Sunday, September 25, 2011

Strange Days

Storm on the way
18 x 24
oil on canvas

A couple of months ago I was driving up this road to a little bakery where I buy my rice bread and I saw a huge storm moving in from the south so back down I went to get my camera so I could get some resource photos.  This painting above was my attempt to capture the mood with the sun still shining in the foreground but far down the valley was a totally different scenario.   Today on the coast it was much like that.  We had ferocious winds, torrential rain and brilliant sunshine under deep blue skies.  Yesterday and the day before it felt like Hawaii.  Strange days... 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Steveston Grand Prix Plein Air Competition

3 hour plein air challenge
11 x 14
oil on canvas board

  Not much different than an Ironman Triathlon and I'm still wiped out physically and mentally 2 days later!  The weeks leading up involved not enough training plein air trips and those times that I did get out I usually forgot something important like canvas or brushes.  A list would be needed.  Some sessions were just like transition training where I went out just to see how easily I could pack my gear, setup and take down.  Carrying wet canvases has always been a challenge.  Nutrition, hydration, clothing for all types of weather have to be thought of  but finally all my gear was carefully laid out and the process gone thru in my mind and I was ready to go. 
   The Steveston Grand Prix is organized by Mark Glavina of the Phoenix Gallery in Steveston and he and the many volunteers put on a fabulous event!  It is similar to a Quickdraw where there is a time limit to produce a painting, in this case 3 hours, but the difference is that the location is done by draw and when you are assigned a flag you have to stay within a few feet.   Below was my spot which offered a nice arrangement of buildings.

One must attempt to transfer what you see in front of you to the canvas as the light and weather changes, the clock ticks away,  and people meander by having been encouraged to ask questions sometimes wanting a little mini lesson in painting.   I found I thoroughly enjoyed the process, met lots of great people and learned quite a bit along the way.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to push themselves out of their comfort zone and into the exciting world of creating that painting right in the moment.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Desert full of vineyards

Oliver Ranch Road
16 x 20
oil on canvas

This particular spot is my favourite in the whole Okanagan.  A winding road, vineyards on each side, surrounded by mountains and leading down to one of numerous lakes in this very long valley.  Irrigation keeps the fields green in what would otherwise be a desert.