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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Sketching Time Found

I have always dreamed of visiting the Yukon. Even before my daughter and her husband moved there, I was intrigued by this Northerly part of Canada. I have fulfilled that dream twice but only in winter which is a very beautiful time to come with its mounds of snow and hoar frost covered trees and its ice fog. It is true that we are never satisfied because once I had visited in the winter time, my dream changed to visiting in the summer. Once again, by God's grace, I am having that dream come to realization.
I thought I would be wearing long sleeved shirts and jackets, however, it has been very warm here since I arrived. The weather is just beautiful! I have not wasted my time but began sketching in the plane on the trip here to get my mental state ready for a week of exercising my observation skills and eye-hand coordination for sketching.


Guy sitting in seat 29D

Since landing in Whitehorse, I have had lots of opportunity to wander around town and find some great sketching subjects.
The Yukon River is a few minutes walk from my daughter's home so I walked to a spot where I saw bench and sat down to sketch the river. There just happened to be a guy fishing in the river at that spot.

This morning, I walked to another section of the river where I could sketch the SS Klondike which sits on the other side of the river. The Klondike is a paddle wheeler that was used on the river during the Gold Rush.

This week my blog is a day early because tomorrow I'll be travelling to Haines, Alaska. Check next week's blog for some sketches done in Alaska.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Finding Time to be Creative

So I suppose all my followers noticed that I'm a day late with my blog. Our business is in the midst of it's busy time of year and so due to work, household responsibilities and events that are beyond our control, I have to find little pockets of time to be creative. If I don't do something creative, no matter how small, my day feels incomplete. I think this is why my studio is such a mess at the moment. I just leave everything out so if I have 5 minutes in the day or evening, I'll head down there and try to get something done. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

I've realized that the creativity doesn't have to be with paint only. It can be baking something or writing a poem, doing a sketch or even reading an art magazine. It just has to be something I get pleasure from and that no one is forcing me to do. I do it for myself. No one may ever see what I've done. Being creative just clears my head and gives me satisfaction and usually triggers all kinds of other creative ideas.

So this week, not much art was done. I haven't been able to get a sketching walk in so I haven't done any new neighbourhood sketches. I did find a few minutes, however, to paint the little sketch I showed you a couple of weeks ago.

I added some maple keys to my drawing because as I was walking there were many brown ones on the ground and still lots of green ones in the trees. I always thought seeds were produced in the fall but these maple trees first produced flowers, then the leaves developed and right after that the keys showed up. I'll have to read up on this and find out why it happens in the spring.

I also spent some time with my grandson at my house one day and we had fun "painting" a piece of canvas with his hands and feet. I thing he really liked the activity.

I mixed up some fabric paint and poured it into a foam meat tray. We started with his hands so he dipped his hands in the paint and then printed his hand shape onto the canvas. Then we thought it would be fun to put footprints on it so I loaded up the foam tray again and he put his foot into the paint and then stepped onto the canvas. I really like how it turned out. It is hanging to dry and as it hangs I keep looking at it to see what we can add. I have a little idea of what I want to do with it once the design is they way I want it. Look for it in future blogs.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

A New Course

I have started an online course on Colour Theory. We think we know all about colour but when you take a course like this, it makes you think about colours that work together and colours that evoke a mood and colours that enhance the meaning of a piece of art.

My first lesson had me using pencil crayons and layering different colours on top of one another. In the example below I used a light blue, light purple, red and a bright rose. You can see what happened when I layered them.

Next I had to layer yellow and red increasing the yellow layers. From what I can see there is hardly a difference. I'm thinking it is because yellow is such a light colour. I'll have to do some experimentation with different colour combinations to see if this is the case. Doing these experiments also shows me how to get the colours I want and also how to get colours I don't want.

Lesson 2 was on Tints and Shades. Tints and shades are created by adding black or white to a colour. The exercise I had to do was using the primary colours of red, yellow and blue, I was to add one layer of white and then 2 layers of white as well as one layer of black and then 2 layers of black. The middle blocks are the base colour. Above that are the tints and below, the shades.

This is a diagram of all the various colours and their tints and shades.

I'm hoping this course will help me to make deliberate and conscious choices of colour that will enhance my art and get across what I really want to say. As I learn more, I'll share other interesting tidbits from the course.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

More Inspiration Found on my Neighbourhood Walks

I've been faithfully going on my neighbourhood walks and taking my sketch book and pen with me. In early Spring I was documenting the new growth that was happening in yards and gardens. With the warmer weather everything burst forth very quickly and now the trees are fully leafed and the Spring bulbs have bloomed and died. Now a lot of the flowering trees are in bloom and people are planting their gardens full of colour.
I have an art center just up the street from me. It is called the Franklin Carmichael Art Center, named after one of the Group of Seven painters that I so admire. I walked in that direction and entered the yard and behind the original house, there is a smaller building that has been converted into a studio space for art lessons. The City of Toronto maintains the property and has placed benches in the yard. I sat on a bench and sketched the Garden Studio. It was so nice and quiet there and is shaded by many large trees. I enjoyed my sketching session that morning.

I sketched for about an hour and then took the long way home so I actually got some exercise too. Before I left, I snapped a photo of the area so I had the details I needed to paint it. Later in the week I added shadows and paint to the sketch.

I have also noticed that a robin has built a nest under the eaves of our garage and she was sitting on it daily. I did a quick sketch of her in the corner of my book.

Then a week later I walked to a busier area of my neighbourhood and sat on the boulevard in the shade of a tree and sketched the plaza across the street. I live in an area where there is a large south Asian community and this is evidenced on the signs above the shops here.

Later I will add shadows and paint to this sketch as well. It is really interesting to document your neighbourhood in drawings because it helps you to really take in what is around you instead of just driving by oblivious to the richness of the community.