Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Signed... Sealed... and Delivered!

Today I completed the four by eight foot mural project. It has been an arduous undertaking... with many new challenges, but it was a wonderful learning experience. Working solely in acrylics... in such a large scale format proved to be my biggest challenge. It actually almost became my achilles - literally!

In the early lay in stages, I was forced to work very broadly and rapidly because the deep humidity dried the pigment as fast as I laid it down. It offered me little or no opportunity to blend colours in broad transparent washes in the lower part of the surface, as is my customary approach when painting in oils. My lower and downward painting posture using these big arm motions created great tension in my neck and shoulders... and I paid for that decision.

My decision to work more on the sky portion and the Zavikon Island building elements immediately resolved the problem... and the painting moved along quickly. I had enough of the lower half partially in place to give me a solid sense of where I wanted the painting to move towards in finishing.  I decided to paint here and there in varying places... without finishing any one area completely. I feel that this strategy allowed me to preserve harmony of colour and values as I moved forward.

Here is a three stage development of the girl and her skiff in the foreground as it developed using the "spotting method".

Simple transparent washes to just establish its presence in the overall composition

In this overview... the skiff shows more correct colour and delineation of detail as does the girl... but still not yet arrived at the detail level I wanted to have in the immediate foreground.
Here is the final stage of the mural... just a few licks to be made to tie together edges and correct a few values here and there. But it is for the most part... in the bucket... finished. It's signed. 

To me that says....  STOP!

"River Heritage -  acrylic on canvas four by eight feet on primed marine plywood.

I will let the painting surface completely dry for about a week and hopefully we will have one nice warm fall day to apply the three UV protection varnish coats to seal it completely and prepare it for outside display next season.

I will be off tomorrow to be present for Allison's lymph node surgery. She is in wonderfully high spirits and has assumed her normal teaching load. Deb and I attended her lecture last Thursday evening... it was purely magical! On Saturday I will walk with her Breast Cancer walk team... The Shermanators"... ten of her art history students. I have managed to earn pledges of over $800.00 for the cause... I'll likely need $100 of it for liniment after the walk! HA HA!!

I will be able to fully dedicate my work to fall painting outdoors beginning next week. Looking forward to the Pageant very much!

Stay tuned....

Good Fall Painting!... to ALL!!!


  1. Great finish on the large mural!! And best of luck to Allison on her surgery - and your walk!!

  2. Your painting looks lovely Bruce. Is that big pine tree really leaning that much, is there a danger it might fall onto the bridge below if the weather gets stormy? Good to hear Alison is doing so well and back at work. Mind she doesn't do too much too soon, the body needs time to heal too.

  3. Thanks Rhonda ... for your visit and best wishes for Allison! She came through her surgery with flying colours and recovered by day's end - simply remarkable that young woman! I am so very proud of "Her"... and this Family!

    We take on a five kilometer journey together this Sunday for Breast Cancer in the Kingston Walk. One step at a time... we will work out the remainder of her treatment... the five weeks of daily radiation... as a family!

    We are greatly blessed and deeply grateful for all of the kindnesses and encouragement that she has received from every sector of her personal and teaching life. Most moving to me... is the outpouring of recognition she has received from her students... past and present... which is why Deb and I chose to be part of her student Shermanator walk team on Sunday.

    Thanks for checking in Rhonda!

    Good Fall Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  4. Good Morning Lass!... The lymph node surgery is in the past tense now... and we are on to the next stage of treatment. Allison has recovered beautifully... physically... and especially so in spirit as well. She is anxious to get on with her life... and knows her limits. Her Mom and I are "side-by-each" to insure that she takes things at a realistic and safe pace.

    The great white pine is indeed canted as it is shown and is indeed in danger of succumbing to relentless Time and gravity.

    Unfortunately... the property itself shares a similar possibility. It is mouldering... and due to neglect will likely be irretrievable in the very near future... unless someone with a better vision and a HUGE pot of $$$ comes to its rescue. What a huge loss to River Heritage that loss would be!

    I chose Zavicon Island as my central image for the mural because it is the axis about which all tours... either side of the river pivot when they trip people out into their Thousand Islands adventure cruises. It is only second to the crown jewel of this archipelago... in architectural importance or lore to Boldt's Castle.

    Fingers crossed... we teeter and lean with it !

    Thanks for dropping by and offering your observations and sensible thoughts for Allison!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards

  5. Good morning Bruce. The finished painting looks good and it must be a relief to get to the end of it. I suspect that what may have started out as an exciting project, turned into a bit of a slog in the end. I hope you will remember to share a photo of it in its final location.

    I'm glad to hear that the surgery went well, and I hope you all 'enjoy' the walk.

    All the best,

  6. Good morning Keith!... Yes... the painting did pose more unexpected problems in its unfolding. The choice the acrylic medium really threw a monkey wrench into my usual quick approach to painting with the oils....the quick drying really was a difficult problem to deal with. However... scumbling came to the rescue... and I "scumbled" through it to the end. HA HA!

    The walk will be yet another opportunity to show solidarity and support for Allison... and all other women whose lives are touched by this terrible disease and the path it leads them down.... with their loved ones!

    Thanks for dropping by Keith!

    Good Painting!... and Happy Fall!
    Warmest regards,

  7. A big job well done! Congratulations on the painting.

    A big congratulations to Allison too on her battle and strength of spirit. Best of luck on the walk, hopefully you won't need to much liniment after ;o)

  8. Good morning Lisa!...Thanks for checking in on the painting result and our post run recovery! HA HA!

    Both projects reached a joyful and successful conclusion! Onward... to the next challenge... with Hope and Determination!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,