Saturday, February 07, 2009

Portrait completed

Two - finished
9 x 12 coloured pencil

I knuckled down and completed this portrait over the last couple of days. There wasn't a lot in terms of updates that I could provide as it was mostly layering skin tones and refining shapes as I went along.

I will leave it for a couple of days to see if anything jumps out at me that needs adjustment. After that it gets a light spray of fixative, then sent off to its new home.

There are always lessons learned with each portrait that I do. For this, it was achieving that pale colouring without it looking too much like a chocolate box painting. The other lesson is in choosing the paper colour wisely. Too pale and the drawing fades into the colour, too dark and it impacts the skin tones. I choose a sand colour and it was too close to her colouring, so I added some contrast with purple and pink. As well it added some texture that helped bring her forward and not compete with the smooth skin.

Jan, from Pets to Posies was so kind as to give me an award! It always thrills me when someone thinks of me in this way. Thank you Jan! Big hug!

In return, I am supposed to name 7 things that I love.

1. I love my family and friends who are scattered across the country and the world.
2. I love coffee - anytime.
3. I love having the house all to myself.
4. I love napping on weekends.
5. I love lying in bed, reading.
6. I love twilight.
7. I love watching the ocean waves roar in on a stormy day.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Violet Woods

Violet Woods
lino print 4 x 6

I have been chipping away at lino when some ideas came to mind. Some headed for the trash can but this one appealed to me. Last summer, I wandered through a shady section of Bowring Park. It was early morning and the sun was filtering through the maples and oaks, producing strong shadows and glittering pieces of light on the damp grass.

I loved the shapes and strong contrasts of the light and shade and took some photos. From that, I've played around it, breaking down the complex scene of leaves and light into something that I could carve out of a lino block.

The first image is the original print, not tweaked much. It looks a little sparse in places, but that is more the ink colour than the level of pigment on the paper. I created a beautiful violet colour that didn't dry as vividly as I'd hoped, but still is lovely. Soft, an almost sepiaed version of violet if that is possible. I had put a strong violet in the middle of the brayer to add some colour variance to the piece and that is the lighter shade.

This piece is a second print, scanned and darkened slightly in Photoshop. I will try some other variants of colour with this. I'm thinking a deep rich green to mingle with that luscious violet colour...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Its done.

I finally finished the last few pages of this little Moleskine for the sketchbook project. Am I happy with the contents? No. I didn't plan it well enough and could have done much better. There are some pieces in it that are fine, some are disasters, but I guess they're all art in one form or another.

Eclectic. That's one word for it.

About the only part that I am happy with are the covers. And they were done on a whim.

Ok, whinging over.

Here are a few samples of the contents of the sketchbook. There are a variety of mediums from marker to watercolour to pen & ink. I'll pop it in the mail tomorrow or the next day and let it go do its thing.

Would I participate again in a sketchbook project? Yes. But I would be better prepared. I felt rushed in this as the sketchbook didn't turn up til late, so the contents were hurried and I felt pressured to put something, anything on paper.

Will I put it up for sale? I still haven't decided yet. I don't know if I can get it back or not as I don't know if I can provide a SSAE with US postage on it originating in Canada. I'll check on that at the post office when I send it. Either way, its an experience.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Breakers II

Breakers II
watercolour & pastel 6 x 10

I've been moving more of the art supplies from the cupboard that was in the previous room I used down to my current studio which now has a big set of shelves in it. I'm sure these will soon be groaning under the weight of materials.

I unearthed a couple of boxes of pastels that I haven't done much with . The colours are so appealing though, just making me itch to use them. I had been setting up a new watercolour possibility in the handmade book I use for my Watermark projects and leafed through them.

Breakers was a watercolour I did a few weeks ago and while it shows the curl of the wave hitting the water and shore, I thought I'd add another dimension to it with the pastels.

They both appeal to me for different reasons. The watercolour paper in this book is very rough so both pastel and watercolour hit the peaks in the paper, giving a different effect depending on whether or not you blend them. The age old problem of getting a good image in artificial light remains to haunt me. No amount of tweaking seems to bring the colours or light to the state of the real image.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Newfoundland Dory

The Newfoundland Dory
5 x 7 oils
The dictionary of Newfoundland English defines a Dory as: “A small flat bottomed boat with flaring sides and a sharp bow and stern, providing both stability in the water and easy stowage in stacks on deck.”
This little dory lay moored in the clear waters of Admiral's Cove, while just below the surface pale rocks lurked like ghosts.

I loved the colours of the water and how the wind was rippling the surface and the bright sun almost neutralizing any shadows in the boat itself.
When the tides of life turn against you and the current upsets your boat, don't waste those tears on what might have been, just lie on your back and float.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Light and shadow

Light and shadow gives objects their form and create form on their own through shadows. In winter the air is clear and cold and colours seem brighter somehow, perhaps reflected against the white snow, forming the perfect notan elements.

As I walked to the car this morning, shadows of early light surrounded me through the trees and on the snow that had fallen yesterday. These are a couple of images that caught my eye.

Shadows on the snow of the barn roof were so blue against the pinkness of the sun rising. The brilliant blue sky above the barn roof added another layer of colour to the scene.

The light coming through the trees against the side wall of the barn were almost painted on. If it hadn't been so cold and I didn't have to go to work, I think I'd be out here painting the scene of dawn over the farm.

I've been studying light and its effect on water, mostly the ocean for the last few weeks and have done some studies and paintings that I've put on Watermarks.

In the last week, I've taken a photo each morning at the same spot at around the same time so that I could see how weather and the resulting light alters the colour of the ocean and land. I'll then use that information to stock up my knowledge banks on colour for painting water.This abstract wall of frozen water caught my attention on the drive to work. There is a waterfall cascading down a rockface by the side of the road and tumbling into the stream below. The severe cold caught it in time, literally frozen and was just starting to flow again. The water could be seen and heard just visible under a lacy curtain of ice.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I've made a small update on the portrait of Kiora, but have been sidetracked doing other things today. At least this photo gives a better image and truer colours in daylight.

Its been a snowy day here with a pretty large dump of the white stuff on the ground. For a change, it didn't turn to rain, which it often does. At least now there's time to clear it away and avoid an early morning rush to do so. With a 250 foot driveway and a turning circle, it takes a bit of time to do, even with the plow on the tractor, especially when its 10 inches deep!

I've spent today trying to make some inroads into my sketchbook project and now have just 4 pages left to go then I can pop it in the mail to join the others that will tour around some of the USA galleries and museums. I had a look at the Sketchbook Project website and the quality of some of the sketchbooks is amazing. Mine seems quite modest in comparison.

As promised to Dermott, I did include a sketch of him in the book. What a tongue that dog has!

I also made a start on the February portrait for our Portrait Study group. Its a challenging one, but great fun to do. Once I finish my grand daughter's portrait, I have another one in the wings and will continue to work on that as well as the portrait study piece.

Multitasking seems the norm for me in all areas of life. Why should art be any different?