Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A November Novella

A novella is a shortened novel... a "quick read"... if you you like. I thought the title of this post most appropriate to describe the November plein air adventure in today's post... compared to the breadth of the painting relationship and personal ongoing friendship with Frank Edwards.

It was "He"... who first likened our friendship to that of The Lone Ranger and Tonto, mainly because we both come from that magical "listening" radio era... when  listening was the guide dog for the imagination. I firmly believe that listening first promoted and developed the ear and the imagination of the child... simultaneously creating "seeing"... that magical tool that good artists depend upon to transpose mere reality into a personal point of view and style.

Frank and I continue to revel in "playing" together in this ongoing "back n' forth" banter... the kind that children engage in... within their own adult-less realm of fantasy and free play. We are both able to blend the serious (when it is necessary) with the imaginative play both at... and between our easels. Both of us merged this practice into our day job situations. Frank was a respected medical illustrator and award-winning and successful syndicated Canadian cartoonist... and I... an elementary school teacher.

Both situations allowed us both to continue to blend listening with watching to inform our daily actions and responses to the world around us... granted, in slightly differing situations and conditions. Frank worked mostly alone with his craft... while I was surrounded often by the noise and activity of healthy and exuberant young learners.

Our plein air travels... as The Loner and Tonto have criss-crossed us through back roads everywhere in this vast province of Ontario. Throughout almost thirty years, we have painted together in every season in our beloved Algonquin Park. We have painted together as well in the rugged and picturesque Charlevoix region of Quebec and in Nova Scotia when I moved there in 1992.

This combined journey and friendship has been a marvellously rewarding adventure - a full novel composed of many adventurous chapters. Most have been happy, but on occasion... not without deep sadness and difficulties in both of our lives. We shared a successful studio and gallery space in Kingston's historic Woolen Mill for three years in the late 1980's which we named "The Brushworks." This place surely was the very "incubator" for our individual and joint creative spirits. As well... it further supercharged our individual work and our close friendship.

I consider Frank my Brother and Mentor... capital "B" fully intended. Art has crossed even the divide of blood relationship and has put our relationship in this higher realm of "being"...

"I" am greatly blessed!

This November Novella takes place in Ivy Lea Provincial Park, located just minutes to the west of Rockport along the Parkway. At this time of year, this  usually packed-to-overflowing campground is empty... except for the presence of an odd dog walker. It is a place of great landscape opportunity.... and solitude. It is a creative mecca for "Me" throughout the entire winter painting season. I set up my easel in the quiet cover of towering... sighing white pines... in the soul-soothing presence of the River. It is here in this sacred place that I work in uninterrupted silence and thought. It..." restoreth my soul"!

I had scouted the area the day before Frank arrived and had selected a spot where there were multiple subjects of interest... and cover from the possible cold winds and chill that accompanies a -2*C winter morning. Fortunately, there was sun for most of the morning's painting session. It helped keep the cold away from "the doomers". Bare painting fingers... as Frank refers to them. One loses the feel of the brush with gloves on. So deep pockets... often with catalytic hand warmers in them are a solution to allow extended painting time in the deeper cold. This was as always, a bone-jarring prelude for us both. A kind of "brisk" acclimatization to the deeper cold which most certainly will be present in future winter plein air treks.

The location was at my "fav" place... Smuggler's Cove. I never fail to be inspired to paint in this place, mainly because it changes by the hour... in each and every new day. On this particular trip, we painted different subjects... but our easels, as is most always the case... were within fifty feet (and playing distance) from the other. Despite the cold... we both enjoyed the day and came away with good plein air pieces. Three hours in the cold made the hot soup lunch... steaming coffee and conversation to include Deb back at Islesview a welcome and fitting conclusion to this richly rewarding November Novella.

I hope that this "novella" introduces the value of friendship into the formula for "perceived" painting success. Fortunately... painting success is not measured in $$$$ alone. There is not space or time today to describe the many blessings that art has brought into my personal journey. I can only hope to inspire each of my blogging friends to consider the many other blessings that painting can bring into one's life.... if one "sees"... and "listens" to one's own heart... and "counts their many blessings... naming them one by one"

Thanks for the memories and blessings Frank!.

Good Painting !... To ALL!!!

My vantage point... "disappearing" the distracting foreground dock!

Use "the zoom" approach... to eliminate the temptation to include too much initial attention to detail... and to isolate the chosen subject.

End of session... but not the thinking about the subject. Just a little studio work to tweak it up a notch.

"First Ice, Smuggler's Cove" - oil on canvas 12x14 inches... some more detail in the fore solves a too bare foreground interest, but as well... adds the element of surprise at the new presence of ice along the shoreline and in the shallow bay to the right. Seemed right to add it into the sketch.

Frank's view of the boat house on Virgin Island... my subject on my trip alone ;last weekend. He chose it as well... because it was on a flat dock... and in the warm sunshine. Two good decisions... that I envied in the colder shade where I was set up! I guess that's why he's "The Loner". Kemosabe wiser... smarter than Tonto... Older anyway! HA HA!!

Frank... finishing up on deck!

His wonderfully jaunty 12x14 inch sketch on panel... The central boat house focus...  sway-backed and leaning.This intentional caricatured "slant" on too rigid structures is his signature response to most buildings. Sure does provide an air of... aging in respectful repose! A gem Frank!

"Hi-yo Silver... and away!"... 
Lookin' forward to many more "episodes" !


  1. Good friends are such a rich blessing, aren't they? Love both your painting and Frank's painting. And by the way, 55 I have to the conclusion that what we spoke of last post just isn't going to happen for me. And I do like who I am for the most part.

  2. Good morning Sherry!... Snowy and clean isd the world around me this morning as morning arrives! Just as fresh and wonderful as your comments and surprise visit this morning!

    Friends... both physically and "virtually" present are indeed blessings in our lives Sherry. Thank "you" for your on line friendship!

    Accepting life for what it is... expidites Happiness... and the authentic "love" of one's Self ! Good for you to embrace those realities Sherry.

    However... "Never"... is just a word Sherry. "Hope" and "Believe" are as well.... Just an encouraging thought... from an 'ol guy! HA HA!!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Hi Bruce, it makes me smile, when I remember how I once asked you whether you were familiar with a Canadian artist called Frank Edwards!

    Two good paintings. I like yours best I think. That red-brown chimney was a gift wasn't it.

    All the best,

  4. Good evening Keith!,,, Strange... how the Universe works sometimes... EH Keith? HA Ha!!

    That reddish brick chimney provided a very nice complement and contrast to all of the various greens in the painting! A gift from Heaven!

    Thanks for dropping by and for your gracious compliment!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Both beautiful works. You make me realize that I need a painting buddy; your friendship is inspiring!

  6. Good morning Alice Jo!... Nice to have you visit! Thank your for your kind ... and "inspiring" words!

    Beautiful things are possible... even happen... when one is surrounded by authentic friendship. Trust and self-esteem encourage risking. Growth and true Joy and Happiness follow!

    Good luck in your own search for a "special" Friend. Trust in your Self... and the Universe! Within both... lie limitless opportunity!

    Do visit again!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,