This small (8″x 8″ oil on canvas) painting is based on a photo I took a couple of weeks ago at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden here in Vancouver. It was a cloudy day but bright so I took advantage of the afternoon to do a little sight-seeing in my still relatively newly adopted city. The koi quietly swimming by while the willow leaves drifted on the surface of the water was a beautiful moment. It is a very picturesque Chinese garden and so there will likely be more paintings to come from my visit.
Tom’s beautiful haiku also captures the moment.
sky falls on water
dry leaves burn in autumn sun
koi pass by below
Although I have been posting ink and water colour pieces for more than a month, I have been oil painting as well. Here is an experiment from earlier this month – my first try painting on linen! It came with a clear gesso finish but using my technique which involves a transparent under-painting, I thought it would be better to have a regular white gesso base. So I applied and sanded three coats before starting to paint. It had a nice texture and a level of slickness that I really liked working on. Linen is a good bit more expensive than canvas, but it might just be worth it!
A few years ago, I tried a painting of orchids and wasn’t really satisfied with how it turned out. They are challenging! So although I had photos of some outrageously exotic orchids I took at a show a couple of years ago, I hadn’t dared paint any until recently. This type of orchid doesn’t look at all like a typical florists’ orchid but more like an extravagant “lady slipper”. I played around with the background since the flowers were against a concrete wall in the photo and I wanted some strong colour while still keeping the flowers as the star of the piece. Can’t you just imagine them deep in a jungle with the smell of humid earth all around?
Tom was inspired to write this haiku!
passing flowers drape
beauty on grey forest air
Here is the final (centre) piece of my “Looking up through trees” series. The underpainting for this one was a combination of cad orange and yellow.
Tom’s haiku for the overall piece is written in India ink with a stylus on the finished centre painting. This was an experiment and I am still thinking about how text can be integrated into oil paintings in the best way to look part of the art.
eagle forest sky
high above through reaching trees
rooted deep in Earth
I am quite happy with how this came together. Things don’t match perfectly but that wasn’t the intention. It’s the feeling of being there that I wanted to communicate.
This is going to be interesting to frame with small equal spaces between each panel. The gaps between panels will be black and the frame will have a black shadow gap at the edge. I may post the framed version once it’s ready.
The under-painting for this one is cad orange and some cad yellow medium. Unlike some of the others of the series, there is no single large tree, but a characteristic texture of foliage, branches and light. I played with a variety of colours for the sky peeking through – blues, mauves, turquoises… That and the bits of under-painting that remain, give a nice vibrancy.
This is the second last of the series! The next post will include the centre piece and all nine 6″x 6″ paintings put together. 🙂
Here is Tom’s haiku written just for this piece – I don’t see any squirrels but I sure can imagine them!
searching bursts of green
ruffled breezes passing by
shaking squirrels on high
This is one of my favourites of the series. I can really feel the height of this giant tree and the light filtering through! The under-painting was cad orange and while I found it a bit visually uncomfortable during the process for some reason, I think the end result is good. Curious.
Here is Tom’s mystical haiku written for this one.
bright starburst branches
tangled future, ancient past
rising to the sky
This series continues to be so enjoyable to paint! There’s an infinite variety of greens to play with and the contrast with the various back-painting shades has been an interesting exploration. With this one, the back-painting was a warm enough red to be verging on orange.
Here’s Tom’s haiku written just for this painting.
lies behind the palisade
sunlight filters through