Monday, June 20, 2016

A Salt Spring Island getaway

For Father's Day we took the ferry for a day trip to Salt Spring Island. It's just 40 minutes by ferry from Victoria but it feels like a world away.  This is the road just above the ferry landing. Pretty laid back. It's been probably 10 years since were visited but it hasn't changed much at all. Still the same funky old houses where artisans are selling their wares.

There's been some very upscale building in parts but it's mostly still rural and peaceful. Many of the houses and barns date back over a hundred years. Some are well kept up, others not so much.

We had a nice brunch in Ganges and walked around seeing the town, and then headed out for a drive around the island.

Near Long Harbour we visited the studio of a very talented painter named Gillian Gandossi. Here's the charming entrance to her studio.

And here are two of her paintings. She does stylized paintings of the local scenery and has a good eye for form and colour. The images are photographs of cards I bought so the quality is pretty bad, but you can see that she can evoke a scene beautifully.

We had a lovely day and managed to catch the 5:50 ferry back to Victoria in time to cook dinner. Now we've  decided to do more exploring our own area this summer.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Getting ready for the Fernwood Art Stroll

This weekend the back garden is being used for an outdoor art show. For the first time I'm participating in a neighbourhood art walk. It's been fun but a bit of a push to get ready and to figure out how to display the different types of art I've made.

The big paintings look nice arranged around the fountain and on the side of the house. Plus I have a table with a portfolio of unframed prints for people to browse through.

I've dug into the archives and pulled out some older monoprints and paintings. My theory is that if I still like them I might as well include them in the show.  So I have art work from the past 19 years!

Some of it is in sleeves on a table, some of it is hanging on the bi-fold doors I found this spring. And some of it is sitting in a basket to be looked through. I'm told to expect about 70 people--if the weather is good. And there may even be some sales.

I have made some cards from some of my paintings so perhaps some of these will sell. And you never know, maybe someone will fall in love with one of the bigger paintings and want to take it home.

There are 13 other artists taking part, all within the Fernwood area. If you're in Victoria, take a look at the website and download the brochure and map so you can come by and take a look:  

Now all we need is a dry day. The forecast calls for a 40% chance of rain so I've rigged up some umbrellas and tarps. But it will be so much nicer if the day is sunny.  Hope to see you here on Saturday or Sunday.

Monday, June 6, 2016

A birthday celebration

Saturday was a decade birthday for me, and it wasn't 60 although some people kindly said they thought it might be. Harry and I threw a party that turned out to be so much fun. It was the hottest day of the year to date but we found some shade on the patio and celebrated in style.

Midway through the afternoon my girl friends gave a toast to me. How lucky am I to have so many wonderful loving friends.  Thanks to everyone who came out to help me celebrate. Now I guess it's up to me to make my 70s a time of continuing growth and love.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Colour angst

This week I'm still painting--but with a stain brush outside. I'm trying to select a solid stain colour for the fences in the back deck and yard. As usual it's a stressful decision.  I know that for some people this choice doesn't loom that large. They go for a brown or a grey or a taupe and that's that. But I know that I can't live with a colour that doesn't work. Once I repainted my bedroom three times to get the right tone of grey.

So now my kitchen is littered with paint chips and there are four different cans of sample stain that have been tried on different areas of the fence. I'm looking for something that has the same feeling as weathered wood and trying to determine which tonal direction to take?

The challenge is to find a tone that sets off the plants, goes well with the siding of the house and relates to the deck colour and the bricks. 

I'm think that I've now found a colour that works. It's a brownish-greenish grey called Sparrow. Thanks to the help from the amazing staff at the Benjamin Moore paint store. They really know their stuff. The girl told me to choose a colour a lot darker than I first thought and helped me find the undertones and determine which ones would work.  

Whew! Now we can get on with prepping and painting the fences. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Simplifying to create spaciousness in the paintings

I've gone in a somewhat different direction with my painting recently and I've had a very nice time working on some canvases for a commission for a friend.  She suggested some colours and approved my working in the new less geometric direction. The commission was for two paintings for the bedroom, one on each side of the bed.

The first efforts were quite contrasty with a darkish blue dominating. Although they were exciting, they were too intense for a bedroom and not really restful.  This is one of them.

Toning them down required opening up the composition to create more space in the painting as well as using more neutral colours and less contrast in value.  

Here you can see the intermediate stage where I've eliminated the darker stripe on the left and added more grey and taupe and white, plus softened the blues.

Here's the finished painting.

And this is the companion piece for the other side of the bed.  The same process took place here. I took some advice from  Nicholas Wilton, a California artist and teacher whose blog I've been following. He suggests many ways to make paintings stronger and I'm really finding his posts helpful. 

I think both paintings benefited from the simplifying process.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Summer's early

It's only just the beginning of May and everything is blooming early. The lilacs are finished and the dandelions are already going to seed.  Saturday evening it was not just warm but hot on the back deck. I'm loving it ... because so often the weather in spring and early summer is cool and cloudy. But at the same time I'm trying not to think about global warming.