Monday, January 31, 2011

Apex Guest Ranch

the  Ranch
12 x 16
oil on canvas board

Winter is the time to head up to the mountains for some skiing or snowshoeing and we pass this guest ranch on the way up.  In the summer we ride up here on our road bikes as a 20 k time trial or as part of a circle route around the Okanagan Valley.  It's a great landmark but unfortunately won't last forever.  This painting was done from an older photo and I believe part of the roof has now come down and the horses are a different breed so I will have to take some new reference photos and give it a go again next year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More birding

Female Hooded Merganser
8 x 10
oil on canvas board
So far this year I've photographed over thirty varieties of birds, not bad for January and all walking distance from home.  I've seen some pretty funny antics and even caught a beaver in action bringing home his dinner.  I think the bird watching is going to be a great new hobby once I figure out how to cope with a Yorkie and a Spitz on leashes and my camera all at once.  I fear one of the dogs will take off with the camera some day.  I couldn't resist painting this little merganser with all the colorful reflections on the water.  I won't post my photos here but they can be found on my Flickr page for anyone who is interested in bird photography.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A favorite restaurant and a bird

Hooded Mergansers in progress
14 x 18
oil on canvas
For several years now we've enjoyed dining at a local restaurant that sits out on the lake and calls itself the Hooded Merganser.  I never really knew what this bird was supposed to look like until I was able to see one little better with my zoom lense.  This pair was floating near the restaurant last week and I couldn't wait to paint them.  Although the female to the naked eye looks a little drab and basically brownish I think the beauty is there but very subtle.  I took some artistic license and pushed the colors a bit.  Funny enough one year we were at another local restaurant called The Lost Moose and upon driving away after lunch I had no sooner remarked on why they would call themselves that when a moose came out of the bush and walked across the road in front of us!  Weird experience and I haven't seen one since though I'm told they are around sometimes.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bird Watching

Wood Ducks in progress or maybe not
12 x 16
oil on canvas board

Christmas arrived and so did a zoom lens for my camera enabling me to get up close and personal with the huge bird population frequenting the marshes along the Fraser River or for that matter anywhere!  This pair live on a slough just behind our home along with Hooded Mergansers, Herons and numerous other species.  I could zoom in so close to these birds that I was able to see the reflections on their eyes and felt that I could see so much personality in their facial expressions.  Hearing that there was a rare Northern Hawk Owl in the area I joined throngs of photographers and bird watchers and was able to get a some really nice shots of it.  I'm now hooked on bird watching!