Paintings are taking over the basement!
So far, I can still organize them chronologically. I know when each was created and, for many, I remember the thought process or radio program I indulged in while dipping my paintbrush into acrylic and daubing it onto canvas.
They form a history, more than three years old, that extends weekly with each new creation.
If you find a painting you like, please know that, unless otherwise stated, it is for sale. These are all photographs of my paintings, so do not believe that the actual painting is exactly portrayed here by photography.
I bought myself acrylic paints as a present for my own birthday two years ago. I had to give them a try. Setting myself up in the garage, with door wide open, I grabbed what was close by and began. If I had been discouraged by what appeared on my canvas, I might not have continued. But, I rather like this one.
So then I moved up into the main part of the house and have continued to use the dining room as my studio. This is one of the incredible sunsets we get on the west coast.
So then I tried different mediums, watercolour of the Harmony Islands and soft pastel interpretation of a postcard I found. I went back to acrylic. I like the Golden Open acrylics as they flow quite beautifully upon the canvas and remain wet in the palette for weeks if covered.
I followed directions to learn how to paint grass. It involves scratching away the paint using the back end of a paintbrush. It’s a little severe on the canvas, but with enough paint it produces the desired effect. This painting SOLD.
I like to think of this boat, tied to dock at Echo Bay, as an exercise in reverse painting. The mist was thick early morning and I took the photo from which I painted just as the sun was burning off the moisture. The boat was difficult. I painted everything except those thin white lines, which proved tricky to keep free of colour.
This is Lady Boot Cove in the Broughton Archipelago. I painted the one on the left during Christmas holidays 2014 as my husband read the end to a book we had enjoyed together, Absolute Power by David Baldacci. I gave the painting to him. A year later I repeated the painting, drawing upon advice from an artist to be more adventurous with colour. I much prefer the one on the right, and it took longer to figure out the reflections.
By the time I painted this, I had started using my paintings as birthday cards. This one was finished just before Mother’s Day so it became the card to my own mother. It was the first painting I sent to my parents. It took hours to figure out the leaves and what stem connected where. Making the ripples in the table cloth was surprisingly easy.
I vividly remember taking the photo for this one. We were on our way down Freda Mountain and this lake, which was heart-shaped, was situated on the last shoulder before we dropped steeply to the car.
This one is my current favourite. I have no idea how I managed to paint the land behind the island. Anyway, it was completed during a weekend course, where the guest artist was Drew Burnham. I had surrounded myself with artists and was definitely the newby. This is Laura Cove in the Broughton Archipelago.
Two years later, and I have added some ripples. I found there was something missing in the foreground water.
I had fun at a day’s workshop where the guest artist, Alfred Muma, brought still life to class and suggested we paint it. I learned about creating small sketches first to determine the composition, then decided not to use a paintbrush throughout the entire experience. I used palette knives and enjoyed every minute of it.
But then I got a little silly. I followed a couple of YouTube tutorials and came up with these. The idea was to create Christmas cards, but I decided to go with the commercial ones instead. It was still a good exercise though, in use of palette knives.
I had come across a photograph taken of a scene on Texada Island and decided to give it a go. The light was piercing through the foliage to illuminate maples beside a large cliff face.
After all those leaves, I needed to relax. The photo was taken at Alert Bay harbour, bull kelp dangling in the shallows. The painting didn’t seem quite right until I used white for the water surface tiny ripples. This painting SOLD! Now everything changes.
Imagine early morning sailing through whirlpools and rapids as the tide changed while we approached Johnstone Strait. Mist hung low as the sun rose to pinpoint a tiny islet at the entrance to a little cove. The noise of sea gulls still rings in my ears, while the seals remained quiet.
At a most recent course with artist Joyce Furness, we students were asked to paint in the form of a professional artist. I chose Drew Burnham, whose work I truly love for its simplification of nature. Of course, it is not simple. Drew’s paintings are intricate and worth studying. With music on in the studio, I got totally drawn into this painting, adding far more colour than the original. I wanted to learn how Drew paints water and will use this technique in future creations. (Drew’s paintings are shown at the Bau-Xi Gallery in Vancouver.)
Just below Cape Cockburn, rounding the outside of Nelson Island as it skirts the Salish Sea, is Harry Roberts’ cabin. Now a protected BC park, the cabin was the abode of this homesteader and is now a destination for kayakers. When we sailed past on our journey south, the weather was calm and we floated around in the bay while taking photographs. On our return, the weather was horrendous with 35-knot winds following us up the strait. The painting is a mixture of serenity and turmoil. It was a great lesson in painting aged, weather-beaten wood.
This is my current favourite. Right from the beginning, of setting up the flugelhorn on the scarf, taking copious photographs and then trying to ignore the fact I needed the end result to look metallic, I enjoyed creating this painting. It is my husband’s flugelhorn; he played it for many years in a band. Now it sits in its case, but with its lacquered finish it looks as good now as it did then. The fabric was difficult to paint. Getting the folds and pattern was quite the puzzle.
