The picture of winter outside my window put me in mind of a fox that 
had crossed my path not too long ago.

Nova Scotia Landscape Painting

One of the beautiful things about Nova Scotia is its small size.

The quality of size captured by the old saying "Good things come in small packages.", is certainly true in this case. The variety of forms ranging from the ocean to mountains is all contained on this beautiful peninsula. The peninsula is joined to the mainland by the Tantarmar Marshes and juts out into the North Atlantic Ocean giving a unique maritime quality to the air.

All this variety is good for landscape painting. Constant change provides subjects with unique qualities of light varying from day to day and sometimes within hours or minutes. 

There is an expression here, "If you don't like the weather at the front door, go out the back. 

 See more about painting changing skies.

Same Place Different Time

You don't have to go far for inspiration around here. 
The views around our yard just keep giving. 

Through a conversation with a lifelong resident of the area I learned that the cove, which 
sits to our right while looking east, was once the home of a sawmill. 
Trees have grown in and a road cuts around the shore of the lake just out of sight.

Working on paintings of the lake I am reminded of the experience of another artist 
mentioned in Doubt . Working and reworking a canvas finding a similar 
view changing details from moment to moment and day to day.

Winter Studio

As winter approaches in the north east days are becoming shorter.

 Temperatures are dropping and leaves have fallen from the trees. 
The garden is mostly dormant. 

Work has moved into the studio.

Planning and preparations for the spring have begun.
Ideas about painted representations, scale and technique 
all swirl with the changing winds.

Colour Color

Objects are described not only by their form but also by local colour.

Colour provides information to the form of a object that affects the viewers response. 

 Colour can be used to draw attention to ideas and provide insight.

Red, blue, and yellow are the three primary colours.
Mixing any two primary colours makes a secondary colour. 
Mixing any two secondary colours makes a tertiary colour. 

White added to any colour makes a tint. Black added to any colour makes a tone. 

Most interesting of all, no matter how you spell it,
 colour is viewed differently by each viewer.

Layers and Layers

The voice on the radio was that of an artist speaking about the time it took to make art. 
Each step of her process added to the previous until the final result is realized. 

I was reminded of some early work I made using a process of layered glazes, one on top of the other with drying time and sanding in between. 


The woods behind our house offers so much. Each year early in the spring temperatures rise as heat coming from the sun begins to change the landscape. Snow melts back and ferns begin their climb out of the ground.

The twisting forms of the ferns interact with fixed forms of land and trees recalling a dance moving to sound created by the wind, the birds and the trees.

Halifax Nocturne

Nocturne this year provided the opportunity for the general public not only to see some totally amazing artwork created and being created but to be part of some of the being created stuff. 

As part of this years event The Art Sales and Rental Gallery proposed to hang a large canvas and allow some painting and drawing to go on in the gallery. The idea saw twelve artists each working the canvas for a short period.

The gallery has always participated in the Nocturne event with a show and open doors but this years participatory component was a hands down success. Most important and interesting for me was the inclusion of audience members in the creation of the work. Some adults expressed desire but it was the children who stepped up and engaged the brush. I think more than a few hearts for arts were won.

The final state was won by random draw from gallery visitors. 

Halifax Bluff Wilderness Trail

Summer turns to fall. Harvest season is well under way on farms and in backyard gardens. 

Shorter days and dropping temperatures change the landscape around us. The morning air has become crisp turning the land from green to gold. Reds contrast the deepening blue water.

So what are the chances that on Thanksgiving Day I would find myself at the end of the first loop of the Bluff Wilderness Trail on a high rocky ridge overlooking Cranberry Lake.
It turns out it is 100 percent.
Artists Spring  also documents painting at Cranberry Lake.

Art and Politics

Art made or used with a political purpose in mind, created to inform, deflect or confuse, a shell in the game covering the bean. Perhaps the bean itself. 
That could be political art. 

Making a print of the woodcut image above we used a spoon and a careful circular motion to transfer the image to rice paper.
Simplicity of process has remained an undercurrent in my work.

