Monday, 28 May 2018

A Trip off the Back Forty and Something New

Ah yes, the 'back forty'....we really are off the beaten track, can still see some of our neighbours homes but with an acreage we are well insulated and can choose how much interaction we want to have with others.  I am not sure if it is the spring weather but I have felt a need to connect with other artists and for me the best way to do that is in a workshop. I signed up at the spur of the moment for a one day workshop with Calgary artist Connie Geerts. I wasn't really clear about what we would be painting, I was more interested in the workshop description - I know, I was a bit surprised that trees were the subject matter. Don't get me wrong I really do like trees - all that they offer to nature and what they represent but I just don't like to paint them. Remembering to keep an open mind and focus on the learning of new techniques it ended up being a lovely day. Connie works with colour - straight from the tube colour, lots of underpainting and layering, stressing variation in spacing and shape, and the use of pixelation (she worked as a video editor in a past career), lots to think about.  Not only is she a talented artist but a very giving one as well! When I returned home with my 'masterpiece' and showed my husband - his reaction was exactly what I expected. The phrase 'you painted that!?!' was repeated several times - the fact that it was readily identifiable as 'trees' and not something more abstract was the appeal. I have actually stopped asking him what he thinks about anything I paint now - but remember we are painting for ourselves....right!!

Acrylic on canvas

'Workshops are not about making paintings - workshops are about making progress'
                                                            Canadian artist - Brian Buckrell

On another note we have a forest fire burning (out of control) approximately 16km from our home. Seems a certain irony after spending a day painting trees to come home and find out they are burning not that far away. We are separated by a river from the burning area but are expecting high winds and unseasonably high temperatures today. We have had a few years of below average precipitation in the winters & summers so it hasn't been a matter of 'if' but 'when' a fire would occur. We are situated next to a large area of provincial recreational land - campers, off road vehicles, hikers, bikers, etc all make good use of the area and for the most part are respectful of the regulations, but unfortunately it only takes one to start a fire. Rain is in the forecast in the next few days so optimism is high. We are extremely grateful to the fire crews that are out there working in dangerous conditions to get the fire under control and protect our homes and community.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

The Art of Practice

I am a convert of the practice of daily painting! Having said that - I haven't been doing the quick paint/sketch the past couple of months. I am painting but working on bigger pieces that are somewhat labour intensive and really stretching my creative 'muscles'. Don't get me wrong I enjoy working on these larger pieces but I find doing the smaller, less time consuming painting gets my creative juices flowing - 'what ifs', experimenting with colour and mark making - just so much fun, is freeing and there is no right or wrong!! This practice helps keep my larger studio work fresh and exciting. It certainly boosts the energy level that I bring to the canvas.

All of the sketches are 8 1/2"X11" and are acrylic mixed media on 90lb paper. All painted today. Not a lot of detail and not 'pretty' but I am trying to capture a feeling of freedom and energy in these studies. Something that I think has been missing from my work lately.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

More Spring!

Acrylic mixed media
on birch panel 

Love the organic bits that start showing when the snow is melting. Mother Earth is waking up!!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Spring Fever

Spring is finally here! The snow is almost gone and whispers of green are appearing in the aspens and willows. I have spring fever (not enough of one to spring clean!) it just feels so good to be out in the sun and feeling the warmth. The birds are singing and we are seeing more of our summer wildlife residents - loons, blue herons, osprey, canada geese and ducks galore! Such a beautiful time of year.

'Spring Melt on the Prairies -
filling up the sloughs'
Acrylic mixed media on birch panel

Saturday, 7 April 2018


'Tagging' some canvas and birch panels today. Spray paint, stencils and masks - building up a rich surface to paint on - some of the original marks might be visible or will be painted over and more will be made as the painting process moves forward.

Acrylic mixed media on birch panel

Acrylic mixed media on canvas

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Saturday's Palette Cleaner

Purely for fun!

I remember my Grandmas and Aunties with their pearls and curls - hair tightly curled, pearls placed just so and more often than not a lovely rinse of iris blue or perhaps ultramarine violet in their hair! I just might have to add a 'rinse' to this auntie's hair. Fond memories of times past.

'Pin Curls & Pearls'
Acrylic mixed media on printmaking paper

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

A Tough 'Paint'

I enjoyed participating in Leslie Saeta's Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days in February and March and was looking forward to carrying that momentum forward. Well...if anyone had told me that I would spend the last few weeks painting and then overpainting and overpainting yet again on the same wood panel I wouldn't have believed it. The underpainting was started in a workshop I attended last August. The large black shape was added from direction given by the workshop instructor. So then what to do? Well I let it sit for several months and finally pulled it out again in December 2017. Added a few daps of paint and collage and left it for another month. Still 'dapping' and getting no where - I finally glazed over it with some transparent red iron oxide, added some stencilling - pulled out some of the dog paintings from the challenge for inspiration and found my rhythm! This all didn't happen without a few sleepless nights and a lot of negative thoughts running through my head. Oh the life of an artist.....

2017 Underpainting (24"X24")

Thank goodness for some transparent red iron oxide!

Work in progress!
Taking a break to let the collage dry, then a bit more paint, perhaps some stencilling, collaging and line work....I think she has pretty good bones!