Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Little Painting

Today's post is just an update of paintings I am currently working on (I call them WIP).

Dressage in Grey - is actually a colorful little painting at 5" x 3" approx size. 

I am trying a new material combo. I am gluing Terraskin onto wood panels. I really like Terraskin as a painting surface, especially for liquid acrylic paint. Terraskin is a product made of stone and resin that creates a 'plastic-like' paper product. It is environmentally safe (no trees are used in its manufacturing). It is cost effective too. I have used oil paint on it too, but I think I still have to experiment a bit with it. It would probably suit more of a higher fluidity textured paint, so since I use water soluble oil paints, I will try adding more water and/or the drying medium with the paint (I find water soluble oil paints to be quite stiff).

If you are looking for a good price on my artwork, check out my Ebay listings at; I am always adding new pieces.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Make your subject pop!

I have been working on another horse painting. Big surprise eh?!

I decided, several months ago, to repaint the "White and Wild" white horse. I first painted  this wild white colt back in 2009, in acrylic, and I did end up selling the original painting. 

A year or so later, I was looking at the photograph of this fuzzy wild horse and decided I wanted to paint it again, but this time, include more of the body of the horse and to paint it in oil paint.

I started with a black and white photo.

I drew out the horse in pencil, in a fair amount of detail. I then blocked in the blue sky and grey tones on the ground (it kinda looked like snow). The painting stayed this way for almost a year. I got busy working on other pieces and it got lost in the pile of canvas' along the walls of my studio.

When I came across it again, while tidying up the studio, I thought it might be time to re-tackle this guy. Besides...I had started a series of "White Stallions" at the beginning of the year and had not done any lately. This is a wild, white, albino colt (young boy horse), so he does count as a "White Stallion" for my series!

Although I liked the snow-like landscape in the background (some nice effects happening there), I did not like the color of the sky. So, I thought I would try something different and this is where things really started to happen with this painting!

I also enlarged the eyes a bit to compensate for what the camera does to depth of field (exaggerates it).
"White and Wild Colt" - 16" x 20" oil on canvas board WIP.

What a difference the greens made! By adding some grasses and sagebrush, trees into the painting background, the horse (subject) comes forward and at the same time, depth is added to the subject itself! Now the face and head really "pops" out at you! By the way, I did not change the grey's and whites of the horse! Look at the difference! Its as if the horse's body lightened all on its own! This illustrates a good lesson about how colors affect each other.

As I added the green landscape in the background, I did a common mistake that artists do; I did not step back and look at what I was doing. I got too carried away in developing the bushes, trees, sage brush and grass. But, when I did step back and sat on my couch...I sure was shocked at the difference! I had to laugh at myself. As much as you learn this stuff, and know technically what you should be doing, sometimes we get caught off guard and I think the things we have learned along the way, just happen (fortunately), on their own.
I believe this is when I get some help from above, and I really don't mind the help!'s lesson(s); don't forget to add dimensions to your painting, even within the subject itself. Don't forget to stand back often and don't get in too close to your painting, so you can see how it is working (shapes, color harmony, flow). In other words; don't do as I do, do as I say!

Happy creating!

Quote of the Day:

Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment. 
Rita Mae Brown 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When an Artist is Inspired

This is one of the things that can happen when an artist is inspired. If it seemed the trees changed colors quickly this year, then how quickly they shed their leaves has been even more shocking! There is still a fair amount of color in the woods, but it has been very windy here lately and the spirits of Autumn have stripped away the dying leaves.

The paintings below were inspired by the colors of Fall.

Changing - 18" x 24" x .75" Acrylic on stretched canvas. Pallet knife painting.

Fall in the Valley - 18" x 24" Acrylic on stretched canvas.

Cropped section of "Fall in the Valley"

Cropped section of "Fall in the Valley"
Both of these paintings are made up places. I looked at a couple photos as I painted them, and took bits and pieces of each as I drew out and painted them both. I still have a few things to add to "Fall in the Valley", so it is not quite finished.

In other news, I have made my submissions to the upcoming BIG annual Art Guild Show and Sale in St Thomas on November 9th 'til 11th at the Historical Train Station(1) .

I am a member of the St Thomas-Elgin Artist Guild which holds this show every year and call it T'was the Art Before Christmas Show. The sad news is that I won't be able to attend myself this year because I have my knee surgery scheduled for the 9th! Talk about bad timing, but the Guild has graciously allowed me to show my work.

If you can attend the show, I must say that it is a great opportunity to purchase good art at great prices! A percentage of sales goes back to the Guild to support future en-devours, as they work towards promoting art in the region. Money raised at this show, also goes towards paying for the great venue we have at this Historical Building (Train Station)(2). If you have not visited this Historical Landmark yet, this is the perfect excuse to make the time to take it in. They have restored the interior of the building to closely resemble what it might have looked like "back in the day" when trains were our main transportation.