We have a photograph (right) of this scene; in the lower Ragged Islands is a spacious anchoring point, protected from Thulin Passage. One calm evening we watched as the last light of the day hit the upper trees with a margin of glow down Malaspina Strait. It has proved very tough to paint. I might try this again at some other time.
After struggling with the fabric under the flugelhorn (two paintings up), I decided to set myself the task of painting a pink scarf draped over garden furniture. It was a very sunny day so lots of contrast for the folds. This painting was fun and quick to do and gives me renewed confidence when faced with fabric. It also helps that there was no intricate pattern on the material.
This weekend is the art studio tour for the Powell River region. I have been preparing tripods to hold my paintings for display. Four of the paintings (flugelhorn, Lady Boot Cove, the lighthouse and the tulips) are now printed on art cards. I have joined up with Square to take credit cards and have my fingers crossed the chocolate chip cookies currently baking in the oven will entice people to open their pocket books and take home a small piece of my art.
The studio tour was a great experience. It made me get paintings ready for showing, attach hardware and create a table display. I started this snowy painting of the Powell River seawalk while there and finished it later…although looking at it now, it could still do with some work.
So, I just worked on it (nine months later) with new gusto and started by changing the colours to COLD. Influenced by Chili Thom, Drew Burnham and Amanda Martinson, and their use of colour and patterns, I put the music on loud and played. This is what happened:
Same scene, different feel. It SOLD within 30 minutes of completion, so I think I may be onto something.
Working with so much white (well, it never really is white, is it, but I am sure you see what I mean) in the snowy painting (original one) made me need to get the colours out. Outside Looking In was painted during rainy days in the fall. I used palette knives for dragging the background colours down the canvas then painted the drops on the window. I then researched YouTube and found easier and more appropriate ways of creating droplets so used those on the black window pane. I enjoyed painting this one immensely. And, I am happy to add, this one SOLD at a recent auction. Yay!
Since late fall I have been meeting regularly to paint with Lyla. Lyla is an artist art teacher. Our afternoon sessions have helped discipline my art to two-hour sittings, with a few of the paintings needing a little extra help afterward. Most of these won’t go on show and are likely destined to be painted over. One or two are on my list to improve.
Lyla is an excellent portrait artist and so I took some lessons from her to create these. The green one was from a bust, and is pretty scary. The other two, Cecelia Beaux and Nicholas Poussin are from their own self-portraits (which looks more pleasant than these, but I like the bitchiness of Cecelia and the evil look of Nicholas):
From there, I had to try one by myself. I had taken a photograph of my husband while we were out sailing last summer and loved it. So, here it is. Painting his portrait was a strange experience because he would see it as it was coming along, but it also allowed me to really look at him and see colours in his skin tones and light in his eyes I might not have consciously noticed otherwise. And, before you call me and say you wish to buy it, it is not for sale 🙂
Back to landscapes.
This is Last Light at Lagoon Cove. Lagoon Cove is at the entrance to the Broughton Archipelago, a favourite sailing area for us.
Last Light recently sat in the window at Artique Artist’s Cooperative and I drove by many times and thought…something’s missing. So, I added a heron. (That’s all I added even though the dreadful lighting in the photograph below makes it look like an entirely new painting.) My husband says the heron adds movement to the picture, makes the picture more alive. I like that!
This is a little experimental. I live in Powell River and Powell River is known for the second smallest river in Canada. However, I object to that. Above Powell Lake (which was created by a dam) is the origin of Powell River. I looked at a topographical map of the area and tried to recreate what one might see if in the area on foot.
The Old Barge Terminal is destined to be torn down, so I decided to capture it before that happens. I sorted out the pigeons a little later and received some nice comments about this one at the 2017 studio tour. In 2018 the building disappeared, broken up into recyclable material and disposed of.
This was a lot of work! Our local library held a charity fundraiser for increasing the number of books available at the library and for assisting the Sunshine Gogos, a charity attached to the Stephen Lewis campaign for grandmothers assisting grandmothers in Africa. 70 chairs were painted by local artists, and once the auction was over, more than $11,200 had been raised. “Frog Pond” was sold at auction to a local massage therapist. Now people can sit on the frogs as they await their session.
This is Catching a Ride. We saw numerous seals hanging out on a freshly toppled tree as it floated between straits in the Broughton Archipelago.
There is something very engaging about Bull Kelp, other than it being the largest marine plant in the world. Our west coast is home to the seaweed and there seems to be a cult following for it as art or jewellery. I added in an orange starfish to signify a healthy return for starfish to these waters. The painting is called Return of the Kelp.
Melanie Cove is a beautiful provincial park south of Powell River. It is a great spot for plein air painting. This was captured in July while families squealed with delight at the cool water and intertidal zone.
