August 31, 2010

More from Paint the Town

Cafe Compose, 10 x 14", watercolour

This shows the rear of a lovely restaurant in Annapolis.  It was the last of the paintings that I did on that Saturday.  After I finished the painting and delivered it to the Legion for auction, Robert and I had a lovely meal there.  It was a real treat to rest out of the sun and relax after a long day spent painting.

Morning Marsh, 5 x 7", watercolour, SOLD

This one was the first from Sunday.  I struggled a bit with it. The light was changing quickly and I was painting tighter than I wanted to.  I eventually got it so it said what I wanted it to say and then moved on to the wharf where I spent the rest of the day.  I finished this one at 9:30 in the morning and wrapped up at 5 pm with another one of a similar subject, but handled more loosely. 

Church Reflections, 10 x 7", watercolour, SOLD

When I arrived at the wharf the reflections were picture perfect and mirror like.  The tide was just reaching full so a breeze sprang up quickly and spread bright stripes of blue ripple across the water.  There were artists everywhere painting the river, the boats and the people around them.  From where I was working I could see Wayne Boucher and David Lacey and was lucky enough to meet many lovely new painting aquaintances as well. 

Please forgive the clips visible in the last two photos.  That is what comes of operating a camera while the right brain is fully engaged!

August 27, 2010

Market Figures

Here is the next installment of paintings from Paint the Town last weekend.  I started out in the Farmer's Market and the biggest difference between the market and the places where I most often paint is the people.  There are people everywhere, especially this past week as it was a beautiful saturday in the middle of August.  People were at the market to socialize, buy blueberries, peaches and fresh tomatoes to eat with basil and fresh french bread.  Oh, the bread at that market is fabulous! 

Enough about food...

On to people.  There being lots of them that is what I tried to paint.  But they kept moving.  This one below is from a hurried pencil sketch of a father who kept carrying his little girl around the market.  She could not have been any more than 3.  As they kept moving back and forth around the market I was able to almost capture them.

Dad and Tot, 7 x 5", watercolour, plein air

So after trying to paint moving targets for a while, I moved to a "captive" model.  Mark, the saxophosist, plays every Saturday for the market crowd. 

Sax on Saturday, 10 x 7", SOLD

The musician viewed this over my shoulder as I was finishing it up and told me that he approved.  He especially liked that I captured the silver colour of the bell of the sax.  It seems that his is a silver saxophone, which he said most people do not notice.  After I painted this sketch of him I decided that a musician needs an audience so I did a larger painting using the same drawing as my reference (as he had packed up for lunch) and painted the following:

Market Music, 10 x 14", watercolour

The only problem with recycling a sketch is that sometimes I realize after the fact that there is something wrong with the initial sketch.  In this case, I had messed up the dimensions of his figure a bit in that he is not quite so lean and lanky in truth as he looks in the painting.  Though I painted him with the build of an NBA player, that was my own unintentional fabrication. 

Part of why I wanted to focus on people that morning was so that I can get better at painting them.  As long as I learn from the mistakes that I make and do not repeat them, I will be happy to carry on making new ones!  (As long as I learn from them, too!)

August 24, 2010

Paint the Town in Annapolis Royal

Despite gloomy forecasts the weather this weekend past was splendid and made for happy artists on the weekend as 70 of us converged on Annapolis to paint and otherwise create art for silent auction.  To read more about Paint the Town read my last post or visit the ARCAC site.  I will post photos of the paintings over the next few days as I am still dealing with a garden that is determined to bury me in produce! Today was garlic and tomatoes, tomorrow corn (yum!) and green beans, (again!).

 Early at the Market, 7 x 10", watercolour, SOLD

I started in the Farmers Market just as it was setting up for the day.  This is the first painting that I made on the weekend, and the first to sell, too. It shows the side portion of the Annapolis Royal Farmer's and Trader's Market, one of my favourite places to be on a sunny Saturday Morning.  Painting whilst there made it even more fun! 

