Halifax Spring Painting

 Once spring gets started things move along very quickly. It is as welcome as a breath of fresh air, truly amazing.

Yesterday, just a short way outside the city and on a bus route you can find the beauty of spring just beside the road. Given the combination of warm somewhat dry air I took the chance to head for the shore with a canvas and some paint. The first trip out for the season is always a bit of a test. Did everything made it into the bag?  As I sat on the shore watching the tide roll in the clouds began to open and give a glimpse of blue sky. One thing for sure the next time I will have to move faster with my brush and colours. The tide does not allow the same time as the slow moving ferns that began popping up out of the ground last week in our yard.

This is always a very exciting time allowing me the opportunity to work on site even with the few bugs that seem to arrive for the occasion. 

Ships of Halifax

The harbour at Halifax has been a busy place these days. There are ships of all sorts and sizes coming and going. Ships and boats provide a moving target for the artist capture and create a dynamic element in the view.

I wondered where my interest in ships has come from until I found this old photo of the Toronto Island Ferry taken during the late 1950's

Derivative Speculations ll

Time sure flies and now it moves even faster.

Changes over time are dramatic to see when compared side by side. Now, some things are beginning to add up reminding me that when I began to study art after high school colour was very expensive to use. Most recording and printing was reproduced in black and white. The white came from the paper and the black colour was added over the surface.

The Derivative Speculations Project set out to work with images gathered from the garden and then manipulated in the computer.

Lost Fog Notes

Finally a chance to get out on the land and explore new sites for future painting. Unfortunately the fog was in and the view was restricted. Even though the sight line was short a beautiful stillness seemed to surround the site. Moisture filled the air and as fog does seem to move around short glimpses of the rocky shore were seen from time to time. A possible site for sure that I hope to return to shortly.

In the meantime the woods are exploding with the new. 

Nova Scotia Coastal Mix

Mix it up, make some art.

Northeast Art Now

Spring is making itself present around here in the Northeast. Buds are popping from branches and sprouts are emerging from the ground. My thoughts have turned to the garden with hopes of a good harvest and of course painting outdoors. I have prepared new canvas and boards which are ready with my bag of paint packed for the road.

Along with longer days comes warmer air allowing acrylic paint to be used outdoors with no chance of freezing. The other side of that coin is that acrylic paint will dry in minutes in the sunshine with a breeze of warm dry air. This can be a frustration if slow manipulation of the paint is your goal but to use this as an advantage I would allow the work to move along faster. On site quick drying wouldn't bother me in the least as the paint builds on itself creating rich deep colour.

Artist for the Day Success

Over the weekend the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design held its annual Artist for the Day event. This event offers the public a glimpse into the workings behind the walls and is held in conjunction with Open City. On this day the college filled studios, located at the new port campus, with activities from A to Z and opened them to the public.

I think I told at least one person that going inside would be like opening Pandoras Box and that once you step inside the building you may not want to leave. They entered the building happily. The activities, too numerous to list here, included printmaking, leatherwork and computers. Studios also offered drawing and sculpture with a good mix of pottery, textiles and photography. Artists worked freely between all and the event was a huge success from what I could see. 

For my part, along with a group of hearty volunteers, the sidewalk outside the building was our studio. We offered passersby a chance to make a drawing with paper and crayons right there on the sidewalk. Even though the weather was not perfect it did not slow the peoples enthusiasm down.

Artists of all ages emerged and found a moment to take time for themselves creating right then and there. Others took the offer of an open door and warm building to explore the college. Hours later emerging back onto the sidewalk thankful for the opportunity. Some left to find food for lunch and then returned. They couldn't get enough.

So many staff and volunteers combined to make the day a great success. People of all stripes mixed and mingled right there on the sidewalk. Old friends reunited and new relationships began. I watched all this happen over simple crayons and paper and can't thank them enough for the chance to participate. 

Digital Art

A conversation on the radio discussed the relevance of books and their place in the world today. 
Some suggested books and libraries had no place in todays world because computers and digital imagery provided them at no cost. I wonder what happens to all the information in the digital libraries when the power goes out. 

Halifax Harbour Sketching

When I first began making sketches in downtown Halifax it was the Historic Citadel  that provided the view. A solitary construction crane rose into the sky at the site of what would become a new hotel. Little did I know how fast things could change.

The shapes created by the crane and surrounding buildings that cut and divided the sky provided a focal point. Before long I moved closer to the harbour where contrasts became palpable through sounds and scents that filled the air.

Looking for other  accessible points around the harbour that could work in the same way I found sites on both sides of the harbour and up into the Bedford Basin.

So much has changed in such a short period of time as the city struggles to grow and expand. Cranes cut the sky at every turn and even the bridge shown in the sketch below is under renovation.

Who would have thought a sketching playground could be found so close to home with as many changes coming to the art as to the views themselves. 

Kaleidoscope of Imagery

Travelling through Quebec recently by car brought back the memory of another trip many years ago. On that occasion transit was by train and winter had a firm grip on the area. Snow along the tracks was piled so deep that at some points no sight except the cut snow could be seen. Day and night passed by as I watched the land pass by through the window.
As a young artist eager for information about artists I had in my hands a book, A Painters Country, the autobiography of painter AY Jackson, 1958. Parts of his story covered the very area the train travelled through linking people and places in a strangely attractive kaleidoscope of imagery. 
I think it may be the process of direct representation of landscape that remains the strong attraction for my work. The process allows time for travel and observation in settings that are often overlooked in our day to day while creating a record or jumping off point. To imagine that so much could flow from a box of colour and some boards boggles the mind but is greatly appreciated. Oh, the places we can go.