Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Mari Usque Ad Mare... From Sea to Shining Sea

It's Canada Day here tomorrow... and Rockport is hopping with visitors and activities! The River is bustling with craft of every kind... the streets and restaurants filled to overflowing with vacationing visitors.The atmosphere is electric with excitement, as people cruise about seeking photos and souvenirs. Many interesting and interested visitors cruised in and out of the Gallery. One one occasion... three paintings ldeparted with them! Summer has arrived in Rockport... and as with all otherwise sleepy low season tourist destinations... there is little privacy or places to go to avoid the crush during the day. Evening settles down the street movement to a waltz tempo and that's when locals emerge to sit out and walk about! Life is good!

Canada is a vast and diverse country geographically... despite its smaller population than its nearest neighbour the USA. Every region possesses its own unique beauty and cultural differences. I have enjoyed the great pleasure of painting in all but one Canadian province... Newfoundland. But that's in our "bucket list"... things to do and places to go before life plays dirty tricks... as it most certainly will for us all.

I have lived in Nova Scotia on the eastern Atlantic coast of Canada for five years... my brother Don lives in Viuctoria, BC on the Pacific coast and my younger sister Chris lives in Edmonton, Alberta... nearer the central region of Canada ... known as the Prairies. In short... there are Shermans all over the map in Canada/// and at the moment Venice Italy and the Barbados as well!!!

No matter where each of us lives though... we come from extremely PROUD... LOYAL...and staunch Canadian stock. And today... more than any other day in the year... I am so very proud that my Scottish and English forefathers took the courage to leave their native homelands behind... to find a better life for themselves... and for their future family. I always feel blessed when I realize that upon making that dire choice... they forever lost the ability to share time with their own loved ones... even up until death separated them forever!

On this special day... I humbly and reverently offer my thanks for that ultimate gift of sacrifice on our behalf. I pray that our life and work do honour to that gift!

"I"... no "We"... are deeply blessed!

Happy Canada Day everyone!!! Fire up da barbies! HA HA!!!

Here's a cross section of some of my favourite paintings from my past travels across this vast country! Hope that they inform and entertain you today!


A BIG Hello ... From the Rock! Happy Canada Day!



A Colourful Hello... Talk about colour theory!


Paint Box Pride


Rusitco, PEI Lighthouse - oil on panel 20x24 inches


 Peggy's Cove Light, NS...Maritime Monarch oil on panel 14x12 inches


 Heaven on Earth... Kingsburg, NS oil on canvas 36x48 inches


Bienvenue (Welcome to ) a Charlevoix! - oil on canvas 30x24 inches


En Souvenir de (in memory of) AY (AY Jackson) -oil on canvas 48x36 inches


The Greeter, Les Eboulements, Charlevoix, Que oil on canvas 20x24 inches


Madawaska Relic -oil on panel 20x24 inches


The Magnificence of Algonquin Park Through the Seasons -(quadriptych oil) on 4 canvases 6x12 feet


Still Soaring! Indian Head, Saskatchewan oil on panel 12x16 inches


Lake Louise, BC in Winter oil on canvas 30x36 inches


 The Real Canadian Idylls, Kananaskis, BC oil on canvas 36x48 inches


Ribald Royalty, Ribbon Creek, BC oil on canvas 36x36 inches


Life's A Beach, Sooke, Vancouver Island, BC  oil on panel 24x48 inches


In Nova Scotia they called me "The Winter Painter." Winter remains my favourite time to get "out there"... often on my snowshoes to hike out to be alone with Creation!.... It restoreth my soul!!!







Good Painting to all!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Van Gogh Up Close"... to Singleton Lake From Afar

The past Monday was spent visiting the National Gallery in Ottawa with long time friends Wilf and Mary Eagle... viewing the long-awaited exhibition of more than forty works by Vincent Van Gogh, along with  large number of etchings, drawings, rare photographs and Japanese prints. This premier exhibition will only make this one Canadian stop on its North American tour.

There is of little doubt that it will be the last opportunity during my life time to view these works collectively, since they are on loan for this single occasion from a number of important world gallery and private collections. Deb (also a huge Vincent fan).. and I decided to take a break away from the Gallery in the company of these special friends to immerse ourselves in this smorgasbord of joy and paint. This decision will remain a highlight for this entire summer... for us all.

