Saturday, June 11, 2011

Memory painting

Heavy rain and strange dreams woke me at 5am so I found myself in the studio early again.  I wasn't awake enough to concentrate on the final lines of reflected light on my current painting, so I played around with a little painting from memory.

Memory is a tricky thing depending on what you're painting.  If it is something that needs accuracy, such as a portrait, its extremely difficult to rely on memory to produce detail.  For something that isn't as bound to detail such as landscapes or seascapes, there's more leeway.

I worked on a brooding image of sky and sea and just played around with it til it looked right to me.  There's still lots of room for layers and it may be fun to do a large piece that is similar with more dramatic lighting, but for now this is it.

 Its painted in acrylic and is 5" x 7" on canvas panel.   I need to access some masonite panels or smoother surface for the glazing, scumbling technique that I've used on this piece.  While I don't really mind the texture of the canvas showing through, I'd like to see what a smooth surface provides for the same process.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I'm a bit between paintings right now with not a lot to show.  Work has been crazy in the lead up to me taking a couple of weeks off.  At this point I'm looking forward to having some time to myself and catch up a little on all those things I want to do but never have time to.

Each day I take time to sketch, something,, anything and today was no different.  I was up early and did a sketch in coloured pen of a koi.  I didn't have time to complete it, as other morning tasks took over.

This evening I did a quick sketch in graphite of an image from the Weekend Drawing event on Wetcanvas.  I don't go there often but sometimes check in when I'm looking for inspiration for something or someone to draw.  This image is of a young girl dressed up for some sort of fair.  I find it a little disturbing having young children dressed almost as adults.  I'm sure its simply dress up in this case, but I'm old fashioned and like kids to have childhoods, safe and secure. There is plenty of time to grow up when mind and body are in sync.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

World Oceans Day

acrylic on gallery canvas  6" x 12"
This painting is available on my website

June 8, 2011 is World Oceans Day.  On World Oceans Day people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water which links us all, for what it provides humans and what it represents.

With my work over the last 18 months related to fish and water, the ocean is an important part of my life.  I live near it; it provides inspiration and food.  I have a healthy respect for the ocean and know how easily the balance of life in it can be tipped by humans and their activities.

We take the oceans for granted, but imagine for a moment life without them.  They would become vast empty deserts devoid of life.  No tides, no watery roads to other parts of the world, no food source, no enjoyment of movement and sound.

Protect your ocean and the creatures that live in it.  Your life and theirs depend on it.

And now the Yamabuki  study is complete.  I hope this little fish gives the hope of wealth and prosperity to everyone who sees it.  Wealth is not measured by how much money or possessions you have.  Wealth is measured by how you treat others and yourself.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


When I get an idea, I often have to put it down on paper so it doesn't disappear.  I've had this image of a solitary goldfish in my head for days and left the sea of blue that I was working on to do the start of a little study in preparation for a large piece to come.

The term nishikigoi in Japanese means "colored carp" and refers to the magical realm of koi fish. The Japanese invest symbolism in many animals and especially koi carp, the common goldfish being the domestic version of carp. Yamabuki: The gold fish represents gold, wealth and prosperity.

This is on 6 x 12 gallery canvas in acrylics.  Its just the bones of it right now but will have more form and depth over the next few days and I'll see what comes of it.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Glazes and lines

A few more glazes of blues.  A few more tracery lines of reflection and its starting to come together.

The ease of going larger fuels a need to go even larger.  To search for a new canvas tomorrow I think...and a name for this piece too.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Going bigger

Here's an update on the caustic reflections painting that I started.  I've spent more hours glazing, and making a start on the reflected lights dancing across the hull of the boat.  Its quite an abstract piece at this point and may still look like that in its finished state considering the intimate viewpoint, but the subject is the reflected light from the water onto the hull of a moored boat.

Working on a larger painting makes me shift my thinking as well as the practical aspects of painting.  Working on a bigger canvas (24 x 30") involves increasing size on everything from palette to brushes.  24 x 30 may not seem large, but its larger than my usual size.

I've commandeered an 18" x 24" aluminum tray as my palette.  Other general palettes are too small to allow for mixing the paint and accomodating the larger brush sizes.   I did first look for a sheet of glass in the barn, but couldn't find something that was suitable so figured this would work.  And as it is acrylic paint, it can be scraped down afterwards - not that the tray will be food grade ever again.

I'm a detail freak, so smaller brushes are those that I am most comfortable with.  But for a larger painting, I've moved up to 2" and 4" brushes, with some smaller flats for edging and my favourite 1" scrubby for blending some areas.  Small foam rollers also can work well for laying down colour on large areas and give interesting texture too.

The amount of paint that is required for a larger piece is noticeable as well as the amount of medium that I use to keep the acrylics flowing for longer. All techniques remain the same, its simply a matter of large sizing tools.

Except for smaller details, I need to stand to paint on a larger piece and with hours of glazing, arm muscles get tired.  It may be back to the free weights for me if I want to continue with larger pieces!