Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gate, New Year's Eve

Gate, New Year's Eve (sold).  ......the fresh snow after the first major storm....returning from the daily hike...almost home. Acrylic collage painting on Stonehenge paper.
I always enjoy when I can get away with using a collage paper with minimum or no manipulation. At the start of these sessions, I'll stand at my piles of pre-painted papers and select about 10-15 sheets, carefully considering the colours I plan to use. This way I don't have to search through a large pile and 1000s of colours. Usually the whole thing will rest upon the colour relationship between 2 or 3 colours. Here I was happy that the background sky colour needed no repainting. This is my last painting of 2015!

Have a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2016!    

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

First Winter Storm

After the Storm (sold)
It felt good to see the fields in white again! The storm was not as strong as it could have been...winds not that fierce, and not a great deal of snowfall, but there was freezing rain which is extremely dangerous and a total pain to try to clean off a long, winding driveway. This is a collage painting on Stonehenge paper.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Some of the last pieces of 2015!

2 collage paintings. Walkout (top) (sold) is on panel and Entrance, Boxing Day (bottom) is on Stonehenge paper. The Boxing Day piece was effortless from the moment I found the sky colour collage piece. In Walkout the whole thing rested on the 4 colours that form the theme. Each piece I do has a few key elements that must be kept....and everything else is subject to change.    

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Paintings

The forest painting is from the day before Christmas Eve, the sliver of green light painting is from Christmas Eve Day, and the piece with the very blue sky is from Christmas Day....a  very green and warm Christmas season! All of these are collage paintings, 2 on paper, and the Christmas Day piece is on panel.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Garden Hill, Long View

Acrylic collage painting on Stonehenge. Since the painting previous to this was on panel, this one was collage on paper. Had I done this on panel, the inclination would have been to make it more involved, to struggle a bit more. The paint on panel often seems to require more handling before it sits right. With collage, I often seek to have the collage colour itself hold its ground. In this case, the sky was collaged, and then the entire sky was repainted overtop, but the effect would be much different if it was only paint, without collage. As well as establishing a good portion of the mood, the collage also provides something to work against. There are only 3 pieces of collage in this. One large grey/blue sheet for the sky, a band of brownish on the bottom, and a sliver of naples yellow colour for the hill.    

Sunday, December 20, 2015


The top piece, Night Walk, (sold)  is an collage painting on paper and is made from memory, without any direct reference. The bottom piece, Secret Field, is acrylic on gessoed birch panel. Together they show the type of slight movement in method I use to keep the process fresh. Night Walk was the 3rd in a series of night collages, and Secret Field was made right after that.   

Friday, December 18, 2015

Sweet Night

Sweet Night
Walking the roads and property in total darkness...the eyes adjust and forms emerge. Acrylic collage painting on Stonehenge paper 10 x 13 inches, image size 8.75 x 10.25 inches.
...some of the little reference diagrams used to make these....all drawn blind in a few seconds....sometimes a bit of moonlight shows the paper a bit, so it's not pitchblack.I might make a few during each outing...but sometimes just one. The majority of the diagrams don't get used after they are made. The last drawing in the lineup here is the one mostly used to make this painting.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Dark Days.....

...from yesterday and the day before. The top one,  Lake Ontario, December 16, is done from a 1-minute diagram made at a bit of shoreline I like to visit periodically. The bottom one, The Dark Time, is made with no actual reference in front of me, but refers to general impressions that come from walking in the dark during these last, shortest days of the year. There is minimal paint work on top of the collage in the bottom piece, and that is a general aim in many of these, but the paint will continue to be applied on top of the collage until the piece is somehow resolved.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wet Days......

