Bigger Ships in Halifax Harbour

We walked along the shore of Halifax Harbour in the beautiful spring air.   The air was clear except on the water where fog shrouded mouth of the harbour and the horizon. Just then a giant shape came into view from within the fog and revealed itself as a massive container ship. Tugs travelled out from the shore to join the ship and complete a one hundred and eighty degree turn in front of us before tying off to the wharf of the container pier.

Ups and Downs of Landscape Painting

Nova Scotia is enjoying a few days of very mild weather. Being that it is the middle of February this seems rare.
Given this opportunity and only a few short hours of sunlight, and the heat it brings, I grabbed my paint bag and headed for the woods. Looking for subject matter on the snow white land led me to think that working on conceptual ideas around white on white would be my only choice. As luck would have it after a short hike along a woods road the beautiful blue sky reflected back at me through a brook.
The burst of colour rising from the frozen ground drew me in and I set up my easel and began to work. Speed painting is the order of the day and even then after a very quick hour I could feel the heat disappearing from the air.

As the temperature cooled the paint began to thicken and turn into a thick buttery paste. Very Interesting in itself but that is a story for another day. I packed up and headed for home happy to have taken the chance on the day.

Working Around the Environment

Weather is always a factor when painting outdoors. Temperature, wind and rain all play a part in the painting. Too much sun and the paint will dry quickly. Too much moisture or low temperatures will slow drying and be equally frustrating. Black flies and mosquitoes are a whole other story but easily controlled.

Some protection from the elements can sometimes be found but other times just working through the day can lead to surprising results. There are a few sayings in Nova Scotia related to the changing weather we can expect on any given day. One goes something like "If you don't like the weather wait five minutes." while another suggests "if you don't like the weather at the front door go out the back".
 The main thing is to have equipment ready when the opportunity presents itself and get out the door. 

A Breath of Spring

Snow is piled up everywhere after back to back storms that dropped a winters worth of weather all over the land. As a result viewpoints along the shore are few and far between. Days are visibly longer now as we edge towards the coming spring and our minds tend to race ahead to gardens and beaches but that could be farther off than we would hope. In the mean time studio work continues and of course I keep drawing the giant ships and machines along the harbour. 
Speaking of the garden as I glanced out the window at the giant snow drifts that define the side of the house a flock of Bohemian Waxwing birds dropped by for a snack of rose hips. They seemed jumpy and by the time I had the camera ready they had moved to the top of some maple trees on the front. Then while driving down the road a robin crossed our path. Maybe the groundhog wasn't too far off.

Painting Snow at Pereaux, Nova Scotia

Pereaux defined by the Minas Basin, is a magical place. The changing shore sculpted by the massive tides is always spectacular and highlighted by orchards and fields.

Defining natural rhythms in paint means that at some point you will be painting snow. The combination of snow and ice becomes magical.
Travelling along the Musquodoboit River near Middle Musquodoboit water currents fight back the cold. 

Snow Day

The driven snow will keep us close to home for the next day. We expect to shovel our way out tomorrow but in the mean time its a studio day.

Colour of Winter

There is something about winter that attracts my eye. Perhaps it is the contrast of shapes and colour. All the summer finery of leaves and grasses have disappeared. The few traces that remain are frozen in time and covered in snow and ice.

Easy warmth has given way but something still attracts my eye.

The area around our home provides a rich resource of sites including forests and rivers and lakes and the ever changing sky. A virtual gold mine of inspiration for an artist.

Random Residuals 2

W ith changes in the studio space still working themselves out it is amazing how things percolate to the top of the pile. Yesterday, I discovered a group of harbour sketches that need attention and some unfinished landscape work but the ones that caught my eye were the Random Residule paintings  The energy of the random residual project is evident in the work that is created from paint remaining at the end of "real painting". The one requirement at the beginning of work is that the paint can only be applied using tools not called "art tools". The work energizes through discovery of the unexpected as colour, texture and form considerations are made on the spot revealing surprising results. 

Travelling at The Speed of Art

When painting on site it becomes important for me to reflect what is actually going on. While painting my favourite morning glory blooms a bee entered the scene something crazy happened and training kicked in. Before I knew it the speed of art had accelerated. When a dragon fly followed along I just carried on and added it in.

I continued along with the practice of painting on site and remained open to adding elements that could change over the time of the work. One day, while painting contrast between moving water and resting snow a small muskrat jumped from the brook and onto the snow. Again, training and practice kicked in the visit was recorded.

Mindy our dog also got in on the act and walked into a scene one day taking after the director Alfred Hitchcock who would sometimes appear in cameo appearances in his own movies. Mindy always took control and I think somehow she planned her cameo at just the right moment to appear beside the running water of the brook which was hers to enjoy.