The two guest curators of the exhibition, Cornelia Hormburg and Annabelle Kienle together pulled off a coup... using the placement of galleries containing Van Gogh's paintings intermittently placed alongside galleries which housed the innovations in the Arts of his time in photography, etching, Japanese print making and Impressionism. Each of these.. in their own way fuelled Van Gogh's relentless search for new ideas and techniques and served as catalysts of change in his constantly morphing painting style interests and process.

This clever use of proximity was the underpinning strength for the exhibition in which the monumental paintings such his "Sun Flowers" and "Irises'... for which he is best known were noticeably absent. This fact however, has no negative influence in how the exhibition has been received by its thousands of viewers since opening in early May. Like us... Vincent's legion of followers continue to be enthralled and captivated by the brilliance  his paintings and genius.

I returned home... afire with  renewed excitement to paint as a  result of this up close encounter. After seeing his spontaneous ease in applying pigment and his... at times manic yet intoxicating use of brushwork, a clearer goal for one's own work can be felt. It echoes Vincent's own feelings a age 27years... as revealed in a singular section in a letter to his beloved brother Theo in June of 1880:

"I feel a raison d'etre! I know that I could be quite a different man!
... There's something within me."

His totally alla prima approach to painting is a valuable lesson for all of us who vale outdoor painting. I certainly will pay greater heed than I have in the past to maintaining fluidity and fearlessness in my painting style. I feel after seeing this exhibition as he did. There is something more.. within "Me!"

Yesterday, I had the unusual pleasure for me... of getting together to paint with seven up state New Yorkers at the invitation of my painting friend... fellow artist and "once upon a time long ago" grade seven student Phillip Chadwick to paint with this group at his new home located on Singleton Lake, just one half our north of Rockport. I arrived around 9:30am and got the grand tour by Phil around 'Paradise".. while we awaited the arrival of the other painters.

By 10:00 all members were present and we each set to work finding and setting up[ quickly at our first location. Mine was right at his front door facing on to the lake and looking out from a darkened bay past  point. Lots of structure... great depth of space and great colour in all three parts of this landscape so I quickly jumped into action. I had considered begging off earlier in the morning due to a very painful back, but decided to make an effort to show up and to gauge my feelings as the day wore on. After the two hour session required to complete the painting posted today,I soon realized the folly of pressing my luck further. So iI reluctantly packed up my gear... said my hasty goodbyes an headed straight back to Rockport to my chaise.. my ice packs and a quiet afternoon cooling out. I visited my chiro this \morning to get treatment under way and feel much better already!

NO further gardening or weeding(the culprits responsible for my back's complaint)... until further notice! Here is the 16X20 inch oil sketch completed in about two hours entitled; "A Summer Symphony on Singleton Lake" I had thought about titling it "Summer's Back!" HA HA!!! Hope that you enjoy it!


 Do treat yourself... if this exhibition is offered nearby! Its worth the time... effort and $$$




"A Summer Symphony on Singleton Lake"- oil sketch on canvas16x20 inches





A view of the site and easel set up on Singleton Lake


Good Painting to ALL!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Using Photographic or Digital Reference.. But Maintaining Ownership of the Artistic Process

One of the difficulties than one must  somehow overcome during the commission process is to overcome the sense that in essence... one is working really...  for someone else. in the process of negotiating the direction of the commission...it is absolutely necessary that input from the client be addressed and weighed into the final outcome. Striking a palatable balance that pleases both sides can be a very tricky process.

I must first feel a strong sense comfort with my potential client right from the beginning of the process. The initial meeting pretty much signals a match and a go... or that I should politely decline rather than risking hard feelings and placing both sides in a position of compromise an certain unhappiness in the end.

The fairly good colour photo references in this particular case... along with the very positive conversations with this couple made my decision to accept this commission feel positive for us both. I started the process by presenting the pen and ink quick study to them.. which presented a concept that they liked. I asked a number of extra questions about certain physical aspects of the photos which weren't exactly clear to me. When I  received more input... I felt that I was ready to proceed. Well almost!

I decided to accurately draw the building because it was so unique architecturally... and I had sense after seeing their tastefully decorated home and other art that they had collected... that my rendering had best be "right on the money." After couple of false starts.. I had the house and supporting structure of the trees, road, etc. pretty much where I wanted it located. I then moved on confidently to the lay in process.

