Bush Bridge, Tsuius Creek Tributary

Here's a big one for you. I finally proved to myself that a canvas this size is no more work than a 18 X 24". Also working from a rolling chair and a more stable easel really helps, and is a lot easier on the back. This is my first blog post since Christmas and my first from the new place on Linden Ave. Having a dedicated room for a studio is is a big deal--a really, really big deal. I'm hoping for a huge spike in my creativity and productivity in the new place (and can feel it coming on). It's really quiet, too, with lots of good natural light from the east. With the artificial lights I have, I can control things perfectly. It's gonna be great in here! It's nice to be able to hear the birds and enjoy the morning sun. A calm and nurturing environment to live and work in.

"Bush Bridge (Tsuius Cr. Trib.)" Oil on Canvas 24 X 30"

I clambered my way over huge slippery rocks to take this picture. No broken legs, but it was close! It was a drizzly overcast day, full of rich intense colours and smells. We were on a fishing trip last June "back in the Valley" with Dad. This is on the other side of Mabel Lake. What a pretty little creek! I don't even know if it has a name. Pure sweet tooth-cracking cold water coming off some snowfield higher up, stepping pool by luminous pool down into the larger stream. The life-blood of our planet.

I don't mean (or want), in this context, to pretend I am making an "environmental statement" here with an ugly concrete bridge spanning the entire painting. But art works on contrasts, and I really enjoyed painting that part, too. From a painterly perspective, I think the bits that gratify me most are the forground rocks, the water and the Thimbleberry bush on the left. I have taken to drawing exclusively in blue and assembling the drawing bit by bit, since it is so critical to the final result. I don't make every decision consciously and deliberately, but I have found it helpful to just get it on and analyze later. With my thin, finely worked strokes, the blue drawing often shows through, contribution to the overall thing, which is fine. My palette is predominantly blue, but so is God's.


Shortliner, Kelowna Pacific

"Shortliner" 16 x20" Oil on Canvas.

Took the photo at Monte Creek last year on a trip back to the valley with Belle. There was this beautiful sky-blue locomotive sitting there on the siding. I'm pretty happy with this painting--it gets better the more I look at it. As a man of my times (yuk yuk), I'm increasingly influenced by how the camera has changed the way we (I) look at things. Notice in out-of focus foreground (something I have been instinctively doing since the late '90s) and the the way the light erodes and cuts into some of the edges of the darker masses. On first glance is would seem that this images is fairly realistic--that is the initial impression one gets, as with a lot of my work.
The best bits came the easiest as usual. Not bad after not having painted for 6 months.
It's an Electro-Motive Dynamics (EMD) loci, probably sold to Kelowna Pacific by CN and repainted. It warms my heart that these shortline companies are still viable and making a solid go of it. It not only keeps trucks off the road--a lot of trucks--but also contributes to the economy and helps keep our regions what they are.

Esme, Goddess of Sleep

"Esmeralda, Goddess of Sleep" 11 x 14" Watercolour and pencil on paper.

My brain is turning to mush. My wife's teddybear-hugging habit is corrupting me and making me soft. But why not eh? These are good bears, so after finding the first one, and buying him for my wife after a hospital stay, I went back and bought the last two. Have not seen better bears before or since. They are anatomically correct in the classic teddy sense, have beans in their bums to make them sit proper, and have the cutest, most delicate little snouts. And there certainly is a powerful kinda drowsy pull to them. An unparalleled aid for sleep. We have kept Dudley and Esme, and sent Rupert to live with Mommy and Daddy in the Okanagan. I must admit that insomnia is not as much an issue when Dudders is near. It's delightfully daft.
So this is really more of a portrait than a still life. Bears do have a certain plastic quality to them, but there are also fuzzy, which makes it hard. Maybe someone will want this as a gift for a grandchild?

Square Flowers

"Roses and Gesso" 11 x 14" Water colour and pencil on paper.

I need advice on lighting from some of you photog types out there. Obviously all those colours in the upper left do not belong--it's supposed to be blank paper. It's too big to scan so I had to snap it, but even scanning makes the paper coloured or toned. No worries, though. The blog here is just to give you an idea.. Would be nice to have some better shots for my portfolio, though.

Cubism is great, because it frees me from "the tyranny of nature" and reverses the process, in that, instead of finding the abstract in a literal image, I anchor or introduce the literal into an otherwise completely abstract image. As usual, a fun and tenious way to paint, and with the usual good results.