Friday, July 3, 2015


I am using a photo of Charlie taken from Instagram. He looks very cute but also determined - a fellow with a big hammer ready to build something.

The first challenge is that the photo is taken from above and his image is quite  foreshortened. For example his feet are small  compared to his head anyway - because he is only 4 years old - but they are smaller  because of the angle.  I want this to look OK.

The second challenge is the background.  How should I do it. Very simplified but how simplified?

The third challenge is to make it look like him. Actually that is the hardest.

No - the hardest is to make a picture he will like and that will be fun for everyone to look at.

Here comes Charlie

I have started to paint Charlie.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Quiller colours

Jim also introduced me to Stephen Quiller's color wheel. Quiller is a painter and teacher who lives in Colorado. The colours he uses are all beautiful and bright and his paintings are all really lovely. I think his colours are very suitable for the Gulf Islands in the summer - particulalry this very hot, dry endlessly blue summer.

I decided to use Quillers colours to do another very small painting of Merriweather and Skol in Oyster Cove. I first made the quiller color wheel based on a DVD Jim loaned me.  Each of the colours is paired opposite its complementary colour and if you blend them together you get the same shade of grey. The wheel doesn't show what you get when you mix colours beside each other together - but probably a colour in between.

I don't have his violet but didn't want to use violet anyway as it had ruined my previous painting. I decided to use pthallo blue and pthallo turquois for the sky, ultramarine for the hills and dark section of the water, pthallo green for the trees on the islands, and cadmium yellow for the log boom. I  used touches of payne's grey and no red at all.

I thought I would do the mast and jibs first but ended up with the boats the wrong size and in the wrong place. So I redid my drawing starting with the hulls and going up into the masts, etc. I used the rule of thirds for placement of the boats - it does make a pleasing composition. As I painted I began to realize that the sky was too intensely blue - a lovely colour but overwhelming. I  now think that on a sunny day the sky is always lighter in shade than the water - even if the water is sparkling or white-capped. So I added a lot more white to the sky. Boats are always tricky because they have to be correctly drawn - but I have done enough of them to know what to watch for. Besides the mast and jibs, the reflection of the water on the hulls and the reflection of the hulls in the water need to be done right. Here is my tiny 8x10 picture using the limited Quiller colours - no reds at all. Very serene.

Now it is time to get on with something much bigger. Maybe the winter tobogan painting I started way back in January. Maybe a portrait of Charlie on Instagram in his carpentry outfit. It will be tricky because it is looking down on him and I need the original photo from Josie - since Instagram doesn't give much information.

Painting "en plein air" - boating style

Jim got me painting again.

Mike and I spent 3 nights anchored with Jim and Pat in Oyster Cove across from Ladysmith. Jim had brought several little 8x10 canvasses and some paints which he shared with me. For 3 afternoons we sat in the cockpit of either Merriweather or Skol and painted what we saw around us. Afterwards we had an art show and looked at what we had done. It was so much fun and such a great learning experience.

Here is the first one - a painting of trees, shore and water. I used a quite large brush but it has lots of light and movement. I was pretty happy with it and glad to be back painting.

Here is the third one - painted with a tiny brush but still in an impressionist style. It is the floats at Ladysmith - behind the white propane tank breakwater. I only used 3 colours plus white - a turquoise, a yellow and alizerin crimson. The sky turned out to be the best part. The log boom looked fairly recognizable.

What happened to the second one? Well I decided to fix it when I got home - by adding the 2 boats from a photo Mike had taken. It turned out way to purple and the log boom is puzzling but I kind of liked the boats.

When we got home, Mike and I went out and bought 40 little canvases for future attempts.


Hard to believe - but the only painting I did between January and May was to redo my pictures of Henry and my arbutus on Wallace Island and to work on banners in April.

Why? Partly because I got sick again. I didn't realize it - but I was gradually going down down down. It started with deafness and post nasal drip and ended up with me on a big burst of predniszone at the end of May plus a warning not to let it get out of hand again. Same old thing - I adapted and thought what I was experiencing was normal.

Here are the banners:
They are Rob and Josie surfing - though Rob looks a bit like Curious George.  This picture was at taken the windup dinner. The banners are hanging outside the back entrance of the Dorchest4er Best Western quite near the Bastion.

Here's my beautiful arbutus - final version - in the Port Theatre in 2015.