I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I am now focusing on my own development ( Going to MY room!) and sharing what I have learned and continue to learn. I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

First Ontario Plein Air sketches of the season

Yes, yes, I know, its been a long time. Life and other painting commitments get in the way. Also not much new to share that I have not already shared about my approach.

Today I made my first plein air sketches of the year in Ontario. Both quick and simple. Total time under two hours. Compositions weak - but its a start again. Just nice to be out.

Both 12x16 acrylic on canvas board.  Small thumbnail sketches.  Initial plan of large shapes laid on using pencil. Final plan made using acrylic markers.

Second sketch on grey gessoed board. 

Burnt Orange wash.

Best keep practicing.

Friday, 27 January 2017

New under paintings

More paintings developed:

30x40 on canvas. Sketch with acrylic marker

Pthalo turquois glaze

Magenta added to darken areas

Magenta wash to the sky area

filling in darks with more transparents then adding opaque to shape trees and grasses

Viewing framed 

additional glaze to darken - over did it - too dark 
Brought up the lighter opaques - back and forth, back and forth- need to frame, hang and consider

Second piece 16x24 on canvas:

Anthacranone blue underpainting 

Allowing the blue to form the darks of the rocks and dark tree and dark accents of mountain

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

New starts for the New Year

Been a while and its another year. Few more approaches to acrylic landscapes
Started with a photo of the shoreline near Campbell River, Vancouver Island.

Interest area was simply the shoreline. Altered some elements (rocks) to close in the outside and emphasized and exaggerated the foreground elements.

24x30 sketch in with fine then darks with15mm acrylic markers

View in frame, notice the different temp of light in other room 
Played with glazes to darken for more "drama".  Need to think about it - pretty dark . 

Iconic west coast tree near lighthouse in Ucluelet BC

Diox Purple glaze

Use rubber shaper to pull out rough values

18x24 consider few days, may need to bring in some warmer temperatures  and the value on the rocks too light - same as water- need to be darker

Saturday, 29 October 2016

New start

New start. Comox Estuary.  Acrylic 16x24 on canvas mounted on board. Quick rough  plan with pencil then final plan with acrylic marker.

Block in darks using transparent red iron oxide and pthalo green. Spread for variable thickness using 3 inch rubber shaper.

Block in and carve transparents with opaques. First layer coverage. Frame and reconsider what it needs over few days.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Third interpretation

Third morning. I wanted a different approach again. Went to a diox purple as the underpainting and did a bolder rough value plan - adding and subtracting with brush and colour shaper.

Pencil sketch - 18x24 canvas

Acrylic marker plan 

Diox purple underpainting and rough value plan

Stronger vertical transparent darks
Poor photo - canvas covered in first layer- transparent darks carved by opaques. 

So now framed and put with the other two and consider over the next few days. I punched in some silly high saturated branches in the front - just to see if they worked. Probably not. Will see. OK with the sky but the foreground probably too strong and distracting.

Getting started - again

Been away from studio painting for almost a month - closing down Ontario and driving back to BC.  Having trouble feeling excited about painting - and thats not normal for me.  Went for a Thanksgiving Day hike in Strathcona park. Thats all it took to get me pumped again: the colours were wonderful.

I decided to do multiple interpretations of the view of Mt Washington from the Meadows hike. Something I painted years ago when I was tighter and less interpretive. How would I interpret it now?

So I made three "first layer starts", one each morning, and each using a different approach. All were done quickly and crudely - just spots of colour. Stopped each once the canvas was covered, then framed, and set aside to examine in a few days to finish. I wanted loose, colourful, bold interpretations - almost a plein air look.

Start with pencil sketch then final plan with acrylic marker - 18x24

Under painting with quin red and crude value plan using colour shaper

Add caption

Add vertical darks

Add background values

Its crude but canvas is covered.

Framed and set aside for a few days before deciding on second layer and details

Second day, decided on a vertical interpretation. Again total time about 90 minutes.
Acrylic marker plan 16x20

Poor photo - but you get the idea - image covered  

So now, framed, set aside, look at them casually and then more critically. Can see many things to do. For example, on the first piece, the yellow meadow is too saturated and the yellow line takes the viewer out of the canvas to the left. Is the foreground coming forward: is the background pushed visually back? Are the colours too saturated? Needs to be changed.

Tomorrow, the third day.