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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Website/Email back in action!

Just a quick note to announce my website and email are up and running again - yay!!

And here's a sneak peak of one of my daily paintings, most of which will be posted on my (not yet published) Daily Painting Blog very soon!

Please email me here: if you want to be notified when the Daily Painting blog is up and running.

Note: January 10th, 2010
This painting has now been posted on my ebay auction site. You can link to it by viewing the January 10th blog entry "Daily Painting LAUNCH!" above.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Invermere Workshop

I just got home from teaching a two day workshop in Invermere, BC. The above paintings are two demos I did, the first one in 15 minutes and the second in 20 minutes. There were 14 very keen students which was great because we were doing speed painting, which is not for the faint of heart. We were painting poses ranging from 30 seconds to no more than 20 minutes, and wiping 90% of them off when the buzzer went.

I learned this teaching technique from Kim English (an American painter who's work is exquisite). The idea is to get to what's important, to capture the essence of the subject without getting caught up in detail. One learns to see what is essential very quickly. I find as I am  blocking in a 15 minute pose, I am constantly noting what is of greatest interest in my subject so as my time winds down I will be able to prioritize what I want to include. The difference between this approach and a finished studio piece where there is infinite time to ponder these things is that the pressure of time running out really helps push the symbol oriented, judgmental left  brain out of the equation.

It is a very difficult approach for some students to embrace, the resistance seems to come mostly from our natural tendency to be result rather than process oriented. Especially in painting, we seem to want all of our time spent to end in a finished piece we can hang on the wall. This is compounded when one gets paid for those pieces, but it can be quite freeing to embrace the idea that a lot of our time spent should be working on skills with NO immediate end result expected, just faith that the work we are doing now will help us shine brighter when it counts.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fine Art Online Competition Finalist

One of my watercolours - "Among Friends" (14"x 21") - was just selected as a September finalist  in the Fine Art Views Painting Competition. The judge was Keiko Tanabe, an extremely talented watercolorist, so it was quite an honor to have this piece chosen. If you are a painter and you don't know of this competition, you should definitely check it out, it is attracting a wide range of painters from those just starting out to some of the finest artists painting today. Reasonable entry fee and some cash prizes, as well of course as the opportunity for exposure. They post all the entries online each month, so there is also the chance to check out lots of interesting art as the entries filter in.

By the way, I dropped the ball and missed my domain name renewal date 2 days ago, so my website and email are out of commission until God knows when (very hard to get a clear answer on that). I am working on keeping the wheels moving - check back here if you would like to know when it is up and running again.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Denman Tidepool" 8"x10"

This plein air piece was a great challenge, kinda like doing a still life outdoors. I loved the mussels and anemones nestled together, and the kelp drifting back and forth in the shallow water casting shadows on the wall of the pool. Too much fun!

As promised, here are the two great tips I got from Robert Genn last month on Vancouver Island. The first one was offered up mid-day, as I was finally getting around to putting my first stroke on my canvas. He looked up at me from his pile of 2 and 1/2 paintings in progress and said, "It's about time you stopped fooling around  and got to work." When I remarked that I needed all of that 2+ hours to get inspired, he said, "No, you don't. You need to arrive at your spot, find a comfortable place to set up, and start painting. Inspiration will come".  I tried this in the following days and found he was often right.

Valuable tip # 2: He suggested that wandering around looking through the viewfinder of a camera for the perfect composition while painting on location could actually be detrimental to one's process. It could in fact even be mistaken for procrastination. His approach is to look around at the elements in the place that inspire him, these trees, that aerial perspective, the logs to the right on the beach, a certain pattern of clouds in the sky, how the light was when he arrived - and pull what moves him into his painting, instead of expecting all those elements to be laid out perfectly in front of him waiting to be painted. This is much trickier as it involves great design skills (which he has in spades). It also has a ring of truth to it, and is definitely something to shoot for.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Berry Point" 6"x8"

Just returned home from Denman Island. What a remarkable place Vancouver Island is - such raw, wild energy mixed with moments of incredible peace and stillness. I painted little I liked on this past trip, but much that fed my soul. I know it will show itself in time...

This was a painting I did while still on Gabriola Island that I was quite happy with. It was the middle painting on a day that I was determined to do 3 paintings (the other two were not so hot). I was captivated by the sky and warmed up from my first piece, set up a little 6x8 panel and dove in. It was finished in about 45 minutes, just enough time to get the message down without working it to death. Why can't I do this everytime???

I also had the pleasure of spending a day painting with Robert Genn while on the trip, and he taught me two very valuable things which I will share in my next post.

Gaye Adams and Sarah Kidner assessing a work in progress - Denman Island, BC.