Sunday, November 14, 2010

Life Moves On

It's been a busy few months, to put things mildly!  Not a single thing went as planned this year.  Not the weather (we were forecast to have a hot dry summer....we got cool and VERY wet)  Not the harvest....Harvest is usually done by the end of September....we just started at the END of September.  Not becoming a Grandmother....because we nearly lost our grandson! (All is well there now thank goodness!)  Who needs to go to Vegas for thrills?!  Even in the painting department.  I was very fortunate and as a surprise was juried into some heady company via The American Artists Professional league and the International Guild of Realism!  I thought I would gird the loins so to speak, and throw my efforts at their feet to see how I rated.  I certainly was not expecting to be invited to join!  But I was, so a really nice surprise.  Makes a person think they are doing something right after all.  Had some paintings get into the show in Breckenridge TX and the 82nd Grand National Exhibition in NY, as well as shows closer to home.  For all of the twists and turns that this year has thrown at us, it has been a good one so far.  Makes a person very thankful to be sure.
I've started a new fox painting...for some reason they always seem to get interrupted...This one by a commission.  Actually, I told my client that I would finish this painting and then do hers, but harvest timing makes me not feel right making her wait so long, so the commission is on the go now and this is on hold.  Not a totally bad thing in this case.  I'm doing this in oil and trying a couple of things with the oil that may not be in the book of  techniques.  But  I'm after an effect and the traditional mode of use won't get it I think.  So as I think it through, I'll work on the other one.  Henry figures I should do the fox's noses and call it good!  I'm not sure I can, with my anal mentality, do that.  It needs to become what is in my head first.  We'll see how it pans out.
Till next time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grace on a giant scale!

I just finished this painting and called it "The Ugly Ducklings"  I always liked that story, and the young swans definitely would not win any beauty prizes, but grow into the most beautiful of birds.
It was an interesting challenge to get the glow of light on the feathers of the Mother.  The white was bright to start with, and to get it to glow in the sun was a little tricky.  Especially as the young were also white, but their feathers muted the light and did not glow.  Interesting challenge as I said.

These are Trumpeter swans, and often fly over our area on their way north.  On the wing you know they are big, but not really.  When you see them on the water, they are big, but again you still don't really get it.  When you see them with other birds...say geese, then you get a real idea of just how large these beauties are!  As you can see below.  Those dark birds are Canada geese!

It is really early Spring here as you can see, and just a few days later the whole bunch had continued on thier way North.  Going North the Swans do not seem to be in huge flocks, and travel with snow gees and Canada geese;  coming south though is a different story.  They come in larger groups, most often with the Snow Geese and have many young with them.  The young are easy to spot as they tend to still be a grey colour; as well as being just a bit smaller than the full adults.  They are also easier to get photos of if they are not with the geese.  They are a little more secure in not being shot at usually, unless a hunter can not tell the difference between a goose and a swan.  There are hunters of that stripe though. 

This coming weekend I will be part of an artisan self guided trail tour, called the Wild Rose Trail.  The website is:   If you are in the area, give it a whirl.

Well, till next time.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

You never know unless you try...

I was juried into the artist guild of "American Artists Professional League" This week!   I'm very honoured to have  made it in.  I was not sure they would, because it is based in traditional realism work.  I mostly work in wildlife, and while I think it is realism, not all people think that way.  This group is a branch of the Salmagundi Club in New York.  ( ) They have been instrumental in raising artist paint composition standards and have championed the American artist for american projects so well, they have made it a fact of life.  The caliber of work of the members is a little imtimidating, but puts you on your best game.  Nothing like seeing the best to inspire a person to better themsleves.
So, as the saying goes..."Nothing ventured, nothing gained"  I would never have known what level my work is getting to unless I had tried.  So my advice to others would be, give it a try, and you may be surprised by what happens.  If not, well,  you tried, and that is more than many people do.
Till next time.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Can't Believe I got it!!

