Spring Snow Clouds.

I went out and did some plain air painting yesterday! It was a beautiful sunny day, but there were big grey snow clouds coming from the mountains in the west, so I was trying to stay ahead of the clouds…and I ended up painting them in all three paintings. These were done fairly quickly (it took me about 2 1/2 hours)–I am trying to loosen up with my painting again and just have fun with it. I painted right up until the clouds caught up with me and it started to snow, at which point the sun was covered anyway so I called it a day.

The past month I have not been very inspired to paint so to help me out I decided to try some different coloured grounds on my panels. I went with flourescent pink and yellow and I really love the pink one! I have two more pink ones ready to go for next time, and I think I am going to prime a bunch more of them. They are tricky to photograph though, the flourescent does not look bright enough in the photos!

Dining Room View.

This is my dining room view, painted in acrylic. I finished it at the end of January, just before the city replaced the power pole in the alley. I have been painting these sheer curtains a lot in watercolour where I can easily layer them, so this was interesting to paint the curtains in thick paint, section by section. It was a lot of analyzing of tones and looking at what was behind each section of curtain. And then the reflection of the curtains on the table was so much darker–like reflections on water; the table is actually wood, but on a bright day it just looks like a mirror.

The past month I have been painting and sketching this view a lot. Maybe it is the quality of light as seen from the dining room at this time of year, but I am also finding myself just really drawn to the area with all the angled rooftops. Here is a pen and ink sketch and a watercolour of the same view. The watercolour one is my first painting of the new, bright power pole.

Watercolour Wednesday — Cloud studies.

I did not have a new watercolour for this week, but I do still have watercolours that I have not posted yet. I have been meaning to post these studies for a while now, so what better day than Watercolour Wednesday! These were done in a Canson multi medium sketchbook that I tend to use mostly for doing quick watercolours, even though it is maybe not the best paper for it, they are all pretty rippled.

Curtains and Clouds.

Last week I did more paintings of clouds with window curtains. I decided to play with opening the curtains halfway. These two with the red curtains are the view from my bedroom window, and I painted them when we had a lovely chinook to warm up the weather. The first one with the darker curtains was done at 9:00am and the second lighter one was done at 3:00pm. I was going to put a second narrow strip of curtain on the left hand side, but then I decided that I liked the asymmetry of the one curtain. Maybe I will do two curtains on the next ones.

Then the next day was also a beautiful, windy and warm day with amazing clouds all day long, so I did another painting of the view through the patio doors in the dining room. I had preciously painted this view with full curtains across the view, but this time I painted the curtains halfway open. I think this might be the most successful of the “clouds and curtains” paintings so far–it has the right amount of open space versus curtains I think.

And later in the same day there was this amazing “shelf” of clouds in the sky out the living room window, so I did another painting just of the clouds. All in all it was a very productive week for painting, even though I had a terrible cold all week–I can still sit and paint the views from my windows!

Watercolour Wednesday – Clouds Through Sheer Curtains.

First painting of 2022! And it is a Watercolour Wednesday post as well! The Watercolour Wednesday posts were always a really good motivational tool for me, and I think it is time to start them up again.

I painted this on January 1st but I just got around to photographing it today. It was a bit of an experimental painting and I am going to be doing more of these “painting through curtains” paintings. Kind of a combination of my recent interest in windows and clouds. I have lots of ideas bouncing around with this and I think next I am going to play with having the curtains open and where the gap in the curtains should be placed. Doing these in watercolour will also be perfect for playing around with these ideas with less pressure, and I am still so impressed with my new Arches watercolour pad–it’s been a bit of a game changer for me with my watercolours.

Sun and Snow.

One last art show to finish off 2021! This is my first solo show in a very, very long time. I forgot how much work it is to put on a show, and I am so glad that I did it–even though I nearly backed out many times (as I did with an opportunity I had in the summer for a show). But I did it and it will be up from now through the end of November at the Central Library in downtown Calgary. And it looks really good! I was worried that the works would be too small or not bright enough. And after putting the show up, I was asked if the watercolours would fade in the direct sunlight–which started me off on a whole new thing to worry about. After doing much double checking and reading and generally going down the rabbit hole of lightfastness and painting, I think they will be fine. I use M.Graham watercolours with the highest lightfastness rating available (Level I). I also discovered that there is a debate about whether watercolours are actually more susceptible to deterioration from UV light than other mediums–in reality all paintings are susceptible to deterioration from light over time. How much light and how much time? Maybe it all comes down to the quality of paints you use? I guess time will tell, but for now I am using good quality paints, and I won’t hang these in a spot light this permanently.

I also made postcards for the show! It was a last minute thing and I printed them at Staples but I am super pleased with them. I now need to make a list of all the things that I will need to remember for my next show, and then I can get back to painting.

