Landscapes Nature

Christmas House Tour

I am barely down to the last of the leftover Hallowe’en candy and already the Christmas events are being advertised. One of the popular annual happenings in this area is the sponsored tour of selected homes. I have never gone on one of these journeys but this year I will be participating in the decoration of one of them. Shoreline Artists Group, of which I am a member, have been given the a last minute opportunity to submit artwork for one of the Dennison builder homes on the tour. The designers will select the appropriate ones for the decor. I am working feverishly to finish a canvas for this. I have included a bit of the process thus far.

I select a photo with some elements that I wanted to record during a winter walk at a local provincial park: ridge ice, birch trees, cool colours against warm.

After cropping and sketching a few different compositions, I choose one to put on the canvas with vine charcoal.

24×30 oil on canvas

The painting thus far. I have stopped at this stage to allow the ‘white’ paint to oxidize for a few days. This may not be ready for the deadline of November 17th but fingers crossed…! After this I will finish adding details of ground foliage and tree trunks and post the final result.

100 Days Still Life

Pomegranate sketch


Pomegranates are in the stores and so before I eat this delicious Christmas treat, I have to draw it. The red colour of the pomegranate is so beautiful and shape feels so good in my hand. It’s begging to be painted. ¬† (charcoal on cartridge paper)

100 Days

Osprey Oggle

This is another in a series of osprey studies. Ospreys lack the supraorbital ridge which is so typical of predatory birds and this makes them appear wide-eyed and over caffeinated! I love the personality. All my pics of them seem to show them oggling the world. ‘Oggle’ is a funny word. Seems to suit them.
Today I was tidying up in the studio and re-discovered the Mungyo black pastels in my drawing stash. I used them in figure drawing classes but never did find the perfect match of paper to bring out the magic of this gorgeous dark crumbly charcoal. Today, I used cartridge sketch paper and my fingers to paint. A bit like finger painting when we were kids. Why did we ever stop?
I’ll combine a few images I have of this muse and her nest and switch to brushes and oil paint. The drawing will eventually end up being trashed and forgotten but the process of making my osprey oggle needs a repeat with maybe an owly owl, a heretic heron….hmmm.

Art Blog Uncategorized

Getting Messy and Making Mistakes

I love to do life drawing. It is the best way to learn about all that stuff that helps create something that resembles the subject in front of you. But, it’s hard–not just at the early stages but every time I am in front of a model. What keeps me at it is the reward of catching something of the beauty that is found in everyone.

That’s right. All ages, shapes and sizes. Light falls on a shape and you have form but the human form, the one we thing we know the best, is the most complex and elusive subject to capture well. Anne, the instructor of our weekly sessions, recommended a book by Douglas Graves. You can google him if you like…old, classic reprint of excellent charcoal work. ¬†Right now, I’m working through some of the exercises, in charcoal, because that’s where all good drawing and painting begins, in black and white.

It’s vine charcoal so it’s really messy and I love that too. Right now my fingers are black and my nails will soon be full. I can wear gloves but then it won’t smear as well. Nothing feels so good as getting messy and making mistakes. It’s been my motto for a long time now.

Some of the pics show the result of starting with black and either pulling lights out or adding them versus the opposite method of, yes, adding dark to a light surface. Really good exercise for learning to see form. Anyway, back to the drawing board. Anyone know a good soap for getting this stuff off your hands?

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