Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Further to BIG things... with a small stick

In the last post I shared a very meaningful and magical Venetian moment that I experienced so many years ago. Ravel's "Bolero" continues to be among my favorite  pieces of music in all genres that I enjoy. I still play classical music and Canadian folk while I paint. Both continue to add inspiration and elevate my creative senses and mood.

While I searched out a Youtube rendition of "Bolero" I fortunately stumbled upon the one that featured the "toothpick maestro" which almost replicated the tenor and fiery performance at the Fenice so many years ago.

I mentioned to you at the end of that post that this extraordinary performance prompted me to undertake a similar strategy during my most recent project. I must admit that the project defied a promise that I had made to myself and others nearby... that my days devoted to taking commissions were finally over with. Little did I know that one more remained... and a very large and challenging one at that.

I will spare you the details surrounding how this occurred. Let it simply be said that I "owed many kind favors" to the friend who made this request. The parts that allowed me to go forward involved kindnesses to our family and particularly Allie. So I stepped up... not to the easel... but to the long wall of what is to become his entertainment space for friends in the Rockport community.

I have worked steadily for nine days and will in all likelihood complete the project tomorrow. Here is the wall of acrylic pigment that I will live at Wayne's World.

This mural features a familiar favorite Thousand Island landscape... "Smuggler's Cove"... so named because it was a place used by rum runners during Prohibition to avoid detection from their illegal smuggling operations to the US. It is a picturesque horseshoe-shaped cove with much current and Caribbean colored waters. This vantage point is a view from the Ivy Lea Provincial Park boat ramp.

The centre part of the painting focuses upon "Virgin Island... so named because their is a niche containing Mary on the outward point. It was the site for summer cottagers and boaters Sunday Masses for many years. It has become a summer island retreat for a friendly US family.. each of them own one of my sketches of their island.

In the lower right foreground of the is the Dive Boat "Osprey"... one of Wayne's two boats from which he conducts his popular scuba diving business. Wayne is a true "River Rat" in every sense of the word. He has made his living and lifetime on the river and knows it intimately... like the back of his hand.This is surely why his diving business attracts divers from all over the world to use his expertise and superior equipment.

It was one of these boats that transported Allie and the rest of us for two memorable private Thousand Island Cruises... at no cost to us. I will always be in his debt for this gift to us all, and especially Allie who would not have been able to visit the islands again in that last year of her life. A very precious and binding gift for me!

The helicopter in the upper left hand corner represents Wayne's newest interest. Since he was a boy, he has wanted to fly so he purchased this lightweight two passenger helicopter to complete this boyhood dream. He is currently taking flying lessons and has ripped down the helicopter to its frame and replaced all questionable parts to insure safety. He's a dreamer... who turns them into reality. I admire him deeply.

Here's the "toothpick" connection. I completed this entire 4 x 12 foot vignette... using only these brushes shown here. Surprisingly... I was astonished at the speed and the freedom that large arm strokes presented me during the execution of this large format.

A one inch bristle brush and a half inch sable dagger were the work horses throughout the entire painting process. I will be adding some "rigger work" for fine detail work tomorrow. Just a novel approach... running against the grain it might appear at first glance... but not!

Hope that it might inspire each of you to jump in and use some "outrageous" idea or approach of your own of your own... to make you soar... artistically and spiritually. You might come away as surprised and pleased as I have been with this exercise. A great winter tonic! HA HA!!!

Good Painting... and rich Blessings to ALL!!!


  1. Wow! You have been busy. I'm lost for words....this rocks! :o)

    Painting this one must have been quite the 'workout' physically and mentally -it's got such a good energy. Great stuff!!!

  2. Hi there Lisa!... Right on all counts! It was a workout indeed. But... I had "worked it out" in my mind before I ever touched a brush to that large wall. Planning is everything, as you well know from your own work.

    "Marathons" of any kind must be prepared for physically and spiritually beforehand to even hope for success... or even to finish.

    I feel that the work does have a spirit and energy of its own. It even captures even that sort of wistful sadness that ever autumn conjures up for me. Life simply follows the flow naturally with seasonal change. I know those feelings... oh so well!

    What is interestingly important Lisa... is that this large undertaking has already catapulted me into my very next project. This one is totally for "Me." I feel no fatigue... just the opposite. I am energized and my creative juices have simply spilled over last evening into a rough start for my next undertaking.

    Stay tuned...

    Wishing you similar re-energizing in your own beautiful work and sketchbook of unfinished projects. Thanks for dropping by with your encouraging thoughts and presence.

    Warmest regards and rich blessings,

  3. Hello Bruce, it's good to see your 'River World' paintings again, and this one's a beauty! I really get a sense of a hidden cove, off the main river, and all the history of the place.

    Isn't it liberating to simplify things sometimes. It shows that it's not necessary to have fancy equipment to make good art.

    All the best,

  4. Just loving the greens, the reflections of the rocks, everything about this beautiful spot - and what a wonderful gift to your friend = reciprocity at it’s best! I agree with Lisa = quite a workout and I can’t imagine painting something this large with those 2 small brushes!! Whew! You really stepped outside of the box to get this one on the wall :). Something to be proud of and something to admire for a long time!

  5. Good morning Friend Keith... How wonderful to be exchanging "views"... in words and images.. of places that (for now) are out of reach... escorted by those I admire.

    Social media provides each of us with a wonderful and exciting tool to "visit and know" people and places that enrich us so meaningfully from within the comfort of our very own homes.

    I am so greatly blessed to share my time, ideas and art with such a loving and special group of fellow artists. Thank you for being a constant presence in this circle of blogging family Keith.

    Warmest regards... Good Painting and Happy trekking!

  6. Good morning Rhonda... Thank you for your thoughtful words of encouragement and visit!

    The project was... indeed working outside the box and my usual comfort zone and yet... the results as they emerged, but not as slowly as I had first imagined they would... actually provided me with a sense of unexpected excitement... freedom and pleasure.

    As Keith put it in his very astute comment, "It's not necessary to have all the fancy equipment to make good art." Neither is it one which makes one "feel comfortable."

    "Imagineering" involves risking the sense of failure combined with the knowledge that you are "going... where you have never gone before."

    Good luck with your own vision quest and painting challenges,
    Warmest regards,

  7. I like the word “imagineering” very much!! Please tell Deb her lovely thank you card arrived and made me smile at the envelope (I hope my mailman enjoyed it, too)!!

  8. Glad you liked the card and the term too Rhonda. Giving thanks... and visioning... Don't they really go together well??

    It's what we all do in our blogging family!

    Sweet dreams... and good painting!

    Bruce and Deb

  9. Hi Bruce what a very fine painting and what a big project! Was this the secret project you mentioned? Thank you so much for your card and wee painting. Really special and lovely. I haven't been much at the computer but hope to catch up on news real soon. Vincent will soon be finished then I can come up for air!

  10. Hi there Lass!... Glad that the painting and card arrived safely! Just a small token of my thanks for your continued support and presence on my blog!

    The BIG project is in the done bin and now on to more of my own projects and ideas... lots of those waiting in the wings!

    Stay tuned... Good luck with Vincent! Looking forward to seeing that one appear!

    Warmest regards... and Good Painting!