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Showing posts from March, 2011

Finest Worksong

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22" x 15", watercolour, 1998

Starting in a couple of weeks I'll be teaching a watercolour workshop at an art supply store here in Picton. I'll be trying to demystify watercolours inasmuch as I want the students to feel less intimidated by the medium an learn to accept its often mercurial nature; the mantra being "Don't Panic."

For example, I'll try to show how to avoid such "errors" as in the painting above (unblended areas like the red circle on her cheek, her left hand knuckles, and her right hand), as well as mixing colours so they're not "muddy," controlling the paint to avoid the need for masking, and various techniques I've learned over the decades, among much else. Since I'm largely a self-taught painter, I'll be taking a fairly non-textbook approach to teaching.

Workshop details: Thursdays: 14 April - 12 May* 6PM - 8PM $35 per person, per class, for six weeks
7 Elements Artists' Materials & Studio 2…

AW-023

Image
15" x 22", watercolour, 2002, private collection
Here's a perfect example of a lighting situation I couldn't capture with a point-and-shoot camera (either film or digital), but did so with my Minolta SLR film camera. My studio is far from sophisticated, but I can usually get the look I'm going for with my limited setup --provided I have a good camera to capture that look.

It's also a really good example of how I like to paint my watercolours. I like strong contrast so I have really dark areas in the hair and glasses and nice light areas in her face, neck, and shoulder, the lightest being bare, unpainted paper. I do this to show watercolour's versatility and range; it can be very delicate (as in the glazed areas of her forehead, for example) as well as very bold (again the dark areas). This is something I'll be covering in my upcoming watercolour workshop in April (more on that soon).
The model is once again Ashley...and I think there are still over a…

My Camera

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Minolta X-370 35mm Film SLR
with 28-210mm Kiron lens
I use tons of photographic reference for my artwork and I prefer to take my own pictures whenever I can. Before the days of digital, shooting on film was the only option (which, for me, sometimes meant a roll of film might only get me two or three good pictures to use), but over the past 20-or-so years, and after literally thousands of pictures, I've learned to take some pretty good ones --my paintings depended on it. So, through necessity, I've become a pretty decent photographer.

I bought this beauty back in 1993 in the "used" department at Henry's in downtown Toronto. The body cost $200 and the lens cost $300. I've only needed to take it in for repairs once about ten years ago when the frame counter stopped working. Hm, now that I mention it, I've been noticing the frame counter's on the fritz again...

I've been taking a lot of digital photos with my tiny point-and-shoot for reference in the p…

Near Lake Saguaro

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36" x 48", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

Krista and I spent the past five weeks in Mesa, Arizona (AKA Small Pond Southwest), on a working holiday: I brought 3 portraits to paint and she worked on some cool new puppet creations and wrote a short play. Having finished my portraits, I found I actually had time to paint this large landscape based on a photo from our trip to Lake Saguaro, which is amazingly just minutes from Mesa.

I mentioned in my previous post that the key to rendering drapery is keeping track of all the folds and wrinkles...well, keeping track of the folds and wrinkles in a mountainscape is even trickier --there were a few moments when I had no idea what I was looking at (is this jumble of rocks in Grid 5A or 5B?). There was some improvising with highlights. Colours were changed and/or enhanced. There was some deletion and relocation of some of the giant saguaro cacti. Plants became rocks and vice versa. But I think I did pretty well for my first Ar…