Thursday, December 31, 2009

Memory Work

My preferred method of working for the last week or so, has been from these little 1 minute diagrams pictured here. It's been very pleasant working these out. The advantage of this method is the reliance on memory. All that is diagrammed is the shock of the impression created by 4 or 5 elements in combination....Coyote Hill in snow shown here....the little diagram for it is on the page.

You can see that the sketches have a bit of an 'abused' look....the paper is folded up and lives in my breast pocket. When I see something that I'll paint, a little sketch gets made. This particular page started during a staff meeting....bit of a doodle of a head there, and a few notes deemed important at the time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Works on small panels for Nahcotta Gallery

These are the last of the paintings that will be sent off to Nahcotta...but as always, everything else will enter my Etsy shop almost the moment it is completed.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Little Tree Hill

9" x 7" acrylic on gessoed heavy artist's paper, listed on Etsy.

I'll always stop and look closely at little trees claiming a hillside...something very hopeful about that. The last 4 or 5 paintings have this combination of the dry yellowish grass with the strong white of snowcover....

Friday, December 25, 2009

Snow Hills

9" x 7" acrylic on gessoed, acid-free paper, listed on Etsy.

A quiet, snowbound time. I like how the work changes almost without my intention.....seems to have something to do with these being a form of daily ritual. If the work goes this way or that, it's really not such a large issue....much more important that the work simply gets done and there remains a document of the time here, and what I noticed.

I see my favourite savage brush is getting rather decrepit's a stiff brush that I like to torture the paint with...suitable for certain large areas like the sky.

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Affordable Artwork

Thanks to the folks at Apartment Therapy. for including one of my paintings in their piece about gifting affordable artwork. I made this comment:

"Thank you very much for including my work, and thank you for recognizing that in today's market there are [some] like me....highly trained artists who are selling ORIGINAL artwork at low prices because they wish to completely avoid the overhead and rather large headache of dealing with commercial galleries. All of my work in my Etsy shop is original...and inexpensive. I have for many years laughed out loud every time I've heard the sage advice "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". True perhaps if you are trying to buy a plasma tv for $50.00. Not true if you are clever enough to look in out-of-the-way corners, and you have the discriminating knowledge and taste to know when you are in front of a really good deal! Thank you for noticing and enjoy!"

How is this possible? I don't have to make the majority of my living from my paintings. And while I am very prolific it still is fairly ridiculous for me to sell my things at the price I do (my old art professors would be shaking their heads). My prices are almost comparable to what people charge for open edition archival Epson prints of their work, ordered on demand.....and mine are originals....once they're gone, they're gone. I am able to do this because I can. I have always been a producing artist and moving artwork quickly out the door is a great impetus for making more. I'll simply document my place in the world as long as I can.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Property Line

7.25" x 6.5" acrylic collage painting on pine panel. I was very pleased to discover this little size...there is a whole series of works on panels this size and I'll make many works on paper this size also. I need to frame these up soon, but a very nice black tom cat has moved into my basement and I don't want to freak him out with miter saw noise before he feels perfectly at home. The tom that lives upstairs still wants to murder him so I don't want them together.

In the continuing saga of little pleasures, I was happy to find a use for the orange collage paper on the bottom. Perfect for this November scene. Orange is an uncomfortable colour for me and I don't do much with it. One of the advantages of collage is that you are very likely to find surprises in colour outside your comfort's very easy to move colours in and out to assess effect.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Aspen Stand, Late Autumn

One more for Nahcotta Gallery. 8" x 10" cradled birch, gessoed panel, acrylic.

It feels great to have some time off at Christmas. I'm trying to stick to my usual rate of a painting a far so I painted a moody stand with a grey sky and a snowbound field in the foreground.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

To Collage....or Not

The 2nd image is 8" x 10" acrylic collage painting on cradled birch panel, and the first is a straight acrylic painting on smaller pine panel. The decisions work something like this. I know when I will paint....I know if it will be tomorrow or not for example. To some degree it depends on how busy I am with other things, but I know the next painting will be within a day or so. I don't know what will be painted. I might stop the car on a back road on the way to school and make a 30 second sketch from a motif I see, or I might try to make an encapsulation of the overall mood of the whole day, but using a specific motif to accomplish this. Just as I start the work session...setting up the lights and the materials....I decide there and then how the piece will be made. I know then but not before, if it should be a straight painting or a collage painting...and I usually feel that with great certainty. The approach of the collage paintings is way different...making them feels different....the pace of making is different. I also usually know how long it will take. I might know before hand that the work should be done in an hour...or perhaps three, if I expect to meander around.

