Ships, LaHave River

One way to abstain from too much detail is to have a deadline. Sitting alongside the beautiful Lahave River are a few decommissioned and derelict ships. They look a little surreal so far upstream. But from an artist’s perspective they have lots of interesting bits to paint.

After only an hour, I got the call to pick up my husband from his meeting. No time to add all the lovely rust bits and wharf details. The scale’s off a little too but it reads okay. Worth another visit!


# urbansketching


Orchard Kingsport

Orchard Kingsport: “Orchard #1” is an 8×10 watercolour on 140lb arches cp.

Evoking summer days, I went for high contrast values with minimal detail. The band of white blossoms parallels the band of white clouds.

There is a herd of cows hidden in the shade but they are indivisable from the shadow. They could be the subject of another iteration but this piece is focused on the light and the dark… and the green of course.

Railtown, Wolfville NS

8×10 urban sketch on Arches 140lb cp

Railtown is a collection of shops and businesses between the old train tracks and the Minas Basin dykes.

Called the Harvest Moon Trail, the tracks have been converted to about 160 km of groomed trail for the hiking or biking enthusiast. You’ll pass by Railtown on your way through Wolfville.

The Eagle did fly over when I was setting up but I included him mainly to cover up a paint splatter. It adds a little extra something.

Margaretsville, NS

My first paint out of the 2nd season with PAAAV kicked off at a site I found very challenging last year. Instead of attempting the lighthouse again, I focused on the church and two waterfalls with far more success.

A flock of seagulls took off on our arrival and I made a mental note to include them. They don’t show up well against the cliff but if you look closely they’re there.

One of the locals said not to paint on the beach as the tide was coming in but by the time I finished the tide had yet to turn.

Today’s real success story though was composing this with just brushwork. Not perfect but it was a real time saver and my colours stayed clean. And, I had lots of time to put in some finishing touches.

Urban Sketch – Hydrostone Market

The Hydrostone area in Halifax, NS, is a collection of buildings that provided homes for people displaced by the Halifax Explosion of 1917. It’s a popular area of the city with several small boutiques, shops, and caf├ęs.

What started as an urban sketch became more of a painting. My preliminary sketch was of the buildings on the right. When the rain started I packed my gear back in the car and headed for drier locations.

Once I decided to finish it, I scrapped the original sketch. I liked the composition with the trees in the foreground better and used the reference photo I took instead.

It’s always a challenge for me to leave out detail. And, I included as much as I could get away with here. I think the interesting bits in this painting are the power lines and the shadows on the grass.

I’m off to join the Plein Air Artists of the Annapolis Valley tomorrow in Margaretsville. Hopefully, I can find something simple to paint.

Central Library, Halifax

Started with a few preliminary sketches at the Hydrostone Market before getting rained out. Then headed to the Central Library and made a first attempt while sitting in the car during the rain. After some detours to dodge the Bluenose Marathoners (who looked tired and wet) and a couple of trips back and forth across the city, I finally got to meet with some very nice sketchers at Keith’s Brewery! Yay!

Its hard to say what the hardest part was: reflections, perspective, or values. It was a good technical challenge. The simple lines of modern architecture are not so simple.

Ten Tulips

This 8×10″ watercolour was demanding a more juicy, creative direction. So, I abandoned the reference photo and the plein air view of my garden to encourage some artistic flow. Once I did that things started to come together more organically.

There’s a deep satisfaction in turning a painting into more than what is visible to the naked eye. It feels like painting from your heart instead of your head.

I may revisit the middle yellow tulip and add a vertical vein of crimson between the petals to indicate a little cross pollination that occurred between the original flowers but I’m somewhat happy with this as it is