Sunday, January 31, 2016

Morning Green

Green Morning
....another urban landscape from the late 1980s.....from the same time as the one I posted yesterday.  Acrylic and India Ink on gessoed paper 22 x 30. Oshawa, way of making friends with a city I didn't like, was to walk everywhere and document everything I saw...
There will likely be more this size to be made in the not too distant future....

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hidden House.....earlier paintings

Hidden House
....all my current paintings came out a series of urban landscapes completed way back in the 80s. Here's one.....a grand old house, past its best times, close to a fishing spot I`d often go to.... acrylic on gessoed archival paper 22 x 30 inches.   

Friday, January 29, 2016

Back Garden, January

Back Garden, January (reserved)
....looking out my window at the end of January. Acrylic collage painting on Stonehenge paper 10 x 13 inches, image size 8.75 x 10 inches. There were so many things in the garden, even on a snowy overcast day,.....I left a lot of them out. I think there might be a short series of winter garden pictures from the window....    

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Return (reserved)
.....remembering studio sessions a long time ago.....cold January nights on the prairies. Acrylic collage on Stonehenge paper 10 x 13 inches, image size 8.5 x 10.25 inches. This is one of the rare ones in which there was no paint work added on top of the collage.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pasture, January 26

Pasture, January 26. (Sold) This is the 5th piece completed on these cradled panels. I often can't resist this view. I don't pass this way very often any more, but the road is on high ground, so the vista opens up so nicely. Those bushes are always strangely inviting.   

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning (Sold), acrylic collage painting on cradled, gessoed birch panel 8 x 10 inches. I will try to get make more morning pictures before spring comes. It's a different sensation...... being out in the morning rather than afternoon or evening, which is more my norm.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 20, 4:00 p.m.

January 20, 4:00 p.m. (Sold)
Overcast, with a heavy sky, but still very pleasant for deep January. Acrylic collage painting on gessoed, cradled birch panel 8 x 10 inches. This is the 2nd painting made on these cradled panels. I'm enjoying them. I made a 3rd one today, and might do 3 or 4 more. I can never tell in advance what the surface will be for the next day. I do know that when I feel a certain resistance or reservation, usually having something to do with a process becoming habitual, I tend to pull back and switch the support and size for that day. But all things are returned to.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Come for a Walk

I'm never cold when I venture out on my daily walks, no matter how cold it gets. The ski pants and the hood help, as does dressing in layers. I'm seldom out for more than 2 hours, but I'd be warm for a lot longer than that. Stopping to make drawings is not a problem (I do remove gloves, and sometimes remove hood and hat when I get too hot).We're into the latter part of January now so this is the very coldest part of the year, but in the last number of years I've made friends with the cold...and it now seems that this is the time of year when I make the most paintings. At the moment the snow is too deep to walk for very long off the beaten trail, but if I follow some snow shoe paths, or pick wind-swept areas,  I'm all right.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Little Brother

Little Brother
...roadside companions...that I look for every day. Acrylic collage painting on gessoed, cradled birch panel 8 x 10 inches, ready to hang. The panel is cradled, sides painted white, so it can be hung right on the wall with no fuss. It will also stand on its own...on a shelf. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

On 10, January 19

On 10, January 19 (Sold)
...the sky was wonderful. You get some chicken noodle casserole with this painting. Acrylic collage painting on thin, gessoed birch panel 7.5 x 12 inches.

I often like to do things with text, and signs of past history on the collage this case, it fits in quite nicely because there are little bits of darkness in that steep road ditch. There is an extremely bright ultramarine blue sheet beneath the white of the snow.....I layer these papers sometimes, to get the white on top to behave slightly differently. You can see hints of that blue in a place or two..... a form of underpainting. But for the collage, it only works if the over sheet has some degree of transparency.

For some reason, this one seems like a companion piece to the one from yesterday, even though they look very different.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snowmobile Trail

Snowmobile Trail (Sold)
Acrylic collage painting on thin gessoed birch panel 7.5 x 12 inches. They modified the trail a bit this year; now I no longer have to leap out of the way at a moment's notice....
The whole piece was based on that collage colour for the sky. I didn't want to change that, so everything had to come into balance with it. This morning I fiddled with the sky a bit more, collaging a few extra pieces of the same colour on top, to create a touch more opacity. I normally try not to alter a piece after the single work session in which each painting is created, but every now and again it happens....

Saturday, January 16, 2016


....remembering my first home, a farm in eastern Saskatchewan. Although life there was sometimes frightening and uncertain, it was also full of natural wonder for a little boy. We left when I was 8. During the last evening there, I climbed on the machine shed roof and looked slowly and carefully in all directions....saying good-bye to every single thing I could see...

We moved to the town which was 5 miles away. It was very difficult to do without trees, bushes, and wild things. For ever after, I was always looking at distant stands of trees....wishing I could be there.

Wild places on the prairies were very special. I remember so many things tied to locations, weather, the time of year, the animals and insects around. I remember one of my favourite things to do was climb a big aspen tree in the summer and listen to the leaves. I'd stay up there for a long time....just listening and looking around.

