Nest study

I’m not sure whose house this was, wasp, hornet, or bee, but it was an interesting piece of architecture. It was hanging in a nearby barn so I took a photo. The combination of washes, lines, and shapes were good practice. I could soften a few more edges and add a few more lines but I’m basically done. I’m hoping it translates well to a larger painting.

A Birthday/Christmas Gift

This little garage is in Grand Pré and has been there for decades. I just finished this painting for my dad who is eighty-five. He remembers it from drives to the valley with his uncle and father; and he had mentioned to my sister that he would love a painting of it.

What was intended as a birthday present is now a Christmas gift, so even though I missed the first deadline in November, I’m well ahead of schedule for December. Yay!

For those of you doing handmade gifts this year I know it can add to the pressure, but the personal touch is so worth it. Seasons Greetings!

Cliffs of Moher in Miniature

I accepted a suggestion from a friend, fellow painter, and blogger Anne Wedler, to try out a miniature painting with the new palette I made. I worked from a reference photo I took in Ireland a few years ago. It was way more satisfying than it should have been but also took a lot longer to do than I thought.

In the spirit of minimalism and saving the environment it’s a good way to use up scrap paper or the backs of old paintings that didn’t quite cut it. As a relaxing bit of escapism, it has potential.

Petite Palette

Because we’re on the road so much I’m always trying to downsize the amount of stuff we travel with. This is my latest attempt based on comments from online forums and social media sites I follow about painting.

The box is a tiny candy tin, the kind with mints that they give out at corporate events. The partitions are made with a glue gun. Several passes were needed to build up the walls of the paint wells with glue. Each layer of glue has to dry before you add another one.

Once it’s fully cooled the wells can be filled with paint. The colours here are Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Hansa Yellow Medium, Raw Sienna Light, and Burnt Sienna. I should be able to mix a bazillion colours with just these six pigments.

Best of all it fits in the water container (a recycled spread container whose cover doubles for mixing paint on) along with a travel brush, a half pencil, eraser, sharpener, and bit of scrap tin for a stand in palette knife.

The largest thing in my kit is the sketch book at 14 cm x 20.3 cm. I’ve used smaller but this size is worth the sacrifice. I’ll let you know if it works. Can’t wait to try it.

Fruit Ladder, Boates U-Pick

Many orchards in the valley are slowly being replaced by vineyards or more dense methods of fruit production. The Boates U-Pick orchard still has that traditional feel to it with wide spaced shady apple trees. I set up with the intention of painting the ladder and the old Massey Ferguson tractor that was beside it, with the trees as a backdrop. As luck would have it, as soon as I set up the farmer needed the tractor, so the ladder had to stand alone. With en plein air you have to be flexible. Most all greens were mixed using hansa yellow and ultramarine blue.

Salt Marsh Trail Cole Harbour

It was a small group of two artists and one support person on the salt marsh trail in Cole Harbour today. My first sketch had a lot more pen work while I let the colours mix on the paper using value and hue to define the tree shapes in the second. I was a bit ham-fisted as a lot of gear stayed behind in the car. The hike in to the paint site was a few kilometres.

Tomorrow – full easel and palette at Rainbow Haven Beach.

Hampton Wharf

Just when you think you’ve heard of every fishing community between Sydney and Yarmouth… Today’s plein air was done at Hampton Wharf on the Bay of Fundy near Bridgetown. The boat’s name is Fundy First. We had a good turnout with about seven artists setting up. The boat needs a bit more attention but I was focused on the reflections, the “green” water, and the lights and darks in the wharf. Because our painting time is limited, I left out two other boats that were docked and may do all three together from a photo some other time. These boats are well sheltered from the weather when the tide is out.