Monday, September 26, 2016

King Of Kensington

8 x 10 oil on panel
A week ago Saturday during an all day rain, I took several pictures of various Toronto Neighbourhoods. I walked from The Distillery District through downtown, then Kensington Market and finished up in Little Italy. There is no better way to take reference photos than walking a long way, even if tired and wet from the rain.
Kensington Market is a very eclectic mix of markets and stores, as Blogto says: "Toronto's most unique neighbourhood, Kensington Market retains its charm and wonderful diversity through its eclectic mix of vintage clothing stores, Latin American grocers, fresh produce, cafes and watering holes. Defiantly independent and progressive"....its definitely worth a visit.
While walking through the streets, this unique automobile came down the street and parked under a King of Kensington sign. I could't resist doing a small painting of the scene. The graffiti added an interesting touch.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Toronto Island Afternoon

9 x 12 oil on panel
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to take a Dinghy ride through the Toronto Islands. What a beautiful place it is, and such an eclectic mix of raceboats, housboats, high end boats and everything in between. I loved the colours in this scene with the oranges and vibrant blues. (Yes, sometimes I have to paint the sun, it doesn't rain everyday!)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Night Snow at Queen's Quay

12 x 12 oil on canvas
I used the study from the previous posting to recreate this scene on a larger canvas. Doing the colour study helped a lot in choosing my colour palette. It is much better to experiment on the small size on canvas paper. I'm happy with the results. I decided to add snowflakes to enhance the mood of a "first snowfall" .
This painting will be available at The One Of A Kind Show in Toronto in November.

Friday, August 26, 2016

First Snow, Queens Quay

4x4 oil on paper
This is another study using an undercoat of Transparent red oxide and alizarin. I was all set to start the 12 x 12, but I hadn't worked out my colour palette. I'm finding that doing a small study goes a long way in working out composition and colours. I decided to make my darks with a mix of alizarin, viridian, and ultramarine blue and the highlights were mixed from this with some additions of cad yellow, cerulean, and cad red light.
My reference photo was taken by Ben Roffelsen. I love his moody photos. I think Ben was one of the first to do "moody" before it became so popular. Check out his instagram feed:

This painting features the 509 and 510 streetcars on Queens Quay during an early snow storm.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Rain in Toronto's Chinatown

12 x 12 oil on canvas
When doing the image on a 12 x 12 canvas, I decided to go with the transparent red oxide undercoat. It was a difficult decision, but I wanted to go with a warmer palette. Thanks for your comments and opinions on my previous post, Barbara, Asit (AK) and Gayle.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Toronto Chinatown

4 x 4 oil on paper

I haven't posted a painting in over a month. It has been a difficult summer with the heat. I believe it is our hottest summer on record, here in Southern Ontario. My studio is in the attic and when the temperature outside is above 27 degrees celcius (81 F), even with an air conditioner, it is impossible to work. I spent some time doing plein air and catching up on some art reading and research. 
When I decided to do this image of Toronto's Chinatown on Spadina with the lights under the umbrella and awning contrasting with the grey of the rain, I thought it would be worth trying a few studies with different undercoats to see which one I prefer. I don't always use an undercoat, but thought a different approach might have better results. The 4 x4 squares were coated with a wash of transparent oxide red and the other with Indian yellow. I then painted the same image on both.

I'm not sure which one I prefer. Any thoughts or opinons are welcome!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Misty Morning Along The Seine

9 x 12 oil on panel
I'm still working on some smaller paintings using the photographs I took on my trip to France. Doing smaller format paintings helps me decide which ones I would like to do on a larger scale.
On this particular day our Viking River Cruise took us from Vernon to Rouen. We cast off at 6 A.M. and the weather was cool and misty. Most passengers were down below away from the cool wet breezes, but I couldn't resist the atmospheric verdant landscapes as we meandered down the Seine. The limestone showing through the hills was reminiscent of our Niagara Escarpment in southern ontario.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Umbrellas on Spadina

12 x 12 oil on canvas
This is one of my favorite spots along Spadina Avenue. There are always interesting people with their umbrellas getting on and off streetcars. In this scene, the CN tower can be seen in the background. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gros Horloge, Rouen, France

10 x 8 oil on panel
The city of Rouen in Normandy was another stop along the River Seine during my river cruise in France. It is famous for its large astronomical clock which dates from the fifteenth century. Most of the days were cloudy while I was in France, but on this day some rain fell (conditions I love but I'm sure most people would be disappointed) and created a great mood beneath the clock. As always in France, there was a cafe/restaurant nearby. 
I used the same colour palette I have been using lately: Ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, viridan, Alizarin, terra rosa, cadmium yellow deep, cadmium lemon, cadmium red, titanium white. I normally make my own yellow ochre which seems to be a required colour for stone buildings and the gold colour of the clock.
 

