Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Almost Spring

Almost Spring, 6"x4" Gouache on Watercolour paper

Just a little 6x4 sketch in Gouache that I did from the car late afternoon last Saturday while waiting.

My first Rejection Letter

Oh well... My first submission was rejected :( But I guess I am in good company. Most of the artists I admire most were rejected regularly.

Here is the email I got:

Unfortunately, the artwork you entered into the Art Gallery of Peel’s Annual Juried Show was not selected for this year’s exhibition. Our jurors had a very difficult time selecting the show – out of the 366 works submitted; only 61 were chosen.

We ask that you pick up your work as soon as possible, by Sunday April, 5 at the latest. You can pick up your work anytime during our regular hours: weekdays 10 – 4:30; Thursday evening from 6 – 9 p.m; Saturday and Sunday 12 – 4:30.

You’re welcome to attend the opening of the show on April 8 from 8 – 10 p.m; the jurors will be present to talk about the show and answer questions. If you have any questions concerning the exhibition, please do not hesitate to contact the gallery.


OPAS (Ontario Plain Air Society)

Check out the new blog for OPAS and if you live in Ontario and enjoy plein air painting or would like to try it out, join us!

To join OPAS, Go to the Face Book page for OPAS here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Not Yet Spring - River Run Park (plein air)

It has been some time since I posted on this blog, but it doesn't mean that I have not been active art wise. I have taken most of my latest paintings and started reworking them to fix annoying bits here and there that have kept me from feeling great about them.

But mostly, I have been working on this piece. It started out as a tough task when I went painting with my plein air buddy Jim at River Run Park earlier this month. It was a bright sunny day. I set up on a small hill overlooking the Credit river just after 1:30pm. I was sitting in the shade of a large tree, bare, but with enough branches to keep the sun away. As the day progressed, the sun went lower and eventually was in my face slightly to the left. It became very hard to distinguish colours as the sun came further and further down in the sky. As I looked back and forth from scene to painting, the adjustment was become more and more difficult to handle...

Not Yet Spring - River Run Park, 8"x10" Acrylic on primed Masonite

Frustrated and beckoned to come home, I called it a day with nothing really to show. The next few days, as I travelled back home by train from downtown, I studied the early evening light and the colours that it created. Slowly but surely, the image came to focus in my mind, and I was able to put it together at last. Funny how the best solutions come subconsciously when you give your mind the task and then go about everyday living. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Brushes are like Ballerinas

A lot has happened in the past two weeks that precluded me from enjoying my paints and sharing them with you. Today I was supposed to go out plein air painting with a friend, but I had to take care of the kids because my wife was not feeling well, and besides it was a rainy day that had no shadows or light for me to play with.
I decided to fulfill one of my goals for the year today. I took both kids to our sun room and told them we were going to have an art class day. They were delighted!
The first thing we did was look at this picture that I took in Nova Scotia. We studied the colours and learned that their is no patch of pure colour anywhere in nature. Nature likes to mix colour all the time. We learned that there was no green trees or blue skies. That trees don't look like Christmas card trees or green Lolly-pops and that close colours are brighter than far colours. We also learned that the river is wider when it gets close and narrower as it goes away from us. We also learned that all around we could find shapes. Squares, rectangles triangles etc...
We took a break for lunch at McD. (Sorry I wasn't cooking today), and then came back to study another picture. This time a painting by William Merritt Chase. We looked at the scene first and tried to understand what it was ( a road, deserted road...no a dry riverbed...) Then we looked at the brush work and the many many colours that Bill used. After a lot of Q&A I showed them how to use watercolour. We mixed colours on the pallet and on the paper, learned how to make all sorts of greens and how to use a brush.

Then we drew Bill's painting and started to paint it. I gently reminded them as we went along:
"We are not painting walls. No up and down, no gooey paste".
Then a note that clicked with both and changed everything:
"Brushes are like ballerinas make them dance on the paper. Don't let them stomp or shuffle!" We started holding the brushes further back and using either the side or the tip without pushing the brushdown on the paper. What a difference that made. They finally got it and much better than many older students would. It was amazing.

A little help with mixing here, a line or spot there, and they were painting a symphony! It took a lot out of them to do these 11x14's but they enjoyed it a lot and after finishing, they got to do some free style painting as well.....the stomping type, just to let off some energy.