Art Blog Landscapes

Chords, Keys and Scales

What are you doing in the studio these days? People who don’t paint expect a list of works to roll of your tongue. My answer tends to throw them a little. I say simply, “I’m practicing”. If I were playing a musical instrument, even someone who’s tone deaf would nod knowingly and mumble “Oh yeah, huh”.
Musicians and visual artists even have similar vocabulary. When I took piano lessons growing up, theory was a separate class and there I learned about changing the key, composition and ear training. This augmented the physical practice of scales and chords, which trained my hands to find the right notes. If I made a mistake in practice, I only offended those within earshot and so my work evaporated into the atmosphere.
Learning to paint has eye training to assist in the production of the right visual notes. Colour chords and keys depend on the hand eye coordination too. The record of the work is often incomplete but records the struggle nonetheless and so is worth keeping but not showing to anyone else necessarily! Often, it disappears into the waste basket.
Lately, I’ve decided to change my palette; the group of pigments that produce key and colour chords and to work on composition. As is traditional, I practice the compositions of artists I admire and have done so many times over the years. ( This one is inspired by Ian Roberts).
That’s what I’m posting today, one record of the changes that will eventually take their place in new work.

100 Days Landscapes Nature

It’s not easy painting green…

cedar, study, greens, tree
study of old, open grown cedar tree on a grey day in Grey-Bruce


Kermit the Frog found being green to be a challenge and landscape painters have often complained about the colour as well. I am joining the chorus these days as my interest in landscape painting is taking me into this ‘jungle’ of verdant hues. Tucked away in my studio with the window providing a nicely framed view of the backyard, I’ve been practicing. Cedar trees are plentiful here and are challenging to represent, convincingly. Seeing green spots before my eyes from all this makes me wish for sunlight and the man-made hues of last summer!

figures, fishing, goin' slow, lighthouse sign
Two figures fishing and taking the sign, “Dead Slow” to heart.


study, mixing, landscape, greens
study, mixing landscape greens
Saugeen River study on Arches oil paper
study on Arches oil paper of Saugeen River
animals Art Blog Birds Landscapes Nature

Gull Study


An onshore breeze is creating a playground for the gulls. Normally all sitting facing into the wind, they have left the beach to soar, circle and dive. They are graceful in flight and mesmerising to watch. These are any gulls on any beach anywhere and gave me the perfect chance to sit and stare and be amazed.

Landscapes Nature



A little painting composed from several common images at my house. Namely, black angus calves, shy but curious; peeking at us from the fence through the late summer flowers. That explains the title, Peekamoo… Peekamoo, I see you!