I just had a three day open studio as part of the Gabriola Thanksgiving Studio Tour. It was a wonderful experience slightly tempered by the necessity of keeping strict COVID protocols. Welcoming people into our space after being quite solitary for the past year and a half was heart-warming. People were so thrilled to be able to take part in this activity and visit many artists studios throughout the long weekend. This painting was shown at the central gallery where each artist displays one piece of work.
The idea for “skyflowers” – or clouds that taken on the aspect of various flowers – drifted into my mind and just had to be painted. The seascape part is very much inspired by the local waters here amongst the Gulf Islands off Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada.
Here are irises cascading into the ocean behind an island at sunset.
I built up and scratched away layers to enhance the evening glow in this part of the sky.
One more piece of sky clearing showing the shape of the iris clouds.
This painting is definitely not the last of this series. 🙂
About a week after my first visit to Nola’s pond, I had the chance to go back and focus on the now blooming waterlilies. What a treat. There is something about painting waterlilies …I guess Monet was onto something!
Another lovely day in late June spent painting a garden. I was so pleased to be able to create this piece which ended up having quite a personal resonance for the owner.
And here is the setup in the strong sunshine we had that day.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy my plein air set up? It’s a Coulter Easel, and I have been using it for a couple of years now both for plein air and often (at least for smaller paintings) in the studio too. It is compact and very ergonomic with the palette and painting held at the perfect heights for working …and in cases like this with sloped ground, it is very easy to adjust a leg of the tripod to compensate for the terrain.
Another friend/neighbour invited me to paint their lovely garden. I really enjoyed the pond here! A chance to get into the shadows and reflections in the pond as well as the varied planting around (and in) it. In June, the irises were still blooming and the waterlilies were just starting to show some colour.
Another lovely few hours spent in someone’s garden painting a lovely view. Back in June when this was painted, everything was fresh and blooming. All that crazy summer heat we experienced was yet to come.
I have in the past been used to keeping pretty much up to the minute on this blog but actually, I find I have really been enjoying looking back from the distance of a few months and dare I say feeling a sense of accomplishment for everything I did in this (still) rather strange period of history. From the perspective of a bit of time, I no longer see the breaks and gaps but just the work. Interesting.
My next exploration with a big sky. This one was starting to get closer to what was in my head. I had a vision of clouds as flowers and thought “why not?” As artists we do not have any constraints expect those we put on ourselves. Kandinsky said, “There is no must in art, because art is free.” Whatever I imagine, I can paint! So freeing!
This one was an imagined view. I was thinking about clouds and this colours, shapes and patterns they make. It has more of a feeling of the landscapes where I grew up in Southern Ontario than where I live now on the West Coast of Canada. Fairly flat farm land with trees between the fields and dreamy puffy clouds.
A sunny day back in the spring. I was perched rather precariously on a large rock with my setup. It doesn’t look too bad in the photo, you’ll just have to trust me on that! 😉
The sea looks different every time …and the scudding clouds and the distant mountains too. Looking at a plein air painting always takes me back to the feeling of being in that place at that time, with the feel of the breeze and the smell of the ocean. Looking at this I just remembered I was visited by sea lions while I was painting this one. If they had come much closer, I would have packed up but they stayed down on the rocks off to the right of the frame of this painting. It was pretty magical.
Well, it has been quite a while and I have been painting regularly so I have a backlog to share! Quite a few paintings from the summer were painted plein air. I so enjoy painting outdoors and the challenges of expressing myself quickly so that I can capture the scene and the light before it changes too much.
This one was painted on Arches Oil Paper which is fun to work on. The texture of the paper makes the finished piece looks a bit like an oil pastel but it was painted with oil paints and brushes. See the set up below.
I am so spoiled living in such a beautiful place. Looks like I had already put away my brushes when I took this picture but you get the idea. The actual very warm tone of the arbutus trunks doesn’t show very well in the photo unfortunately.
Tom has been very busy lately with a variety of projects so for now I will be posting sans poetry.
A pleasant day in late March. The local buffleheads were out – that’s a kind of black and white duck. Plein air painting can be such a wonderful way to connect with the world. Looking at a painting I have done in nature always takes me right back to that moment.
Tom wrote a haiku for this painting celebrating spring …and buffleheads!
bufflehead breezes wander down island narrows ruffling spring waters