Friday, December 31, 2010

Mountain Meld

This image is from our recent visit to Big White Ski Resort at Kelowna. The chalet looked right across a valley to these hills. My attempt here was to meld the sky and the distant hills. As much as I enjoyed the very wet in wet approach used here the painting ended up much too dark overall. As per usual we turn to mixed media and bring in the opaque mediums to add lights over some of that dark. In this case I used gouache. I was enjoying the rhythm of the gouache marks and they are starting to lighten it up. I think it may need even more lightening but for now I'll just live with.

15" x 22"

For information on this or any other painting contact me at this link.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Contrast And Mood

I was talking to a well know painter from BC and she said that if the sun isn't shining she won't even go out to paint. She is looking entirely for the bright contrast that you get with full sun and that's the only mood she is interested in painting. I think all painters are in love with the interplay of light, shadow and colour that comes with lots of light. I certainly enjoy that as well but I do notice that often I'm attracted to more subdued scenes with less vivid contrast and a more tranquil mood. I remember once painting at Sunshine Meadows with a group of very experienced painters and I was taken by the interplay between a foreground group of trees against a background of a wall of green trees. I asked one painter how she would do the scene and she said she wouldn't because there was so little contrast. She wanted the blue sky against mountains and dark trees. My painting actually didn't work out but I believe it could have if I had been more patient and more confident. Anyway, I think a lot can be learned from the more subtle interplay of values and colours in low light conditions. This is all by way of explanation why I was attracted to these cloud studies from BearsPaw. I look at these as doing my homework, really trying to see the differences of value and colour.

For information about these or any other paintings contact me at this link.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I've lately become very aware of how much I need the insights of others to see my work more accurately. I tend to be too dismissive, thinking things like, "It was only a practice", or, "It doesn't say what I wanted it too". Sometimes these thoughts lead me to miss what's actually in front of me. I've been thinking a lot about this lately and I am, therefore, trying to be less judgmental. This image is an example. I saw it as just another study of this waterfall in Waterton Lakes Park and was ready to dismiss it. I'm now trying to give it it's own due and I have to admit that it has a certain energy that I like.

16" x 12"

For information on this or any other painting contact me at this link.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Low Clouds Over Mountains

This is the view from our chalet at Big White Ski Resort. In the morning there was a beautiful sunrise then as the day progressed the clouds descended until almost the entire mountain range was obscured. This particular image is when the clouds were just starting to cover things. The details and colours are all muted. I really had fun painting this and at first I called it one of my sloppy paintings. Now, I don't think the word sloppy is appropriate (even though I enjoy being sloppy at times) it's really a painting that was done very wet in wet. I tried to get in some colour notes but again they are muted. I like the feel of this painting very much.

12" x 9"

For information on this or any other painting contact me at this link.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chalets At Night

I took these photos at night of the scene used in the previous post. I didn't have a tripod so some of them have focus issues but I like the colours and values of them. It's an interesting exercise to try to paint night scenes. It's a different arrangement of values and the different thinking needed to pull off a night scene help us to see ordinary scenes in a new way.

These images are from the Chalets at Big White, Kelowna.

Chalets At Big White

Just returned from a family event at Big White, the ski hill at Kelowna. This is the afternoon view from our bedroom. After a day of skiing it felt good to stay at home and paint. There is actually a solid row of Chalets and I tried to pick out just 2 to give the feel of the road leading up from our place. All the colours were done intuitively but I tried to be faithful to the values of the actual scene.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quick Sketch Portraits

Today was the final day of my Basic Drawing Skills fall class. It was an absolutely wonderful experience. While the students were working on their final self portrait I had some time and did these quick studies. One is a portrait of my mother sunning herself and the other is the daughter of one of the students. Since I've been working so much on portraits lately I'm kind of in the zone and it was a lot of fun to just jump in and do these studies. I find that one's ability to judge proportion, and to accurately draw the features, like everything else, improves with practice.

To see the students' self portraits take a look at the class blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snowy Morning In Bear's Paw 2

I liked much about the painting from the last post. I loved the colours and the wet in wet technique. I had a problem with the composition, however. The lower part of the painting seemed unresolved. I felt cropping might help but instead I redesigned the image. This one, I feel, has a much stronger underlying structure with the 3 bands (the sky, the house & trees, and the foreground) forming a stronger composition. Now, I am just deciding what I thing about all the stuff going on in the foreground.

Just on another note, we had a very enjoyable visit with Sharon Williams the other day. It was so refreshing to really get into and knock about some ideas about art. Very inspiring. More please.

For information on this or any other painting contact me at this link.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snowy Morning In Bear's Paw

I've been reading a book on photography and the author emphasized often how important it is to capture the light in the early morning or evening. I set off for Bear's Paw at 5:30 this morning not really realizing that it doesn't get light until quite a bit later (try almost 8 am). I also ignored the fact that overcast days have quite an effect on the light. Anyway, I was there early, I waited and I did this picture which captured that overcast, snowy atmosphere. In spite of all it was an enjoyable experience.

21" X 10.5"

For information on this or any other painting contact me at this link.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Coming Down From The High Country (Study)

Another idea from our trip to Waterton National Park. We along with about 10 other cars waited for an hour because we heard that the elk would be crossing this field to their night range.

Watercolour & Casein
12" X 4"

For information on this or any other painting contact me at this link.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lake Of The Woods Plein Air

The view just a few metres away from Orihel's cabin. This painting was done as a live demo. I was inspired by a technique that I picked up at Stephen Quiller's workshop. The 5 green trees in the front row were completely lifted out from the painted background. I'm always impressed by how clean the colour can be even though the background was originally a dark wash. It's necessary to lift out while the background paint is still very wet. Quite a sloppy technique but I like the feel especially the reflections in the water.

19" X 14"

For information on this or any other painting contact me at this link.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Orihel's Place

This is a painting from my Lake of the Woods Series. We spend a couple of weeks a year at our cabin there. This plein air painting was done on the first day after all the crowds of people had left. It was painted from the Orihel's dock and half way through the rain came which had quite an effect on the painting.

17" X 14"

Collection of A. Fogg

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cowboy Trail

From our recent trip down Highway 22. I loved the way the road recedes into the mountains.

14" X 10"

For information on this or any other painting contact me at this link.