The Evening Sun

plein air sketch wc on Canson 140lb cp

Two hours went by so fast!

I could have worked on the details when I got home but then it would no longer be plein air.

So here it is, unfinished, my sketch for today. I didn’t realize it’s Poppy Balser’s sailboat, The Evening Sun, until someone told me after the session.
I thought it was the prettiest boat at the marina.

Oils – Vinegars – Preserves:  The Tangled Garden in Wolfville

Oils-Vinegars-Preserves: The Tangled Garden Near Wolfville 7x11WC on 140 lb Canson cp

Still working on painting transparent things.

I took a picture of the window display of oils, vinegars and preserves in The Tangled Garden near Wolfville last summer.

The light made the collection of bottles, jars, wax seals and their contents glow.

I’ve been thinking about painting this for a year now. Finished it this weekend so checking that one off my list.

It was a good opportunity to play with hard and soft edges, and to allow the pigments to mix on the paper. Each container was like a miniature painting.  There’s room for improvement but I’m content with how it came together.

Hope you like it.

Spring Tide – Minas Basin

 Spring Tide – Minas Basin: 22×30 watercolour 300lb Fabriano cold pressed

I went to Blomidon Provincial Park a few weeks ago when the snow was finally leaving on a gray spring day, and snapped a shot of the Minas Basin from the hill at the beginning of the trail.  I decided it was worth an attempt in Watercolour.

I used about five different pigments. In places it became an exercise in line and wash. The line gives it a stark beauty that matches the bareness of the pre-spring landscape and the layers of sediment along the cliff. I also like the composition of the three cliffs and the lines of water as the tide recedes. It may be worth a second try with a looser style.

I would have missed this view completely if I hadn’t stopped and looked back. Sometimes, when I’m charging ahead, I forget to turn around and look at the beauty behind me–glad I did this time.




Tulips 7×11 wc on 140lb cp

I painted this while my parents visited yesterday and today. 

It was fun to talk about painting with them. Dad first taught me how to paint with oils when I was less than 10 years old. We agreed that water colour is much more difficult. 

Naturally, I want to add more intense colour but after struggling with flowers for ages, I’m pretty happy to leave this alone. It will be framed for Exhibit and Sale at The Landing in our village on Saturday. 

Our, hopefully last, winter blizzard is just getting started. Hope everyone in the northern hemisphere is looking forward to spring’s arrival next week.

Hen Pheasant with Rose Hips


Hen Pheasant with Rose Hips 9×12 WC on 140 lb Canson cp
Seven pheasants ran across my yard last week — six females and one male. This lovely girl stopped long enough for me to to take a few reference photos.  

Several friends suggested I try to paint her.  The photo wasn’t great so I had to embellish in some places with shadow and highlights.  I chose a fairly limited palette, mostly burnt sienna, and kept the composition simple by eliminating several branches. I let the ones that are there give the suggestion of more.  I’m not sure that’s what we mean by “less is more” but I’ll take it!

Glass practice

glass practice wc 140 lb cp 5×7

I’ve been trying to learn to paint glass for a while. Finally, I chose to tackle a lesson from the book, Dramatic Light, by Patrick Howe (published in 2006 by North Light Books). It was a good exercise in getting the values right and reserving whites.

While the author suggested an optional sprig in the glass jar, he cautioned that it could be catastrophic… so, I didn’t include it. The apricots are small but then so is my painting. The irony of painting loose while following a step by step lesson was not lost on me. 

It required wet on dry, wet on wet, and several layers for a simple picture; and I opted to not work with the recommended colours as I didn’t have some of them in my palette.  

I like the dark areas and how they show the light.  Hopefully the improvising worked!