A Painting Mount For My iPad Pro…


Recently I broke down and picked up an iPad Pro 10.5″ with that nifty pencil. compared to the older versions we have in the house, this one performs unbelievably well. It’s snappy and there’s no putting it down and making a cup of tea while it loads a web page. I finally bought it because it runs a mobile version of Lightroom and also runs an amazing Photoshop style app called Affinity Photo. This means I can take it on location instead of my laptop (which died hence the iPad) and ingest the days shoot, make selections and perform some basic edits. Enough about the photography…


I also used my trusty laptop to display reference images while I was at the easel. It sat on an old tray clamped to a C-Stand. It wasn’t the most elegant solution but it worked for a time. So when I bought the iPad, I was trying to figure out a way to use it for the same purpose. It wouldn’t sit on the tray and I didn’t want to sit it on my painting table for obvious reasons.

I went looking for a mount that would secure the iPad to the easel solidly and in a position that would I could  see both the work and the tablet easily. I thought about music stores because I know musicians use tablets to display sheet music. Nothing was really suitable. I know photographers use mounts but again I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Then I remembered the iPhone mount for my motorcycle made by RAM. It was there that I found all sorts of ways to securely mount my iPad to my easel. The best part about it, was there are two places here in Calgary that carry them: GPS City, and GPS Central.

So far around $100 (I know, it’s a bit expensive) I have a very well built mount that I can easily attach the iPad for my painting sessions and remove it when I’m done to write this blog post.

Carpenter Creek – Sandon BC


Carpenter Creek

While on a motorcycle adventure with my wife, we decided to take a detour and ride into Sandon BC. It’s a ghost town nestled in the Selkirk Mountains about 10km away from New Denver. I was a bustling mining town in the last 1800’s and boasted a population at one time of nearly 10,000. A flood in the 50’s destroyed most of the buildings but a few still stand. Running through town is Carpenter Creek and it was calling out to be painted. A wonderfully calm cool place to park the bike for a break.



Painting in Coutts

Yesterday afternoon I headed down to the lovely Coutts Centre for an afternoon of painting. I was fighting the urge to stay home as we had thrown a big party for some family that are moving to Panama. Needless to say, the night was filled with tears, laughter, dance and song, as well as some libations which we all indulged in a little too much.

So after a mental wrestling match, a couple of Tylenol and a BIG bottle of water I headed south for the afternoon. The rain which was forecast managed to hold off and I took a walk around the grounds looking for a place to paint. Several promising sites didn’t cut it because they weren’t in the shade and after about 30 minutes passed, I settled into a nice spot by the marsh looking towards the Poppy Garden and Chicken House (which has been converted into a summer residence). I quickly got set up and roughed in the general tones and values and wiped back where the building was to sit. I started with the centre right area and got my drawing in quickly, then I started to lay in changes to the value structure of the scene. It progressed nicely and I knew I had to start shutting it down as I could hear a little thunder moving my way and I had a ways to get back to the car.

This is where I ended up. I’m going to continue to work on it a little to refine some of the areas but I know not too much with this one. I like how loose it is overall with the sharpest edges and brightest colors where I want you to look.

The Chicken House

Painting Retreat…

“Thats a thickener Grant, not a thinner” – Doug Swinton.

These were the words I needed to hear obviously, and after tackling my first painting from a photo Doug provided, it became pretty apparent that this was where I was messing up. I realized, that when I was painting before the long 28 year drought, I only ever used Turpentine, which is a thinner. When I decided to get back into painting last year, I bought all new supplies and was told to use Walnut Oil and other mediums like that to get the consistency the way I wanted it. So when I was trying to thin the paint, I was actually thickening it and well, making a goopy mess that didn’t behave the way I remembered at all. The painting that I blogged about back in November never made it past the initial first color pass. With a large “X” through it, it ended up in the garbage.

So Doug gave me a small 3″sq pic to paint and I had to complete it in 20min. Here’s what I came up with…

20 Min Study

I felt really good about it and Doug took and placed it in a frame and put it on the wall which is one of the ways he likes to show his students work to the others. Success!

Ok, then onto the next which was from one of my pics up in Sunshine Meadows. This one I did in about an hour.

Sunshine Meadows

Then this one inspired by another photo but I decided I wanted to add the dark drama to it.

Morning Light

And finally this one which was of the same creek but looking in a different direction. And done with a completely different color palette.

Elbow Lake CreekThe first three done on the first day and the last one done on the second.

Overall, I’m shocked at how fast it seemed to come back and how photography and Photoshop has had such an affect on the way I see and compose and problem solve.

I just need to start to gain a better understanding of techniques and particular behaviours of oils. A weekend with some great people, a great instructor and some much needed personal success.