place.  A lot harder than anticipated!  My plan is to create a similar piece on a much larger scale.  Like most pieces I prefer to work out the colours and kinks on a smaller scale first.  Then I go into the main piece more relaxed and confident of my colour choices and technique.

This view of a section of water is an amalgamation of photos and life studies of a fairly calm sea, close to shore.  The subtle variances are so very complex. If you haven't studied water before, I suggest that you do.  The ever changing light and colours and shapes of waves and reflections are amazing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Maple leaf


With colder nights, the leaves are changing colour and dropping from the trees,littering the grass and driveway.   I stopped and picked up a handful of leaves on my way into the house.  They were in varying stages of transformation and the colours ranged from gold to copper, brown, red and even some traces of green still fighting against the change.

I haven't drawn or painted a leaf for such a long time, so I thought I'd give it a try.  This maple leaf is from a tree in the front garden.  My favourite maple unfortunately succumbed to Hurricane Igor and will warm me next winter by providing firewood.

This watercolour sketch is in a 5.5 x 8.5 sketchbook with 140lb paper.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I'm still using up old canvasses and painting over images I didn't like.  This is another of Tripod contemplating his next move .  The subtle, thoughtful pose doesn't indicate what goes on inside his head.  Its somewhere you probably don't want to go...

This is the image so far.  I still have a little work to do to add some more definition to the face and its done.  Its 8" x 10" on stretched canvas in acrylics.  Eyes are difficult for me to achieve in this medium.  The ability to blend paint well is limited in acrylic as it dries so quickly, especially as I'm using glazes for colour in the eyes.

A few well placed Anglo Saxon phrases and a few repaints and I think I'm there with the eyes.