Halifax Summer Ends

Time flies around here as it must just about everywhere these days. It seems like it was only a few days ago that work on this years series of garden paintings began. 

To get started outside again after winter I walked to work at a favourite pool along Lacey Brook. I know that it isn't our garden but it is a familiar site I have returned to many times over the years. Being so close to home makes it seem as if it is an extension garden.

One attraction of the site is the range of colour and texture existing in such a small space. On this day light poured from the sky reflecting in the pool, buds moved towards the sun. Fish jumped for the first few bugs flying over. I worked as quickly as possible.

Once back in our garden I begin to follow sprouts out of the soil. The rhythms of their growth  trace the warming days which became longer as spring turned into summer. 

Recording the tangle of late season blooms I enjoyed the the late summer sun of the afternoon. My daughter brought over a large yellow caterpillar she had found so I included it as well. As the day progressed the wind came up to a good blow. The wind brought an unexpected change in temperature that felt very different from anything we had experienced for a while. Cooling air made me realize that the day also marked the end of summer. The work became even more meaningful with the extra information.

Art and Music

 Given the opportunity to listen to musicians play a live concert on the weekend I was reminded of the power and pleasure of sound and live performance.

Unlike radios and computers that deliver music to us a live concert combines aural and visual information in a one two punch.

One live show we had the pleasure of attending was conducted by a friend.
At breakfast one morning Dave picked up his mandolin and treated us to a show.

Working quickly across the kitchen table as he told stories using voice and strings I recorded the moment using paint and brushes. 

Draw Me a Picture

Perspective is variable.

The more I read the less it seems I know. 
One thing for sure it seems is that people have not changed much in a few thousand years. 

Ideas are just ideas.

Give ideas form, draw me a picture. 

Fast Cars

Art seems to be a map of the past and possibly a glimpse into the future.
Recently my father uncovered some of my old school work books. Stored in his basement and long forgotten, the books provided very interesting images.  One, showed my illustration of Dad driving his brand new blue car. It was a Ford I think and I also remember the difficulty of the day trying to recall the relationship of the front  and drivers side window.

I would contrast the early drawing of the car with a painting made years later while a student as well. This painting is rendered full size and measures over 18 feet long by 6 feet high. The feeling of creating a realistic image of the object was about the same as near as I can recall.

Sense of Place

I have been reading A Fair Country,Telling Truths about Canada, by John Ralston Saul. The text points to ideas of relationships between people and places. A very interesting read. I think his ideas make painting all the more relevant. Who said "painting is dead".

Place is always a catalyst for my site paintings. There is always a relationship of personal attachment to these landscapes.

As audience or participants, people are always present in my work even if their form is not obviously visible in the image.

Wild Thought

It's the middle of summer and thunder storms are moving through our area.
The oil lamp will be tested once again. 
As the air clears our thoughts turn to days spent camping and hiking.
 Campfires and cookstoves, wild flowers and waves on the shore. 
Smelling wildflowers and picking berries.
Painting the days is always part of the experience. 
Each work records a time and a place.

How Long

While drawing or painting I often get asked by observers 
"How long did it take you to make that ?"

At first it seems like a simple question but then like many other 
things, nothing is simple when it comes to art. 

Picasso  answered that same question with an answer something 
along the lines of "a lifetime". 
It most certainly did take a lifetime of practice. 

Practice to the point that the work is effortless the result is assured and convincing.


I have been told that the prairies have changed since the summer of 1975.

I wonder if the royal rooms still exist?
Do the grain elevators?

 Changes could reflect in the architecture of the area or my painted response. 

Summer Studio

The garden is in full bloom now and the joy of practicing painting on site 
is swept up in the days.

My decision to use larger canvas this year is proving to be a fabulous choice. 
It does provide a whole new set of challenges as far as materials and time but rendering in monumental scale gives resonance to the work 
that doesn't exist in smaller pieces. 

The effects of sunlight gathered in a bloom and painted in an afternoon records the day in a larger than life way.