Rowing Reflections, 5 x 7", watercolour, SOLD

This little one I painted on Sunday while on the wharf.  It might just be my favourite from the weekend.  Painters, unlike parents, are allowed to have favourites!   As I was painting another boat from my perch on the wharf, this rowboat appeared around a point of land.  I dropped what I was doing and started sketching this as quickly as I could before it was out of view.  Then I got some photos, too, for future reference.  The boat came up to the wharf.  The gentleman moored her and climbed up a tall ladder to the wharf top and walked into town to get some supplies.  I struck up a conversation with him when he returned.  It turned out that he had rowed his from his larger retired fishing boat which was moored out in the channel a long distance away.  He is a retired fisherman.  We talked about boats, fishing and Digby for a while and then off he went, rowing the kilometer or more back to his boat. 

That's all for now folks, but come back soon to see the rest of my paint the town picures.

August 19, 2010

Blackberries, Green Beans, Tomatoes and WEEDS!

I am on vacation from my day job this week.  Thus I have been busy trying to "get things done" in the garden and spend some time doing fun local things with the kids, like a trip to Mavillette Beach and to the theme park.  Today was a garden day, with the pulling of many many weeds.  Weeding garden paths seems more pointless than weeding the actual garden beds, but it all looks so much better when there are not 3 foot high weeds growing up through everything.  I am still paying the price for 3 weeks away in July.  It takes forever to get caught up.  However, I was very pleased to pick about 10 pounds of pole beans, and the first big picking of tomatoes and, best of all, blackberries!  Yum!

 Because of all the outside activity I have not had any time to paint in this last week.  Thus the urge to paint is rapidly turning into a burning NEED to paint. I hope to get into the studio tonight after the kids are in bed...

I will have lots of chances to paint this weekend at Paint the Town in Annapolis Royal.  Click here to read more about this annual plein air painting event that is the main fundraiser for our local arts council.  If you can come to the event you will have the chance to see over 70 artists making spontaneous art in and around the town of Annapolis Royal, which is a lovely place to make art.  Paintings are sold Saturday and Sunday by silent auction at the Annapolis Legion.  This is a great chance to get fresh works of art and yet spend much less than you would in a gallery.

In the meantime, here is a painting that I did this spring based on a scene I observed in Annapolis at Paint the Town two years ago.  This painting was hanging at the Flight of Fancy in Bear River but sold this month.

Coffee Break, 7 x 10", watercolour, May 2010
Private Collection

August 17, 2010

Bold Brush Painting Competition

The Bold Brush Painting Competition is sponsored by the fine people over at Fine Art Studio Online. Every month they receive hundreds of online submissions from artists around the world, including me. I have been quite fortunate so far, my work having been included in the Favourite 15% three of the times that I have entered this year. Wish me luck for my current entry. (You may see a larger view by clicking on the images in the boxes.)

Please support me
by voting
for my art!

August 2010

The BoldBrush

Painting Contest


Artist Websites


In June I was very pleased to place in the Favourite 15% with my painting "Red Boats visiting Digby". This painting sold before I could even notify the gallery owner of the distinction.

FAV 15%


Painting Contest
June 2010


Art Marketing Newsletter

August 14, 2010

Birthday Lilies

Lilies for Leanne, 10 x 14", watercolour, May 2010

I had not posted this one yet, as it was commissioned for a surprise birthday gift. Now that the recipient has recieved the painting I can share it with the rest of you.  (She says she likes it very much, btw!)

August 10, 2010

(Making Hay) While the Sun Shines

While the Sun Shines, 14 x 21", watercolour, August 2010

Here is the culmination of my sketches of the hayfield.  I have had a lot of fun painting this one.  It shows the same people as the sketch, though they have moved a bit as they continue to carry the bales about.  I tried hard to think about design and come up with something that lets the viewers' eyes move about the painting in a pleasing manner.  (Though, now that it is done, I see some things that I might do differently in another painting. I would love to do more hay paintings soon, but there are other subjects demanding my attention, too)

I am interested in hearing what you, the viewer, thinks about the design of this one. Do your eyes follow a path into the painting and take this path through the field, finding interesting things as you go?  Or did my effort to simplify make it too spare in things to keep your attention.  I'd love to hear what you think.

