Six or Eight sided Snow Flakes

The snow fell all afternoon and evening the other day providing a backdrop for the paper snow flakes I had cut. The sudden blast of arctic air also froze the lake so there may be no Christmas Day water ski event this year unless we get some mild Maritime air drifting this way from the southern islands.

Cleaning up in the studio uncovered this sketch from an earlier trip in the fall. I had been drawing under the bridge and captured a view back to Halifax. 
Travelling around Dartmouth the other day I chanced a glance across a playground and noticed a huge tree standing at the far side of the park. I had my sketch bag in the car and some time to spare so I found a good spot to stop and immediately began to draw the view. The giant tree dwarfed the two homes that sat beneath it.
Earlier on the same morning, from the Halifax side of things I watched the giant tanker fill the harbour on its way up to the Bedford Basin. It was early enough to catch the sun rising over the water and the sky was filled with enough moisture to light up a rainbow. Quite the sight. I may try to scale it up once the new stretchers are ready.
I happened to talk with another snowflake designer/cutter on the phone and she told me she made hers with six sides. Six gives a different dimension and they sure look great. Maybe six sided ones would be good to try, just to add to the fun.

Painting from Memory

When I was a child we often visited family in the country surrounding the city of Toronto. You see our family arrived on various ships with the promise of land in return for farming. They lived and worked in the bush and their children were born in log cabins. That story began almost two hundred years ago and the struggle they endured had to have been seen as better than the life left behind.
At the time there were no phones and a written letter, if you could write would take at least a few months to make its way back to family left behind. Now the homes I knew as a child are gone. The great cast iron cook stoves went cold a long time ago and the homes and barns have been removed. 
As we enter another winter season with snow and arctic air surrounding us once again I thought about the room, a great room, in one of the homes that had a small wood stove at the center. 

Smooth Sailing

Happiness and Joy have often popped up in my work. The reflection of situations or objects seem to point to the unseen. Wild animals and inanimate objects can move thoughts towards better days. Form doesn't seem to matter just open eyes and ears to receive information delivered from the heart and hand.

Nova Scotia Snow Day

View at Five Islands 2016, Graphite and Acrylic on Board
Outside the warmth of our home, todays weather has taken a turn towards winter. As we approach winter solstice this year our landscape has turned from green to white and is now being blanketed in ice and snow. Thoughts are turning to drifting snow and the shovels that will dig us out. I couldn't help but pass on the view from our campsite a few months ago as we sat and watched the tide move back into the Minas Basin. 

Read More about Five Islands

Painting Choices

Looking for ways to represent ideas using paint led down a path that included illustration. I began my explorations into the medium modifying materials and scale. Work on paper started small before moving to cardboard, wood and canvas supports. Each step provided some answers and also raises new questions. 
Allowing the materials to provide direction for the next step in a path of its own design.
And guess what? The painting became stronger.

A Better Camera

On these grey days of early December when the days are shorter than usual a little bit of brightness has appeared in my studio. I had the opportunity to compare two cameras.

Recently, I was able to use a very good camera to photograph my artwork. I used the team of horse painting because it was close at hand for a quick comparison. Looking at the first image which was made with a lesser camera I see a bland and fuzzy image compared to the original.  When I compare the second image which was made with the better camera under similar lighting conditions I see a closer colour resemblance and finer detail retention to the original. 

There are so many other pieces in the puzzle which are all out of my control but on this end I will side with the higher quality.

Unanswered Questions

Take me to the beach where the earth and water meet the sky and my mind is free to wander.
 I could swim like a fish and fly like a bird.
 I could feel the warmth of the sun and smell the air.
At the beach my mind can wander.

Amythest Cove Dreaming

As an artist who paints, changing things up keeps it interesting for me. Once in a while it has been important and necessary for me to move outside my comfort zone. So for what ever the reason years ago I made the painting above while considering the relationship between Canada and our neighbour The United States of America to the south of the 49th parallel.

Somehow in light of the current goings on the painting has just as much relevance today as it did then. But cleaning out files and finding a photo of myself painting at Amythest Cove allows a hopeful moment looking forward to the next chance to get outdoors on site and paint. I can hardly wait.

