It was a chilly early morning as we waited for the sun to rise up over the mountain but what a glorious sight as the sun reached out to tickle the tulip tops. If this painting looks familiar to some of you it's because I painted a very small 5" x 7" study of it a few years ago. In the second picture below you can see the painting hanging and the small framed study.
Have you ever wondered if there really were mermaids? Well I have and I think I have seen proof not only that they exist but that they are ARTISTS! Grab a bottle of water, your camera, and some sun block as it is hot today, and I will take you on a journey to Starfish Rock.
Starfish Rock is just outside of Gibsons Landing the first time I saw it my friend and I were out on a quest to find some good shots of arbutus trees, this time as well as the last time we are just going to wing the directions so I hope you aren't scared of getting lost.
It's a curvy coastal road lots of ups and downs and hairpin curves with some wonderful places to pull over and admire the view. After a good half hour or so of driving under a canopy of trees we come to a small quaint residential area with a dead end street, this is where we get out and there she is Starfish Rock!
In my fanciful imaginings I would like to think that mermaids come out when no one is around and use the large coastal rocks as their canvas moving along the coast leaving their masterpieces hidden until the tide goes out or perhaps it a rogue band of mermaid graffiti artists defacing the coastal rocks with little chance of being caught.
Mermaid Graffiti or Art what would you call it?
Disclaimer: Although the rock painted with starfish is real the name Starfish Rock is a fictional name.
Come step into my painting, after the hot weather we have been having it's a nice change to walk in a cool mist.
Better wear your wellies and bring an umbrella as there is a heavy mist cloaking the path today. But we won't let a little wet stop us now will we?
Now just hang on a sec as I get this old barbed wire fence opened. There was a time I would have just climbed through it but i'm not quite as agile as I used to be now that i'm a woman of a certain age. And please be careful where you step as the little snails packing their homes upon their backs love to come out during these damp days.
If you look to the right you will see that the lavender is beginning to bloom, I can never resist picking a piece and rubbing it between my fingers releasing the soothing aroma of lavender, can you? As we meander along the path we will pass yellow yarrow, blooming heather in soft mauve's and blues, also some soft blue wild flags/irises. These smaller irises aren't quite as large as the showy domestic variety but their delicate beauty suits this natural landscape.
Watch out for the black berry brambles, those sneaky vines like to reach out and snag at your clothing. It won't be long now before we will be gorging on sweet juicy berries. I like to pick extra to put in the freezer so that in the middle of winter I can pull some out and take a quick step back into summer with this delicious recipe for Black Berry Scones
Well it's time to get back to slinging paint, thank you for stepping into my painting with me! Next week we will be going back to the ocean with a visit to Starfish Rock
After weeks of painting water reflections I decided to move inland painting this soft and calming pastoral scene. The reference photo was shot last summer on a day trip to Boundary Bay. It was one of those days when you know that once the sun breaks through it's going to be a bright hot day but for now the light is softly diffused giving the country side a softness not seen under the bright sun.
There is a quietness on the docks in the early summer morning, that space of time before the world wakes up and the business of the day begins. The boats gently rock, casting out their reflections on the calm waters, the shrieks of distant sea gulls fill the air, and a lone heron stands in the shallow waters fishing for breakfast. Early summer mornings are truly the best time of the day.
It's late afternoon on a warm September day, as the sun sets, a duck glides through the placid pond creating abstract patterns upon the waters.
The following passage by Annie Dillard - Pilgrim at Tinker Creek speaks to the child in me, growing up as a tom boy much of my time was spent mucking around slow moving creeks and ponds.
"In summer's low water, flags and bulrushes grow along a series of shallow pools cooled by the lazy current. Water striders patrol the surface film, crayfish hump along the silt bottom eating filth, frogs shout and glare, and shiners and a small bream hide among roots from the sulky green heron's eye."
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
What a great day, I was finally able to devote most of today to painting. It's been a busy couple of weeks for me, what with work and Realtor showings of my house, leaving me with just little snatches of painting time.
Today I finished The Coy Koi this painting is No. IV in my series of Abstract Reflections. I went a little larger on this painting using a 24" x 24" canvas, I really wanted the the koi to pop and didn't feel the smaller canvas would give it the impact that the larger one does.
The Coy Koi
Abstract Reflections IV
24" x 24" acrylic on canvas
This is how it looked in the beginning. I very loosely drew the Koi in with a large round brush and filled it in with cadmium red medium. At this point i'm not to concerned about getting the exact color I just want to get some local color down to use as guidelines. I quickly brushed on some green on one side and paynes gray on the other, added some random spots on the fish and ta da it's done. Ready for the next step.
One of the pleasures of summer is the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Is it possible to resist this tasty temptation with its cheesecake base, creamy whip topping, sweet strawberry glaze, and luscious plump red berry.... ah no I confess after the photo shoot I devoured it right down to that last little drop of strawberry glaze.
