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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Trash or Treasure

When my son was young he often arrived home from school with his pockets loaded with what I would call "trash" and I would admonish him about picking things up off the ground because they were dirty and germ laden or they could be dangerous. To him they were "treasures".

I was thinking about this and chuckling to myself as I was walking home from the grocery store one day after having picked up the milk that I had forgotten to purchase earlier in the day when I was grocery shopping. Instead of looking at the neighbourhood yards and landscape and enjoying the change of the seasons as I would normally do, my eyes were glued to the pavement beneath my feet. Why? I was searching for "treasures" or more correctly "trash". I've come to see the value in my son's homebound pastime. I've been using found items in my art recently. Found items are interesting things like rusty metal washers, flattened bottle tops, pop can tabs, or interesting seed pods, small stones etc. I've even added these things to my Christmas list of wants.

I no longer see these things as "trash" but I see the potential for them to liven up a piece of art. Now I am kicking myself for having made my son get rid of his "treasures".

Some of my "treasures"
 I had the opportunity to work on my Algonquin Park painting again and have filled in the foreground and continued work on the water and the reflections. Reflections always appear darker in the water than the actual thing they are reflecting. I will also have to darken the water slightly.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Inspiration in a Southern Locale

I have been away from my blog for a few weeks due to the fact that there are a lot of things to prepare for Christmas and I was away on a week's vacation. Our vacation, which was booked last minute found us on the island of Jamaica a week after the super storm Sandy blew through. We had been in Jamaica 30 years ago and found it to be wealthier than when we were there last. There is still poverty but there seemed to be more of a middle class presently and the airport and roads have improved drastically. Ocho Rios, which is where we were headed, sustained the most damage from the hurricane but the damage was mostly to trees. Staff were everywhere cleaning things up to make resorts and golf courses look pristine again. While in Jamaica we golfed several very nice golf courses but also enjoyed the ocean and the beach. As I have mentioned before, I rarely go anywhere without some art equipment with me. When I fly, I usually have a sketch book, pencils, watercolour pencils and a pencil sharpener with me. I also take a small paintbrush with me but had forgotten one. Fortunately I found a makeup brush in my makeup bag and I used that to complete my sketches. So while I am sitting relaxing, I make small colour sketches of my surroundings. Below, I share them with you.

I've also included an update on my Algonquin Park painting. I've strengthened some of the colours and tweeked some things that I thought didn't look right.

Friday, 2 November 2012

This One's for Me

I have completed most of the artwork that I had planned for others. The wedding gifts are done and shower gifts as well. Ever since arriving back from my canoe trip this summer I have been percolating ideas in my brain for a painting of Algonquin Park. I recently went back to my photographs and picked out a subject, did some sketches and decided that I wanted to do a rather large painting in acrylic. I bought a canvas that was 3 feet by 2 feet.  You saw these sketches in my last blog and at first I thought I'd use the bottom one -- and I did for the most part -- but as I was drawing it out on the canvas, I felt it needed the little tree on the bottom right of the top sketch, so I added it.

I drew the basic plan on my canvas with an ochre coloured watercolour pencil. As I paint the pencil will disolve into the acrylic paint without staining the canvas. Eventually the acrylic paint will cover the drawing completely.

Detail of the canoes. You may think that canoes are easy to draw but to get the proportions right and the foreshortening looking realistic, I had to adjust things quite a bit.

Above is the very beginning of paint. I am planning on making this an early morning scene with some pinks in the sky reflecting into the water and perhaps also showing some mist coming off the water. There is not much colour here yet but I've blocked in the areas that will be the darkest and grayest due to their distance.
Stay posted for updates on the progress.