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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Bright Shade

This painting is from a reference photo taken on a beach in Mexico. The beach was busy with umbrellas, restaurants and people walking and playing. I loved the movement of the trees, umbrellas, people and water. The photo reference had a grayish sky and I struggled with the colours until I changed the sky and it finally made sense. This painting was really different and challenging for me as I don't generally paint people and the photo of the beach was so busy with details.

"Bright Shade"
12" x 24" Oil on canvas in black drop in frame

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Small Beneath The Sky

"Small Beneath The Sky"
24" x 18" on 1 1/2" thick canvas with painted sides (no framing required)

I was inspired to try painting with a palette knife again after watching Neil work on numerous paintings. We joked that he would have to sell his paintings by weight instead of size they were so laden with thick luscious paint. You can see some of Neil's beautiful work on his Facebook site.

I loved working on this mid-sized painting with the palette knife. It was a very physical painting loaded with thick and thin paint and I love the result.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Early Morning Rain

"Early Morning Rain"
6" x 24"  Oil on canvas, in a black drop in frame

I wanted to try a different format and loved painting this size - narrow but long. It was nice to be able to put more of a vista in a painting rather than crop off so much. I bought this canvas in a frame and loved that it was so easy to see what it looked like framed.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Buen Dia Cafe

This painting is from a reference photo of a lovely restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We stopped in to have a coffee and watch people walk by. While we were enjoying our coffee we were serenaded by two young musicians playing a violin and an accordion. SMA is always full of wonderful surprises.

"Buen Dia Cafe"
13 1/2" x 10 1/2" water colour 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA #7

I joined the San Miguel de Allende Urban Sketchers on their weekly sketching outing. We went to the beautiful gardens of the Hotel Posada de la Aldea. I was intrigued with the bell tower and so made that my focus.

There were 11 sketchers spread over the beautiful gardens and you can tell by their sketch books that they were inspired by a real variety of personal interests. I started a 2nd sketch in ink and went back after a group coffee invite to finish it. If you are in SMA and would like to join these lovely artists, look up their Facebook page and ask for the info on the next meeting (Tuesdays at noon). I had a wonderful time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA #6

We went on a Sunday hike, first meeting the group at a local gas station, breaking into groups for the different hikes and car pooling. This time and last time we were lucky enough to get a ride from Tizianna. It was so beautiful, I took so many photos of the "Canada de la Virgen" hike that I could do a whole series of paintings. This is a sketch of the red ant hills that were piled high with the same sized rocks that the ants had broken down and pushed out the hole to make quite a pile, I was wowed by the feat! There were also some flowers blooming all around to create quite a contrast.

This sketch is an urban sketch (done on location). We usually have a happy hour game of crib and from my vantage point I get to see beautiful sunset colours in the sky out of our rental front room window. After crib I sketched this then used water colour and ink. This is not done in my sketch book but on water colour paper that fits in my book. I can't blend colours in my sketch book and wanted to get the beautiful orange to blue sky.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA #5

These sketches are photo based of our travels around town (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico). As we are walking around town I am always on the look out for things that interest me or will  be a great reminder of our time here. The first sketch is a view of people walking and looking at their phone, oblivious to their beautiful surroundings.
 My husband Gord has been taken twice weekly Spanish classes from Javier at the Don Luis restaurant. As am not at that level I have been quietly sitting and listening in and drawing. This is a sketch of the table. Usually I also try and sketch patrons in another sketch book that I am drawing live subjects.

This sketch is of an elderly lady in the Dia de Revolution parade that went for miles. This group of seniors swished their dresses and danced the whole parade (miles!), I was so impressed!

