Tuesday, 16 December 2014

"In the Sedge, Lakeside"
5.25" x 3.5"

One of our favourite cross country spots was through the sedge
grasses at the side of a local lake.  It was an area that in the 
summer was quite inaccessible because of it's boggy nature.  
In the frozen days of winter, we could skim nicely along to 
secret coves and beach heads.

"Across the Valley"
Watercolour  4"x5.5"

For "Across the Valley" I used a the sketch below as
 a reference to paint from.  The sketch was done high
up a logging road on a cold winters day.  Backing the 
truck into a small meadow, I could sit in the trunk with my
little set of watercolours and a cup of water with the entire 
valley unfolding in front of me.  Magical!

I adore watercolours for their portability, and often take 
them with me on travels. There is now quite a collection 
of quick sketches from all over the world in my sketchbooks. 
It's striking how just a glance at a page instantly invokes
vivid  memories of specific places and occasions.
Once, in a museum, I saw pages from James Whistler's sketchbook. 
 It was dense with acute observations of the English countryside.  
Absolutely gorgeous and compelling.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A painting of a memorable skiing trip 
over the hills to a small lake where we had hot tea 
and left over Christmas cookies.  It was on one of 
those days when the skies clear and the sun 
makes the snow piercingly brilliant.

Watercolour  5"x3"

As a child we often went skiing at night. 
I loved the glow of snow in the indigo landscape.
I am not sure if the falling soft, wet flakes made a noise
but I seem to remember a faint sensation 
of whispering sound all around us.

Watercolour 5"x3"

Friday, 12 December 2014

I grew up in a place whose name means ' Valley of Snow."  
This watercolour is an amalgam of details from my memory.
I love the quiet that snow brings both to the ears and the eyes. 
It muffles sound so that a single bird's whistle seems to travel
forever while it covers much of the usual visual deluge of texture 
and detail in white simplicity.  

Watercolour 3"x 4.5 inches on 140 lb. acid free paper.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

"That Shell"
Watercolour on  paper   5" x 3.5"

I have been working on getting this shell right.  They are so complicated as
the form transitions in and out, while the growth lines spiral around the form.  
It is a trick to get it all right.  I used 140 lb stonehenge paper for this one.  
Stonehenge is meant to be a printmaking paper and if relatively soft, 
with very little tooth. I like it for watercolour  because the pigment literally
sinks into the fibres so it is easier to get clean edges.  I like to imagine that
 it is easier on my favourite brush as well, with less roughness to chew 
those small hairs to oblivion.

Available at www.dailypaintworks.com

Monday, 8 December 2014

"West Coast Textures"
As winter settles in here, the garden has dissolved into a mess of 
sodden leaves and stalks.  Not much colourful out there to paint! 
So, I am using my collection of stones, twigs and shells as models.
 For this particular set up, I used a fairly bright spot light, 
which increased  the contrast from the previous painting. 
Stronger light makes the details easier to see, but also 
tends to wash away subtle tonalities.  It's a bit of a trick 
to keep it all in balance.

"Small Treasures"
This little guy is only 3 inches by  4.25 inches.  
At that scale the view is very intimate and it feels like
 I am catching a glimpse of a quiet and private moment.
This painting is in a technique called drybrush watercolour.  
As the terms sounds, the brush is very dry and as such, 
one can keep very tight control of where the pigments go.
For sale on Daily Paintworks.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Another approach to this subject! Working on 5" x 7" paper again, 
 I set the flowers up in a very strong light and left the background bare.  
This lets the elements be the stars of the show.  
Really like the shadow on the rose hip!
Sorry, this work is sold.

This is my second go at the roses.  This watercolour is 5x6 inches in total. 
The paper was washed to give it a sense of 'age' as these roses have an air 
of sweet nostalgia to them.  I also played with the strong pattern that the leaves
 make. I think it gives the background as much strength as the subject. 
Available on Daily Paintworks.

This little watercolour ( 5x7) packs a punch.  This fall, my mothers rose bushes were brimming with delicate pink roses, robust rose hips and the dried out ochre coloured petals of the blooms past their prime and not yet dead headed.  I really enjoyed playing the warm and cold reds against the veridian greens. Available through Daily Paintworks.