So, big news! I submitted a few paintings to be juried for participation in a local artists cooperative and got accepted! Here are the first six on display. Artique Artists Cooperative is on Marine Avenue in Powell River. There are 28 local artists involved doing 2-dimentional and 3-dimentional work. Each of us works there at least two half days per month. It is fun to be helping to sell art in a gallery.
A friend of mine and I had just finished an evening of yoga on the wharf at Powell River, and were cycling home, when I could not resist taking a few photos. This is a compilation of two photos, which was a bit of a challenge. I loved playing with the colours. The sky really was tremendous that evening.
Keeping on with my afternoon art sessions with Lyla Smith, here is Two Moons, or Lunar Eclipse, or Moon Flow…lots of possible names. It is two moon snails from this local area.
I have been experimenting over the past month with Fluid Acrylics. Look this phrase up on YouTube and you will be amazed by how many instructional videos pop up. It’s a messy practice, and takes some guts and time, but the results are fascinating. Here is my Evolution Series of 10 paintings, plus three mini ones. My apologies about Evolution 1 being a blurry photograph…the original is clear!
This was my first one, which seemed to make good background for a sunflower. Here’s Remembering Summer 8″ x 10″:
Except for the minis, the Evolution series is all 8″ x 10″ on canvas. The lightest coloured one is on wood.
I created many fluid acrylic art pieces, but have now tidied up the mess (paint gets everywhere during the process) and am back to regular painting.
I have continued to paint with Lyla Smith. Recently, we tackled Teddy Edward. And then, boots:
It fascinates me how we can be painting the same subject but from different angles and come up with completely different renditions–Lyla’s is in the foreground and mine in the background.
I have tackled a few more birds, neither from my own photographs (and both with permission from the fine guys behind the cameras!). The first is a golden-crowned sparrow. Original photo was taken by Ken Pritchard of Seaside Escape Retreat Cottage in Powell River. His entire garden is a bird paradise.
And then, I came across a photograph by Powell River’s Andrew Bryant. Andrew is a biologist and expert photographer. He captured an American dipper at Lang Creek while he was also photographing salmon. His photograph showed the remarkable patterns in water when light and movement are just right. This is a series of five stages…the painting took a while to complete…!
These two show the base colour–a rich orange/red–used to help the painting glow. The picture on the left became a bit of a game: “guess what this is!”
I added the cool light blue around the yellow in the water on the third photo and then made a big jump to the one on the right when I added more squiggles, the rocks and finally a little more realistic bird. But, the picture had no depth, according to my sweetheart. So, I fussed with the background water, and added more detail to the bird and hey presto! This is it…until somebody makes another suggestion for improvement 🙂 This is 20″ x 20″ on canvas.
I liked the idea of capturing a series of photos showing the progress of a painting. Here is another one. It was inspired by an issue of International Artist from 2009 which sported a cover painting by Raymond Quenneville from Quebec. Inside the issue Quenneville had provided a step-by-step tutorial on creating paintings the way he did. So, I grabbed a photo, taken by my husband, of a recent visit to the Yorkshire Dales in England, and gave it a go.
Quenneville does not use base colour. Instead, he gets straight into his painting design and builds up colour in layers. This was a new process for me and one I really enjoyed. The painting took about 8 days in all, roughly 1-2 hours per day.
With step one, I used a gessoed wood canvas and began sketching in the design using burnt umber and burnt sienna, and a little quin. purple. The idea is to create a fairly whimsical rendition of landscape, with emphasis on lights and darks together with curves.
I then began to layer on some colour. The back hills were to be purple, to take them out into the distance. The foreground hills had pure yellow, tan, green and purple/blue. Then, I just kept on building up the layers.
I wanted the foreground wall and gate to be the harsh dark, shaped items, beyond which would be smooth fields and little buildings.
And here is the final painting, which just SOLD!
I greatly enjoyed that layered process, and so got right to it, and created a second one. This time I used a larger canvas and merged two photographs…which will confuse anyone who recognizes either side of the scene…as I wanted hills but also a farmhouse. Both are from the same geographical area of North Yorkshire, England.
There is a beautiful simplicity in this way of rendering an undulating hillside. It contrasts here with the finicky detail required on the farmhouse and garden. The bird (centre left) is a magpie, very common in England but not so much on the west coast of BC.
In May 2018, my husband and I took an early morning sail past the paper mill at Powell River. It was 5 am on a calm, cool morning and the water was silky smooth like melted chocolate. I took a photograph and, when home, started to paint.
I chose a faded pink background colour as I wanted the rosy richness to show through the final painting. The hills were roughed in. Following the reference photograph, I put diagonal marks on the water to help with the patterns to come.
The top half of the painting was fairly simple. The difficulty came in trying to catch that silky melted chocolate appeal on the water. With it being water, I knew I needed some downward strokes. These didn’t end up showing much in the final painting, but perhaps they helped… By the next image, I was getting pretty close. I needed to sort out the odd cross in the steam, add the lights of the buildings and smooth out some of the movement on the water.
And here is the finished painting: