Spring Returns slowly to the Valley

7×10 watercolour 140 lb Fabriano cp

The promise, this week, is for some warmer weather by Thursday. I caught the reference photo for this painting as the starlings were flocking to a tree in my backyard. Still not a lot of green here, but the rain and the coming sun should turn things around soon. In the meantime, burnt sienna, is still one of my main colour choices.


Dykes near Avonport

I did this 7×10 watercolour of the Avonport Dykes using a reference photo I took in the winter. It was very cold but the grass lit up in the sun’s glow. There is no real focal point except the light so that’s what I went for. I used masking fluid to retain the brightest blades of grass then kept the darks limited to ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. I punched up the colour saturation to increase the contrast of the warmth against the dark sky.

We’ll have to keep pretending it’s warm for a while yet. We’re well into spring and we just had another 15cm of snow last night. Let’s hope that’s the last snow of the season.

Looking Back from Houston’s Beach

Today, while the group was honouring Maud Lewis by reproducing her paintings, I headed out to Houston’s Beach to practice some winter sketching at high tide.  The sketch could have been entirely done using raw sienna, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue. And, while I tried to keep my palette muted, I couldn’t resist throwing in some bright reds. Maud might have approved. 

Ford Mercury at Noon

8×10 Watercolour – There’s something about a lovingly restored, old Ford Mercury heading across the Grand Pré dykes on a summer’s day.  This was a good opportunity to play with linear perspective and rule of thirds in my composition. The main shadow was under the truck, so it was pretty close to noon when I took the reference photo last summer. Is there a feel of magic realism to the scene? Can you hear the summer sound of grasshopper wings?

Hauling Traps

  “Hauling Traps” is a contemporary take on an old tradition. It’s an 8.5″x14″ watercolour of hauling lobster pots. I painted it from a reference photo (with permission). The photo was taken on a family member’s lobster boat in Neil’s Harbour.

In other parts of the province, lobster season starts on the last Monday in November and runs until the end of May. That means a lot of hours spent on the icy cold Atlantic waters in the dark in all kinds of weather. As much as I love lobster I couldn’t do the work these men and women do – much respect!

Andrew’s Cottage 

This painting is of the family cottage of my friend’s husband. I used two combined reference photos. One showing the right hand trees from the fall and the other with just the cottage in the summer.  I blended the two seasons together to get a September feel to the piece.  There’s a beautiful new home where this once stood. 

Le Caveau, Grand Pré Winery 

September is one of the nicest times to be in Nova Scotia.  It’s still warm enough to enjoy dining outside. I did this 8×10″ sketch of the Le Caveau patio at Grand Pré Winery from the back. The patio wasn’t open yet for the day but I didn’t want to be in the way when it did open. Buried beneath stone and wooden arbors of grapevines and surrounded by cedars and rudbeckia, some afternoon dining, or a glass of Reserve Foch or Baco Noir, is always in season in this intimate setting.