Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Beauty ... of Bigger

It was exhilarating to stand before a larger black toned canvas... armed with a single one inch chisel bristled brush. The only goal was to use the roughly placed white chalk lines as guides to lay in the larger color blocks in my chosen composition.

Within the short space of an hour, I stood before the makings for what I knew would be a successful canvas because all of the necessary structure... or foundation was already laid down. The remainder of the painting process merely dealt with refinement... balancing values and creating a color harmony which would unify the whole.  Here's what the initial block in looked like at the end of session one.

Day One

The various "Big" shapes are readily discernible at this early stage. I chose to carve out the center of interest... but its shape is far from stated in a final way. Everything still remains tentative. Each section  of the painting is still open to change and further consideration. The sky is very "stainy" and will be worked up slowly in glazes to attain the morning glow that I wished to be present.

After supper, I returned to the easel and reworked the sky to lessen the left over black toning in the sky area. I decided to let the paint set up overnight. I use Griffin Alkyd white paint on my palette which is a quick dryer. I knew that I could return to the canvas the next day and resume work at the closing stage of the day's work easily. It would offer me time to consider what area to move to next to maintain an "around the full canvas" attack.

                                                                       Day Two

In looking closely at this picture taken at the end of the session in day two... one can see various areas around the central image that now bare the signs of significant change... and yet remain unresolved at this juncture. There is a stronger sense of mood and lighting at this point... which was my goal for the day.

Day Three

Note that in this picture attention has been given to the addition of detail to the light itself... ie the railings... window and weather vane atop the lantern.... as well as the play of light upon the walls of the light.

                                                                        Day Four

                                         "River Guardian, Rotary Light, Prescott ON" 
                                            - oil on gallery wrap canvas - 24 x 30 inches

This is where it sits this evening. Today was a day of push n' pull... a day of balancing values... playing with highlights and adding details for interest. For all intents and purposes... I have achieved what I wanted to in this project. Mostly, my need to use big arm movements to replace "tight-assed' drawing and sitting to paint... both foreign to my preferred plein air approach have been alleviated. I feel refreshed.

Tomorrow... after a time away this evening, I will give it one more look when I am fresher. Looking forward to another "BIG" idea canvas and following my own path.

Stay tuned...

Happy Spring!... and Good Painting... to ALL!!

One Last Thrust...

After an overnight rest and step back from the painting, I decided to "ice the cake" by adding texture... and therefore variety using my palette knife. I carefully restricted its use to the foreground snow area and the river-facing wall of the lighthouse... thus adding interest and relief from the overall quality of total stillness. Signed it...
Done liker dinner!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Family Gathering(s)...

"We're all we've got..."

I awoke a bit earlier than is my custom this morning because my head was working overtime... mulling over new painting ideas and recent events. Perhaps this is because our opening deadline is fast-approaching... or more likely, it was the surge of "spring things" that appeared simultaneously on my walk last evening.

As I made my way around my one hour circuit in the gently falling rain, I could smell the tell-tale new earthiness of spring. Purple crocuses smiled at me as I left our driveway. Everywhere... tulips, lilies, daffodils and other perennials pushed their greenness skyward.

The air echoed with the crescendo of a variety of male bird voices - all bent upon dominating and securing their air space. The paved pathway on the Parkway writhed here and there with newly-arrived thin, pink earthworms... seemingly stretching out the kinks of their imposed underground winter captivity.

Robins appeared more cheery... and plumper than usual... given this fresh spring menu of crawlers. Perhaps their rotundness owed itself to a still hidden clutch of turquoise-y treasures that would soon be gently placed in mounds of collected sticks and soft grasses... in places that irritate human home dwellers. Cardinal pairs seemed more present along the route... the males perched in pinnacles above all else... trumpeting their air supremacy.

The most unexpected discovery arrived from deep in the swamp on Old River Road. It as the happy... but noisy drone of choirs of spring peepers. All of these harbingers shouted:

"Spring has sprung!"

It struck me... as I drifted slowly from sleep into morning consciousness that all of this sudden change in activity could be attributed to family gatherings... or preparation for new families... gathering.

It struck me again... that the annual ritual of gathering of sap and production of maple syrup in Ontario sugar bushes... as well encompassed the gathering of family members to share the labour and the love of being on the land once again after a long cold winter - renewal!

Our own family had just recently "gathered" to share the annual ritual of making a pilgrimage to the Little Cataraqui Conservation Area's sugar bush to celebrate "Maple Madness. That included having a stack of freshly made pancakes topped with buttery goodness and lathered in freshly made maple syrup from the bush there.

Left to right: Melissa with Mr Mac, Andrew, Nana Joan and BoBo (Allie)
Sorry that you had to miss this year Debs... I had your pancake!

Other surprises transpired as well. Thank you to the resident chickadees on "Chickadee Lane"... and to the accommodating John Deere tractor operator who elevated Mr Mac youngest Deere operator on record! Bonus!!!

                                           Two... in the hand are worth ten in the balsams!

Is there anything more powerful in the world than trust... or Faith??? I wonder. I felt the sheer wonder of having power... but no power ... to make this happen! It quite simply..."is."

                                                            Mr MacDeere takes charge!
I would offer yet another extension of my ongoing thinking in regards to the concept of "family gathering". Here are two paintings that I have made in the past which look at the same "Idea"... as it came to me from the natural world.

I received news early last week that the East Coast version had just recently been sold at The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia... after being on corporate rental for eight continuous years. What a Happy Easter surprise that was!!!

"Family Gathering at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia" - oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches

"Family Gathering" - oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches

A copse of trees some likely related... at various stages of age and growth.

The Bajan Mafia... The Shamrays
Braden, Moi, Deb Lisa, Ryan and Mica... gathered together in Toronto

This was our Christmas Break gathering with my youngest Bryn, Susie (Bryn's Squeeze), his brother Liam and Deb

In closing out today's lengthy post, I would like to give thanks to each of my five children and especially to Deb. She has consistently and unselfishly provided a real Mom role model and a loving support system for each of them. Deb and I are very proud of each of you and we celebrate the uniqueness of each. Without any one of you... our lives would be greatly diminished.

Allie's recent Easter card to Deb and I says it all for me....

                                                   Inside... it adds... "Is a day well spent!"

We love you dearly!

"We"... are richly blessed...

Good Painting and Happy Spring !... to ALL!!!!!