Deep Pockets

I have been reading a biography about the Canadian painter JW Morrice. He worked around the turn of the twentieth century and spent most of his working life in Paris returning to Canada only every second year. He was wealthy by birth and it was interesting reading to discover the twists and turns of his career.
 One small point that had to do with logistics of painting on site was about carrying paint around. Lets face it even when we want to travel lite the equipment needed to make paintings on site is heavy and bulky.
JW Morrice used a large pocketed suit jacket to carry his paint. He was shown a technique used by the artists of the day in Paris that involved squeezing out small amounts of oil paint into cigar boxes and then closing the lid.  The sealed box could then be carried until a site to paint was discovered. 
Today, the painter David Hockney is said to use a apple ipad for some drawing and painting. He tells us that he has had large pockets sewn into his jacket liner to carry his ipad. Everything old is new again.


One year not so long ago a beautiful wall of morning glory plants grew up a trellis mounted on the side wall of the house. The blooms became my initial focus and a project was conceived to record their daily changes. Initially, the plan would include the flowers and the lake playing together in a midsummer sky.

When painting began I noticed the blooms shift in time or a breeze and follow the sun's path across the sky. As time past bees and dragon flies entered the scene showing themselves in flight.

The pace of work accelerated to incorporate the activity in front of me. Each day after supper a painting was made recording the changes.

Drawing Circles

The circle is an ancient symbol that can be drawn from the sun or the moon or even eyes. 
It is continuous and complete in itself. 
Maybe that is why drawing in the garden, discovering circles 
in the landscape, seems so satisfying. It seems the work completes itself. 
Somehow the process of drawing connects the artist with 
the past and future at the same time. We are told that is impossible but there was a time not too long ago when the world was believed to be as flat as a board. 
Art and circles seem to make things possible.

What Art Does

Last weekend I had the pleasure of introducing people to art. I was acting as a volunteer for the Artist for a Day event planned and executed by the staff of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. I am a graduate of the college and over the years I have enjoyed passing on the joy of art to anyone that will listen.

On this day anyone who would like to try various art making techniques is provided with materials and expertise to advance their curiosity. Outside the Port Campus of the College as people passed by on the walkway I made a short introduction of possibilities and pointed to the in door. I also gave the opportunity to make a simple drawing then and there. Some did and some didn't but later in the day I could see the same people leaving the building and what a difference. The faces and body movements were changed, lighter and animated. Art certainly made its mark.

Pack Your Bag

There is no free lunch but we often carry a lunch when going off to paint.

 During summer months we can pack the tent to provide cover and sometimes a subject on rainy days. The tent has allowed travel to areas that would be outside or normal range of day trips and excursions.
Don't forget to bring something to paint on and with. I usually carry some 4b pencils and primed ten inch by ten inch by 1/4 inch thick plywood sheets to paint on as well as a range of paint and brushes. 

The boards are light and hold their shape well when they are stuffed into a knapsack. 

Art Dogs

The dogs of war statement from old Bill Shakespeares work Julius Caesar insinuates havoc.
 The dogs that have lived with us over the years 
have been true companions 
and beloved members of our family. 
They followed us everywhere we went and even led the way on most occasions. 
I drew them in time and I drew them on site. 
I even drew one that was created originally by Manet 
at a updated loaves and fishes picnic.


Collage is one technique or form that I have always found helpful. I say helpful because as a tool it opens paths to new expressions or can be an end in itself. 
The word collage is french for gluing. We have Pablo Picasso and his buddy George Braque two young and starving artists, for introducing the world to the updated technique. They lived and worked in Paris in the early twentieth century. The artform they developed was by no means childs play, these guys were serious about their imagery. They used found printed material including newspapers and wallpaper to realize work that seemed to foreshadow future decades of work and events.
The idea of gluing canvas to canvas doesn't seem like too much of a leap to make one hundred years later. It allows the inside or underside of a work to show itself in the finished work. This was a role reversal for sure and as such became an interesting idea to me. 
The random residual project used unused fluid paint to make new images but if the paint dried on the palette it could be lifted from the surface and reattached to a new surface leading to a new surface, an attachment. At first this way of working didn't feel like painting at all but of course it is.