Sometimes you come across something so simple it makes an impact and had me writing stories in my head long after viewing it.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA 4

Colleen drove Gord and I to the monolith Bernal and we hiked as far as we were allowed to go after an wonderful and tasty coffee and breakfast. After the hike we celebrated at a roof top patio enjoying XX Ambar cervesas with tasty salsa and chips. By the time we got home it was dark and we were tired and happy.
This sketch in my book is of a local lady selling hand made dolls. She had a basket of small ones neatly lined up as well as larger ones peeking out of her full bag on her back. The colour of the walls are painted the old colonial colours as it is a heritage sight in the old part of town. Very colourful and busy with vendors, locals and tourists from Mexico and abroad.  My sketch book does not have water colour paper so blending is a real challenge. I love the warmth and memories this provides.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA #3

 We joined a hiking group that goes out every Sunday to a different location. We had to meet at a gas station in SMA at 7:45 a.m. and everyone car pooled maximizing the amount of people in each car. 50 pesos/person helped pay for the gas. Gord and I happily joined the group on a hike we had done on a previous trip. I took as much information in about the cactus and flowers and drew and painted them as soon as I came home. Loved the variety and getting out of the city. The hikers were friendly and enjoyed themselves as much as we did.
This plant was growing along the electrical cords on the balcony above us. I loved how the single blossom was so beautiful considering what it was using to attach itself to. Tiny tendrils hooked themselves to the concrete and the shadows danced in the slight breeze.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sketch book travels SMA #2

 This is a watercolour/pen sketch of the Parroquia in the town centre of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We walked around on our first night here and of course the square is where you want to walk to, the sights are amazing.

The second sketch book entry below is of the house right next door and the view from the upstairs balcony (no one was renting it).

The third entry below using both pages is a view of the town square from the upstairs flat balcony. I stood with my sketch book on the edge of the balcony and happily sketched the views before me. I may use water colour to colour it in from a photo. This is a great example of urban sketching.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Donna Dickson painting workshop - Day 2 and 3

After a lunch out together, the afternoon was challenging. We had a much more difficult San Miguel de Allende street scene to draw out and then work on painting the dark sky, mottled plaster building, perspective and people. This was completely out of my comfort zone but I was here to learn so I took a big breath and began. Once again, we all painted from the same photo reference Donna provided.  I used one of  Donna's palettes and enjoyed the large mixing areas as well as her paints. Both these were done on 14" x 11"  Arches water colour paper.

This SMA street scene below was more challenging than it looks. Having to get perspective right, plaster buildings that make sense, crooked light posts, multiple sized flags and shadows were really challenging! Donna's demo's, instruction and encouragement made this class a really enjoyable learning experience. I would really recommend taking her class regardless of what your level of painting is, so much to learn and do. I really loved the local scenes and references. Donna also supplied a piece of local Mexican water colour paper which was different to paint on.

Paintings done by the class. You can see the variety of colours, sizes and centre of interest everyone chose. Amazing how different each painting is.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Donna Dickson water colour workshop - Day 1 and 2

Our kids gave me a coupon for a one day painting class in San Miguel de Allende for my birthday. That class was cancelled but I came upon a 3 day workshop by Donna Dickson that was starting a couple days after our arrival...perfect. What really intrigued me is that she was going to use a local scene or two in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) and Puerto Vallarta Mexico. I was in the class with 5 other artists and really enjoyed my time with them and under Donna's friendly and encouraging style of teaching. Donna did demo's as we gathered around her watching her mix and apply the water colours. Her encouragement in asking questions and explanations was helpful to all the different learning levels.

This was the first painting we did to put down a wash. Donna also teaches in Puerto Vallarta and all the references were hers. I had to borrow a palette and paints from Donna and brought a couple of brushes with me. The flat brush was actually an acrylic brush so the top colour did not blend as I was trying to start with the sky blending the colours down.

This is the second painting, but we did the sky first and let it completely dry. We painted a wide variety of strokes and mixed colours. I found it a bit challenging using a palette where I was unsure of what the colours were and it made for a lot of surprise mixing.

