July and August 2017: A small selection of my work, courtesy of Darrell Bell Gallery, is available at Boffins restaurant (111 Research Drive, U of S campus) throughout the summer months.

November 10, 2016:
I was interviewed by Daily Paintworks as their Spotlight Artist for a week! Read my interview on the DPW News blog!


Ongoing: my 8x8" original oil paintings are available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon. For a limited time several of my large oil paintings are also available at
their new street front gallery on 21st Street (formally Lifestyles By Darrell Bell Gallery).

Ongoing: a selection of my larger work is available at The Black Spruce Gallery at Northside on Highway 2 just before the turn to Christopher Lake.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Feathery Pine

Feathery Pine
8x8"
oil on board
sold

My goal at this point in the week was to listen to my instructor's constructive criticism which was that my tree top studies had been a smidge illustrative. She said that pines are feathery and soft, even a bit floppy, so with that in mind I used the same limited palette as before (Cad. Yellow Light, Yellow Ochre, Crimson, Phthalo Blue, Titanium White), but tried to soften or gray the colours a bit more. As well, I used a different brush. For the most part I gravitate toward a flat, square brush so in an effort to switch things up I pulled out a "round brush". It was a fun day of experimenting. I did this study and enjoyed it a lot so afterwards I did a larger painting which I will post next time.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Trouble in Paradise

my space in the studio
Kenderdine Campus
The studio building with covered outdoor work area

After the skies I painted (my last two posts), things went downhill for me. That same afternoon I decided to paint a fallen tree and the forest floor. The entire time I painted I kept wondering what on earth was wrong with the paints. They seemed so dull and lifeless. They didn't have the same sheen as the tree top studies I had done just the day before. I am quite new to oils, so I am on a steep learning curve and, as much as I like experimenting, the hit-and-miss approach can be a bit tedious! In this case I just figured I was mixing my medium and paint differently and yet at the same time I truly couldn't work out what had changed. As my painting time went on and nothing improved I began to feel frustrated. The results were so poor. Do I keep plodding along or do I quit, regroup, and start fresh? But without knowing where I had gone wrong, the next painting could end up with the same problem. I took a deep breathe and went through a checklist in my mind...

1) same paint? check
2) same medium? check
3) same brushes? check
4) same board? che... hey, wait a minute....!!!!

This is where it all came together. Yes, I was using the same type of MDF board that I had used in my tree top studies but... and this is the kicker... I was painting on the un-sealed side of the board!!!!! The paint was literally soaking into the surface as fast as it was being applied. No wonder it looked completely dull and matte. And yes, it took me a good hour or so of painting time before the lightening bolt struck and I put it all together. Therein lies the problem with my new GAC-100: it is clear, so at quick glance the board appears the same on both sides. Really, it could happen to anyone... right?   

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Clearing Sky

Clearing Sky
8x8"
oil on cradled panel

This is the second sky I did from my spot at the end of the dock. As the morning progressed the clouds began to clear and blue sky increasingly took over. That is the tricky thing about plein air painting; the light changes so quickly, as do the clouds. However, when the sky is my subject the reality of that helps me to work in a more quick and loose manner.

I have to make a correction... this is the cradled panel that I used my GAC-100 to seal, not the one in the previous post. The Naples Yellow I used in the palette for this painting was an exact match to the colour of the sealed surface. The painting "Gray" in my previous post was gessoed then given a Quinaquidone Nickel Azo ground. Ahhh, the memory ain't what it used to be!


