Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Plein Air Excitement - the new Sea to Sky Gondola

Now that the weather is good, it feels great to get outside and experience the best of BC

our Whistler Out of Bounds group ventured out to check out the new Sea to Sky Gondola  south of Squamish, along with photographer Diane Hanna.. dramatic scenery on a dramatic weather day made for interesting and challenging conditions

there are some great view points/vistas and lookouts, and the trails are very accessible  - it feels like cheating getting whisked up to the top with lots of plein air gear, but for those that didn't inherit the "packing lightly" plein air gene,  its just perfect!

Sea to Sky Gondola check out   http://www.seatoskygondola.com

here is one of the lookouts and suspension bridge

and then the vista I painted from all day... complete with overhanging lookout!

the good news... is that you are on top of a mountain.... paradise... the bad news... is that you are on top of a mountain!... very challenging conditions as the clouds kept rolling in....
Photographer Diane captured the moving fog and cloud...
nothing like some creative composition on the fly!
one of my three pieces from that day in progress
a fabulous day! highly recommended

Plein Airing in Pemberton - always something interesting!

Another great plein air day in Pemberton painting solo in a field... I felt like a kid in a candy store.. so many exciting views!

with the backdrop of spectacular Mount Currie, mountains and farms are very compelling..

I tried three versions from the same vantage point... see below..

 I modified each version, learning more each time.. always with a view to compose and simplify, on a 12 x 16 board

interesting challenges... dry paint in the hot sun... and  tractors in the field throwing up dust in the middle of your value study!   you just have to laugh...

my final piece was on 18 x 24 inch canvas board, the largest I've done in the "field" ( ha ha)...I really enjoyed "going big" as they say..

thanks to Susie and John for hosting...

Experimenting in a new medium ..... I have finally discovered OILS!

Over the years, teachers like Brent Lynch  have observed that I would likely have a natural affinity for oils...

buttery and textural ... I always resisted... but now... I experimented and loved this new medium

I have taken a few oil workshops now... a still life course in black and white first as a foundation course.... focusing on abstract shapes and then "modelling"

below is my first still life pieces in true oils ..( 9 x 12)

of course I just know enough to be dangerous... when first asked to "tone " the canvas... I had about an inch thick layer of paint with no medium and wondered why the paint was sticking like glue

Portraits too... Having enjoyed figure drawing and a few portrait experiments, I jumped right in to a one day  FCA portrait course in oils! 

 nothing like painting from life to make you focus on drawing skills .... it is all about values and proportions

(note: only half the face is totally finished.. you can only do so much in a few hours.)

what I am enjoying about oils...you can really model , shape and blend

Liz Wiltzen  recently offered a great course in painting from photos recently, and I painted in oils as well...    "drills" were very powerful and design focused.. 

here is a lake louise landscape in progress... my first oil landscape..


 next a photo reference and exercise focusing on abstract shapes first

looking forward to trying plein-air painting in oils at some point... can't wait!

Reflections on Art Battle

well it was quite an experience...

painting under time pressure in front of 100's. gave quite the buzz and adrenaline rush ... ( and did I say a case of a bit of the nerves?)

I painted an 18 x 24  mountain landscape in 20 minutes

and I had trained doing  many 18x 24 timed  landscape pieces..

upon reflection, it was a great exercise in mapping in shapes, contrasting values,  and particularly working on an untoned canvas which was different for me

one surprising outcome .... afterwards  I tried grouping various combinations of my pieces to come up with panoramas I could work on down the road


hmmm, interesting inspiration that came just from laying them out on the floor to dry....

I met some great fellow artists in a familial festive environment.  Thanks to Bill Higginson for organizing a great event

Monday, June 9, 2014

the unexpected magic of mixing art with volunteer passions

Sometimes you never know how separate parts of your life will come together and mix....

 Based on my volunteer work , I was asked to provide images for  art cards sent out as a fundraising gift to 25,000 households across Canada...

I was honoured to be asked by one of my volunteer organizations, the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada... I am co-chair of the Arthritis Patient Advisory Board and advocate for patient engagement in research

bottom line.. you just never know where your gift of time and gift of art will take you..
check out http://www.arthritisresearch.ca.

and you never know what strange coincidences of friends and strangers receiving cards will occur!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A change of Plein Air Pace.... southern California

From mountains to palm trees... a change of winter scenery

Painting in desert-like conditions in acrylics is a huge challenge... but perseverance and plein-air go hand in hand

An interesting adjustment.. and a totally new palette .

 Note to self... when on the road improvising with new and different paints, remember to view first paintings as "colour" experiments  and ... REMEMBER TO BRING A SPRAY BOTTLE when painting in acrylics in 95 degree heat! ...

I am inspired to paint more palms, such interesting shapes!

A new trip up the learning curve - Judging the Opus 2014 Outdoor Painting Challenge

Opus Art Supplies has grown a great outdoor painting event over the past few years encouraging the public to come out and celebrate the art of plein air painting across BC

 This year I was asked to judge the event after being a previous participant ..

 It was an interesting collaborative process,  and I was judging in the esteemed company of plein air artist extraordinaire Gaye Adams and fellow artist Eishe .

As the OPUS website describes, it was a highly successful day.... Http://www.opusartsupplies.com/opc2014

I was at the downtown Vancouver store...with a great variety of styles and subject matter. In particular, the downtown store has a particularly strong "graphic design" personality... All ages, all styles, a festive atmosphere all in all!

It was very rewarding to make the transition from "participant" to "evaluator" in an official capacity...
unofficially as artists we are constantly in the business of "judging" our work and learning from others... just a different trip up the learning curve
 many thanks to the OPUS team for a great event 
ps for great plein-air tips, check out Gaye's video on plein air painting on the OPUS web site