This was the third painting we did, again using local photos Donna took. I loved painting the mottled background. The photos below are the artists learning paintings.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Sketch book travels SMA 1

Gord and I traveled to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for our 4th visit. As usual I passed the time on the plane doodling in my sketchbook and gluing in things that spoke to me. There are always magazines, advertising and brochures in the airports that I peruse as well when waiting. Sketching on the little airplane tray, especially when I add watercolour becomes very tight and usually creates a little interest from the people that are in view of me. I figure it helps them pass the time as well.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Catching The Wind

"Catching The Wind"
20" x 16"  Oil on canvas

Having grown up in the Okanagan, the lakes and all the fun in and on the water is close to my heart. I loved the shapes of this boat against the dry and arid hills of this area.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sweet Not Sour

"Sweet Not Sour"
12" x 12" on 1 1/2" thick canvas (no frame required) with dark painted sides

This painting is from a photo reference I took this summer standing under our cherry tree. I couldn't paint it on location as the sun was dancing through the leaves and therefore on my canvas and palette. The other problem was eating the "model" before it could be painted.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Learning loose figure painting

 These small 8" x 6" paintings were done in Doug's class. I was trying to do a loose rendering from a photograph, minimizing detail. The first painting is done on a wet red iron oxide toned canvas board. I had the shadow of the shirt to gray/neutral so the brighter blue was added on top.
 The next one (to the right) was done using less detail again and more broad strokes to get the shapes. I found it very hard to make the face as dark as it was in the photo with the hat shading it.
This is try #3. Doug's suggestion was to continue what I had done in the other two but with less colours in the skin tone and less background. The background is loose and more a part of her rather than a separate "thing". I am much happier with this one as she feels like she is leaning back on her arms.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Biking View

"Biking View"
9" x 12" Oil on canvas

This little painting is of a beautiful view of the Spanish countryside. I painted it from a photo my husband or I took on a beautiful blue sky day while on a pedal bike trip. The memories this painting evoke are wonderful.

Monday, October 15, 2018

"On the road" sketching

These sketches were done while travelling between Sicamous B.C. and Calgary Alberta. It was a challenge in the bumpy car and the vehicles I was drawing were not in sight for long. It also helped pass the time as it was snowing and made my mind concentrate on something other than the slippery road and yes, I was NOT driving. My husband got us home safe and sound. You can see not all the ink (no pencil) sketches were completed but that was what I was expecting with the moving traffic.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Sketching at an art retreat

I was lucky to be invited to the first annual "Dody's Art For All" retreat at Mabel Lake B.C. MacKenzie Camp. We had a wonderful time with everyone working on their own art (quilting, drawing, painting) at their own speed. The quilter's had their machines humming and producing as early as 7 a.m. and well after midnight on most days. Due to the dim evening light (that's our excuse and we are sticking to it), the painters and drawers enjoyed visiting with each other sipping on wine. The weather did not co-operate for en plein air painting (outdoors on location) so I walked and took photo references as well as sketched daily in my book that I have taken travelling with me. It just has regular paper so paint can not be blended on the paper (which gives it a rough look).

Ink & water colour of a quilt pattern piece.

One of the quilter's tables

Friday, October 5, 2018

"Dody's Art For All" first annual retreat

 I was so excited to be invited to  "Dody's Art For All" first annual retreat at Mabel Lake's MacKenzie Camp. We were fed great food, painted and quilted to our heart's content and enjoyed wine in the evenings and each other's company.

It was mostly cloudy with quite a few periods of rain so the only day I could paint outside was working on this boat and view.

 Walking around when it wasn't raining, I took quite a few photo resources to paint indoors. One cabin had wonderful decorations scattered around their property including this tin bird, plant pots and sign. Loved all the treasures for the eyes.

The photo reference in the painting above was taken on the highway from Calgary to Sicamous, the colours seemed almost neon and layered (even the sky) in the early morning light.

 This is our happy artistic group with 4 quilters and the rest painters. "Dody's Art For All" is a group that meets weekly at the Red Barn Art Centre in Sicamous B.C. to work on whatever artistic endeavor they like. I also did a lot of sketching which I will post next.