Here is the little cabin I stayed in during my week at the camp... Cabin #10... a sweet little place to hang my hat .... and my ant infested painting pants (read here to see what I am talking about)...at the end of the day. It was made even better by my room mate, Deb. We had never roomed before even though we had been in classes together in the past, so it was a real treat this time. Lots of catching up and giggles in the dark. One morning we woke to the sound of Aboriginal singing and drumming. It was powerful and emotional. So much better to wake up to than my beeping (or should I say bleepin') alarm clock! The drummer was with another group sharing the campus with us and he had gone to the outdoor (but covered) sculpture/welding pad where he chanted/sang to welcome the day. It was fabulous.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gray

Gray
8x8
oil on cradled panel
sold

Switching gears a little, on the third day at the Emma Lake workshop I decided to go to the beach and give the greens a break! I wanted to play with mixing grays and painting in a faster, looser way. I didn't specifically limit my palette here, but in the end I didn't use a lot of colours anyway. I had ordered some cradled panels when they were on sale from Opus, so I used one to see how it compared to the MDF boards I had been enjoying the previous days. The cradled panel I used for this painting was sealed with my new, trusty GAC-100 (Golden), so the pale colour of the wood showed through. In fact, I discovered that the colour of the wood was almost an exact match to Naples Yellow! There was not a huge difference between the cradled panels and the MDF boards. They are both obviously hard surfaces compared to canvas, which is what I am used to. The biggest difference was that the MDF boards were perfectly smooth, slippery even. The cradled panels had a slightly rougher surface, so there was a bit more "grab" with them.


It was a peaceful morning; very quiet, calm water, no breeze. I parked myself at the end of the dock. I had never painted there before, but since I had seen others set up in that spot I figured it would be okay. I slipped into my meditative painting mode quite easily. There was a canoe nearby on the other side of some reeds. I think the people were fishing, so any conversation they had was very soft and didn't bother my concentration. I'm easily startled when I paint because I guess I get kind of absorbed in what I am doing. Well, it wasn't long before I was being startled left and right! Why??? Because there were fish jumping everywhere... on my side of the reeds!!! It was unbelievable! If the fishermen only knew!  

I am including a photo I took looking back toward the campus from the end of the dock where I was painting. The building you see on the left is the cafeteria building. The dining hall is a circular shape and has a wrap-around, screened-in porch facing the lake. It feels like you are eating outside, but there are no insects! Very clever, very enjoyable. In this picture you can also see Adirondack chairs surrounding a fire pit and a cabin tucked into the trees.

Sigh. It is a wonderful place. It has a rich history that most don't know about... someday I will try to give it to you in a nutshell. For now I am typed out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stand Tall

Stand Tall
8x8
oil on board
sold

Here is the fourth and last painting I did on my second day of plein air painting with a limited palette at the workshop this summer. This one was done on a gessoed board with a black latex paint ground. Back at the studio I realized that it was all over very dark, so I added some rich browns to lighten it up the tree trunks on the right hand side as well as some lighter green highlights on the branches. Some might say that this is still somewhat on the illustrative side, but I like it... so I am leaving it!

I revisited the limited palette and the tree tops a couple of days after I did these four. I used a different brush and mixed more subdued/gray colours. It has a different energy for sure, but you will have to wait to see it! Thanks so much for all of your kind comments on my last post. I really appreciate the feedback.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kenderdine Birches

Kenderdine Birches
8x8"
oil on panel

And now number three of the four tree top studies I did using the limited palette of Cad. Yellow light, Crimson, Phthalo Blue, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White. I don't actually think the Yellow Ochre got in much on this one. This is another painting on a MDF board primed with GAC-100 by Golden, so the colour of the board peaks through here and there. This happened to be Degen's favorite of the four (my instructor) I did that day. 

It really hit home for me on these two intitial days up at Emma Lake just how much I enjoy painting en plein air. I love it. I love the fresh air, the sounds of the world around me, the warmth of the sun, the push I feel to work quickly and capture what I see in front of me. It's exciting and inspirational- that is until I inadvertently set up on top of an ant hill! Yup, and that is just what happened that delightful morning on Kenderdine Campus! I was happily painting away with no worries, just swatting the odd mosquito. Once in a while I felt something ticklish on my leg and I would brush it off, but soon it became more and more frequent until it began to drive me a bit nuts. Finally I looked down and ants were all over me!!! My shoes and pant legs were covered, and there were already a few on my paint shirt. Obviously some ants had gone up the leg of my jeans and that is what I felt tickling my leg; I literally had ants in my pants! And yes, I screamed... it wasn't primal, but it was a scream. 

