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.


  1. Janet,

    • Thanks for the intro to Connie Geert; enjoyed looking through her website gallery just now.

    • Hats off to you for getting off the back forty to try your hand at something new. You inspire me. I appreciate the mindset you bring to such a venture.

    • You Painted That?!? showcases new subject matter brought to life by your hand and life experience. Strong composition, with varied image sizes, complementary colors, balanced asymmetries, verticalities and horizontalities playing together, pixelation, use of negative space, and value contrasts.

    • Prayers in the face of forest fire.

  2. Thanks Dotty - rain in forecast for today!! Connie led us through the painting of the trees - 'step by step' - don't think I explained that well in post - having said that 8 people and 8 different paintings! Lots to think about as I head to the easel today! Take care and enjoy your day!!

  3. Love these wonky trees. Thanks for sharing the link. Fingers crossed, and sending prayers for rain, and an end to the fire.