I blocked in the dark foliage around the home and quickly filled in basic values of the grass.. small trees and road shadows. I added a pale bluish purple to the various levels of the house itself... and finished by roughing in cloud shapes and sky colour. At this juncture... all of the canvas had some paint... no matter its correctness in value or hue even. This gave me a sense of the weight and strength of the various parts of the composition and design.

Today...I spent the entire day balancing greens in the trees and bringing our a variety of different values in the "white" of the house itself.I reworked shadowed areas on the road and in the tree masses until I was satisfied that there was transparency and balance in my values right across the entire picture surface. Finally...I added some smaller details with my rigger to give punch and lift out recognizable and important architectural details.

In looking at he painting this evening... I can see yet a few more areas to be dealt with tomorrow to bring things to a close. Overall... I feel that I have successfully captured the essence of this beautiful Victorian era Quebec homestead. I hope that it will please my clients! Fingers crossed!

 Ink Sketch...for initial presentation to clients

 Burnt sienna acrylic 'map" to develop the house placement and structure... using a grid

 Painting set up

Laying in ...

 Lay in competed

 More values and balancing

"An Eastern Township Memory" - oil on canvas 16x20 inches


Good Painting to ALL!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board!

We had a surprise return visit on Sunday to the Gallery by the gracious couple who just purchased "Summer Reliquary." We had agreed to come and bring the painting to their lovely riverside condominium home on approval. That was to take place on Monday morning at 9:00 am. We were taken completely by surprise to see their van pull into the driveway ... out of the blue on Sunday.

After a pleasant conversation and much banter and kidding the gentleman asked me if I ever made paintings from a photograph. I assured him that on occasion... and when necessary I did so. He pulled out a rather tattered picture of a very elegant Victorian home from his wallet and asked, "What about this one? I quickly and politely) glanced over the black and white photo... looking for elements that might form the basis for my answering yes. I do say no to any potential project presented which I can't commit to. Better to be honest right up front than to suffer throughout the commission process... and find yourself boxed in by a product which was doomed for failure right from the start.

I replied after some searching... that it was a charming subject and could be a possibly good painting subject... but that I would need some facts from him that weren't obvious from the small 2x4 inch black and white. Both he and his wife chimed in immediately that they had a box of pictures from which they could provide more reference for me to begin. I agreed to consider it further during our Monday morning meeting.

"Summer Reliquary" looked absolutely stunning in its potential home over their off white wooden fireplace mantle. Its vertical strength and the warmth of the frame picked up all of the colours of their other furniture and d├ęcor. Smashing! I am proud to have it placed in this elegant home... and in the care of this lovely and discriminating couple.

The three extra small and coloured reference photos did in fact pique my interest and I agreed to work up a sketch in pen and ink based upon this reference and to present it to them for final approval and further direction as to size and medium to be used. They agreed that the commission go forward in oil in a 16x20 inch canvas format... and that suited me for certain!

It turns out that this lovely home is located in Waterville.. in the Eastern Township of Quebec. It is the gentleman's family home. It means a lot to him for the same reasons that our own family homes strike nostalgic chords in all of us. A home isn't just a house. It's a place where one's heart can return to... long after our feet have left it forever!

It is an honour and I am proud to be asked to share in recreating a semblance of that memory which he clings to daily...in his wallet... so deeply into the later years of his journey! I'll do my best to to disappoint him!

On to the easel tomorrow! Here's where I will start the painting process from.


Stay tuned!...


 Photo reference and ink sketch. Note written data to act as
memory notes to guide the painting process.



Some might call it luck... but luck has nothing to do with the good fortune we continue to enjoy... as each new day arrives here in Rockport... both on the land and on the water. Simply put : in order to catch fish... one must put a line in the water! HA HA!!


A Northern Pike 31 inches in length and weighing in at 7 lb. What a great fish fry we enjoyed the next.evening! YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMEEE!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Heroes... and Heroines

It is Father's Day... a time set aside in our culture for most men and their families to celebrate the Time that they have shared together. In my own case... our celebration began yesterday evening when my daughter Lisa and two of my three grand children... their current "squeezes hosted an evening of good food... a bonfire and evening fireworks a la Bradie boy and Tanner for Deb and I. What a wonderfully fulfilling and memorable evening of laughter...food and sharing of precious time it was!

This morning... my thoughts flood to my Dad (and my Mom)... and the seamless and eternal sweet memories which I carry within of times we spent in our homes in Brockville and of course, the fifty odd years spent within a stone's throw of Lisa's lovely Riverside side home at Narrow's Lane Road, three kms east of Rockport. I am so deeply blessed!