August 5, 2010

Ripples on the water

Red Ripples II, 5 x 7", watercolour, July 2010

This is one of a series of small boat paintings that I did recently.  This one is now available at BlueFin Pottery and Hand Creations on Water St in Digby.  It is one of the many scallop boats which sail out of Digby.  I wanted to capture the ripples in the quiet water without fussing about the peir too much.  The two green pillars that you see in the painting are actually supports for a new floating dock system which rises and falls with the tide.  Thus they are very tall to allow for our 20 foot plus tides.

August 4, 2010

Yet another hayfield, this one with people

Hayfield sketch V, 5 x 7", watercolour, July 2010

This one shows the hay being gathered on a warm summer afternoon, reaching almost into the evening hours.  The way we do it is with a trailer pulled behind the tractor.  Simon drove the tractor, Owen was on the trailer, loading and stacking the bales as they are carried to the trailer from where they lay in the field.   Dad, Robert and Ursina walked up, down and across the field alongside the trailer, bringing the bales in to be loaded.  It is hot, dusty and SCRATCHY work, but usually well rewarded between loads by slices of watermelon. 

Those of you who were there that day know who's who in the picture, but for those who weren't, these people are family and dear friends. 

I am waiting for time in the studio and good photographing weather so that I can bring you a picture of the larger one that I am working on.  Covering co-workers summer vacations at my day job means temporarily less time for painting.   That is the price we pay for our own vacation, so I cannot complain too much!

August 3, 2010

Another field sketch

Hayfield sketch IV, 5 x 7 ", watercolour, July 2010

Here is another sketch of the field.  I am experimenting with where to place the trees and the resulting placement of them changes the look of the painting quite a bit.  If you compare this one to the one I posted yesterday you will see how the absence of the trees on the left gives a different feeling to the sketch.  In the one above my eyes go to the trees in the center and tend to stop, not moving around much.  In the other one (below, I reposted it to save you scrolling up and down so much) I feel like my eyes enter the painting at the lower right, travel up the shadow line to the mass of trees on the left and then along the treeline to the buildings and back down the hay bales to the center of the painting. 

I have been following Stapleton Kearns blog recently and am learning a lot about painting design.  I highly recommend reading his blog to anyone who has any interest in art and landscape painting in particular.  He is a New England painter whose passion for art rings clearly through his writings.  He is very generous with his insight into what makes paintings "tick".  His blog is well worth studying.  And he has a wicked sense of humour.  If I am laughing at the computer I am usually reading his blog. He did a series of posts on Winslow Homer's watercolours last month that I have already reread a few times.  A great blog.  Enough said. 

At the demo that I did recently I mentioned another site that I have found very interesting and extremely helpful, this one specifically for watercolour painters. If you have ever had a question about the physical properties of watercolour paints, you will be able to find the answer at

August 2, 2010

field sketches

Hayfield sketch III, 5 x 7 inches, watercolour, July 2010

I was in NB for haying this year, the first year in a long time that I have managed to get there in time for it.  We managed to bring in the years required hay in one day.  It is nice when family and friends can get the work done together.  I have painted this field many times but almost always looking away from the buildings. This might be the first view which includes the house and barn where I grew up.  I have been working on some little hayfield sketches in preparation for a bigger painting, so stay tuned. The larger one is shaping up well in my studio so I may post it relatively soon.

Here is a painting that I am entering in the CSPWC Atlantic Members show in Inverness, Cape Breton, NS in September.   It too shows the hay field, but just days before it was cut.  My apologies if I have posted this one already.

Hayfield, 7 x 10", watercolour, July 2010, (painted plein air)