August 31, 2009

Back from Cape Breton

I spent a marvelous week in Cape Breton attending the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour National Symposium.  The instruction offered there was excellent and the scenery offered limitless material to paint.  I could have stayed there for weeks!   I will be posting some of my work from the week , but since I have returned home the focus has been on getting the motorbike painting finished.  A progress report on that will follow soon I hope.
For now I shall leave you with a photo from Cape Breton, where as you can see if you look closely, we spent some time painting in the rain!  It was all a lot of fun, though, even with the rain.

August 22, 2009

Paint the Town 2009

Work on the motorcycle painting is on hold for the moment while I take part in some out door painting events. 
Here are the paintings that I did today (Saturday) at Paint the Town in Annapolis Royal NS.  
I had planned to paint tomorrow as well but there is this little disturbance brewing offour south east coast called Hurricane Bill which has forced a change of plans.   
These paintings are available for silent auction at the Legion in Annapolis Royal tomorrow, unless they sold today.  If you are near the area, go check it out!
Sparkle, 7 x 10", my favourite from today!
(all are watercolour)
There is more than one way to paint a boat!, 10 x 7"
Private Collection
Scallop Boat, 10 x 14"
Private Collection
Juxtaposition, 10 x 14"
Private Collection
Is it Clearing?, 7 x 10"
Private Collection
Gone Fishin', 7 x 10
Private Collection
Fog on the basin, 7 x 10"
Private Collection

August 18, 2009

Triumph cycle, spinning my wheels

Work continues on this.  While I am actually painting it seems like I am making little progress.  Each little area that I work on seems so minute compared to the whole thing.  I am encouraged when I step away from it and look back to see how far I have come.  I am making progress. 
My most faithful critic suggests that the tires could be darker and he is right.  But that shall come later, as there is still much I feel needs to be done first.

August 16, 2009

Triumph Bonneville T100, a work in progress

Here the painting is now that I have started to add darker colours.  
Up until this point I was using only 3 tubes of paint: cobalt blue, hansa yellow medium and quidacrinone coral (red).  With these three, however, it is not possible to create rich dark tones.  I never use black paint because I find it makes things look muddy too quickly.  To make the black above I used ultramarine blue and burnt sienna (a brown).  Mixed together these make a nice deep black and thin out to some really neat greys.  (Artists get excited about greys, go figure!)
As well as painting in the black reflective bits I am also working on the details of the engine and darkening the reflections on the chrome.  Who knew that chrome could be such fun to paint?
One can see that I have put the shadow in behind the bike.  Now that I have done so I can work on the background showing through the spokes of the front wheel.  I was holding off from doing so until I knew exactly what the ground behind was going to look like.  Much easier to match the small areas to the larger area than the other way around.  
Come back again soon, as I hope to get more work done on this tonight.  Please feel welcome to leave a comment as well.

August 13, 2009

Triumph Bonneville T100, work continues

Here it is at then end of painting today.  Soon I shall start adding in the areas of darker colours.

August 11, 2009

Triumph Bonneville T100, a work in progress

Here is my drawing.  This is for the painting that I am donating to the Digby Elementary School for raffle.  The proceeds will go to the Home and School who are planning to build a new playground for the school over the next five years.  We will be selling the tickets during the Wharf Rat Rally.  The size of the paper that I am painting on is 22 x 30" so this will be a large painting.  
This picture looks odd because I photographed it in poor light and had to fuss with it digitally to make it visible.  
Here is it as it stands this morning.  I have started laying in colours.  I try to keep all areas of the painting moving along at about the same rate.  So I will try to get most of the paper covered before I start going back over already painted parts to add detail.  Follow along to see how successful I am with this goal.  

Triumph motorcycle, a work in progress

Here is the trial piece that I have been working on.  It is a close up view of a Triumph Bonneville T100.   For something this complicated I do a detailed and precise drawing first.  This is because in watercolour painting it is important to plan ahead where the white bits of the painting will be.  I do not use white paint because it makes the colours dull.  So almost all the white that you see in my finished paintings are unpainted paper.  (Occasionally I will use thin lines of white for boat rigging and antenna.)
This is after the first layer of paint.  I try to let the colours mix on the paper as much as possible, at least in the larger areas.  
I have painted in some of the black just to see how it is going to look.  As painting chrome and metal is still a fairly new challenge for me I am approaching this differently than perhaps I will when I am more comfortable with it.  
More colour and more black... I am quite happy with how the spokes on the front wheel are looking.
Triumph Test, 14 x 10", watercolour 
(still a work in progress, note the handlebars, or lack thereof!)
It is amazing how much difference even a simple background will make.  Even though this is not finished, I am happy enough with it as a trial piece.  I guess that means that it is time for me to start the "big one".  Stay tuned for more posts as I go on.

