Springfield Lake Nova Scotia

 Lucky for me the view outside the window provides an ever changing spectacle. The daily inspiration that comes from this view at first created an obligation to all its parts. Once the obligation to the parts ended a new energy entered the work through the paint itself.

Unexpected Advantage

Unexpected results lead to eureka moments but what you don't see are all the steps along the way. It can be said that the Random Residual Project allows just that, the unexpected. One of the beautiful things about paint is the fluid quality. The quality that allows paint to have a life of its own or to be placed just so. Thick or thin.

Frog Pond

This large green frog inhabits a pond by the ocean. Late last summer I couldn't help making a drawing, a portrait in a sense. The ground is a former Random Residual now serving as a support. Knowing that on the same day large tadpoles were also moving about in the pond makes the coming spring all the more exciting. The frog reminds me of some we used to find as children in Ontario and all the campfire ghost stories set in dark foggy nights. Can they ever jump.


Yesterday afternoon as the sun heated the yard around the house I took a cup of tea outside and sat looking into the woods behind. It sure was good to feel the warmth from the sun. Around me sounds filled the air. Spring was finally making headway against the winter and the birds were there to announce it.

The first and loudest sounds came from the crows who are of course going crazy in the blue sky as are the chickadees but then from way down under all that a tapping sound came to the surface. I followed the sound for a few minutes before spotting a large pileated woodpecker who has decided that the old tree just behind us has perfect snacks.

Of course by the time I had gone back into the house to get the camera the bird was gone but the event reminded me of the pair of pileated woodpeckers and an albino deer that I had spotted on the same day a few years ago and turned into a painting. I will have to keep watching.

Political Calculations

As a young artist the idea of community seemed to fill the air around my work. Ideas moved freely from studio to studio and seemed to flow out into the street beyond the walls. Sometimes pointed, sometimes subtle, bringing life to the ideas was up to the artist. Every idea was up for review, stand it on its head and turn it around.

Somehow artists had been documenting phenomena of community long before I ever found a box of colours and felt the need to use them. I found an image created by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in the sixteen hundreds of a wedding and noticed some characters carrying pies to the table of a wedding party. I turned the image into a vignette within a one colour lithograph. What could be better than coming together around food?

Maybe coming together around food with art.

Look Here, Look There

Drawing from life is an activity that grabbed me and just won't let go. There is a feeling that comes from being in a space and recording something about the experience. Such was the case sometime late last fall just before the final killing frost when I noticed a pot of flowers by the back door. A bee and spider were also enjoying their day and became part of my work. Both were included as well as all the fading blooms and seed pods. When I was finished drawing some pods were gathered for planting.  Now that spring is tempting us with warmer days I hope I can find them again.

Favourite Blue

Ican't begin to pick a favourite blue but i will say that for me it is a colour that allows slow consideration of time and place. I like to take time with blue and all its forms.

Before you dive into a blue open your eyes wide and take a deep breath. While your eyes move over and through the colour release your breath slowly before taking another. Allow your eyes to continue moving.

Take another breath. Continue....enjoy.

Winter Dreaming

The freezing rain and blowing snow outside restrict travel today. Looking out the window my mind wanders to warm days of summer and the delicate blooms in our yard. 

Hard Lines

Aearly morning phone call about a leaky roof veered into a conversation about choice. The idea that choice had allowed compromise for a group where no options seemed palatable is very interesting.

The idea reminded me of stories about the power of groups of small sticks bound together gaining power far exceeding the individual pieces.There may be something there as evidenced in drawings that become whole by the repeated mark making of the artist.

I guess words could also provide a good example of the same idea building on the alphabet resulting in a story or book.

Drawing Spring

Our long awaited spring seems just out of reach as storms move into the area and temperatures drop once again below freezing again. To go with all the cold air around the company cold has found me. The saying "one step forward and two steps back" has a renewed significance.

To think that only a week ago the air was warm and I was able to act on the idea of making work outside again.

Last evening we watched a full moon rise over Springfield Lake. My son tells me that the full moon of March is known as the worm moon. No worms around here but the worm moon also marks the start of the maple sap run which has happened over the last few weeks. Slowly but surely we must be moving in the right direction.

So, back to the studio now to catch up with ideas set aside waiting for and now post surgery. The planned surgery went fine as far as I can tell and my energy levels are slowly returning maybe just like the coming spring. 

Free Parking in Halifax

Iam reading that parking in the downtown area of Halifax is becoming a problem for business. There is very little parking in the downtown area while we live in a culture of cars. There seems to be a disconnect here with no easy solution on the horizon.

The problem for a artist is confronted while attempting to deliver work to downtown galleries. It becomes harder and harder to actually actually do this. You may be lucky enough to find a meter and be able enough to carry your work for a few blocks on a good day but remember I said Halifax.

We get our share of wind and rain here and then there are the hills. Halifax is built on a hill and may have been more appropriately named Hillifax. 

There is no free parking in Halifax and even the pay parking options are becoming scarce. So once the the work is in place how does the public get to Halifax galleries if they also rely on parking their car?

Bird Song

It really is a wild world. 

When I walked out the door this morning I was greeted by a strange sound. 
It took a moment to figure it out but what I was hearing was birds singing. Spring must surely be on its way and they are letting us know.

Primary Colours

Working with paint on site to record some sort of moment within a day or event can be rewarding and frustrating all at the same time. Add to that the effect of using the site sketch to leapfrog into a larger studio version based on the work while maintaining the energy of the original. I have always found this to be a very difficult task.

Sometimes, I will return to the site to make further sketches and or take photographs for extra reference material for use in the studio. I find it important in some point in the work to set all that aside at some point and just work with the paint. In this case along Barrington Street in Halifax I was struck by the colours on display at the shipyard. Red, yellow and blue, the primary colours, called out to me to spend a moment. I couldn't help but think of the site as a giant toy box. I accepted the challenge based on the happenstance of chance that arranged the site for my enjoyment.

New Garden Paintings

On more than one occasion our garden has provided the basis for new painting. Some plants were on the site when we moved here while others were added from the gardens of friends and relatives.
Once things start rising out of the ground a rush to the sky begins and it is important to have material ready to respond to the days, and the weather. Early preparations have already begun with canvas and paints ready for the upcoming season. I can hardly wait.