Fundy Shore

Art Memory

T wo winters ago in mid January after visiting friends near Middle Musquodoboit I was driving home on the old road. In the early afternoon sun I could see something moving towards me on the horizon. Having time on my side I pulled the car over and slowed to a stop to watch the approach.  

What resolved from the distance was a team of horses and their driver walking in my direction on the shoulder of the road. When I wound down the car window the frozen sky filled the cabin and the sound of bells on their harness punctuated their approach. They paused as they passed for a quick hello and then were on their way, the team was anxious to get to work but in those few moments memories were stirred, somehow things felt right. I returned to the studio and began work.

Art Inspiration

Inspiration for artwork can come from many directions on any given day. 
 A garden, indoors or out offers many opportunities to create around ideas real and imagined. Paint, pens, pencils or crayons all work as conduits for creative work.
More often that not eliminating noise and focusing on a chosen subject is the beginning of a creative journey. 
The journey may not be without challenges and can at times feel like a fresh chapter for Homers Odyssey but the garden seems like a good place to begin.

Harvest Transit

Drawing on the harbour continues as weather and time allows.

Yesterday when I arrived along the harbour I noticed a large bulk carrier docked.  Something attracted my eye in terms of a drawing and luckily a suitable view was open. I  began planning under a low grey November sky. As I sat working things sprang to life and I noticed lights tracing a path all the way from the ship and up the elevator across the road and into the massive concrete storage silos. Moving backwards in my mind I traced the path of the cargo before it arrived in Halifax.  I wondered if what I was seeing was the most recent summer harvest of 2016 arriving unceremoniously after a cross country trip. Very interesting to draw and very interesting to imagine the journey. 

The Artist and the Surgeon

Daylight saving time is in effect. Days are shorter and preparations for winter are underway. A giant moon has provided evening entertainment for the last few days.

A artist friend has suggested making more art, painting more, as a good way to continue along while I wait to visit with a surgeon. Nothing too serious but needs tending and in the meantime go easy. The artist who made the suggestion is also in the same waiting boat but has a way of focusing that I am at wits end trying to master. The advice of both artist and surgeon to paint more and go slow are making an interesting dynamic experience.

Painting Lily Pond

With the sun out and high in the sky it is hard to imagine that we are well into November.

Working outside this morning brought back memories of time spent painting beside what I came to call "The Lily Pond". The easily accessible spot tucked into nearby woods provides a beautiful view into the pond and the surrounding woods. 
Lacey Brook feeds and drains the pond.
I am hoping that when this years hunting season ends in three or four weeks there will still be enough heat in the air for another painting trip before the freeze.

Art Opportunity

Getting back to work along the harbour brings to light old art battlegrounds.
Working images on the computer is fine but it just doesn't compare to being there.
Inside there are no breezes or bird songs echoing in the canvas. 
There is no salt air or fog horns.  
Both ways of working are different and each has some benefits but I think I still prefer the site work.

Making the Painting

Looking through the studio brings paintings to light that were set aside on the day and not brought to completion. One work based on my favourite day lilies bubbled up the other day and so I brought it into the derivative speculation project. Paint will come later but for now I have taken a walk in the garden and revisited the day when all the blooms burst in a wild tangent to the sun. It wasn't that long ago. 

No Place Like Home

Travelling through the country makes it all too clear that there is "no place like home". There are bigger places. There are faster places. There are places with more lights and sounds. 
Somehow the clear skies and sweet smell of the forest surrounding our home offer an attraction that has been reduced to a fleeting backdrop in some other locations. Having a lake in the middle of it is like icing on a cake. Even better is the fact that no two days are the same. Time to stretch some canvas and get out the paint.

Sunny Day Dreaming

It's a rainy day here and a chance to dream about the summer sun.
 Sketching in the garden captured bursting day lily blooms now worked through my derivative speculations. I can feel the heat just as the weather man says "batten down the hatches you ain't seen nothin yet".


The silhouette as a visual device flattens the picture plane.  The paint itself takes over and takes the eye on a journey over the surface while key information is preserved in the outline and passed on for all to see.