My very vivid first  memories of Dad and I being alone together sharing time, go back to our home on 103 John Street in Brockville. That would make me three to five years of age at the time. Even then, I was painting and drawing as passionately as I still am today. I could literally sit down and paint pictures of every room in that house and their contents... if I wished to. That is how vivid those visual markers are... and that they are so lasting gives testimony to the impact that the early years have on us as evolving individuals. Imagine too... the impact of the words and actions... spoken or unspoken... because children absorb everything in their environment and they are the sum total of those influences.

I am not elevating either of my parents to the level of sainthood, as is often the case after parents pass. I am very aware that they made choices that weren't good for them or for us either... during the course of our family life together. But I can tell you without any hesitation... that they always did their best in my mind... and for this fact I am forever grateful to them both for their too numerous t mention gifts and sacrifices for every member of our family.


Summer Requiem" - oil on canvas 30x24 inches

"Thank you... For the Music!" - oil on canvas 14x11 inches


So on this beautiful sunny St. Lawrence River morning... I am remembering "You" fondly and with the deepest respect Dad.. for it is your day! But at the same time... I am adding "You" as well Mom. You were a team for seventy-five years and the success of any team can never be measured by one member alone. I have learned from your example how to counsel... console.. embrace individualism and to love unconditionally... each of my own children and now... my wonderful grand children. Because of you both... I am passionate about...  and generous with people... family and my artistic expression. You are my Heroes... no gender necessary!!!

The painting  "Summer Reliquary" which I made a couple of summers ago to celebrate Summer and memories from my Narrow's Lane chapter of my life story.. was ironically purchased yesterday by a lovely couple from Brockville. Deb and I are taking it to their condominium overlooking Tunnel Bay and our River on Monday morning. It is a bit of a bitter-sweet moment for sure... but sharing "Us" with "Them"... is a way of "passing forward" our combined gifts and mine to the world at large... in the same fashion that you generously shared you gift of music Dad! The other painting tribute painted for "You" Dad... "Thank You.. For the Music" was gifted to your grandson Andrew. "You" and "He" were such soul mates!

I will close this post this morning by wishing all of my blogger Fiend Dads... everywhere... A Happy Father's Day from The Paint Box Gallery in Rockport! As well... just these final thoughts to each of you out there from me:

If you think yourself "ordinary...  remember that all heroes and heroines were once children... long before those selfless acts of heroism for which we remember them were recorded. Smile! It costs nothing... and as simple as it seems... it might be a small and unselfish act of personal heroism the impact of which... you may never see!

I love you both Dad and Mom... Forever! Happy Father's Day!

Keep smilin!...

Good Painting to ALL!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strategies to Overcome the "Dreaded Green"of Summer... and to Succeed

The old adage in golf ... "You can drive for show... but you putt for dough!" says it all in the challenging world and game of golf. The game is most often honed to perfection and matches decided upon one's ability to "read"... and to play on the putting greens. So it is in plein air painting as well. Many plein air "enthusiasts" find the varied and hard to read greens of summer discouraging... most of the time because they give up and wait until other times of the year when colour and form can be more easily distinguished.

Through this avoidance... they rob them selves of perhaps the most enjoyable and comfortable time in the year to be outside... free of heavy clothing and countless picturesque views of unfrozen landscapes and water views. Secondly... they rob themselves of an excellent opportunity to play with green's varied summer values and to learn through doing that how to mix values for any other hue. Mastering greens opens a floodgate of learning and accomplishment for those who dare to persevere.

I would like to offer a few tips or suggestions for my blogger friends which I have learned through many years of working with painting outdoors in this season. I don't presume to be a master such as Canadian Group of Seven member, AJ Casson... but I humbly offer that I am entirely comfortable in any summer location and usually come away a painting or sketch that I am pleased with. I have a list of invariables that I apply to each summer set up which helps to optimize possible success.

Yesterday, I had the honour of introducing a young lady studio painter (in acrylics) to the "Wide World of Plein Air Painting." I agreed to take her with me on a foray into the village... provided that she paint in oils and that she be open to taking some suggested  risks to overcome her complaint regarding the matter of "being too tight" in her approach to painting. I provided much of the paint and painting equipment including an easel and offered her tips in setting up her palette and choice of colours.... brushes and canvas format.