These 2 will also go to Nahcotta Gallery

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some New Paintings

I've been working on 10 or 12 works that will be sent to the
Nahcotta Gallery tiny art group show in the new year. I won't be able to go, but I think it'll be fun to check out...send me a photo if you're there. I've always liked tiny art shows....little treasures all jammed together. I'll post the series here over the next few days. These are acrylic collage paintings on pine panels 7.25" x 6.5". These 2 show that dry, quiet November odd time really...rather hard to live through, but quite beautiful in its way.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oil Monoprints

Exploring the top shelves in the studio I found this oil monoprint that was made a number of years back. It's a refreshing technique and I look forward to using it again once our etching press is rescued out of storage and placed in a new building. The image is painted on metal plate and then run through an etching press onto damp paper.

I usually made a number of images from the same original image....take a print and then work back into the image in some manner....what results is a series that goes through sometimes subtle, and sometimes dramatic transformations. I only found this image from the series on the shelves, but that doesn't mean the 5 more aren't lurking beneath a few more layers of paper.

Listed today on Etsy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

October 12th...Thanksgiving Day in Canada....chilly and cloudy but the fall colours are intense. Here just a bit of red peeks through into the coniferous line. Small acrylic on gessoed paper, 7" x 6", listed on Etsy.

Most recently I've been painting a series of small 8" x 10" panels for the next Enormous Tiny Art Show at Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Nahcotta Gallery

My fascination with tiny art goes back a long way. I started making small things as a way to continue producing while teaching. I've always needed to finish the work in one sitting and it was possible to produce regularly even with an often demanding schedule. Beyond that, I also found that the small works were more open, contained more surprises, were more intuitive and free, and in many ways more intriguing overall. There is also something secretive about small work which is appealing...more can be said because it is whispered.

There is also something more democratic about tiny works. They are cheaper and really, anyone can afford a piece if they are interested. This opens up the market to those who are younger and just starting out, giving them more time to develop a strong sense of connoisseurship. Larger pieces need larger walls, putting restrictions both upon those who might buy and the artist who makes. Believe me it is easier to warehouse 400 tiny paintings than that number of larger canvases! You hold a tiny piece closer to your body and feel a sense of intimacy, and there are any number of places and ways it can be exhibited in any and all home environments.

I'll hold back the works for the Nahcotta until it is time to ship, but everything else goes directly into my shop. It has been my practice to avoid galleries for the past number of years because I enjoy the online selling experience a great deal. But I liked how Nahcotta was doing things and wish them great luck with their tiny art ventures....they are worth a look!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pasture Hill

I walk by this pasture hill almost immediately after leaving my place. Often cows will graze right on to the top of the clearing. It's a mysterious place. The forest comes in thick very quickly, and gives the impression of proceeding on for miles. There is a path that cuts through, but the forest is also quite wild....lots of coyote chorus from this area at night.

A little 15 second sketch done on the paper that I always keep in my breast pocket for just such never know when you will see something that asks to be painted. The pen sketch was done after coming home from work, about an hour before the early darkness falls, and there wasn't time to do the painting until next day after I finished teaching classes. I was working on the piece in the studio while an AP drawing student was completing works for the design piece outlined a few posts back.

Acrylic collage painting on paper, 10" x 8", listed on Etsy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Late in the Day, September

11" x 10" acrylic collage painting, listed on Etsy. A late afternoon walk....but the darkness falls quickly now. The far green field was still brilliantly lit up, but within an hour, all will be dark.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September Yellow

I was struck by the intensity of the yellow bean fields in early September. They are rather brownish now, but there were a few days when the color was peak. 10" x 9" acrylic collage painting on paper, listed on Etsy.

Friday, September 4, 2009


For some of my students, this will be a first assignment to deal with some elements of design, primarily positive and negative space.

1) The little pen sketch was done near my wood pile. I was looking at how the tree shapes also create shapes in the background. A good design must account for this balancing of shapes. The background shapes should always be considered. Students will be asked to produce a whole sheet of these thumbnail sketches, assess which ones might seem more successful, and then use the best ones for the basis of 3 painted works.

2) The paintings won't be overly large. Map all the shapes firmly with pencil, watching that you are aiming for a pleasing balance between positive and negative shapes. We will be in the small forest by the studio so it is important to base your designs on observation. It is quite thrilling when you are able to see your own observations about the world reflected in your artwork.

3) Count the colours. How many are there.....maybe 5 plus black India Ink line? Develop a colour scheme that has some range of light/dark, warm/cool, bright/grey and mix 5 acrylic colours for your composition....simply FILL in the colours. You are learning something about colour theory, and you are learning that the business of painting is, on a simple level, really about moving paint from one place to another. Move your paint with pleasure and effectiveness. Learn to do it easily. Be able to paint a sharp edge easily by mixing with appropriate amounts of water. Hold your brush in different manners to see how all this affects the way paint moves on the surface. WATCH the paint like a cat watches a mouse!

