Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Where's the Sun?"

October Sun through Big-leaf Maple leaves, Durrance Lake.  Acrylic Painting SOLD

One of the fun parts of painting out of doors in a park is you often have people stop by and watch. Last weekend while painting at Durrance Lake Regional Park on the Saanich Peninsula several people came by and stopped to watch for a time before resuming their dog walking, Sunday stroll or heading out to a fishing spot. One such group was a family with 3 kids, all under the age of 12. All the kids asked questions, but the youngest girl was most curious and asked the most questions. The first one was "Where's the sun" and since I was clearly staring directly into the sunlight to do this painting, it was a perfectly legitimate question. I crouched down to her height and I asked her to count the number of big branches on the side of the tree that you could see before you hit the sun. "Four" was her answer and I asked her to count the number of branches she could see in the painting..only two. If I had a bigger painting I explained, and put all the branches in, then I would be up to the point where I would need to paint the sun.

I hope however, you get the feeling of the strong sunshine in this painting with the maple leaves lit up by the October sun, standing out from the near black of Mt. Work and its reflection on Durrance Lake.

Finding Patterns in Unexpected Places.

Harlequin Duck and Sandstone, Drumbeg Provincial Park

I'm always looking for strong patterns to use as subjects for paintings. Last month,while on Gabriola I was just finishing a painting and noticed that the light had shifted to highlight the sloping shelves of sandstone and incoming tide. The effect, with reflection of the sandstone on the waveless water was a strong chevron pattern. I worked quickly to put down some of the information on my canvas before the light changed and we had to head out for dinner. I put a Glaucous-winged Gull in the lower left hand corner, but later painted it out in favour of the more strongly patterned male Harlequin Duck.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nature of Island Artists Show at the Goldstream Nature House

Incoming Tide, Goldstream Estuary Acrylic Painting 12x24 (SOLD).

I spent Saturday at Goldstream Provincial Park where the Nature of Island Artists show is underway. Once again the naturalists there have done a great job at converting the Nature House to a art gallery, and once again, it has transformed beautifully. Leah and I know how much work it is to do that, and my hat is off to the naturalist and the rest of the RLC staff that did it this time. I spent a way-too-short hour looking at the art and then I set up to paint the estuary of the Goldstream River.

Incoming Tide,Goldstream Estuary was the result. I was very tempted to call the painting "Carol's Mud" after the late Carol Berryman, naturalist and story-teller extrodinaire, friend and mentor. Carol loved the estuary and revelled in getting school kids barefoot and tromping around in the muck of the estuary, explaining things like why the mire smelled of rotten eggs, or the intricacies of the life history of the parasitic Dodder that grows on the asters that grow there. Carol represented the best type of park interpreter, she had a love of the park system that never ended, an enthusiasm for every living thing in it, and a gift for sharing that enthusiasm. Carol was a big fan of the art show at Goldstream and first developed her program where she took on the part of Emily Carr during one of the early shows.

I highly recommend visiting Goldstream Nature House (
The show is on until October 12..while your there admire the mud, and say hi to Carol for me.

Plein Air Painting on Gabriola Island

Week long plein air workshop earlier this month, learned a lot and had a great time with Jackie Ramsay, my-oh-so talented sister-in-law. Jackie and I both returned home
with work we were happy with..
Beach Boulders on Gabriola Island. SOLD

Descanso Bay, Gabriola Island September 2011