Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tropical capelin

I had a long piece of leftover masa paper that had been painted so I played around with the image of a capelin.  I stretched the capelin out over the paper giving it the look of an entirely new species at this point I think.

Watercolour layers, a hint of gold leaf and a touch of pastel completed it. I've enjoyed creating this piece.  Its an interesting exercise to figure out the different colours in fish and then go one or two steps higher in key to make it stand out more.

Even if most fish around these waters aren't this colourful, I'll keep trying to make them so.  This piece is available for purchase on my Available Art page, located just under the logo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Salmonier pastel

I'm not a pastellist and rarely use them beyond touches in other pieces, but occasionally I feel a need to try them and today was the day. Then again, I haven't got a great set of pastels.  Its a combination of various brands and colours along with left overs from many years ago.  Brands and quality vary so much and I should invest in a few more colours then perhaps I'd be more inspired than trying to create colours that just will not be created with what I have.  However I don't want to invest a lot of money in something that I won't use frequently.  What are your six 'must have' colours in pastels?  What brand?

I needed a touch of summer and found an image that I took at Salmonier last summer.  A shallow river winds its way through reeds and was quite cooling being near it on that hot day. I'm hoping this captures a bit of the day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Snatched moments of time

I've steadily dotted off and on with this piece.  Because of its smaller size, (6.25 x 7.5) its easily portable which means I do a little while watching the news or sometimes take it to bed with me and add another layer there.  I work on it while I have coffee in the morning and when I get home from work.  These aren't large blocks of time, but small windows of opportunity that can stretch from just a a few minutes to an hour or so.

Now that I've filled most of the boat with ink, I'm starting to develop the texture and shading.  There is grass growing in the middle of this boat.  I'm still now quite sure how that's going to work yet, but I'll figure it out as I go.  Meanwhile I'm still working on what seems to be endless plywood and its never ending texture.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Signs of spring

It must be spring.  The little pond in the garden is thawing rapidly.  Snowbanks on the side of the road diminish under a cool sun as I type .  Woodpeckers are drumming on the house early in the morning.  And Tripod is challenging ownership rights over his territory with another cat.

Unfortunately Tripod forgets that he's at a disadvantage, having three legs, and sometimes comes away wounded as he did last evening.  Nothing serious, just the usual tomcat scuffles but enough to make him feel sorry for himself for 24 hours.  I want to have him neutered but The Other One won't hear of it. Why do men put their concept of manhood onto a cat?

This morning it was frosty and as I waited for the windscreen to clear, I took a few photos of a thin layer of ice that had formed overnight on the pond.  Ice crystals pushed out from a sheet of solid ice, crisscrossing and mimicking the tangle of grasses on the bank of the pond.  The reflections of the bright blue sky and trees on the still water were diffused in the ice.  I love how ice changes and softens reflections.  Its as if a different world is trapped within in or underneath it.  It always reminds me of Through The Looking Glass and What Alice Found There - the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  If you walk through, everything changes.

What is spring like where you are?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blog facelift

I've been working on some blog changes over the last couple of days.  The layout, colour, function, etc. all needed an overhaul and the addition of Blogger's ability to introduce additional pages as tags was a timely addition.

I'm now putting some original work and some giclee prints on sale pages here to make it easy for people to purchase all in one place, more or less.  I'll be adding a few more pages when I can and am looking at other header options.  I guess its a bit like spring cleaning.  Once you do one room, you have to keep going cause all the rest look dingy!

Meanwhile I am starting to wrap my mind seriously around some research and experimentation for a series of work.  I have applied for a grant, but regardless of whether I obtain it or not, the work will still go ahead.  I am pushing in the direction of a more intensive study of gyotaku printing and have just joined  as a member of the Nature Printing Society which offer week long workshops each year in fish and plant printing in the USA. By browsing their website and resources, (and ordering some) I have lots of ideas to keep me inspired well into the future.

This study was done a couple of weeks ago as I experimented with another batik background this time seeing how it worked with a portrait. No, its not a fish, but has a mermaid-like theme to it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Old and new

Time for another little update on my never ending dots. Actually, I quite enjoy this technique even if I am cursing the person who put plywood in the bottom of the boat.  Have you ever considered the patterning in plywood?  Especially when it gets wet.

But its part of the challenge.  I'm adding some very light washes of watercolour to this to mimic the rising sun hitting some points of the boat.  I was aiming for more coloured inks, which I have.  But one of my .18's died and a .25 broke as I was trying to get it apart to fill it.  Yes, I need  new pens.

This weekend I took part in a couple of workshops facilitated by Marlene Creates and run through VANL (Visual Artists Newfoundland and Labrador).  They concentrated on developing artist statements which is something we all shudder a little when we think about it and grant writing.  Marlene provided some thought provoking questions that pushed my brain into considering more about why I am an artist and why I create what I create.  This provides me with a clearer picture of how to articulate my work and vision.  So, this week I'll be revising my general artist statement and hope that I can come up with something that inspires the average person to visualize my work.

At the same workshop I met Margaret Ryall.  Margaret and I have written back and forth through her blog Painting On, and it was lovely to meet her in person and be able to talk more about our work and challenges.  Virtual friendships and conversations are so helpful, but reality does make a difference.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wile E. Coyote

I have a love/hate relationship with coyotes.  I love their foxy/wolfish look and cool stares.

I know they exist on instinct and to fulfil daily living requirements.  I don't enjoy it when they decide that the farm is the local supermarket.

Luckily there haven't been any visits lately, but there are more and more sightings of coyotes on the island, often in urban areas too. I know that living in the country, there is a large amount of wildlife that comes to visit and that in raising animals you come to see and know a lot of it.

I think at this point about the only thing I have not seen is a black bear.  And I have no desire to either!

This coyote is an introduced species to keep rabbit populations down at a golf course in Gatineau and her name is Charlotte.  Even with that elegant look, those golden eyes see everything and wait for opportunity.  Coyotes have occasionally been known to attack humans, but it is rare.  However, encounters with household pets is fairly common, with the pet usually being the worse off.

This sketch was done in watercolour over pen and ink.