Day 6/30

I was just south of the city looking for a location for a commercial project when I came across this little gem. It has sat on the hard drive for awhile now but I decided that it was time to get it up on the laptop and get to work. There have been a few moments when I’ve been told that I get too much in my head when I paint, and I need to just “paint”. Let it out with a wistful freedom and an attitude that it will just happen and I don’t need to force it. Make decisions on the fly as in – the sky is too light or too dark, the road is too hard edged and the centre of interests needs more life. This happened with this painting and I can see the results as the image came into focus without working it to death. I could have gone on but I needed to stop. There could have been some refinement, but hey, done is done.

Grant Waddell Oil on Canvas

Red House
Oil on Canvas


Workshop With Jerry Markham…

Over the last couple of days I have been attending a workshop put on by Jerry Markham – An artist from Vernon B.C. Jerry’s been painting professionally for over fourteen years and I discovered today that he is not only a talented painter, but also a very good teacher. Stands to reason as he was introduced to painting by Doug Swinton who is my current full time painting teacher. They have been friends for many years and have been on many Plein Air adventures together. There were a couple of things that he did which made him stand out to me.

The first was the phone call. Yes, a phone call to each workshop participant to find out if there was anything specific they wanted to work on. For one woman it was understanding decisions that had to be made quickly while painting En Plein Air. For me, we decided I would bring in a few of my half finished paintings to analyze and improve. I also brought paintings I believed to be done so he could see where I was when I had the time to complete the work in my studio. So I was a bit stunned when he suggested this painting to work on. First off, I thought it was done and second, I didn’t want to eff it up! But I agreed and taped it back up to the board and we began to dissect it

Eureka BarnHe thought the mountains didn’t sit back enough. They needed to be lighter and cooler. He liked the barn but thought the roof could use some value adjustments. Some of the colours were muddy and needed to be cleaned up and the trees needed some more highlights. My shadow colours were not right in some areas of the trees (that was the mud he was referring to).
So I got my palette prepped and began working under his careful eye.
This is where it ended up. Cooler lighter background to make it move back. Shadow colors warmed up and cleaned. On the left side behind the barn, I put in a tone to give the impression of the mid ground receding into the background. I also worked the foreground over slightly.

This is where I ended up. The background definitely sits back more. One of the things jerry mentioned was mixing a “new” colour for the highlights on certain objects like the mountains. They shouldn’t be created with the original color and just adding white. In this re-work, I did just that – mixed a slightly warmer colour to place in these lit areas. I like the trees with the adjusted shadow as well as the addition of some defining highlights. The foreground has more definition and punch as well.

Overall, I think it’s a nice improvement. What do you think?

Eureka Barn 2

Fond Memories…


The Farm

Oil on Canvas

16in x 8in

While driving along the lonely roads just south of Calgary, I came across this lovely little farm on the edge of the Tsuu T’ina Reserve on the South edge of the city. The scene drew me in with the curving dirt road leading up to what I imagined to be a lovely old farmstead with so many memories. I pictured it forty years earlier and imagined what it would have been like to play in the barn, climb a tree, sip lemonade on the porch and ride a bike down the dirt road. I pictured this small boy running up that road to what was maybe his home, or maybe his grandparents home, the sun shining and a slight prairie breeze blowing in from the mountains to the west.

As I sat in my car, I thought that I could be that boy, but as a man, visiting an old seldom seen friend. Going back in time and reliving a beautiful time in this life. One that was free of all the worries of adulthood.

And it made me think how art can bring back these memories. Rekindle deep feelings of joy or pain. Love and sorrow for us to sit with and wonder.

I often think that the reason I am drawn to certain subjects, is not because it might make a nice composition, or anything I was taught in art school, but because it speaks to a part of myself as the artist, that is that old friend to the scene I see before me.