August 8, 2009

A full painting day

Boats in the Morning I, 5 x 7", watercolour, $ 98
Today I painted the boats of Digby Wharf.  I started at 7 am and finished up after 5 pm.  It was a gorgeous day, lots of sun, a nice breeze for the sailboats and lots of people about.
Boats in the Morning I, 5 x 7", watercolour, $98
Boats in the Morning IV, watercolour, 7 x 10", $185
Boats in the Morning III, 5 x 7", watercolour, $98
O'Neil's (unfinished)  
I ran out of steam here and decided that I would do a better job of finishing this one at home later.  I will post it again when it is done.  
So I feel that I had a successful painting day.   I will likely paint some more tomorrow and if you should be near the Heritage Center in Digby stop by there in the afternoon and there you will see these paintings and more.

August 6, 2009

Less than perfect painting day

Day one of Digby Scallop Days
The weather conditions were great.  There was gorgeous fog clearing as I drove into town at 8:30am.  When I got to the wharf these boats were highlit by the sunshine while the wharf behind them was muted by the fog hanging just off shore.  The fog allowed me to play peekaboo with thewharf for an hour and a half as it moved in and out.  Finally the fog burned off around 10:30.  All this made for great painting conditions. 
But by 10:30 I had discovered that I was having technical problems with one of the types of paper that I use.  So of the 4 paintings that I started this is the only one that is acceptable for people to see!  
Marina in Fog, 7 x 10", watercolour
I may do somemore to this here at home in the studio.  To me the black of the right most boat is too dark compared to the rest of the painting, so I need to do something about that.  There are some posts and some rigging that I could add and I think that would help.
 I did have some fun this morning,  messing around on the back of the paintings that failed, testing different ways of painting water but they do not make for finished "art".   However, the reason I paint out of doors ("plein air" if you want to talk artist-speak) is to learn to better portray my subjects.  To learn to see what things look like when there is no camera in the way.  Even though cameras are a wonderful tool for artists they do create distortions and in some ways get in the way of responding directly to the subject at hand.  So even though I have not much finished "art" for the day it was still a good painting day.
Day Two of Digby Scallop Days will not see me painting as I have other commitments but I will be downtown most of the day on Saturday and Sunday.  

August 5, 2009


Smokin', 10 x 14", watercolour, July 2009, $325
Motorcycle, Front View, 14 x 10", watercolour, July 2009, $325
I am now working on a painting of a vintage Triumph motorcycle.  As long as the painting turns out, it will be auctioned off to raise funds for our local elementary school to build a new playground.   The paintings above were my first attempts at painting cycles.  Stay tuned for sneak peaks of the work in progress.

Campobello Light

East Quoddy Light, 10 x 14", watercolour, Aug - Oct 2009 Private Collection
Campobello Light, 14 x 10", watercolour, August 2009, $395
These are a pair of paintings that I started this August after a day trip to, you guessed it... Campobello Island. I would like to get there someday with my painting kit. Not only is the lighthouse very attractive, but the rocks and land shapes are fanstatic and the water is so clear! This lighthouse is at the very tip of one end of the island. From there one can look out toward Grand Manan, another scenic hot spot. The East Quoddy light house stands on its own little island, and the only way to access it is at low tide. There is a series of ladders leading from the main island to another one and then from there to the light house's island. The ladders are steep and narrow and I do not like heights. None the less, we made the scary climb down rusty ladders and over what the tourism guide euphemistically calls a "sand bar" to get to the lighthouse. I took several pictures of the whole light station from the landward side and then walked around the lighthouse. There is a cement pad projecting out over the rocks where there once must have been another building. When I turned back to look at the light house there was an immense black cloud behind it. The sun was still shining brightly onto the light house itself and I was able to get some dramatic photos, from whence came these paintings.