Unfortunately, while researching this fantastic venue, I discovered how poorly represented it is online! (I could not find a website related to it and when you google 'train station in St Thomas', the "Elgin County Railway Museum" comes up several times, which is something different at another location).What a discouragement. I guess you will just have to come see for yourself what an amazing building it has been restored to! I will continue to promote this show around the Aylmer and London area.

Quote of the Day:

We require from buildings two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it. John Ruskin

Here is a photo of the Train Station venue I found online, with no credits attached...looks like it was winter-time with snow on the ground.


(1) this link shows you a series of photos before renovations
(2) this link is to the CASO-Canada Southern Railway Station

Friday, October 5, 2012

Waking up to Color

Old Maple tree on the family farm

Doesn't is seem like the trees change colours so quickly? I remember last year that the trees' leaves had barely begun to change when they all dropped to the ground. This year is different. The colors are spectacular around here. I was having breakfast, looking out my kitchen window on a dull and dreary morning when suddenly, the sun peaked out from behind the grey cloudy skies and lit up the tops of the trees. I ran upstairs and grabbed my camera, tripod and disc and got outside to the hillside as soon as possible. As I took the lens cap off...yup, you guessed it; the sun disappeared again! I looked up at the cloud-covered sky to see if there could be a possibility of more sunshine poking through...but it did not look promising. Being an optimist, I waited. I noticed that the wind was blowing quite strongly, so maybe those clouds might separate and open up a whole for the sun to reveal itself through once again. It made many attempts, but did not fully reveal itself again...but I did click off a few pics anyways. Here are a few of them;

View from my Kitchen window this morning

Looking out towards the west

Geraniums in October

Lavendar blooms in October

As an artist and especially as a photographer, we must always be ready to capture those special moments. Yes...the sun will come out again, but maybe not before this year's autumn leaves hit the ground! Seize the moment!

Quote of the Day

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How to be Creative

Coming Home - Fishing boat return home to Port Stanley full of fish. Acrylic on 3/4" thick wood. Gloss varnish, signed and ready to hang on your wall (sides painted black).

Now that I have your attention...I have a big secret to tell may or may not know this already, but I will share it anyhow.

Did you know that we are all creative by nature?

Yup. Even if you are quite sure you can barely draw a stick man, you are still a creative being. You are human after all.

I used to get all uptight when I heard someone confess that they can't draw or paint. If I had a dollar for every person who has visited my booth at an Art Fair and confessed they can only draw a "stick man"...I'd be twelve dollars richer! And, has anyone told the poor stick man that he is not actually a creation? Who is going to break the news to him/her (usually cannot tell gender of stick men...but then again, we do call them stick 'men')??! - There's a question for there such thing as a 'stick woman'? Sorry...just thinking out loud.

Now, I am fully aware that most people just say that to illustrate a point they are trying to make; that they are not artistically inclined. I just completely disagree.

If you are a human being, born here on planet earth, I am sorry to break it to you, but you are in fact creative and even 'artistic'.

Every time you devise a plan to do something, decide what to wear, write an email to your mom, solve any are actually being creative. What I am trying to convey to you is that being creative comes with the territory of being a human being and comes with living our daily lives and that creativity comes in many forms. Apparently...the right side of your brain is your creative side and if you use the right side of your are being creative.(1)

Its not just a painter's abilities to solve the problem of how to show you a flower from their point of view, using paint. It might be your superb ability at figuring out how to staff a restaurant for the upcoming long weekend that required some 'creative thinking' on your part.

Have I made my point? I don't know...I might have even offended your sensibilities. Sorry about that...did not mean to. I guess I am speaking to those who tell me they don't have a creative bone in their body!

Now, there are different levels of creative abilities or of being tuned in to the creative vibes. Some people are better at being creative than others...but I have a suspicion that this is due primarily to their convincing themselves of this and therefore creating their own reality of not being creative.

There are many articles online that deal with this topic that I have come across over the last few years, and I have only scuffed the surface here, in this post. This is my perspective on the subject.

Quote of the Day:

I think, in the end, the Maker's High is the greatest high we can possibly experience.  You're closest to God when you're in this "zone."  After all, if we're created in our creator's image, why shouldn't we get "high" by creating great things?   Clint Watson

Foot notes;

(1) From: Left Brain vs Right Brain
Understanding the Myth and Reality of Left Brain and Right Brain Dominance
By , -The Right Brain
According to the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory, the right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks. Some of the abilities that are popularly associated with the right side of the brain include:
  • Recognizing faces
  • Expressing emotions
  • Music
  • Reading emotions
  • Color
  • Images
  • Intuition
  • Creativity
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