....the top one, Pink Gap is a painting with no collage, and the bottom one, Drizzle (sold), is a collage painting. Both were done from 1-minute diagrams made on site. Today's work was made entirely from invention.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

10 Saved Acres, December 12

 ....looking across the winter wheat field at dusk, to the little forested hill in the distance. Acrylic collage painting on archival paper, 10 x 13 inches, image size 9 x 10 inches.
 Method is a very interesting part of the whole process. Change the method, and you change the outcome. If I paint on location, the work will look one way. If I make a brief diagram, and work from only that, the work will look a different way. If I work entirely from memory, different again. If I take some photos and look at those while working, different still. If I look at a photo while working and then hang a towel over the monitor so I can't always see the photo, thus relying more on memory, different again. The rules of engagement are a big part of what the artist does.
I do favour the method shown here.....a little diagram made on site....worked from later that day. It requires some memory work, while allowing a whole lot of latitude about specific colours, textures, contrasts. It sets the composition, while allowing most other things to remain in flux, to be determined in the painting process.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Stand, December 10

...the mildest I've seen for this time of snow, and still reasonably warm. Acrylic collage painting on archival paper 10 x 13 inches, image size 8.75 x 9.75 inches.

This isn't entirely memory work....there is a little 30 second diagram made on site used as reference (I'll show that in the next posting), but there is room for a lot of change in these pieces. It's not really a matter of recording what is there.....    

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Chickabiddy Stand, Night

Chickabiddy Stand, Night
...still a touch of light, but all will be dark in half an hour. Acrylic collage painting on archival paper 10 x 13 inches, image size 8.5 x 10.5 inches.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Patch (Sold)
.....a bit of light peeks through the cloud cover, and lights a tiny section of field at dusk. Acrylic collage painting on archival paper 7.5 x 10.75 inches, image size 6.5 x 9.5 inches.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Night Fog

Night Fog (Sold)
 ....the fog begins to drop a half hour before dark. Acrylic collage painting on archival paper, 8 x 10.5 inches, image size 7 x 9.5 inches.
At the start of each painting, if I say this: "I know something, but I don't know most of the things likely to happen in this picture" ....I know I'm on better ground regarding process. The desire to keep surprise happening in each picture, is the reason for the slight changes in procedure, size, and process.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lost Dog Hill, December 4

 ....evening, and quiet. Acrylic and pencil on gessoed thin birch panel 7.5 x 12 inches. I thought I was going to do a collage today, but I did this instead. We'll see if the collage gets made tomorrow.   

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Alpaca Field

Acrylic on gessoed thin birch panel 5.75 x 9.5 inches. A note on editing and can keep painting on the same work for a long time and make many changes, but confusion happens naturally and easily if you are not attentive to scale. Very few moves can be made before an area can become filled, confusing, noisy, because there are too many things the same size competing for attention. The solution is to edit drastically. So, if the sky is too confusing, take  out 3/4 of the sky by simplifying, and then continue.  A small will only look small if there is a medium and a large to compare to. Let a picture clearly contrast small, middle, and large pieces. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Snow Sky

Acrylic on gessoed thin birch panel, 5.75 x 9.5 inches. Although all of these are small, it remains very important to have variations within the sizes. I knew, for example, that this one should not be 9 x 12. I am most free when it feels like I'm mumbling to myself, and the small size somehow allows that to be the case.

These is something about the small scale that makes this all seem like a secret world. I know that may sound silly, especially when I often photograph and list them the same day they are made. Sometimes they are mailed out the very next day, or they sit here for a time, but it all feels like a silent, peaceful writing in a hidden journal....  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November End

 November moves easily into December, with no snow in sight. Acrylic collage painting on gessoed thin birch panel 7.5 x 12 inches. I like these final slivers of light...which seem to last only minutes....
Collage on primed panel behaves differently than collage on heavy paper. The panel is less absorbent than paper, so if you're not careful you can trap air bubbles beneath the paper that prevent adhesion in places. I've taken to rolling a heavy rolling pin repeatedly over the first large sheets of paper glued down, and that seems to do the trick.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November Night (Sold)

Quiet and day turns to night. Acrylic collage painting on archival paper 8 x 11.5 inches, image size 7 x 10.25 inches.
I normally like to paint earlier in the day, even if the subject is the night or dusk from the day before, but sometimes I don't get to work until the light starts to fade.
The evening light has been looked at quite closely by me at various times....the morning light has received almost no attention yet, because I was either on my way to school to teach, or was not awake that early during days off or holidays. This will change at some point in the not too distant future. Some paintings of morning light are coming!