Acrylic collage painting on Stonehenge paper 10 x 13 inches, image size 8.75 x 10 inches.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Squalls, Lake Ontario

Squalls, Lake Ontario
....very cold with periodic white-outs at lake's edge yesterday. Acrylic collage painting on Stonehenge paper 10 x 13 inches, image size 9 x 10 inches.
All my collage papers seem to get stacked on my shelves these days. I have about 4-5 piles. At the start of each collage, I'll go through a stack and preselect some colours. This is not that difficult....I don't look through them all. It might take me 5-10 minutes to select 4-5 colours to use in the gluing stage.
Gluing down is strangely peaceful. There's a whole ritual to that. spread glue, apply paper, rub paper with clean paper placed overtop, keep turning that top paper and rubbing more, take a cloth and mop up the glue on the worktable, wash my hands in a pail of water, dry my hands....repeat! I usually listen to CBC talk radio while I work, and make rude comments throughout.
Once all the surface is covered with collage, I might change my mind and re-collage an area if the colours are not creating a strong enough colour relationship.
Little bits of paint are applied to my mixing caps. In this piece I didn't anticipate doing a whole lot of painting, so the amount of paint put out was less than usual. It often doesn't take much painting to make all the collage parts to come together. But one must be careful because the collage aspects can be quickly overpowered by brushwork. I keep the damp cloth close at hand so that a layer of paint can be quickly removed or modified....I especially like to fade edges with a wipe of the damp cloth.....

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Climb at Dusk

Climb at Dusk
...just as the light of day starts to disappear. Acrylic collage painting on thin birch panel 5.75 x 9 inches.

It is important to recognize what you want, and to try to get that quality in a painting. There are lots of times when you won't know what you want....let's leave all that alone for just a minute. When you DO know what you want, try to get that, rather than settling for something that is approximate. Oftentimes you'll be able to get quite close to what you want. If you match up 1, 2, 3, 4....just a few things in a painting to your'll be surprised by how strongly the result affects you. A simple example: here the desire was to get a particular relationship between the 3 stark things...the sky colour, the tree masses, and the vivid white foreground. I started by collaging the sky colour was close but that didn't seem quite right, but I didn't recognize that till later, so I collaged the sky in again afterwards with a heavier grey that suited better. Many times I would have left that sky colour and fiddled with something else. Not addressing that desire would be a mistake and it needs to be recognized as such.

It helps to just ask yourself WHAT YOU WANT and try to deliver that.

A lot of times you won't know what you want....but we'll leave that for another time....    

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Evening Comes

Evening Comes (Sold)
...the snow melted and then's in shadow here. Acrylic collage painting on thin gessoed birch panel 7.5 x 12 inches.
This is what my world looked like yesterday. Today there's way more fluffy snow around....almost time to go clear the driveway again, for the second time today. You can get some sense of how long driveways here can be.....
......the pink at horizon and the grey purple of the background sky here are both collage colours. When I first chose them at the start of this piece, I thought they might not work.....I was glad when that transition colour pulled the 2 together better.'s strange, but oftentimes a collage colour will allow me to get closer to a desired colour effect, than simply painting the colours would. I think that's because when I choose the collage colour, the surface, texture, density of the colour are already established. When I paint a colour....all of those things have to be considered at once...way more things to juggle.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hillock, January 8

Hillock, January 8
Not long ago, a grove of wildness stood here. Acrylic collage painting on Stonehenge paper 10 x 13 inches, image size 8.75 x 9.5 inches.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


All the paintings I make are based on walking. You feel different when you walk, your mind works on things in a slightly different way....the humblest of activities, and perhaps the most important.  

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ice Field

Ice Field
...rain and warmer weather, plus refreeze, turned the top layer of snow to ice....walk across the field without falling through. Acrylic collage painting on gessoed thin birch panel 7.5 x 12 inches.

I'm almost out of birch panels, so perhaps I'll spend part of tomorrow preparing more. I seldom do one after the other in quick succession. Rather, there will be a painting, followed by a collage, and I'll alternate between panel and paper. The panels generally require more fussing, although that may be just a requirement I'm putting upon them.....  

Friday, January 8, 2016

10 Saved Acres, January

10 Saved Acres, January (sold)
...from the edge of a forest, looking toward a special hill. Acrylic collage painting on Stonehenge paper 10 x 13 inches, image size 9 x 9.75 inches.

some of my comments from a FB discussion...... There's a bit of the rule of thirds going on, and I'm always looking to use asymmetrical balance. And I also look for purposeful contrasts of opposites. So if there is a busy part, there should be an empty part. If there is something big, there should be something small. This creates exciting contrasts, but it also corresponds to what is often seen visually.

There's all kind of fun in the making and matching of these effects too. For example, I love putting the partly dirty, white typing paper on top of another collage sheet to get that particular off-white. Here, I also took my pencil and punched holes in the paper to partly create the effect of that stubble coming through the snow....and there are other marks in that snow too.