Painting in Martintown

Posted: August 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Landscape Painting, Plein-air Landscape | No Comments »

Here is a small painting of an overgrown field near Martintown, Ontario.



I adjusted it since first uploading it here. I deepened some shadows and added a few accents. Here is the final painting.


Martintown Field
oil on canvas

Papa et maman

Posted: August 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Drawing, Portrait | No Comments »

Here are two very small drawings of my parents, made of charcoal and red chalk.

l_papa_2 l_maman3

La petite Justine

Posted: August 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Drawing, Portrait | No Comments »

I took photos of my friend’s baby a few years ago, hoping to find the time to sketch her. I finally did!


red chalk and charcoal on toned paper

Two landscapes

Posted: August 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Landscape Painting, Plein-air Landscape | No Comments »

Here are two landscapes I touched up recently. The first one is in a field near NavCan in Cornwall, ON, overlooking the St Lawrence River. Environment Canada predicted rain but I took my chances because the sky was so spectacular. The poplars blowing in the wind attracted my attention, more so because rays of sunshine occasionally illuminated the field. I did get rained out, after completing the sky and trees. The grass was done at home.


Poplars in the Wind
oil on board

This one is from an outing with Don to Colonel Danforth Park. I completed the water on location and touched up the rocks and grass at home.


Rapids after the Rainfalls
oil on board

Mac at the TSA

Posted: August 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Life Drawing, TSA | No Comments »

I did end up going to the TSA yesterday, for the 6:30pm session. There were few people there, perhaps because the TSA is not air conditioned. Is it ever hot in there!

I might have missed the electrical storm last night (we have a nice view of the downtown and storms are always a spectacular sight), but it was worth it to draw Mac. He’s an elderly man and as with all new models, he was a challenge to my gesture drawing skills. As an added bonus, all the poses last night were short, 10 min being the longest.

I don’t usually post 1-2min drawings because I see them as warm up, but here are a couple.

l_mac21 l_mac1 l_mac3

Rhythmic lines

Posted: August 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Life Drawing | No Comments »

I studied briefly with Frank Porcu years ago at the Art Students League of NY. In our Wed night anatomy drawing class, he once said: “Muscles create a more beautiful rhythmic line than we could ever come up with ourselves.”

At the time I thought that was very poetic and jotted it down, but I didn’t really understand what he meant. I was a beginner.

I did very little drawing after leaving NY, until I attended the ARA where the focus is on perfecting our ability to see form. It’s only become clear to me what Frank meant recently, after a return to practicing gesture drawing and doing line work for my teaching at Humber.

I skipped my weekly TSA drawing this morning and stayed home to copy works by Sherrie McGraw from her book The Language of Drawing. Her line quality is so beautiful and I love how she combines the black, red and white chalks in some of her figures. With a few lines and passages of tone, she captures gesture and structure while keeping her drawings delicate and expressive.

Master draftsmen know what to leave out! I’m thinking of that quote today because of her drawings.

There’s so much to think about when drawing the figure in 20 minutes or less! And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that seems important. Not every line and form need to be put down. And of the lines that are put into the drawing, not all need to be emphasized equally.

That’s the rhythm that Frank is talking about I think — selecting the key lines that describe the gesture or form AND selecting which lines will be emphasized. When well done, our eye just flows along the drawing.

Frank’s full quote from January 2003:

You must use the science of the form as the basis for your rhythmic line, and not just pure expression. Knowledge of anatomy gives the rhythmic line direction, stability, a beginning and an end — it becomes much more powerful… Muscles create a more beautiful rhythmic line than we could ever come up with ourselves.

Mount Pleasant Cemetary

Posted: August 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Alla-Prima Painting, Landscape Painting, Plein-air Landscape | No Comments »

Here is a little tree study (8×6) I completed in Mount Pleasant Cemetery yesterday. This cemetery doubles as an arboretum and has beautifully landscaped grounds. It’s a great place to practice painting trees! This one is some kind of nut tree, but without a label I can’t identify it. I’ll keep my eyes open next time I’m walking there to see if I can find a labeled one.


A Brush with the Highlands

Posted: August 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Alla-Prima Painting, Landscape Painting, Plein-air Landscape | No Comments »

This weekend, I attended the plein-air painting festival held in the Haliburton Highlands. In spite of stormy weather predictions, we had beautiful sun and no rain interrupted my painting.

First, I want to talk about my new Alla Prima pochade box, The Bitterroot Lite, built and designed by Ben Haggett ( I’m in love with it! It’s very portable and with a good tripod, can be set up anywhere. Here I am on two different rocks along rapids — where I could never have set up my old clunky heavy metal easel.

l_me_pochade2009 l_me_pochade_2_2009

Being so close to Algonquin Park, I decided I would paint along the High Falls trail in the southern section of the park.

I tackled rapidly moving water which I thought would give me a good challenge. Did it ever! The first painting was started on Saturday where I focused on the rocks and the gesture and flow of the water. I ran out of time and completed this one in the studio using a photo.


On the High Falls Trail
Algonquin Park
oil on board

I completed this one on Sunday:


Rapids at High Falls
Algonquin Park
oil on board

On Monday which was the final day of the festival, I was awarded the third prize for my painting Dark Fall Day, one of my first plein-air paintings completed two years ago!

I had a wonderful time. Rob came with me and became a turtle for the weekend, lying on sunny rocks and swimming in the rapids. It wasn’t all play for him though, he did work on the orchestration of his thesis symphony which is due in September.


Rob, helping me find the best view of the rapids