Yesterday, we enjoyed another gift of sunshine and a continued impunity from the clutches of impending... but indecisive final winter cold. While the actual afternoon temperatures hovered around the freezing mark, it was the absence of wind combining with the warmth of afternoon sun which made the entire afternoon of painting pleasurable and productive.
I had earlier spent the morning combing through this year's images to select the one that we will use as the theme for our annual Christmas card to friends. I always enjoy this task because it gives me the opportunity to look back over the breadth of my painting adventures during the past year to identify those works that seem to be unique in technique or perhaps subject matter.
I try not to lock into only a winter mode or even a large painting format, despite the fact that it is Christmas... and that traditionally, Christmas cards by and large follow a winter format. On occasion, I have selected a "daisy"... in lieu of a "rose."That is to say... a very simple and painterly sketch... as opposed to the larger and more manicured style of the studio works. Daisies are my favourite flowers! Many of my longtime friends have walls in their home dedicated to my annuals... and I try to send them along something new and exciting for their Christmas surprise.
I had no problem selecting my favourite this year. It is one of my "intuitive" works... that is... paintings that predictably embrace my impressionistic preference in style... bright colour and attention to light. However... I purposely take a sketch and reconfigure its reality... adding a playful and expressionistic interpretation... creating exaggerated rhythm and movement in parts of the work. "Minuet d'Hiver"... or Winter Dance/ Minuet captures the Algonquin Landscape in a stately.... yet at the same time whimsical fashion.
I feel this was one of my better canvases this year. Surprisingly... despite grabbing a whole lot of attention from visitors to the Gallery... the painting remains unsold. And that doesn't bother me in the least... for I enjoy it every time that it catches my attention. I know that it too... will have its day to leave... but for now... it's mine to enjoy!!! ... "I" dance with the trees! HA HA!!!
I wanted to get my teeth into a larger canvas after all the small Hillsdale sketches. So I headed out... with no particular agenda... other than to achieve this end. It didn't take long to decide. Today's subject is a tin clad homestead belonging to an octogenarian... and somewhat stern Hobart farmer, Howard Gibson. It was his family homestead... and now sits empty... mouldering into eternity. He lives alone... farming the very same acreage as his predecessors... in a nearby white clapboard frame home... next door to Hobart United Church and Cemetery where his parents lie interred. This place is a favourite haunt of mine... you might call it "The Honey Hole"... for this ol' Bear!
I have made countless paintings up and down this 6th Line Oro... I feel most at home when I am painting along it! When I first came to the Oro-Medonte to paint, the 6th Line, like most of the Line Roads was unpaved... and virtually untraveled. Often my easel was set up in the middle of the road. Now paved and heavily used at peak times by homeward bound commuters to cut cross-country... doing thus would certainly mean moving the easel frequently... and in some settings it would be down right foolhardy to do so!
This derelict tin clad relic is unique really in this region. It has such an appealing patina for the painter's eye... with its mixtures of weather-produced rusts and aluminum paint. Surprisingly... that despite the absence of habitation for such a lengthy period... it still stands proud and tall... the ridge line of the roof remains plumb... meaning that the field stone foundation and footings are remarkable intact and stable. I omitted the large barn located directly behind the house behind the tree... because I enjoyed the relationship that seemed to exist between the tree and the house. The sun-raked and sloping middle ground of a variety of matted browning grasses and weeds made an excellent foil to the strong vertical form of the house and tree.
The blue sky... scumbled with very light cloud cover gave a wonderful cool complement to the warm grass and house beneath it. It was a very easy picture to step into... and fairly "painted itself"... from start to finish and despite the very heavy car and truck traffic on the four-laned Highway 400 running alongside me. "The Flow" draws attention away from such usually distracting annoyances.
In these late November days of tawny transition and cold... usually unattractive to many artists, one can find pleasing subjects if one makes the effort to get "out there." Look for some major subject of interest to be cradled by the myriad of rusts and browns. Good painting material can be found. This is an example of the kind of reward that awaits a painter... willing to get off the couch... dress warmly... and pack in his or her imagination along with the painting gear. It's worth the effort!
All in all... it was another magical ... another day in Paradise... Another blessing enjoyed... to be shared!
Happy Thanksgiving America!!
Many blessings... and Good Painting to ALL!!!