 Earlier in the morning on my morning walk about in Rockport, I selected three possible sites which might serve the purpose for an introduction to plein air painting. Each contained the invariables upon which I make the selection for my own choice in summer painting locations. I first walked her to each of the three sites and we discussed the merits of each and her feelings of comfort in each place. Finally... I asked her to select our place to paint for our three hour session.

I was more than happy that she selected the view of St Brendan's Church... from a low vantage point below the church located on the granite bluff. It was a location... that would remain mostly in the shade for most of our session and there was ample room to walk back comfortably and safely to examine the progress of the painting for the two of us. She also demonstrated a strong conviction for the subject... and therefore was motivated to jump in with minimal reluctance or uncertainty.Definitely a great beginning for the experiment!


Strategies or Invariables:


1. Select a location that has STRONG elements of structure and if possible.... some architectural element around which the landscape unfolds. This creates CONTRAST which helps sort out things in the initial stages of laying in.
2.I most often use a toned ground for my canvas... my preference being burnt sienna acrylic applied before you go out to paint. This reduces glare and adds warmth that are complementary to the greens that you will be facing.
3. Use medium to large bristle brushes... dependent upon the size of the canvas chosen to commence the painting process. These allow one to "scrub in" colour... or to apply the first pigment in washes using turpentine or OMS (your choice)
4. Examine your subject... squinting your eyes and seeing the subject through your eye lashes. This helps break the subject into forms... or more appropriately for St Brendan's Catholic Church.... MASSES!!! ... couldn't resist the opportunity to pun you! The idea of this whole business of painting is first of all...to have FUN!!! The masses of greens need not be exact in their initial lay in... they will most certainly be altered along the way. The idea is to fill in the space with meaningful forms or shapes which = STRUCTURE. 
5. I use a rag or towel to "lift" areas such as the church steeple, statuary and body of the building. The sky remains sienna in colour at this point.
6. I darken the areas which are darker in the green areas using sap green... blues... purples or umber to create shifts in value that approximate not replicate what lies in front of me. Gradually, a mapping of green structure will emerge... which can be adjusted higher or lower later on in the session.

7. I then usually add some initial sky features by transparently "hatching in" blues ... pinks and whites to fill up the anticipated sky interest. It will change as well as the picture moves along.

8. At this juncture... I apply transparent values... in this case white to establish where I will finally place the elements of the church itself. Keep it very light and unobtrusive. White too soon will result in an undesirable chalkiness too early in the painting. Save the strong values until the very conclusion of the painting process.

9.AT MANY TIMES DURING THE ENTIRE SESSION... PUT YOUR BRUSHES DOWN AND WALK BACK ABOUT TEN PACES TO LOOK AT YOUR PROGRESS. HAVE A DRINK... TAKE A WALK... GET AWAY FROM THE PROBLEM AND UP CLOSE-IN-YOUR-FACE CONTACT YOU HAVE RIGHT AT THE EASEL.


10.Start working on specific areas... applying specifically and strategically placed strokes that are not touched or changed. The old adage:" A stroke laid... is a stroke stayed" is the idea from this point on. You are in fact creating a rug hooking from this point on... one stitch at a time. The sum total will read as a painting!

11. Take out your sharp pointed rigger and add another ten minutes of detail... avoiding fussiness or extraneous details. Simplify. Often... "little says more."

12. End the process when you find yourself looking for places to add a stroke. That can be accomplished best away from the scene and from memory. Keep that extra session to barely a few minutes... and preferably a few days after the initial outing.

I am including these jpegs to let you see the results of Josee's first plein air painting in oils. I will leave it to you to decide upon the success of our venture. I can only tell you that Josee has headed out to get new supplies to take back to the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St Lawrence. She's hooked!!!


Josee adds her final touches... a great piece for three hours work!

Final touches for me

Visitors arrived by land and by water during our session

Bonne chance Josee! Enjoi-toi ta nouvelle affaire avec les huiles!


"St. Brendan's Catholic Church... Nestled Into Summer" - oil on canvas 20x16 inches


Allison (Ms Pig)... calls me Kermie! I wonder why????? HA HA!!


Happy Summer Painting... to ALL! Hope this post helps you achieve more of that!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sharing Parts of My Journey... and Painting With David Kay

David Kay and his wife Diane arrived on Wednesday evening for a three day stay which led to some great meals... catching up on life on both sides... and some fruitful painting on Thursday and Friday by David and I both. This was their first visit to the Thousand Island regions and Rockport - and won't be their last for certain. They both realize now... why Deb and I are so joyful and excited about being here!

