Monday, March 5, 2012

New sketches

Here are 2 sketches of new paintings.

This is my sketch or underpainting for my Swy-a-lana Lagoon Bridge painting. This is part of seawall walk around Swy-a-lana Park in downtown Nanaimo. The bridge crosses the mouth of the natural lagoon which has had a series of wall built between it an the waters of the Boat Basin - so that there is always water in the lagoon. The bridge is lit up at night along the rails and is a magical place to be in the dark. The photo I'm using for inspiration was taken in the evening and shows up the lights and light reflections i the water.Right now this picture looks as if it was something ancient in Europe - but it's totally Nanaimo and will look like that when I get it done - especially with Gabriola Island in the background below the hovering cloud.

This is my sketch or underpainting for my Port Theatre painting. The theatre is across the street from the Boat Basin floats and this view is from the end of a float looking back toward the theatre. There are 5 fishboats, a small runabout and cruiser in the picture. Because I want the boats to look good, they all have the correct proportions. So far I am happy with the sketch. I have painted quite a few boats during the past year - so hopefully I have a better eye for what is important. The water is full of reflections from the boats and should be cool to paint. Mount Benson sort of looms up behind but is cut off by clouds. The clouds don't have much form in the photo - so this will be a bit tricky. Maybe I'll put the whole of Mount Benson in and have a clear sky. But that will change all the colours - so I better keep a cloudy sky with a puff of cloud over Mount Benson. The real challenge with that is not to look too cartoonish.

I really do love doing this part of a painting. You start with a pure white canvas and after a couple of hours of drawing - you end up with something very recognizable. Almost a water colour. Almost a miracle. I feel as if I know how those ancient cave artists felt when they drew images of animals. I don't get too worried because I think I can change it easily later - so the sketch is loose and free. Also - no colour issues - just light, dark a lines. Lately I have actually been starting with pencil on canvass and then sketching over the pencil drawing with paint. It's almost a shame to take the next step.

Today was the first day of the 2012 teachers strike. It seems a bit hopeless given that the supreme court found that the teachers have the right to negotiate class size and now the government seems to be planning to change the legislation so that they loose that right. We went over to the Departure Bay Elementary School and walked along the sidewalk with 4 teachers carrying placards. They are not exactly picketing (since that is illegal) - just doing a protest. We took Lexy with us - she loved walking back and forth - our protest dog.

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