Month: November 2014

Sun on Red Brick 2014

This summer, back from my trip to Europe, I finally had a chance to paint. Well paint on canvas, since the basement walls, floor and our porch had already been attacked by me.

Trying to relax on the porch, I couldn’t help but look at the red brick of our house and wonder how hard could it be to paint. On a canvas, I decided to just quickly sketch an outline of the bricks. There was also a metal sun ornament hanging on the wall, it was incorporated into the painting. Later it was taken aside and repainted as well.

I needed something more in the painting. I like depth, like a 3D effect, actually photo realism but I wanted this to be a plein air. It had to be simple; so a small section of the table with a plant holder and a plant, including some reflection was added.


Sun and Red Brick In progress 2014

Acrylic and I have had our differences, but watercolours still have to be mastered. I decided on some gouache I had been given, which was a nice in between medium. I found it perfect for quick drying but terrible for trying to layer like I am used to with oil, or even acrylic to an extent.

The brick turned out amazing, I was pleased with the texture and shadowing. The flower pot with its striking blue design on a white background, was as stunning as the real pot. My favourite was how the gouache lent itself to make the glass of the table translucent enough to reflect the bricks.

Since this was the summer of rain, I had to pack up and run for shelter. The painting ended up being finished indoors a few days later. I still love looking at the way it turned out.  Now that it is in a private collection, I have it as my phone screen just to keep seeing it every day.

2014, Original Gouache Painting

2014, Original Gouache Painting

Photographs are Wonderful for Inspiration!

I really enjoy taking pictures, trying to capture the moment; especially when no one notices. As a kid, I went from trying to afford 110 film, flashbulb and developing; upgrading to better camera, 36 mm and development. Now I can basically take unlimited amounts of photos.

I do tend to go a bit crazy, so this year I made a limit. This was the first time I have actually been forced to delete pictures on my camera, because I ran out of memory (more then once) and had no where to download and save them. I should have gotten another card, but I was trying to limit myself to 1600 and I suffered the loss of some wonderful shots.

Pictures are my biggest inspiration. They easily show what colours, and where to put them. I can see detail, that gets missed as time goes by. At least objects in a photo do not move. As well, the  subject is not inconvenienced by sitting immobile for hours, over days, possibly weeks.

Mystery Tree at Balloch Castle, Loch Lamond, Scotland, UK 2014

Mystery Tree at Balloch Castle, Loch Lamond, Scotland, UK 2014

My mentor showed me how the masters would draw on the canvas first. If they wanted it exact, they would make a sketch, before griding to enlarge. With photos, I employ the same techniques with the benefit of printing in greyscale. This simplifies that once complex array of colours, to just white, light grey and dark grey.

There have been some pictures I dare not paint, only because they stand alone. My daughter started taking those types of photos and transferring them onto canvas. The results are very rustic and vibrant. Some of these can be found on her etsy store, Piercing Moon Creations. She inspires me daily with her constant creativity and energy to keep making whatever she wants. Check out her blogs as she tries her hands at making new things.

Sleepy Tree Frog, Beckwith, ON 2014

Sleepy Tree Frog, Beckwith, ON 2014

The Louvre, Paris, France

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Lady Liberty, Paris, France 2014

I visited Paris, France this year, my first ever European trip. My daughter and son had already been there a few weeks. Yvonne met up with me at the airport and helped navigate us to the hotel, the Eiffel tower, Lady Liberty and of course, the Louvre!


The Louvre, Paris, France 2014

The Louvre is so big, we barely seen a quarter of it during our 5+ hours there. Our first goal was for me to see the Mona Lisa. The halls leading to it are filled with so many amazingly done works by so many talented people. The detail captured, without the aid of a photo, is astounding.

Then to stand in front of some that are as big as a wall, busy with detail. You are left to wonder how long must that have taken to draw and paint. Possibly they had help, but it still would have taken a long time to draw,  make your paints, apply them, wait for drying of layers. The hours devoted to these creations unknown.


My sad view of the Mona Lisa, The Louvre, Paris, France, 2014

Across from one of the largest paintings I have ever seen, was the Mona Lisa. It is way up on a wall behind glass, blocked further by a railing. If you are fortunate enough to get past the 100+ people, as another 100 are pushing in, you might just catch, what feels like, a glimpse of her. A little disappointing, but the rest of just that grand hall more than made up for it.

We than made our way to see Venus de Milo and so many other statues. From ancient finds to some more recent works. You can see the details advancing as the media changed. The french were so amazing, with the extraordinary detail in the lace and hair as examples. To paint is awe inspiring, but to sculpt with such skill and perfection. I just marvel at those artists, that can pull those creations out of stone or whatever, just incredible!

It would be nice to go back again someday. I don’t think I could ever tire of looking at all those wonderful creations that people over the centuries have left behind for us to enjoy. It really made me motivated to get creating when I went home, so inspiring!