4) Work quickly so that you come to see yourself as effective....progress comes easily...this does not need to be a big struggle.

5) For our purposes here, mix all colours and watch that you are also looking at opacity so that the paint covers reasonably well. Avoid too much transparency.....mixing is required. Some pure colours will be too transparent without mixing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Above Millbrook Trout Ponds

Here, I'm higher than the treetops of the forest below....looking far into the distance. Every so often, I feel the need for a stronger element of design in the work. In a series of 3 small works, all done in one sitting, only collage was used, without my customary painting stage at the end. Working only from memory rather than any visual aids, also allows for greater play with pure design.

Time seems very short these days so if I'm absent from here, please check for new work on Flickr and in my Etsy shop:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

End of Summer

From the latter part of August. Acrylic on gessoed paper, listed on Etsy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Aspen and Sedum Shoots

Carrying on from the last post....all these 3 small paintings were done in the same sitting, and all were done from the brief scribbled sketches shown. Acrylic collage paintings, listed on Etsy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aspen Shoot

From a series of 3 small images based on little aspen shoots forcing their way through landscape fabric covered with layers of gravel....this an amazing fast growth tree developed in Manitoba called Andre the Giant, no longer cultivated....interesting to see how it will force itself through inhospitable environments. The little sketches are 30 second little mental notes.....the painting is done with the sketch propped in front of me. 5" x 5" acrylic collage painting, listed on Etsy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


On an evening walk I studied a fascinating cloud formation...a number of small shapes almost swirling around each other, perfectly harmless looking during this summer of sometimes threatening storms, but it looked interesting in it's separate shelf up in the sky. Earlier in the painting the formation was described much more completely and accurately, but I purposely destroyed it. Though there's almost nothing left up there, it seems to suggest the effect more that what I had previously. 9.5" x 7.75" acrylic on gessoed paper, listed on Etsy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

July Sky

5" x 4.5" acrylic collage painting on paper, listed on Etsy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wheat, Harvest Ready

The same field from the painting shown yesterday...and this from a few days ago when the wheat was harvest ready. It's since been cut and this field looks vastly different again.

Acrylic collage painting on archival paper, 8.25" x 7", listed on Etsy.

Monday, August 17, 2009


9.25" x 7.75" acrylic on gessoed paper, listed on Etsy. The strong, healthy greens of mid July, and by all appearances, a rubbish fire well back on someone's property.....perfectly under control, but it makes a dramatic visual impact.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


There is a heat spell on now. Today the haze is extreme so the picture I'll paint later on this evening might continue with this theme. 9" x 7.25" acrylic on gessoed paper, listed on Etsy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

August Green

Growing up in Saskatchewan where one can see for miles in all directions, I still have a deep attachment for the distant view. 9.5" x 7.5" acrylic on gessoed paper, listed on Etsy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Early August, High Ground

I found a new trail....a path leads upwards from the trout ponds to an old railbed....early August on a warm, pretty morning....looking miles into the distance over a forested valley. Acrylic on gessoed paper, 9.25" x 7.75", listed on Etsy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 5th

Each year I try to do a few pictures somewhere along this very lonely stretch of road. It winds through some interesting area....from extreme hills to vast fields like this....and I have very seldom seen anyone on the road....the whole place seems very deserted. Acrylic on gessoed paper, listed on Etsy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sky, July 30

10" x 9.25" acrylic on single ply archival matte board, gessoed both sides, listed on Etsy.

Discount Offer....2 days only....August 10th and 11th : 10% off purchase price of any artwork in my Etsy store, provided you send me a digital picture of you holding the painting in YOUR landscape....wherever you live, play, can be town, country, city. At the time of your purchase tell me you want the discount mentioned on this blog.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


A number of these close tree images were made. Summer is shifting into another gear.....the darkness of the green is like a wall, filling the the time it felt both melancholy and protective. Acrylic on gessoed paper, listed on Etsy.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chickabiddy Copse

This copse, a constant companion, pulses in a certain way in July.....the foliage is so thick and rich and healthy this year,.....a pleasant steady murmur in the breeze. 10" x 8.75" acrylic on single ply matte board, gessoed both sides, listed on Etsy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Toward Evening

A fast moving cloud formation after a summer storm....the shadows of late afternoon evident...still a bit of time before dusk. Acrylic collage painting on paper, 10" x 8.5", listed on Etsy.