Just like music, artwork triggers memories both during the painting process as well as when I look back on them. As I sit here looking at this painting with the song Summer Wine by Deana Carter playing in the background my memory spirals me back to other summers. Gorging on fresh fruits, the strawberries being the first fruits of the summer, running around barefoot, swimming in Harrison Lake, sleep outs with friends, endless days and long hot summer nights, first loves, temptations.....
Opportunities can be fleeting we often do not recognize them or fear holds us back from reaching out to capture them. Reflections on the other hand see their opportunities and leap forward and ride the waves without fear. I am a Wave Rider are you?
A couple of summers back I went to a painting class in Gibsons, BC a southwest coastal village on the Straight of Georgia with my friend Barb. It was a wonderful creative fun filled week. I could not have asked for a more suitable traveling partner, not only are we both artists, but also photography buffs. As soon as class let out we were off exploring with cameras in hand. This painting is from a small section of a image I shot at the marina.
"We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see."
I've tried to meditate, but trying to shut down the conversations and thoughts that scamper through my mind is not an easy thing to accomplish; yet I can sit for hours watching the play of color and movement in a body of water without a single thought in my mind.
I'm currently working on a group of small paintings featuring water reflections, some are from images that I shot purposefully but others were pleasant surprises that I found as I culled my photos. I hope you enjoy my walk on the abstract side.
When i'm painting with acrylics I prefer to paint in my kitchen rather then the downstairs studio. The lighting is better, water is available and the coffee is handy for refueling. The view is also much more inspiring, out the window I can see the forest, hear the birds chirping and the squirrels chattering.
I usually stand my canvases on the counter if they are larger sized, and pull out the tabletop easel if smaller.
I'm a pretty neat painter so I don't usually worry about getting paint splatters anywhere. If i'm going to be doing any paint flinging I take it outside.
I have a wooden board that I place across my sink on which I place two heavy squares of glass that I use as my palette, once one is dirty I switch to the next. I love using glass palettes, they are so easy to clean up. I just pop them in the sink for a few minutes to soften up the paint, scrape off the paint with a painters putty knife and put it into a plastic container so that it's not going down the drain.
Out of sight is the clutter of a painter, tubes of paint, wiping rags, odds & ends it's a mess lol.
I find that there is a sensuousness in the act of painting flowers, especially when using pastels. Using bare fingers to mold and manipulate each delicate petal, the soft velvety feel of the pastel as it glides across the paper, the manipulation of the curves and valley's as the beauty within emerges.
Spring Treasures is a small acrylic study piece I did using a limited palette of burnt umber, burnt seinna, quinacridone red, cadmium red medium, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium yellow light, pthalo blue, ultra marine blue, plus white and black.
For someone like me who grabs at colors willy nilly a limited palette is great, I wasted no time wondering what particular shade of blue I had been using as I only had the two blues to choose from.
Growing up in the beautiful West Coast of British Columbia has allowed me to see numerous rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, and ocean. This painting is not based on any particular body of water but from the memories that have accumulated in my mind over the years.
90 % of this painting was done as finger painting. I added some small details with a brush in the areas where my fingers were just to big.
With no photo references to work from it was interesting to see what emerged from my imagination. Lately I am drawn to paintings with lots of texture and less detail, and am currently enamored by the works of The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson
I am so drawn to this black and white hounds-tooth fabric that it has starred in four of my paintings. Maybe it's the splashes of color against the pattern or perhaps it is just the challenge of painting the different values. The process of painting the pattern is slow and tedious but as I look at these paintings so many ideas of other painting pop into my mind, right now I am seeing long red peppers against the black and white.....ideas are swirling around in my mind and another painting is beginning to brew.
Tea of Life 18" x 24" Acrylic Open A'Peel 16" x 16" Acrylic
As a still life artist I have quite a collection of odds and ends cluttering up my home expressly for the purpose of being a prop for one of my still life paintings. For this painting I pulled out the greens, old greenish tinted bottles, a large green fabric ornament, and a small heavy green ornament. I arranged them in a little alcove in my kitchen, where for a very short period of time I get some wonderful strong afternoon sun which is great for making some nice shadow action as well as excellent contrasts.
Today I look out into my yard and see a profusion of rhododendron blooms and buds, after two years of nary a bloom I am pleased to see them return.
Rhododendron Bud #1
This painting was done a number of years ago. It was the first one of a group of three paintings showing the progression of the rhododendron bud opening up to it's full splendor and one of my favorites. The group of three paintings sold shortly after I finished them to a collector in White Rock, BC
It's a slow start, first the hint of little buds sprout, then like the explosion of popcorn kernels delicate blossoms burst forth covering the trees with a profusion of color. Beautiful but fleeting as the wind comes with a mighty gust and the petals flutter and fall to the ground.
When a painting takes over things can change in a hurry. The first image is of the under-painting which I had done with the intention of it being a underwater painting of a koi think seaweed, deep blues, and greens the background fits perfectly.
But as the painting progressedI kept seeing trees filled with cherry blossoms, big, round, fluffy blossoms.
Trying to capture a good image of this painting was harder then the actual painting process. With so many variations of color the camera doesn't seem to pick them all up very well