Monday, September 30, 2019

Summer... Slip-slidin' Away

Autumn has officially arrived and not just according to the calendar. The air has undergone definite change with cooler morning and evening temperatures. Birds are "fidgeting"... gathering in noisier -than-usual flocks... anxious to depart for their southern destinations. A fall palette of yellows, ochre, reds and oranges quietly reveals itself. Almost seeming to blush into view amid the verdant and varied greens of summer.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am drawn to paint on location myself... outside in the quiet places now surrendered by often noisy and active vacationers. It is this solitude that draws me to these sanctuaries - places where the soul can bathe... medicate and meditate. The perfect cocoon for creative thought and activity. Even the pesky insect pests of summer cooperate.

Grass Creek Park is such a place nearby our present home. Because it is frequented only by dog walkers and their  contented canine counterparts, there can be found numerous sites for the artist to set up and paint virtually unnoticed. Some sites even provide the added luxury and excitement of offering a view of the Saint Lawrence River. 

My painting site for today's post is just such a place. While it is hardly tucked away in a secretive, inaccessible place... the time of year greatly reduces the usage of the park. An odd car or sedan gawked its way slowly past from time to time. However... most passed offering at most... a pleasant and cheery "thumbs up."

Here's the view that we shared on this late September afternoon. Can you see why I was attracted to this site and its composition? What catches and draws one's eye about here? Is there enough to attract attention  and hold it... on canvas???

Note the simplicity of lines and masses, or shapes. See how they interconnect and harmonize... using the limited strong color to draw disparate elements together?

Step # One is to capture and maintain that simplicity during the lay in process

Step # Two is to look for strategic places to insert missing elements of "color surprises" to help guide the eye around the composition.

Step # 3 This step was conducted away from the site after a few hours (and a discussion with Deb) regarding what was not present in the site itself and needed to be added. In a few words... applying "artists' licence" - something from the soul that makes the creation your own!

"Summer .... Slip-slidin' Away, at Grass Creek Park" - oil on canvas 11 x 14 inches

Red is a color one that the artist should never shy away from. Rarely, however is it used in a purely "raw from the tube" application. Fall colors especially... bear the presence of both the greens that is being replaced... and the reds emerging. That makes the resulting new red muted.

The greatest need to bring this picture to a successful conclusion, is to recognize the absence of a strong, interesting and believable foreground. What better than to add a potpourri of fall flora that is on display directly behind you! Use it and arrange it creatively...  as you please.

Search... and be aware of objects and momentary "visitors" within the frame of view that you have created. What did I add to create yet another source of visual interest?

Hope that you enjoyed sharing this "plein air" outing near Kingston, Ontario!

Good Fall Painting... to ALL! Get "out there"...wherever you live!


  1. So beautiful! The painting and the scene and I admit, I stopped and teared up a bit when I read "places where the soul can bathe" because I am sooo needing that now - and your views gave me a little bit of that today. Thanks for sharing your talent, skill, and words, Bruce. Have a glorious autumn (while we are having 95 degree days?!??!!)

  2. Good afternoon Rhonda,

    So wonderful to share with you and to know that the power of one's art can reach out and help regenerate the spirit of others... so distant and distinctly different from the actual location where we two live and create.

    Whatever your current "need" Rhonda know that I am thinking of you and reaching out as you did to me when I needed that extra lift.

    This Sunday Deb and Joan and I will be joining other "Shermanator" team members in the 5K Walk For the Annual CIBC Walk/Run for the Cure to honor or dear Allie and other women afflicted by... or taken by breast cancer.

    In that same spirit of Love and Hope, we continue keep her memory and remembrances of her vivid and present in the "Now".

    This painting was created in the same vein. Before passing, she made me promise to live my life fully... continuing to make and share our Art for her. I will continue to do that for as long as I am able.Your response to this blog post offers further credibility to the impact of single acts of kindness and a willingness to share our gifts.

    Good luck with the heat my Friend and a glorious autumn back to you!

    Thanks for checking in!

    'Warmest' (Chuckle! Chuckle!} regards,

  3. What a lovely place, somewhere you could stop to gaze for days and there would always be something new. You tease with your cadmiums, I'm sure in the coming weeks you would have even more need of them here. Will the whole scene be aflame I wonder?

    I will be thinking of you all (and walking with you a while) on Sunday - best wishes.

  4. Good morning Lisa!

    Right on all counts! The pleasures and painting possibilities offered one at this site are indeed infinite.

    You are right as well... in your choice of the word "tease" to describe my use of the cadmium side of my palette. Sometimes, a mere whisper creates more impact than a shout ... or scream. As well... silence itself... or empty canvas can create a pleasing opportunity for the viewer's eye and brain to relax... or search the composition elsewhere momentarily.

    No doubt the scene might very well be aflame with color.

    Stay tuned... and Thanks ever so much your visit and astute comments.

    Thank you for offering to add your own presence to our family circle of "Shermanators who will walk Sunday in Allie's honor!

    Warmest regards... and blessings,

  5. Hi Bruce,

    I like the way that you've brought out the colours in the foliage, and roughened-up the foreground to create more interest. The boat in the distance is useful too, for drawing the eye through the painting.

    I hope the walk went well.
    All the best,

  6. Good morning Keith,

    A nice surprise to discover your visit and to read your insightful and encouraging comments. As is always the case... you recognize my intentions in regards to composition and careful placement of objects and brushwork.

    This "walk" ... and the other to honor Allison both attained the effect that I had hoped for!

    Thanks for dropping by Keith. Your continued interest and presence does much to fortify my desire to continue sharing my ideas and journey.

    Good Fall Painting to you,
    Warmest regards,