Well another Art Without Borders Art Festival has come to an end for this year.  We had a good time and had good attendance to all of the venues, and given recent weather...Good weather!!   For my part, (I chair the Juried Art Show)  We had beautiful art work that drew a lot of  positive comments on the quality of the work on display.  The surprising part for me though, was that I won Best Of Show!  The picture at the left is my prize winner, called "Fall Hawthorn".  I was honoured and pleased about winning, but a tad uncomfortable.  I knew, and the jurors knew, it was on the up and up, but my being the chair and the one who fund raised the prize money; it just did not sit well with me to keep the money.  So I donated it back to the Festival Society.  I'm much happier now.  I also disqualified my work from people's choice, when I heard the comments about my entries. (It sounded like I would win that too, so I set about changing that by discouraging people from my pieces)  Never was a person so pleased to come 2nd and 3rd for an award with only one place! 
The winner of People's Choice Award was Jocelyn Duchek from Amisk Alberta, for her image "Evening Relections", and the Avalon Emerging Artitst Award went to Karen Pedersen of Edmonton Alberta, for her image "Shiny Things".  The images from the show are on the Festival Website at:   Take a look at the wonderful art we had on display.  Now I can rest for a bit, then I'm getting ready for the summer Art tour I'm part of, and Organizer of; The Wildrose Trail which runs July 24, 25 and 26th from 10am until 8pm.  This is a self guided road trip tour of various area artisans and home industry.
Well, I'm off to sit in a COMFORTABLE chair and just relax.
Have a great evening all! Until next time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Problems...and one of those days!

Did you ever haave one of those days... you know the ones, where you wonder what the heck you are doing?  Well, on this latest painting, it was like my brain had taken a leave of absence and forgot to let me know about it!
I've painted water a dozen times.  Never had a problem, but yesterday...Water?  How do you do that?  Actually the problem with the water I'm doing now is more the fact that it is very dark, and has low light on it so no sparkles to help make it go into the distance.  This time I have to use colour temperature to do the job.  Not as easy as you would think with green water!  I ended up throwing colours into it that were not there, but which seemed to do the trick.  Added warmer colours to the foreground  (raw sienna and olive green) and cooler ones to the back ground (ultramarine blue and raw umber). Just for extra kicks I also threw in some pthalo green, paynes grey and some alarzian crimson.  Those helped to make the dark streaks I needed to suggest the slight ripples that the birds were making in the water.  Need to walk away and work on another painting before I will say that it was a total success.  So far though, the verdict is holding. If you hear a scream, you will know it did not work...but I think you are safe!
Until later,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Using time to learn about yourself

To the left is my latest accomplishment, and it is a prime example of using time to learn about oneself.  I am working on another painting that I am doing in oil, not my usual mode of operation.  Usually it is one painting at a time, but I was on a roll and did not want to waste time waiting for paint to dry.  So this little guy was a time filler.  It was also an expeeriment in : "How Small can you go?"  and still get detail you like.  Really a personal challenge to myself.  I found I could go small, but need larger to give my hand a break.  It was fun doing it, used time to good purpose, and made me realise that yes, I am anal retentive and am proud of it.  It showed me I was far happier doing my detail that I like to do, than try to be "looser" as the art elite like to direct us.  So I learned a lesson about myself, and will go forward with it.  As to the little guy...It is a 7 x 5 inch picture of fall hawthorn berries.  Cedar Waxwings love them, as do other birds.  Great Wildlife draw.  Oh yes!  I also used to time to scope out other art shows and competitions I might like to look into!  Multitasking....gotta love it!
Till next time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back, refreshed and Inspired!

Maui is definitley a place to recharge your batteries!  So many things to see and do, that are totally relaxing.  We went whale watching (for the third time! and actually saw them this time!!!!)  We went with the Pacific Whale Foundation's expedition as the funds go towards whale research and the naturalist on board gave us lots of really cool information.  For example... did you know whale milk was the consistancy of toothpaste?  When you think about it it actually make sence!  I wondered how the babies would get the milk while underwater.  We were lucky and actually saw a baby that road his mother's nose and back when he was tired.  It was so cute.  There were two males having a show off session for a female as well, and they made for a spectacular sighting.  We saw them off shore from our hotel too....still at it.  Boys will be boys no matter their stripes!
There was lots of painting inspiration as well, and I can't wait to get to it.  Unfortunately, the real world intrudes and year end has to be done, the tax man has to have his share you know.  Still, I have my Maui memories to fall back on!
Till next time.