Halifax Street

Last week as winter blasted the city one more time I had the pleasure of time to make a sketch of a street corner as viewed from our beautiful new library building. The library provided a shelter from the storm in more than one way with large windows and shelves filled with books of all sorts.  

Perfect Lines

The free flowing biomorphic forms found in figure drawing make a perfect contrast for tight perspective drawings of buildings and structures. In both cases the contrast of forms attract me. 
The hard and sharp against the smooth and flowing. The form of the figures can be eked out using line or tone sometimes in the same drawing.

Exploring Drawing Class

The first day in life drawing class was a eye opener. I had always used drawing as a method of expression and spent many hours as a child at the practice.  Being confronted with a live model and new materials created a shift in my thinking about representation.  
The game had changed and the comfort zone that allowed some level of success was pushed aside. The lid was off the box. The preciousness of previous work disappeared and new work became more interesting. Making the work became most important, the subject secondary. In the rush I reached to anything at hand.
A kerosine lamp and camp stove served as drawing subjects. 
While exploring different materials and forms of representation pots and pans, cookie jars  and tea cups were readily available and quickly adopted as subject material.  

Shooting Star

We drove down the darkened road in the hope we would arrive home before long. It had been a long trip full of adventure and wonder. The shooting star moved across the sky in a flash and immediately triggered a flood of thoughts the first of which was to record the image as soon as I arrived back home and could get into the studio. And so I did.

The image resonates with me as a touchstone for the moment and as a reminder of all that has gone before and will that will follow. It is a pleasure to react with paint to a moment while the fire burns bright, to work from the gut. A gestural quality drawn from expressionism invigorates the work. You gotta love the speed.

Painting Ahead

March is a crazy month around here and this year seems no different. It is the in between month that is half winter and half spring, moving from storm to storm with temperatures going up and down like a yo-yo between freeze and thaw.

But there is hope now that the days are growing longer. Shadows have more weight and there is heat from the sun helping to melt away the winters snow. Before long the pallet will warm in response to the warmer days. Do I sound excited? I can hardly wait.

Painting Water in Nova Scotia

Water has motivated me to paint many images. I wonder what the attraction is. Something about the motion and the sound, the contrast of surroundings push me to take up the brush and try to capture the view but there are many tradeoffs in the rendering.
Painting can capture the reflective quality of water to some extent while the scent and sound projected by the water is lost completely. I guess painting is a bit like radio for the eyes, providing some qualities that allow the mind to make a leap of faith towards belief that the image is true to the vision. 

Painting Joy

Has anybody seen this bird? 

Around here after the groundhog it is the return of the robin that seems to mark the real beginning of spring. The robin would be the early bird that gets the worm but it is the purple finches and Canada Geese that have arrived first this year. You just never know what will happen.

While we wait for the weather to improve and the outdoor painting to get underway playing with paint in the studio just for fun allows new experiences between myself and colour and texture. It is where the really exciting things happen that keeps drawing me back over and over again.

Floral Painting

The flower contains a shear emotional power that extends well beyond its size.  

They can be used to document and mark occasions of joy and anguish or solely for design elements. Flowers in art seem to be quickly relegated to the bottom of the pile of desirable art objects even below the landscape while at the same time being courted as a symbol of elegance and beauty. What a great problem to have.

We take such power from the garden and the plants that grow there even moving them inside our homes and offices for decorative effect. We use flowers as design objects to decorate our clothing and jewellery and plant gardens to recharge our emotional batteries.

Taste of Spring in Nova Scotia

One day we get blowing snow and freezing temperatures and then the next day is a thaw. There is water running in the brooks and I hear maple syrup is being boiled in the woods.  Spring colours are beginning to return to the forest and last week the winter ice melted off the lake and left open water for a few days. Over night the lake froze over again and this morning some migrating geese stood on the frozen surface.
 That was funny to see, as they really looked put out by the inconvenience of the stop and start of the weather. Yesterday while skiing in the woods I noticed buds on branches beginning to swell.
I am sure there will be more snow before long but in the mean time contrasting colours of the land are an inspiration as the sun sends more energy our way. 

Strange But True Artstory

It seemed like a normal March morning, the car was frozen and snow blew through the air. No shovelling required provides an early morning bonus and we head for the city before the sun was up. Early traffic moved smoothly and things were looking pretty good as I made my way down to the harbour to draw the ships and cranes that have interested me for the last while.

On this occasion road closures caused me to vary my path towards Point Pleasant Park so moving towards the southend of the city I turned left onto a road that would take me towards my destination. As I drove to the end of the road and stopped at a corner that I first experienced when we arrived in the city forty years ago. When I glanced to my right I noticed that the house on the corner behind the amazing garden and under a giant chestnut tree was now home to a flower shop. I couldn't believe my eyes because forty years ago it was that garden view that attracted my eye. I guess it was always going to be a flower shop. Strange but true.
You have to understand that I have always enjoyed flowers and everything about them so drawing them just fits for me.


Nova Scotia Contrasts

The long and varied coast of Nova Scotia makes finding painting sites a easy job. The contrast of raw beauty between land and sea marked by natural phenomena and man made objects provide interest for exploration through paint. 

A push and pull between soft and inviting or savage and foreboding all packed into the relatively small geographic package continually draws me in. I guess the old saying about good things in small packages is true. 

Free Travel

Free travel is hard to come by but the ride up an exterior elevator of a tall tower offer unique views of places you thought you knew. The birds eye view seems liberating for our outlook.
It is interesting that while sitting on the ground and looking down the effect of moving the horizon through the reflecting pool of water is equally liberating.