The Islands captivate the eye and the imagination... even after a single visit, but for those of us blessed to have spent our youth in these parts it is it is being smitten forever to find your way back to "Home"... just as salmon in the wild do. One must go out into the world to find one's Self and a living... but it becomes necessary buy whatever means to try to return... to complete one's life... full circle... and "I" have!

The middle painting that we created... mine a wee 8x10 inch canvas depicts the "John Caiger Homestead" , overlooking the St Lawrence River on Narrow's Lane Road. This special place was our family's introduction to what would become a fifty plus year summer residency at our own cottage two years after this first experience. David painted it on a  16x20 inch panel ... as he does... "as is"... in the present tense, while I painted it smallish and simplified to represent my memory of that first meeting of my mind and this special place. I wanted it to be simple... "painterly" and  unmannered... unchanged... just as I remember it. That is the value of the truly creative mind. Reality "is"... what you imagine it to be!

The first painting is a painting that I have wanted to sink my teeth into for such a long time, but I was either coming or going and just never had the time to really find a time to paint it. I suggested it to David and with him aboard on the idea we set to work at 10:30 am... both using 16x20 inch formats. We were just about to finish the lay in part of the process when a very tall younger man strode up to us from his Tundra truck and immediately struck up an interesting conversation. He mentioned (casually) that he owned the island and was interested to see what we were painting. He was really enthusiastic about both versions and invited us to cross the bridge and come over for a visit and drink. Bonus!

After finishing lunch... and the painting (in that order) we made our way over the bridge to this amazing place. He welcomed us in and immediately set to showing us all through the interior rooms  and decks. The interior matched the exterior in beauty and craftsmanship. It was akin to something out of Better Homes and Gardens... or more appropriately... those magnificent historic homes and cottages which The Islander and Thousand Island Life magazines feature monthly. It was grand... yet very simply organized and well designed... not at all pretentious or audacious in tone. It simply... felt comfortable... with a sense of "Home."

Sitting with Fred Guild having a drink revealed some information which connected "He" and "I"... some forty years ago. I had taught a grade five-six split in Front of Yonge Elementary School for a year before finally accepting a position in Kingston where I remained until my retirement from formal teaching. I remembered he and his twin brother Lawrence as participants in my phys-ed house leagues as kindly... shy but spirited youngsters... eager to please!

It was a time when I was in the midst of a darker moment in my early life when my wife at the time and I separated and divorced. I decided to move to Toronto area to gain some perspective. I had my much difficulty in accepting the change in being able to see my young daughter Lisa and my dog Brutus, a black Labrador Retriever daily. I visited every other weekend to have consistent connection to Lisa, but I knew that it would be impossible and unfair to the dog to bring him to the city. I put out feelers to try and find a suitable person who would care for Brutus as I had.

It turned out that the Guild lads and their family agreed to accept him as their own on their spacious property. The final image of leaving Brutus... with him trying to get loose to come with me... very much saddened and disturbed me for months. To this day... I have not owned another dog... and doubt that I ever can. The upside of this sad story , is that Brutus lived with the lads to the ripe old and very loved age of fourteen and they much loved each other!

Some would call these events serendipity... I choose to believe that The Universe  continues tocreate opportunities for each of us in our lives. Lately... it has provided us with a bounty of these blessings... rapid fire!

The last painting was created on the morning of David and Diane's departure back  to Whitney. I took David to this quiet garden setting... which I knew would yield a good solid composition and challenge. David completed a 16x20 version... while I finished this 12x16 study on panel. I have given it  an obvious title: "Rockport... In Bloom". we completed our paintings and were back in our home in time to share a hearty send off breakfast consisting of  ham... eggs... orange juice... toast and coffee.

It was a wonderful pleasure to share our Islesview home with these good friends... and to introduce them to the beauty... and painting possibilities of these beautiful Thousand Islands. IT was remarkable that together... we might travel back in time to revisit familiar places... and faces from my part!

"I"... am deeply blessed!

 "The John Caiger Homestead, Narrow's Lane Road"- oil on canvas 8x10 inches

" Fred Guild's Island Grandeur" oil on canvas 16x20 inches

"Rockport in Bloom" - oil on panel 12x16 inches


Good Painting to ALL!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Looking Twice...

