Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ice season

Spring Break - SOLD
12" x 36"
oil on gallery canvas

At last spring has come and the snow is retreating.  Of course it does it in its own sweet time.  One day pleasant and sunny, the next snow flurries or cold rain, but it is here.

The ocean has its own spring rituals as slob ice breaks up.  This can play havoc with shipping and has done so this year with the worst sea ice in 30 years.  It delays ferry crossings for passengers and freight and as trucked in food and goods are the norm, it can leave some supermarket shelves looking a little sparse at times.

Ice even becomes an industry, with ice breakers and harvesting of icebergs in season to make water and vodka.  Yes, bizarre I know, but true.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Making studies

24" x 30" oil, masonite panel

Nearly every large painting that I produce has had a study done of it before I dive in to the final painting.

Now I know that not everyone likes to do studies.  They consider it a waste of time and want to jump right in and paint.  But studies can save you a lot of time and frustration on your final piece.  They don't have to be large or complex.  They are designed to work out ideas for composition, colour, values on a small scale before investing time and supplies discovering the same things on a large scale.  Great if you like your experiment on the large scale.  Not so great if you don't.

Study for Queen's- pen and ink/watercolour in sketchbook
I look on studies as similar to guage swatches in knitting.  Bear with me if you're not a knitter, but a guage swatch is a measurement tool that shows how many stitches per inch a particular yarn and needles provide, how loose or tight your knitting is and provides a pretty accurate idea about how your final knitted piece will turn out.  If you avoid it, you end up with a sweater that has arms well suited to a gorilla.  Yep, been there...fine yarn too.  The knitters will be sagely nodding at this last statement.

Colour studies and sketches are the same.  They are the test for shapes and colours and 30 minutes to an hour of your time devoted to a sketch and colour study can save you a lot of heartache later on.  I can safely tell you this because I've avoided studies in the past and dissolved in a fit of frustration and annoyance at myself when a large scale piece goes in the completely opposite direction to where I wanted it to go.