After being spoiled in February, winter has decided to come back for March. I guess things have to balance out somehow. I took this photo reference on a blustery cool day in March in late afternoon when the sun was still high enough to peak through buildings and create some nice highlights. This scene is on Queen Street and the fence at Osgoode Hall is visible across the street.
This is a typical slushy wet winter day in southern Ontario. After a snowfall, the streets are cleared and salted resulting in a wet slushy mix on sidewalks and streets. This scene features the fence at Osgoode Hall on University Avenue in Toronto.
The colours of evening or night are always difficult to portray. What colour is night? Night is all about reflected surfaces. It is the surrounding lights and nothing maintains its daylight colour. I have had a difficult time with some sections of King Street. The mixture of greens and reds and yellows can make for a mud colour, so its important to avoid too much mixing. The red signage resulted in pink snow which worked well with the cool green streetlights. I am doing small studies almost all the time now before starting a larger version.. I have wiped so many paintings where the colour has just been WRONG! Its much easier to make mistakes on a small study.
Evening strollers walk past the Hey Lucy Restaurant on King Street. Part of the "cow" on the building is visible top right.
This is another scene from King Street in Toronto. I often go back to King Street when choosing a location to paint. I like the combination of old and new architecture. In this case, the Sunlife Centre is on the right, with the focus on St. Andrews Presbyterian Church and Roy Thomson Hall in the centre.
12 x 12 oil on canvas I love the light
after a snowstorm, everything seems soft and subdued. In this scene, two
ladies are out and about on King Street, possible leaving work,
shopping, or going out to eat. The Elephant and Castle is visible on the
This is another image from Toronto's Kensington Market. When walking through the streets at the Market, its hard to imagine that such a funky eclectic mix of stores, restaurants, fruit and vegetable stands, graffiti, and vintage shops exists so close to downtown Toronto.
Luckily, In 2006, Kensington Market was
officially recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada for its
dynamic character and eclectic variety of architectural styles.
I've been working on some larger pieces to take to The One Of a Kind Show in Toronto, Nov. 24. to Dec. 4. I had forgotten how much time, energy and paint the larger canvases take! If you are planning to come to the show, come and say hi at Booth K34.
I had a great day taking reference photos about two weeks ago. It rained all day and into the evening. Plus, the Toronto International Film Festival was on and there were lines of people with umbrellas waiting to get into different venues. This group of people was waiting to get into the Princess of Wales Theatre on King Street.
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.
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!)
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.