Last night immediately after supper I headed out into the village and along the waterfront in search of something interesting that I might again spend an hour recording in my sketch book. The village comes to a stop... "dead in the water" still at 5:00 pm... except for "the regulars"...diners... or imbibers who frequent The Cornwall Bar & Grill. It is a grand time to be with one's Self... the only noise being birds... lapping water and "dock music"... or the odd sound of a passing boat... River Music... to "Me"!

DEb... with the final window for David and Diane.... Beautiful... BOTH!

"Me... and my Shadow... strolling...."

St Brendan's Catholic Church, Rockport - pen/ink and watercolour Wash.... Tuesday evening

Wednesday morning at 5:30

The irreverent crow weathervane

Rumble n' tumble... and RUN!!!
Home Sweet Home....
Buzz off Bud!!!


I walked briskly past the Cornwall and out on to the dock which berths the Rockport Boatline Chief Shingwauk and which faces back from the water to the cliff on which St Brendan's Catholic Church and The Queen of Peace are perched.... high above the water. I quickly sat down on the dock and set to work because the light was already beginning to fade. After about an hour of pen work with sporadic watercolour wash... I decided to head back to Islesview to join Deb for our nightly tea party ritual. A fine nightcap... and a nice way to fill in an artless day... dedicated to more much-needed garden work. You can combine "the necessary" with "play." Makes Jack... or Jill happy and fulfilled... after a trudge "up the hill"!

I arose around 5:20 am... put on the coffee and decided to head out... cup n' camera in tow to catch Mr Sun at his morning work at the painting location where I had worked last night. All was different.... except... that "I" was the sole soul (works for me) attending... and I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much more texture the cliff face had than the night before. The crow... perched irreverently on the steeple's cross made me chuckle: "What would the vicar think?... God only knows... and I bet He doesn't care either!

On the way back past the Cornwall.... I was intrigued by a sudden burst of rough n' tumble chaos in the ancient maple and wondered what all the fuss was about. It would seem... as my camera records... that a very young clutch of four young grey squirrel explorers shared my desire to be up and about... without the presence of others!

Life is great here in Rockport.... dawn to dusk! "I" ... am deeply blessed!!!

Friends David and Diane arrive late this afternoon! Paint on!... and David and I will! Stay tuned!...

Good Painting!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Blooming... in Rockport

It's blooming in Rockport! Blooming cold!... Blooming wet!... and yes... for certain blooming to the brim with new flowers in gardens and fields everywhere in and around the village! The winds have been uncharacteristically dead out of the east for days now which has brought us the much-needed rain that has been missing in May. The grass had browned and fire warnings had been posted in the area.

The St Lawrence River is very low for this time of year... down almost two feet below normal which would be disastrous for farmers and for all of us who depend upon wells for our fresh water. So I am not bloomin' complaining about the weather at all. It did however curtail my attempts to get outdoor painting... until this evening. After supper... the sun came out for an hour and I headed out into the village... sketchbook, pen and ink kit and watercolours ... eager to at least have a go at painting.

On Wednesday, my painting pal from Algonquin Park, David Kay and his wife Diane are coming for a two or three day stay with us here. They are coming to fetch their second of two stained glass windows that they had commissioned Deb to create... and David and I will put in some time painting in the area.This will be  David's first painting trip into this area! We four share so much in common... and we always enjoy each other's company... so good times are on the way!

 Bearded irises

 Gone to seed dandelion beauty

 Tulips with a buoy

 Loyalist tulips

 Pink geraniums

 Rock garden delight

 Yellow iris

 Busy... bumble boogey!
 Flag
 irises
 ?????.... Help me anyone!

 Irises

 Fully blown Poppy

 Moonlit poppies







Today's sketch is a quick ink rendering... with just a touch of watercolour to add some interest and flourish. I often use this kit and method when I'm travelling because it is portable and quick to produce a resulting reference which I might use afterwards to create a larger painting. Strangely... my ink brush seemed not to dry as quickly as usual... likely I felt because of the cold. As a result there was some unwanted smudging in areas where I used it and where my drawing hand touched the wet ink.. It took some "creative" thinking and doctoring to lessen the unwanted sprawling of the dark ink mass in places.

I am as well posting some floral blooms... for the gardeners at heart to enjoy. Sometimes it's fun just to be the observer... letting the brushes lie idle... while the eyes and brain soak up the wonder that unfolds so quickly... and briefly in this rich and florid part of the year! I hope that you enjoy the post!

Good Painting to ALL!