Monday, June 6, 2016

A trip to France

Au Vieux Paris D'arcole, Rue Chanoinesse
8x10 oil on Panel
In May, I had the opportunity to visit France. My sister and I took a Viking River Cruise from Paris to Rouen in Normandy and then spent 3 days in Paris. I had never been to Europe, and although I was somewhat familiar with the architecture and culture that I was excited to experience first hand, I was equally impressed with the countryside, lovely small towns, and history that goes with them. I was also amazed with the greenery and the parklands all over Paris. The chestnut trees were in bloom, and they could be seen everywhere, often trimmed and in rows. Such a feast for the eyes, and so much inspiration for an artist.
This restaurant was just around the corner from Notre Dame Cathedral on the Left Bank of the Seine. It was covered in wisteria, which luckily happened to be in full bloom!
 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dinner on Restaurant Row, King Street

12 x 12 oil on panel
There is a lot of information in this scene, and a miriad of different colours. The predominately blue high rises in the background set the background and street colours, while the row of older buildings on the right are a warmer brick colour with red and yellow signage. And then of course, Toronto's uniquely coloured taxis add to the mix. I tried to put it all together anyway without creating a muddy mess.
A couple go out for dinner in Toronto's Entertainment district. Restaurant Row is on the right, with the cows from the Kit Kat Restaurant visible above the Hey Lucy signage.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Colours of King

11 x 14 oil on panel
I put a little more detail in the figure than I normally do, but still tried to keep it loose. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am "warming" up my colour palette with the addition of terra rosa and transparent oxide red.
Last week we had a March rainfall (with a touch of snow)  and I was able to get some evening photographs in the King Street area. There were lots of interesting umbrellas.
In this scene, a young woman walks past Tiff Bell Lightbox on King Street.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Sun Reflections on King Street, Toronto

12 x 12 oil on panel
We aren't into this much spring just yet, but I've been thinking of doing this image on a larger scale and wanted to work out some colours.There are a lot of different colours going on, and I need to maintain harmony. I mixed most of my darks and greys from a mix of ultramarine blue and venetian red and used ultramarine blue and viridian to make the turquoise blues. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

March Sun, Late Afternoon on Adelaide Street

24 x 24 oil on panel
The sun after a snow storm can be brilliant, the moisture having cleared the particles from the air. This street is Adelaide at Spadina with the sun sinking in the late afternoon sun.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Grace O'malleys, Snowy Evening

8x10 oil on panel
I'm working on a few "vignettes" while I get ready to start some larger paintings. Its always good to get a sense of composition and colour before getting out the large canvas.
Grace O'Malleys is an Irish Pub on Duncan Street in Toronto's entertainment district.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Crossing at King and Simcoe

8 x 10 oil on panel
Our weather has been all over the place, from spring like conditions with rain to the snow storm we had yesterday. I have been wanting to add some warmer colours back into my palette. I have been using a predominately cool palette, but some scenes call for warmer colours. I have added transparent oxide red and terra rosa into the mix. I thought this scene was a good way to start with the warmer building colours and a spring rain.
This small study is at King and Simcoe in Toronto's Entertainment District. The Elephant and Castle Pub is on the left.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Umbrellas on King Street

12 x 12 oil on canvas
I take hundreds of photos on rainy and snowy days. Sometimes a really fun image shows up, and that was the case with this photo. Umbrellas are mostly black and boring so this scene provided a nice change. I often change things in my paintings and rarely paint the photo as is, but in this instance very little change was needed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Decisions, Yonge Street Tattoo

12 x 12 oil on canvas
I really like this vignette of three young people in front of Yonge Street Tattoo. One wonders what is being said, what decisions are being made. 
Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for the photo reference.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Spring Rain on Spadina

8x8 oil on canvas
Its still January, but I felt like painting a nice spring rain. I saw some robins the other day, and it made me realize that sooner or later, spring will arrive!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Heading Home, Front and Blue Jays Way

12 x 12 oil on canvas Sold
This painting is a commission piece and is similar to one I did of Queen Street at Osgoode Hall. In this scene, a young man walks down Front Street past Rabba foods on his way home. The owner of the painting is moving from Toronto to New York City and so I wanted to add a Toronto feel and included the Beck Taxi on the right. I am enjoying the blues that I can make with viridian and ultramarine blue and sometimes a dash of cerulean. As a complement, a mix of alizarin and viridian creates interesting darks.