Well, I’ve officially dropped the “day” tag from the titles of these paintings. It would seem the rigours of daily life have firmly entrenched themselves directly in my path to the success of the 30 day challenge. I have tried daily to gather the spirits and yes, with best intentions, diligently gather imagery and prepare the canvas, put out the paint, don my gloves – only to be thwarted by that constant companion – responsibilities.
Clients with deadlines of all things, and a family that wants to do things other than watch me stare at the blank canvas with a furrowed brow mumbling something about the centre of interest. So yes, I guess I could still put the “day” tag on the titles because technically they are completed on a given day. I don’t remember hearing they had to be consecutive. But I guess it wouldn’t have really been a challenge then.
So here is my 15th painting of 30. It was from a shot taken while heading through Southern Alberta. For those of you who have driven highway 3 or more commonly known as the Crowsnest Trail, past the rocky tomb of The Frank Slide (yes, there was a town under all that rock) and then through Coleman on your way to Crowsnest lake and the B.C. border, you will have seen one of the most majestic mountains in the, oddly named, Crowsnest Pass. You’ll never guess what it’s called… Crowsnest Mountain. Standing 2785m, it is the highest of the peaks which form the panorama – Seven Sisters mountain can be seen just behind it to the north. It attracted a rather famous British mountaineer named Edward Whymper, who was the first to climb the Matterhorn in Switzerland. Whymper was unable to successfully put this feather in his cap and the first ascent went to Tom Wilson in 1904 (Wilson was the first white man to set eyes on Lake Louise).
The painting took me about three hours to complete and again, delves into some experimental brushwork that looks half OCD and half too much Gin. But I have to say, I am really enjoying the strange feeling of expressing the way something makes me feel and interpreting what I’m seeing rather than mimicking it.
Oil on Canvas
Well, you not supposed to like every one and this counts as one I don’t like. I got bogged down off the start with the details in the barn and didn’t let the pins flow. It was frustrating because I could feel it right away. I took out the small brush and started in niggling. This is a second run at this particular scene of which I like the first attempt. I will revisit it as I like the subject matter.
Oil on Canvas
I came across this in the latest Plein Air magazine. A quote by master artist Quang Ho. In the article he describes how he starts with simple shapes, breaks these into details – shapes within shapes – and defines the shapes by adjusting the edges between them.
Painting is ultimately about completing spaces. In many ways, the beauty of one’s life is also about completing spaces, if having breakfast is considered a space, or a walk in the woods, all the way to the attention one gives to a lifetime. The more attention or beauty one gives to the spaces, the more depth and meaning the entire space may have.
I started this painting of a gravel road southwest of town, and I was going to do it in my usual way. Try and stay loose and free and let it flow out. Well… I did let it flow and stayed loose but I also let my head go for a walk and just painted. Colours where I normally wouldn’t use them, shapes that were more emotional than representational. More feel and less think resulted in something that looks pretty tight which is not what I expected. I peeled the tape off after giving it a couple of hours and smiled – not necessarily because I thought it was great, but because it was different.
Crisp October Road
Oil on Canvas
So here’s my day 12 sketch. It was from a pic I took while on a weekend trip to Kootenay Park Lodge – a beautiful part of the world along one of my favourite stretches of highway between castle Junction and Radium in the south west corner of BC. I rented a little rustic cabin and toured on the motorcycle looking for inspiration. I went into Radium one day to get some gas and realized I didn’t have my wallet. Radium is about 67km away and I made the trip there, back to KPL, and back to Radium on fumes. My bike has more range than I thought. 🙂
Beside the lodge is this beautiful stretch of the Kootenay River that I have driven by for decades but oddly never stopped. This was the inspiration for the trip. It has the most beautiful blue water and meanders lazily along the rocky banks and oddly, this is the only spot that looks like this. After snapping a few pics the light changed and I sat on edge and became very peaceful.
Vermillion Crossing 8.5×11 Oil on Canvas