Thursday, 8 October 2015

Full Sheet Sparrow

I love large paintings, but for practical purposes use small sketchbooks.  They are portable and small sketches are fast to do.

Yesterday I found this little sparrow dead on  the sidewalk, so I brought it home and put it in the freezer, so that I could study it. You can see it in the lower photo.  This morning, as a little break from work, I pulled it out and did my first ever full sized sheet.  It didn't take long and was really fun to do and unlike a sketchbook, can be hung on the wall.   I'll be off to the art supply for more paper tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Last Swim

We've had a beautiful warm September and I swam regularly in the Ottawa River from the Britannia Club pier, and from my boat while at anchor.  This week, however, the nights grew cold and its undeniable that summer is over.  Clearly, its time to renew my membership at the swimming pool.

It’s a morning with dew
at six on the clock.
It’s a morning for flannel,
two shirts and wool socks.

The warmth will come later
and by lunch be quite nice.
But summer is over,
soon the lake will be ice.

It’s my strange obsession.
Will this be the day?
Or have I already had,
my last swim in the bay?

Back to the Hills

Suddenly, its cool and while the leaves are just changing colour, it clear that winter is not far off.  For me that means skiing and skating, so its time to do some long walks and get my legs ready.

This is my favourite shelter in Gatineau Park, Shilly Shally.  It was nice enough to sit outside and do a quick scribble while having a cup of tea from my thermos, but too cool to sit and paint.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Spring in the Boatyard

The ice is off the river and it's spring in the boatyard.  It's a special time  - removing tarps, polishing,  painting on anti-fouling and finally rigging.  The sketch is actually Phil rigging his Soling, "Unity".

Spring in the Boatyard

I visited my lady today
and her sight raised my pulse.
The curve of her bottom,
is like nothing else

I remembered the joy
of our days spent together.
And how she's taken me through
both bad and good weather.

I took off her top
and we basked in the sun.
No reason to rush
this kind of fun.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Unitentional Symbolism

Notre-Dame Basilica has been a landmark here in Ottawa, for well over a century, then along came the National Gallery of Canada and a decade later, Mamam, a giant spider.   Strangely, in conversation many people will refer to the spider rather than the much larger cultural buildings....I'll leave that analysis to the cultural anthropologists.

All to say, that from the lower Boreal Garden, the spider and the Basilica are juxtaposed quite dramatically, which is what attracted me....well, that and the fact that it was a warm sunny spot on a breezy spring day.

As I came home, I was thinking about art and how I need some real things to represent and how I'm reluctant to adjust even something like a power pole to improve composition.  And I realised, I just created a work of great symbolism and social comment!

Hopefully some critic will tell me just what that is and write at length about my clever statement about the church and egg bearing arachnids.  Whatever it is, I truly hope it isn't sarcastic or somehow least of the spiders?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Freshwater Shark

With the weather finally breaking after an usually harsh winter, tarpaulins are coming off in the boatyard daily.  This Shark must be one of the early numbers, its hull is a mottled green with faded pink tones below the gelcoat showing through.  These are great sailboats, and are still a popular racing class despite the age of the fleet, many of which date back to the mid 60's.  Many of them have been re-gelcoated and look beautiful.  I suspect that I will see the owner grinding and sanding the hull  as we wait for the ice to blow out and the river to warm up.

Only time for one sketch in London

Between the weather and schedule this was the only sketch I did the day I was in London. A quick and dirty sketch of Big Ben, the world famous clock tower.

My pal David, who grew up here, but has now lived in London most of his adult life, took me to on his favourite boat tour on the River Thames to Greenwich. I had only a few minutes before departure.  Hence, straight to ink, which explains the wonky perspective, then a quick splash of paint with my little water brush. But looking at it, brings back clear memories of the day and the fascinating trip through London along that historic River.  Thanks David.

I was disappointed at not getting the vibrancy of the gilt gold ornament in the sunshine and David, who is an artist, made the suggestion of using masking fluid for those yellow highlights.  I have yet to pick some up but will, when the spring flowers arrive here in the Great White North.

small squares

More of my little vignettes from the train.  I was trying to catch "moments" or elements of the landscape and simplify them graphically into little icons.  They are very small - about 1 1/2".  I'm also trying to use more intense colours, stepping up from my usual pale washes.

As a graduate of the James Belisle school of masking, I taped off the squares in order to have the crisp edges.  The really fun part of doing that, is peeling off the tape and seeing the crisp white edges....or at least what stands for fun in my life!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Hurston Cottage, Wallon Farm

I stayed in a cottage on what is referred to in Dartmoor as a medieval farm.  These farms are rambling assemblages of extended homes, barns and outbuildings.  Hurston Cottage was recently renovated and the only real remnant of the past was the well in the floor of a room off the kitchen which was covered over with a thick piece of glass.

Wild daffodils were out , but I didn't manage to catch the vibrancy of the bright yellows. Time for me to investigate masking fluid and gum Arabic, I think.