Thursday, January 28, 2010

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Englishman River Falls

This past summer I went with my family camping outside of Parksville, BC near the Englishman River Falls. This painting is done from one of my photographs. It was done as part of my water series for my class at the Monterey Centre.

Monday, January 25, 2010

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Surrey workshop

Uplands Park
This past Saturday I taught a workshop in South Surrey, BC. The subject was landscapes in watercolour. There were 9 participants and most chose to follow what I was demonstrating. I tried to keep it simple since it was a short workshop. The above painting is the final result. It is of Garry Oak Trees at Cattle Point in Oak Bay.
I first showed them how to do big washes of atmospheric colour then we saved the "sky holes" with masking fluid. This was done so we could freely splatter different colours of paint for the trees and bushes. After lifting up the masking fluid, the branches were defined. The rocks are done using a special and oh so complicated technique using Saran wrap. The grass was accomplished with different kinds of salt then the strokes of grass were painted. Everyone did a fabulous job. A few others chose to do their own landscape and the end results were beautiful.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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Rocks under water

This small painting I did for my Dynamic Waterscenes class. I will be demonstrating and teaching how to do rocks under water.
I think I overworked the trees. They were originally green but I felt like it was too green and it emphasized the rocks in the foreground instead of the water. I then decided to have the trees match the rocks more. To do so I used a sponge to lift the trees. Since it was a staining green, it didn't leave enough white to have a subtle ochre and sienna feel to it. I ended up going too heavy with the ochre apparently. It doesn't look so heavy in the original painting though. Maybe there was a slight shadow over that part of the painting when I photographed it,
For the demonstration, I now know to start with a subtle ochre instead of green.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

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The Importance of Values

My Monday night class is Creating a Mood in Watercolor. One of the lessons I will be teaching is on how important value can be in a painting. A painting with similar values might indicate a rainy or misty day whereas one with high contrast gives a feeling of strong sunlight. Another important lesson is that a painting can be any color as long as the values are correct.
For my introductory class I will have my students paint from a black and white photo something with good contrast in burnt sienna. This is so they can understand values. I find that most beginner watercolorists either paint too wishy washy or too heavy as if it is an impasto painting. Getting a good feel for values also helps break some of those habits. The other objective is for them to learn how to paint wet in wet with watercolor. This helps create more of a romantic or nostalgic mood.
The above painting is what I painted to show as an example. It is The Old House restaurant (now called Tomato Tomato) in Courtenay, BC. It is the front window with ivy vines and flowers underneath.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

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I was telling my class today about my new puppy, Twilight. I was asked to show photos of her on the blog so here she is the day after we brought her home. That was 2 weeks ago when she was a little angel. Now she is comfortable enough with us that she thinks the couch is her bed and the furniture is her chew toy. But we still love her and she is the best entertainment we have had in a long time. It is hard to paint when all I want to do is play with puppy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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King's Pond

Creating Dynamic Waterscenes is the name of the course that I am teaching at the Monterey Center. We will be creating small paintings with different types of water. Tomorrow is the first day and the focus will be on reflections. I thought this scene was simple enough to start with after the long painting break most of the students will have taken. The course (hence, the paintings) will get more challenging as we progress. Eventually we will do big crashing waves. That is when it is really fun.

Friday, January 8, 2010

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Rathtrevor Beach II

I enjoyed doing the painting of Rathtrevor Beach so much that I had to do another one. I have been in a painting funk for some time but recently all I have been wanting to do is paint! Some days I want to paint more than anything else. I tend to ignore the world and my other responsibilities just so I can paint. For instance, I am working on another large pour and I am really excited about it. I spent all of yesterday working on it and while I waited for it to dry, I finished this small painting. My computer wasn't turned on, the dirty dishes continued to linger in the sink, and I let the answering maching pick up all my calls. I have emails I need to answer but I think do I really have to? I know it takes time away from painting. . . maybe they can wait til tomorrow. . . I need to go paint.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

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Rathtrevor Beach

This is a scene of Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville, BC. The photo was taken on June 21 of this past year - summer solstice. I remember this because it is my favorite day of the year. I love that the sun doesn't set here until after 11pm and is up before 5 am. I was on my way with my friend up to April Point Lodge on Quadra Island to teach a workshop and stopped here for a picnic lunch.
I have only been to the beach a few times. The water is usually almost to the trees and park area. You can walk forever into the water and it won't go past your knees. On this day, the tide was clear out and we walked forever on the sand and rocks to get to the water. Then we explored the tidal pools. It was a great way to celebrate the day.

Monday, January 4, 2010

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This past summer I taught a workshop at a resort on Quadra Island, BC. My good friend from Boston came with me and we went up a day early so we could do the Ocean Discovery Tour. It was just us on a Zodiac (one of those orange whale watching boats) zipping around all the islands. We saw just about every kind of wildlife there is to see here- dozens of bald eagles, seals, Stellar sea lions, Dall's porpoises (which look like mini killer whales) and even bear. We didn't see Orcas (killer whales) but I did see them this past fall at another workshop I taught up there. My friend took a cruise to Alaska a few years ago and didn't see anything so she was pleased to get her fill on this trip.
One of the things we did see on this beautiful and peaceful morning was a tug boat pushing all this lumber. Not sure why or where it was going but I took the photos. I decided to try a different brush for this. I used my 1" flat wash brush for the whole thing but the boat.

Friday, January 1, 2010

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I am excited that 2010 is here. I am determined to have a good year this year.
I don't really have any resolutions though. It will continue to be the same as always. Most days I wake up and think that I will try to get 4 hours of painting done that day. The kids are at school for 6 so I should be able to do it. Of course on those days that I teach (Tues and Thurs), my goal is 2 hours. It seems reasonable right? This is my job. I should at least do it part time. However, I rarely find that I accomplish this goal. Between the house, the phone calls, the errands, and emails, I struggle to get even just a couple of hours in and most of that is lesson plans. It also doesn't help to be uninspired which I have been since July.  That might have to do with a couple of nightmare commissions that I have been struggling with. But out of those commissions have come these smaller pieces. They are something that I could accomplish in an hour and be done with it. It is very satisfying.
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