Frames and Shows.

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September is always a crazy month for me with family birthdays and back to school, but this year there was a little bit of extra fun (and stress!) with art…that I completely missed blogging about. I did do a couple of posts on Instagram, but Instagram posts feel incomplete to me–like they are just the bookmark to something bigger.

The first thing I should mention is that I have a painting in the juried art show “In The Open Air” at the Leighton Art Centre which runs from September 11th to October 24th. And alongside the show, my four window paintings (that I painted during the lockdown) are available in the Leighton Art Centre gift shop as part of their Members Collection right now. I had all five paintings (the four windows and the landscape for the show) professionally framed as I sadly lack the technical skills for framing. I did learn how to do some framing at University, but I have never been very good at it. Framing is always a dilemma for me. The paintings look so good framed up, but I am always wary of framing them because there is so much personal taste involved with frames. It is almost better to leave them for people to frame themselves, but that does not show off the painting very well. I guess if people really don’t like a frame they can reframe it though it is still a balancing act of doing a frame that suits the painting but also appeals to a wide variety of tastes. I was really happy with the frames for the four window paintings–I chose each one separately, but they still look really good together. I only had them at home for one day before delivering them to the Leighton, but I got to hang them up in the living room to photograph them and see them all together. I really like them as a set.

And here is the Landscape from the show all framed up. I am glad I photographed it in the frame as this photo turned out to be a really good photo of the painting, and when I went to see the painting in the Leighton Centre’s online shop today I saw that it had sold! A very nice surprise!

And lastly, this year I signed up to be a part of their Plein Air paint out that was held on the Saturday of the opening weekend for the show. They did a paint out for last year’s Plein Air show as well, and though I was in last year’s art show, I did not sign up for the paint out last year. This year it was a weird weather day with rain and fog–not a day I would normally be inspired to paint outside on, but it was a good challenge for me. I did two small paintings of the same view: one that I started before the fog rolled in and a second that was basically just a patch of grass with fog. I went back into the first painting after the fog lifted in the afternoon, but I regretted it afterwards; I liked it better as a quick study. The colours that day were also odd. Since everything was wet and just starting to turn colours, I picked up on more of the yellows in the field, but they were also hazy yellows from all the mist and fog. It was really interesting to see all the other plein air paintings from that day, as it looked like I had been painting at a completely different location than everyone else, though really I was just at the side of the Leighton Centre looking at that field rather than the front with the grand vista. Although I guess technically that is a completely different location then. Here is the first painting, the second painting, the first painting finished, and the view that I was working from. I am really glad I did it even if no masterpiece was made–it put me out of my comfort zone and also let me work alongside other artists which I never get to do anymore. All in all, this September was a great, albeit stressful, month!

South Facing Window, North Facing Window.

South facing window (with evergreen tree), 2021, acrylic on panel, 10in. x 12in.

North facing window (with lilac tree), 2021, acrylic on panel, 9in. x 12in.

I finally finished off these two little bedroom window paintings last week. And just in time, as the lilac tree in the black curtain room is about to leaf out. The light has also changed quite a bit from the time I started them a month ago. I set up at the end of the hallway and these are the two bedrooms at the end of the hall so I would start on the north facing room and then turn my easel to paint the south facing room in the afternoon. When I started painting them I would start on the north facing room painting around 11:30 in the morning, and then turn my easel to paint the south facing room around 1:30 in the afternoon. Last week in order to get similar light I had to start the north facing painting around 2:30 in the afternoon, and then start the south facing room around 6:30. That slash of sunlight in the red curtain room that fell at 3:30 in the afternoon a month ago, is now closer to 7:30 in the evening. The quality of light is also warmer now, so I ended up completely repainting the grey walls in a warmer grey.

Here is my set-up at the end of the hallway. I set a plastic shower curtain down to contain my mess, and at the end of a painting session would just gather up all the paints into a bundle (like those circular Lego mats that fold up into storage bags) and move the whole bundle into the spare room until I was ready to paint again.

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Patio Doors With Sheer Curtains.

Patio Doors, Feb. 2021, acrylic on masonite

Here is the second painting in my windows project. This is the view from my patio doors with the sheer curtains closed in front of them. I actually started this one before I did the living room window painting, and before I had decided exactly what I was doing with these. I painted the background completely and then it sat for a week while I debated if I should add the patio doors or not. I knew it needed something, but it was *almost* a finished painting without the doors and curtains. The composition was a bit off though and adding a bit of a frame with the door and the curtains seemed to fix the compositional problems. I think I had subconsciously left space for them. I do really like how much is going on in the painting now.

Here is the painting before I added the doors and curtains on it. It looks like a lot of paintings I have done of the powerlines in the backyard. I think it was time for something different, even though I love this view and will undoubtedly paint it again.

Patio Doors Before curtains