Monday, June 24, 2013

Sketches by the sea

The capelin are rolling once more on local beaches.  These little fish swarm the shallow waters every year to spawn and are gathered by people for food, and by me for painting.  Capelin are my favourite fish to paint.  Perfect size and shape, I see amazing colours in what most people see as simple grey/silver fish.  Pink, purple, blue, green...they're beautiful!

I went to Torbay Beach yesterday to see if the capelin were in. The huge flock of seagulls on the water and circling overhead gave me my answer long before I could see the fish in the water or on the beach. I also like to watch people who brave the cold, cold water and wade out to gather them in buckets and dip nets and this young girl caught my eye.  Her stance in the water and the red hair and pale blue dress were perfect and I could see the painting in my mind already.

I took a lot of photos as well as doing some on site thumbnail sketches for future paintings.  These were started with pencil and pen and I added Faber Castell markers to preserve the colour memory for painting later.  If I run out of space, i just add in objects or sections that I need to make the image work later. This year, I feel as if I'm really using my sketchbook as a better tool to assist in my paintings.  Every medium I want goes in it and nothing is precious anymore.


Gulls where everywhere, grabbing capelin and squabbling.  The noise was amazing. I'm sure the whales weren't far away either.

The dark shadow in the water in the photo above is the shoal of capelin, about 15 feet out in the water, easily accessed when the tide is low.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


 Cadmium red and Haemoglobin on the palette

I do get asked what colours I use in my paintings, as turquoises and oranges consistently play a role in many of my pieces, especially those involving fish.  While I have quite a few tubes of paint in a variety of mediums, there are some that are staples that are consistently on my oil palette for aquatic scenes.

I don't have loyalty to a complete brand of paint as they all vary and when I find a colour I like, I stick with it, no matter what the brand.  However, I do like Daniel Smith paints for quality and price and of course, Old Holland are a dream, but so expensive, but if I had to choose a current favourite, it would be KAMA Pigments out of Montreal.  They have a distributor locally so that's a huge bonus for me as I have quick access if I run out of a colour.

So here's my water/boat/fish palette!

I've provided a single link to the oil paints on the Kama Pigments site where all their colours are listed.  This is a Canadian company based in Montreal with fabulous quality paint.  I just love them!

  • Kama Pigments - Haemoglobin
  • Kama Piegments - Indigo Blue
  • Kama Pigments - Cold Grey Deep
  • Kama Pigments - Light Turquoise
  • Kama Pigments - Azur Blue
  • Kama Pigments - Spanish Gold Ochre
  • Kama Pigments - Simms Violet

Again, a single link to Daniel Smith's oil paint page.  They have a huge variety of paints and colours available.  I haven't been disappointed in the quality yet.
  • Daniel Smith - Cobalt Teal Blue
  • Daniel Smith - Manganese Blue
  • Winsor & Newton - Ultramarine Violet
  • Daniel Smith - Moonglow
  • Daniel Smith or Winsor & Newton - Cadmium Orange
  • Daniel Smith - Cadmium Red
  • Daniel Smith - Cadmium Yellow Light

Transparency is important to me if I'm using glazing, adding layer after layer to a painting.  This information can often be found on the back of the paint tube, or if not, on the paint manufacturer's website.  A square that is clear, half filled or solid indicates the level of transparency or opacity of the paint.  For glazing, transparent colours are the only ones that work well or your risk obliterating everything you just painted with a solid colour.

Next time, I'll share my choices of supports.

Straight Sailing

I have another of my paintings available for bids for one day only, tomorrow June 24th, on Artbomb. By subscribing to Artbomb, you have one email daily sent to you, providing up to three original pieces of art from Canadian artists available to bid on for that day only.  If your bid is final, the framed painting is shipped to you, worldwide.   Have a peek tomorrow, or check out their Facebook or Twitter pages,  you could be sailing....