Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Notan painting

So my goal was to use the "notan" - a black and white simplified composition (below) to map out this painting.  It did help, but I'm feeling great resistance to making a light colored pooch dark enough in the shadows.  The original painting looks better than the digital (hah, heard that one before!?)  Maybe it's a warm-cool color issue?? Anyway, pondering the possibilities.  Who says painting is easy?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tucked In

5x7" acrylic painting
This is Tuckleberry.  His mother and I think he is awesomely cute all tucked into the grass.  Hopefully she will also like his portrait, I know that I enjoyed painting him!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


8x12" acrylic on metal
Another pony painting, this time in a little more expressive style and with the other sister on board.... who wouldn't smile riding Squirt?!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Love My Pony

So what little girl doesn't love a pony?  This one surely does :)  His halter really does say "I love my pony".  I have to say he is a pony who's worth his carrots!  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pacific Twilight

12 x 8" acrylic on metal
The difference in the length of twilight from the Bunsby's to the Grand Canyon is remarkable.  Down south you better have a head lamp or be close to the tent near sunset because, bam! it's dark soon after. Northern BC isn't quite land of the midnight sun but with a 9:30 sunset it was 11 PM before the stars had their turn.  Only Bob and I were left up by the campfire that late but it was worth one or two less hours of sleep to breathe in the magic of light transitioning between sun and stars.  

This painting is an experiment on a metal surface.  I've been reading some technical stuff about painting on copper which I'm anxious to try, but I couldn't find any copper sheets locally (and it's a bit pricey) so thought I'd just play with aluminum.  A prep of sanding, cleaning and mounting on foamcore and I loved the non-sticky smoothness of the paint application.  Acrylic paint dries so darn fast, esp. in the summer that it tends to drag against even the smooth gessoed panels.  The metal ground had a great feel to it, easier to get those lovely soft cloud edges along with the sharp ones more characteristic of acrylic paint.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Party Animal!

8x8"acrylic painting
Cooling off on a hot day, iced down and ready to par-tay!

I've been wanting to paint from this reference for awhile.  A black ground to start with made it quicker than I expected to paint, love all the abstracted shapes in the ice bucket.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kelp Garden

5.5 x 6" acrylic painting
The garden of flora and fauna lining the shore of outlying Pacific islands is abundant and diverse.  This image is of a shoreline garden with a somewhat protected exposure on a balmy day.  This is a habitat totally different from that exposed directly to the crashing rollers of thousands of miles of ocean.  Macrocystis, the ubiquitous kelp found anchored in deeper water, fringes the sea garden providing it with even more protection from breaking surf.

Before sea otter were reintroduced here the kelp beds were drastically reduced by sea urchin, making a huge difference in the balance of life in the entire ecosystem.  Now that otter have reestablished locally, their voracious appetite for urchin has restored the offshore kelp forests.  Balance is a tenuous thing though and the otter have also made their presence known by the relative decrease in clams & crab, other favorite meals.  It will be interesting to see how the impacts of climate change effect the ying and yang of the Pacific fringe.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Red Bucket

original acrylic painting, 10x10"
Discovering the seashore is an adventure at any age.  This could be a self portrait (from many moons ago!!)  We tortured lots of critters, like this purple shore crab... but were taught to handle them gently and put them back where we found them.  Join Harbor WildWatch if you want a terrific local beach exploring/learning experience.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Chorus of Kelp

8x10" acrylic painting
First painting from the visual harvest collected on the Bunsby Islands expedition, also first in a series I'm planning called "songs of the sea".  I love sitting at the edge of land and sea, whether it is on the hard edge of rock or the floating edge of my boat on water, listening to the sea breathe.  In and out, long and slow or bouncy, bright and snappy.  All the bother in the world disappears in each salty exhalation.

First Nations Village Site at Acous

The Acous Peninsula pokes it's head out into the Pacific Ocean below the Brooks Peninsula.  We found remains of some house posts, the sketch above shows what's left of a face planted bear effigy.  This site was the summer home for the Checleseht people who still live in the region today, along with the Kyuquot band.  (you should get permission before visiting some of the historical sites)  It's a beautiful place to live, but they must have weathered some awfully wicked storms being vulnerable to the southwesterly winds that tend to bring wind & heavy seas.  The map shows our route on two days.  The channel crossing isn't too far but, exposed to the open Pacific and susceptible to the catabatic winds coming down the fjord, it can be exciting when the wind comes up in the afternoon.  Rescue would be extremely difficult should you part company with your boat.  We had a few "uphill" paddles, but fortunately all our open water crossings were made without incident.  May you have just the right ballast for all your own turbulent crossings.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bunsby Island Sketchbook

Paintings coming soon.  Meantime, here are a couple of entries from my sketchbook.  We had fabulous weather and did lots of paddling in this spectacular island group off the Brooks Peninsula on the NW tip of Vancouver Island.