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.

10 Years and Cloudy Skies.

I started this blog ten years ago this month! I feel pretty proud since even though I have been a bit sporadic with blog posts, I have kept painting the entire time. I started an Instagram account thinking that I wanted something more direct and easy; so I could just post a quick photo after doing a painting. It was nice and direct and easy, but I was also a bit lazy with it. I took photos on my phone rather than my good camera which was fine for Instagram, but not good enough for my blog. Now I am having to go back through and re-photograph all the paintings that I did. It feels like a lot to catch up on for my blog. I still want to put them up here though. Especially the 30 days project that I did in April during the quarantine. I may just have to throw them up here in one big slide show.

For now here are two watercolours that I did on Saturday because it was such a glorious day–maybe one of the last days to enjoy my patio this year. The first one with the tree tops is looking up at the sky from my patio. Lately I have been fascinated with capturing those whispy clouds that stretch across the sky in watercolour, and I am very pleased with how this one turned out.

Looking Up, Oct.10, 2020, watercolour on paper

Then just before supper some crazy clouds and wind blew in, and I did a quick study of the clouds out the living room window. Very pleased with this one too.

Clouds Rolling In, Oct. 10, 2020, watercolour on paper

Why can’t I share my gift?

A friend from work passed away just over a week ago. He was younger than me–only 32. I thought I knew him fairly well, even though I was just getting to know him. But now I feel like I did not know him at all.

There were sides to him that I knew nothing about–he had a radio show on the local college radio station, that I knew nothing about. It was all pre-WWII music, all 78rpm records. I have been listening to it now, and I am in awe that he left such a legacy. That he was able to share his passion with the world. I still can’t believe he’s gone. It feels like he is just on vacation. Anytime I think about it I cry.

I have never quite figured out how to share my paintings with the world in any meaningful way. Did Jeff ever feel his radio show was pointless? I don’t know. I feel like I am only doing half an assignment. I go out and I paint, but I can’t get further than that. I am trying to remember back to my University days–what the next step is.

I missed the memorial they had for him at the King Eddy in Calgary–I had pre-booked a mini vacation for my family in Drumheller that week. So I went to Drumheller and I did a watercolour there and I thought about the stupid randomness of life and of who lives and dies.

I apologise for the bleakness of this post. I have not figured anything out.

Spring Green.

A study of greens, May 2019, watercolour on paper

A beautiful, beautiful week. I had some days off and I spent them all in my yard. Not a lot of blooms yet, but a whole lot of green coming up after the week of rain that we had. I did this watercolour study of one of my flowerbeds over two of the days. Soon this will be full of phlox, cornflowers, and alliums.

I am gardening a bit obsessively right now–I think Thursday was the first day that I just sat and enjoyed the yard without getting up to weed this or that, or transplant or prune something. I sat out on my patio on a perfect day with a book and a drink in the dappled shade of the Honeysuckle tree…it was glorious. This corner of my backyard that I turned into a patio garden last year is my favourite place in the world right now.


Snow and Sun.

Snowy Road, Feb. 19, 2019, wtercolour on paper

Snow on the street in front of my house. All I want to do right now is paint the snow so it’s a good thing we are having a very snowy February. There has also been many beautiful sunny days and sitting to paint them from my windows is very calming. It forces me to slow down and really appreciate it–even the dirty snow on the street.