The painting below is from an island location on Lake Huron. I had the opportunity to stay and paint for a week in exchange for the client selecting 2 paintings as a birthday gift for his wife. (very romantic as it was her family's summer getaway growing up).
There are no cars on the island and not many people about in September so it was an ideal setting for an artist. I was able to paint undisturbed most of the time and managed to render 7 plein air works of various sizes. The downside to being on an island however was transporting these wet canvases, luggage and 2 large dogs to the mainland in a wee motor boat. We were holding the paintings over our heads and almost made it to the other side when the boat ran out of gas….
Personally I find my work is in continuous cycle—cycle of growth, harvest, then dormancy. September for me is bittersweet—a month visually stunning but symbolic of what is looming. Depicted below is a turbulent work—artistically faulted in the traditional sense —but no apologies—it is what it is, felt good to get it out.
The other evening my students and I painted out in the back field. Sadly-or not- the light this time of year goes very quickly and we were painting into the dark. Next week we will work on two canvases-one will be reserved exclusively for some night painting. A good challenge and we’ll prime the canvas blue/black I think. The colour temperature this year is so warm that this compliment should work when juxtaposed against the cool dark under-painting.
This small painting is from our excursion and another that has has been painted over a few unsuccessful works-I like the texture of the under-painting.
On grey days or in winter I love nothing more than to be in the studio working on larger paintings—time to stand back, contemplate, change course..but today a break was needed –the day was too beautiful! I couldn’t help but indulge myself. With very little time I still managed to sneak out at 5PM, climb the hill, feel the sun on my face and paint. I will have to re-shoot tomorrow after I pick out the wee bits of grasses and what looks to be hair of dog.
Today on my hike I was astounded at the vastness of yellow. The fields and fallow vineyards are carpeted with goldenrod.
The painting below was rendered at the end of September –last year. It was one that came together beautifully and I am happy with the composition, movement and brushwork. More importantly, the experience of painting it as I know this subject intimately. When I moved here the vineyard was nurtured and harvested but five years ago was left to go fallow.
The posts and vines are still firmly rooted in the earth—even though there is no wire to hold them up… when I am really struggling with my work, this painting helps me get through..
This morning my Sister lost her beloved cat due to illness..any of us who have experienced this know the heartbreak. It got me to thinking about my dogs –past and present- and how they have grounded me. In reflection there are many paintings—some representative of the subject, but in the case of my nonconformist dog who went way too young, there are paintings of place—
For the past decade, in all weather and almost every day, I have documented the seasons of rural land where I live on the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO world biosphere reserve). These paintings are ‘grown' primarily with oil on canvas and I am struck by the common elements between my own art practice and the seasons and cycle of harvest. Each must have faith in what the land will give. When I am out painting in the land I am surrounded by new growth as well as the old and dying. All have grown from the same place and all go back to the same place: "each seed according to its own kind.. each one knowing what to do, each one demanding its own rights on the earth..." - Emily Carr.
Painting plein air is immediate and intuitive and is affected on a daily basis by what cannot be controlled- climate. Through direct painting from nature I engage in an intimate dialogue with the land and I am developing a deeper understanding of the environmental factors that determine our world's future. What I also find enlightening in painting on open land is that I am in the midst of so very many creatures ‘unseen' -their continued presence entirely dependent on our Eco system. Protection and the importance of maintaining ecological integrity concerning protected land informs my work.
Studio/ Home Exchange I am interested in trading places with other artists - locations of interest are coastal areas of Scotland, Ireland France--or anywhere..Closer to home, the east or west coast of Canada. SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY clickhere