Lake McArthur

Lake McArthur

9×12

Oil on Canvas Board

When your in the Elizabeth Parker Hut there is no such thing as privacy or lounging around. You pretty much get up when the group gets up. The group I refer to is the other twenty five some odd soles who start the day off from the two trays of souls that make up the two “beds”.

This was the day we decided to head up to Lake MacArthur which I didn’t do last year and thought it was the best idea considering I had no better ideas in which to indulge in this delicious smorgasbord of nature. I was relying on my more experienced travellers and from what I saw from Odaray the day before I could hardly wait.

It was a 7.5 kilometre round trip with 310 meters of elevation gain through some beautiful scenery. This is really not saying much as it’s all beautiful scenery.

As far as the weather goes? Let’s just say it’s your typical day in the mountains. A bit of everything. Some sun, some rain, and a bit chilly. I set up under a tree to keep as dry as possible. The moss was a nice cushion. I also had a visitor who was trying to find something for lunch.

I probably got in about a half an hour before Patti came by saying she was packing it in and I decided that I would join her. We took a different route out which made it more of a circuit and added something new to look at and take pictures of for possible paintings.

Once back at the hut, the weather was more on the plus side and I thought to myself that I should try to finish the painting under the eaves of Wiwaxy. I used my memory as well as a photo that I took on the phone for reference.

Odaray

Odaray

We awoke to a gloomy morning. No rain but the threat hung, looming. Boiling water and steam, the smell of coffee and tea, eggs from a carton. Maple too. No bacon sadly. Stepping outside into the brisk morning air and seeing the hardy adventurers looking forward to the rewards that await the day.

The sun pushed hard through the thick cloud and lit a sliver of the mountain to the north. A welcoming of sorts. An invitation.

We pretty much all decided to go to where the sun laid God’s finger… Odaray. One of the most amazing hikes but not without its price. A steep wildlife corridor with limited group access only. We were in Grizzly habitat.

Sadly, we didn’t see any wildlife at all but the views were mind blowing.

No painting today but a glimpse from high up on this amazing hike where we would be painting tomorrow; McArthur.

Enjoy the pics.

The Pond at the End of the Lake…

The Pond at the end of the Lake – Lake O’Hara

Painting #2

9×12 Oil on Canvas Board

When I look at the time stamps on the photographs, I’m amazed that I am seeing Patti and Patricia painting at the edge of Lake O’Hara at 4:00pm. Within 18 minutes I’m set up and ready to paint my second painting of the afternoon. I had been drawn to this spot on last years trip but for whatever reason decided not to set up there. This time was different. I had to acknowledge there was something within me that said “here is where you paint” I didn’t have a whole lot to say about it. I set up.

First off, I knew I didn’t have much time. I felt sunset approaching and I knew I had to get things down quickly. An interesting side note; I decided right off the bat that whatever I got down would be better than getting nothing down at all. It was simply an exercise or practice.

I knew I was drawn to the scene although it wasn’t your typical landscape. Slightly off kilter and subtlety obscure. I liked the bush nestled in the trees at the end of the pond. I liked the contrast. I liked the water, the bush, the trees, the mountain, and the subtle nudge it gave me. It would work.

“You need to listen more” myself whispered to…myself.
Pay attention to the direction I give you.

I listened. I tried with whatever I had, to get this down. This was a local contrast problem. There was no extra light. No sprite to help me out. I had to PUSH what I had. What was important? Obviously the bush was what drew me in. I needed to get that down and the mountain in behind was playing a pretty big role. The water was supporting actress while the trees were somewhat below that. There was a lot of information to get in and I had recently learned how to get rocks down. Paint the bulk of the rocks in the shadow tone and then add the mid, followed by the highlight. So I was able to get them in pretty quick. The rest fell into place easily as they were large masses. Everything was in shadow so much and my original values were not where I wanted them to be. Overall, I was on the dark side and I adjusted them in the studio. It’s still a shadowy piece of work. I think the thing I like the most about it is the fairly loose application of paint and the unusual composition and subject matter. It’s not usually what I paint.

I worked until the cold took over and I packed up and headed for the hut where my Jartini awaited. It was a great day filled with great people. Bliss really. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Alice and Bill could have been there with us. All in all, I love the mountains, I love the small scenes that sing so loudly, but most of all, I love the friends I paint with.

Bowness Plein Air…

My good friend Barbara Amos and I headed down to Bowness Park there for a bit of painting therapy. We wandered around for about a half an hour looking for spots around the lagoon but were surprised to see that the paths around the lagoon was still closed from the great flood of 2013. The next logical spot was the river and as we navigated our way around the families barbecuing  and playing bocci, we settled on a spot near a small spit of land that jutted out into the water affording swimmers some protection. Barbara found a spot about 50’ upstream from me and I ended up here. We had about an hour of light and I had to work quickly to get the rough shapes in before the sun set. As I worked a few people came over to stand behind me and watch me place the last few strokes before I had to call it quits. I’m pretty pleased with this one. I have a love hate relationship with rocks as I’ve found them difficult to capture. But I discovered that by simply letting go and “painting” and not over thinking the subject, it just went down kinda naturally. A successful sketch!

Bowness

Plein Air At Edwards Lake…

Me at Edwards LakeOut at the cabin at Edwards lake BC a few weeks ago and I wanted to get out and have an afternoon of painting. I wanted to try something a bit different in that, I didn’t want to pick a traditional composition that I would normally choose. After walking around the property for awhile and looking at all available angles, I chose this tree and the side of the garage and cabin itself. I liked the orange leaves and the slightly obscured buildings. Not what I’m used to and I was a bit intimidated by it but thought “what the hell”

The best part of my day was being accompanied by Kash. kash PaintingOne of the littlest members of our extended family. He came over to me sheepishly and asked if he could paint. Knowing oil paint and little ones, mom would be pretty upset if clothes came back stained with a Cad Red Deep!. But Aunty Steph saved the day and brought out Grandmas acrylics and he was able to sit up behind me and let the paint flow. kash and I

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any shots of his final work but I still would like to share mine. I think pretty successful overall. I think the right side is somewhat unresolved. I could add a tree or some interest on that side. The two buildings blend a bit too much. I know that they are obscured but I my thinking is I should have dropped the roof line of the garage slightly to differentiate to two a bit better. Colours I think are good and I like the overall tonality. The tree needs some work to refine it a bit. All in all, I was pleased with the effort.

 

Edwards LAke Painting UPDATE: We do have a shot of Kash’s work! Great stuff little buddy!

Kash Painting

Leaves…

Leaves

I used to think I would always want some property by the ocean as I loved the smell of the salt air, the expanse of water in front of me , but I mostly loved the sounds of the surf. Especially at night as I sat up late at a friends cabin, windows open, a nightcap in hand and a good book to read. It was very soothing.

As a prairie boy who grew up in the mountains,  the one mountain sound I fell in love with was the distant sound of a train rolling through the valley and blowing it’s horn. Strangely haunting.

Since I’ve moved back from my stint on the coast, I have missed the sound of the ocean. But as I discovered awhile ago, I can hear it almost whenever I want to. I just have to stand in a grove of Aspens and, when a breeze blows gently through, I close my eyes, and I can hear in the canopy above, the memories of sitting on the beach in the cool evening air.

So, while laying in the hammock last weekend, and taking in the smells and sights and sounds, another wonderful thought came to me which inspired this small bit of writing…

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These little hands held silent in nights touch

Understand and wait for the whisper of dawn

and as the warm light crests,

mornings breath fills them with glee, setting them to tremble.

with arms outstretched these little hands begin clapping

and their sounds of joyous applause can be heard throughout the glen.