Tag: painting

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.

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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

Painting Discovered

Back in April 2004, we chose to open a comic book store in our small but growing town. We decided this on a shoe string budget, that mostly covered the stock and shelving. During our setup, some family members were painting on the window. This was when an old school friend and his daughter happened to walk by and take notice of the painting. Luckily my kids recognized him and called me. Clint and Cherene came to visit often, and so we asked him to paint our sign if we bought him the supplies and thankfully he agreed.

Being a single dad, Clint was always busy. So by November, I came to lend him a hand. It was a great experience to take our design and project it onto the board. After we traced the main design, we sprayed it to keep the pencil from wiping away. Next step was to paint. I thought, no problem it’s like painting a wall. I was wrong.

2005, Acrylic Paint

2004, Acrylic Paint

Clint showed me how to mix the paint to match the colour in our design. I had never mixed paints before and I wasn’t sure what or how much of each colour to use. It only took us a couple of days using just acrylic paint and it was exciting bringing the finished sign to the store to hang up.

I next had the chance to visit Clint in January 2005. He was busy working on a pencil portrait commission. It was so mesmerizing to watch the face appear out of the page. He worked an exact likeness of the photo, the detail he put in was amazing. Inspired, I asked for some paper to just draw something silly.

2005, Pencil Crayon Sketch

2005, Pencil Crayon Sketch

As I was about to attempt colouring with pencil crayons, Clint stopped me and showed me how to use a blender. I was shocked at how he took a 2D picture and made it pop out with such depth. I spent several hours, over days, shading then colouring. Layer over layer of pencil crayon. My first real drawing of a dragon complete. At this point,  Clint agreed he should mentor me.

So I bought my first sketch book and other drawing books to get going. I learned to sketch before drawing on canvas, then painting. I did a castle in oil paints on canvas next.

2005, Oil Painting

2005, Oil Painting

Raring to go, I tried a portrait of the wizard Gandalf. I never got to finish this with Clint, as life forced us to move 400km away.

We still keep in contact and have helped motivate each other over the past 10 years. I am grateful to Clint for mentoring and pushing me to keep trying. Thanks again Clint!