Stay tuned for more plein air adventures...     

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pine And Fancy

Pine And Fancy
8x8
oil on panel

This is the second of four paintings I did with a limited palette (Cad. Yellow Light, Phthalo Blue, Crimson, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White) on my second day at the Kenderdine class; another tree top study. I loved the feel of the paint gliding onto the smooth board and again I used the walnut alkyd to speed the drying time. I wish the photo/ monitor could better show the movement of the brushstrokes in the blue sky and the sheen the medium gave the paint. This painting is done on one of the boards I sealed with Golden brand GAC-100, so the actual colour of the board shows through the paint here and there (see detail below). It is a different effect than the second detail I have posted which shows the black under-painting on "Branching Out".

Pine And Fancy - detail
clear GAC-100 under-painting
(the golden yellow colour by the leaves 
is the board showing through)
                 
 Branching Out - detail
black latex under-painting

What I found was that the edges on "Branching Out" looked sharper and slightly outlined wherever the under-painting showed through. I have since rectified that and the under-painting is now more subtle, but in the detail above you can still see some of that black coming through. As well, I found that while painting outside the colours I mixed seemed brighter, but when I got inside the studio at the end of the day I discovered some areas looked dark and flat... actually Degen, the instructor, brought it to my attention. These things all made the paintings look somewhat illustrative to Degen and she said that was fine if that was what I was going for (it wasn't), but if not I needed to add some more light areas, especially to the pine trees, and watch my edges. So I did some tweaking that evening and I liked the paintings far more once I implemented her suggestions. That being said, I really like seeing edges, whether they disappear into one another or sometimes look cut out. What I came away with from that day of painting was that I am still on that almighty learning curve! And it doesn't look like I am getting off anytime soon!



NOTE: The name for this painting comes from a store at Waskesiu Lake that sells candy, new and old hard-to-find kinds, as well as souvenirs and toys... you know, the kind of place where kids love to go with their allowance (i.e. parents money!). My sisters and I have always giggled at the name, Pine And Fancy. We love it! Anyway, this title came to me as I realized I had painted one little pine tree surrounded by a bunch of fancy, leaf fluttering Birch Trees. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Branching Out

Branching Out
8x8"
oil on panel
private collection

On my second day at Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus I decided to use my 8x8 boards again and experiment with the tree top idea that has been swirling around in my head since I painted "Looking Up" and "Against The Sky". I decided to use oils in a limited palette which helped to keep my plein air supplies nice and light. I also borrowed some walnut alkyd from a good friend (thanks Deb!) with the hopes that the paint would dry more quickly... it did! I decided to stay around the main campus area so that I could easily take my boards back to the studio when they were complete. I painted four boards that day using only Cadmium Yellow Light, Phthalo Blue, Yellow Ochre, Crimson and Titanium White. At first I had not included Yellow Ochre, but as I began painting I felt like I couldn't get all of the greens and browns I wanted, so I added it. I have to say that I had virtually never used Yellow Ochre until this spring and it has fast become one of my favorite colours! I especially love it in oil paint.

I have to give a shout out to Don Michael Jr. and TJ Lynde for encouraging me to experiment with a limited number of paints on my palette. I still have plenty to learn and it was fantastic to spend an entire day focusing on this exercise. As it turns out, I think I actually use a more limited palette than I realized. Yes, I have plenty of colours to choose from in my box, but when I lay my palette out I pick and choose the blues I want, the yellows, reds etc. Once I get painting often I don't even end up using all of the colours I have squeezed out. I think I will challenge myself with a limited palette again because I think it encourages mixing and experimenting, but I am not going to beat myself up on the days when I want to squeeze out 10 or 12 colours.