Saturday, April 24, 2010

so much for plein air

10 x 8
oil on wrapped canvas

I scoped out my next plein air site, a nice harbor scene and taking just my camera to get a few photos to plan the composition I hopped out of the car, braved the west coast wind and rain to get a few pics and within minutes decided I'd wait for warmer weather, or hold off till I'm back in our desert interior. So instead I decided to try a still life with a twist - just had to put myself in it. My daughter and I love to go for a proper tea and here we are at Victoria's Butchart Gardens enjoying our treats and the scenery out the window.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Now I understand why one should paint plein air

Skaha View
8 x 8
oil on doorskin

Last week I discovered a French plein air easel on sale at my local art shop and since I've been reading about the necessity of getting outside and painting from real life and frustrated with my attempts at landscapes I decided to treat myself to a late birthday present and purchased it. Like a kid with a new toy I made a list, packed my paints, bought a little folding chair and off I went in search of a private location to set up and try plein air painting for the first time. Very shy abouting painting publicly I drove up into the hills overlooking one of our large lakes and rounded the last corner into a parking lot full of cars! Climbing season has begun! I decided to head up the trail anyway and went off a little ways till I had a good view of the lake. Feeling excited but very awkward and full of anticipation I quickly set up, squeezed out paint onto my palette, grabbed a brush and took a big breath and started to paint. Immediately realized I'd forgotten my glasses, had no where to put down my brushes and the wind was not only whipping my hair around my face which didn't matter anyway as I couldn't see but it was also trying to blow my paper palette away. No worries, this was only a trial and after a half hour of loose easy brush strokes I packed up and headed home. The connection I felt with nature being out there with the wind in the trees, the birds singing and the feeling of peace and timelessness has made me want to go back and I look forward to the next adventure. Hopefully I'll be a little more organized next time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Painting what I think I see...

Gloria's Bouquet
12 x 12
oil on wrapped canvas

Two subjects I think I know well but cannot seem to paint easily are flowers and landscapes. What ends up on the canvas is nothing like what sits before me and I have finally discovered that I have to focus very hard with my eyes on all the shapes, hues and values instead of letting my hand paint what my brain thinks the subject should look like. Now that spring is here I should get lots of practice. This beautiful bouquet was a gift to a very special friend who gave me a push to get back to the easel and I will be forever grateful for her support.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Olympic Withdrawal

Vancouver Reflections
30 x 40
oil on canvas

Long after the Olympics are over I am still suffering withdrawal, cold and fatigue forgotten, regrets on not spending more time downtown, wishing it was an annual event here and yes I would do it all over again. I know I said I wouldn't but I have said that about Ironman too and here I am signed up to do it again in August. So with two weeks away from the easel I could feel a painting coming on and it was going to be a big one. Another Vancouver scene. The last two days spent painting and I thought it was done but as is often the case as soon as I get it on the computer I can see all kinds of touch ups needed. The challenge in this one besides the people and reflections was the varying nature of Vancouver's downtown buildings with rounded sides and odd shapes and positions. I tried to worry not so much about perspective but more about getting some interesting patterns with the hope that in the end it reads okay.