Thursday, December 19, 2013

Snowy Tunnel, Toronto

16 x 20 Oil on Canvas
Traffic passes through a tunnel on a messy day in Toronto. Snowbanks filled with salt and dirt line the streets, cleared away after a snowfall. 
We have been having some very cold snowy messy weather in Southern Ontario..perfect weather for reflected light.
Thanks to John Tavares for the photo reference.

One Of A Kind Show

My Booth at the One of A Kind Show
The One Of A Kind show ended Sunday Dec 8. It was an interesting 10 days and I sold several paintings. I enjoyed meeting and talking to everyone who stopped by my booth to have a look or to chat. Talking to you and getting your feedback is what makes the show a positive and rewarding experience for me. So, thanks to all of you for your input in a successful show.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Suits Head Home, York Street

36 x 36 oil on canvas
I want to start doing some paintings on a larger scale.They are more difficult, time wise and of course take more paint. They aren't as fun as smaller ones...yet. They do have more impact and drama on a large wall.
This scene features "suits" and woman in the financial district heading home on a cold Toronto evening. It is getting dark here in southern Ontario at five o'clock so it is dark when we go to work, and dark heading home.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Toronto Skyline Reflected

24 x 24 oil on canvas
Often if a painting won't photograph well, its because there is something wrong with the painting. With this one, I knew I had the colour temperature and values wrong. Richard Schmid says in his book Alla Prima that if a colour looks like "mud', its not the colour that is muddy, it is the wrong temperature against the other colours on the painting. I struggled with this picture, first  tightening up too much (all those twinkly lights don't show the same intensity from far away). And I had the values and temperature wrong. (Not much right going on) I finally changed my photo reference to black and white and painted from that. I find it helps to do this in order to get a fresh look at values.
I also find that if I take a painting too seriously, and want it to look a certain way rather than letting it find its way as I paint, I will find ways to be unsuccessful.
I'm still not sure about this one...I go between sort of liking it and wanting to repaint it.
Thanks to John Tavares for the photo reference.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Silhouette, Night Rain on King

30 x 30 Oil on Canvas
This young woman is silhouetted against the traffic and streetlights on a rainy night on King Street West.

Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for this photo reference.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Urban Angel

18x18 oil on canvas
I take lots of photos and sometimes I am surprised by what I find when I upload them to my computer.This was a very cold day with the sun going down in late afternoon. The sign from St. Michaels hospital was dominant in the distance. I wasn't sure how I would paint the sign and have it be part of the scene as a whole. Winter light is so different from summer light. It seems to have a very "thin" subtle quality without a lot of warm colour. I will leave it for a few days and decide if it is done.
This scene is from Queen Street. St. Michaels is affectionately known as Toronto's urban angel.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cold Toronto Night

8x8 oil on canvas
Often I like to do a smaller study before taking on a large canvas. There were a lot of things I liked about this picture..the steam, the reflections and the colour combination. A small study helps in the process, but painting large is the only way to find out how it will look on a large scale.
Thanks to John Tavares for the photo reference.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Late Night Rain on Yonge

24 x 24 oil on board
Night time in the city is a melalange of colours and shapes, with very little definition, especially when it rains. Yonge Street is full of bill boards, store signs, and lights everywhere. Without many defining shapes, the picture becomes more abstract and of course creates a whole new set of problems to solve...although it always comes down to composition, edges, and value no matter what subject is painted.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Holiday Shoppers on Yonge

24 x 24 oil on canvas
Its a little early for this theme, but I wanted to try a picture for the One Of A Kind Show competition called "Christmas across Canada" I thought there is nothing more Canadian that trudging through the slush and snow to finish that last minute shopping before the holidays. 
This was not an easy picture to do. The subtleties of colour were difficult to maintain and its important to keep in mind that snow reflects all of the colours around it.
I'm still thinking about this one...I will need to look at it for awhile and see if I am happy with it. 
Thanks to John Tavares for the photo reference.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Snowy Saturday in Chinatown

12 x 12 oil on board
I took this photo last January and  it was a very blustery blizzardy day, but yet Chinatown on Spadina was in full swing. I loved the fact that the umbrellas were out, covered in new snow. Salt on the sidewalks melts the snow, creating soft reflections.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rain at the Go Station, Toronto

12 x12 oil on canvas
I decided to use a palette knife a bit more in this painting, looking for that really wet feeling. It definitely takes some practise to learn to use it well, but I enjoyed it with this one. I used a soft brush to smooth out the areas I didn't like. I also used some higher chroma paint colors than I normally do in a rainy scene.
Saturday shoppers head to the Go Station on Front Street on a rainy day in Toronto.

Friday, October 18, 2013

After the Snow, John and Queen

12 x 12 oil on board
I really liked the composition of this one, but wasn't sure how to approach the painting. The colours are very subdued, there is no sunshine or reflected surfaces. I decided to keep it very simple and subtle, even omitting traffic lights and street poles. I will have to live with this one for awhile before I decide if it is done.
This double streetcar heads up Queen Street past Much Music. The Chapters sign is visible down John Street.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reflected Light, Wellington Street

12 x 12 oil on canvas
When I'm getting ready for a show, it takes a while to build the momentum required to work all day, everyday (well maybe not the whole weekend). When it happens, its hard work, but the routine of working becomes enjoyable. Its being totally immersed in something that is difficult, challenging, sometimes rewarding, and often enjoyable. I like being in this place. I have a saying that works for me, but not every artist. I am either working, or I'm not. I either come into the studio and work, or I get sidetracked. I have no in between. Some people can work that way. They can take some time for coffee and shopping and get back in. If I escape, I get into another world where painting doesn't happen. I often wonder how other artists work. Watching shows about Picasso, one would assume that he drank and partyed all day, and produced at night. Hard to believe.
My son sometimes calls me a Troll (term of endearment) and says that I must get away from my studio cave. I'm happy here with my dog at my side, or under my feet.Time to get back at it.
This scene features reflected light from glass high rise towers and a streetcar and beck taxi in shadow.

Monday, October 7, 2013

City Lights and Steam, Toronto

12 x 12 oil on canvas
Steam escapes from sidewalk grates on a cold evening near University in Toronto. The sign on the Beck taxi stands out against the line of streetcars.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Toronto Skyline at Night

12 x 12 oil on canvas
I wasn't sure how to tackle this one. I blocked in the larger shapes and then added the touches of light, trying not to make them too dominant. Still more learning to do. I would like to try this with a different colour palette.
Thanks to John Tavares for the photo reference.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Crisp evening shopping, Simcoe and King Streets

12 x 12 oil on canvas
Steam rises from grates on this cold crisp evening of shopping on Simcoe and King Streets in Toronto.
Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for the use of this photo reference.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Umbrellas on King Street, Toronto

12 x 12 oil on canvas
Pedestrians cross in front of a Streetcar, while others wait to board on this rainy day at the corner of King and Bay Streets in Toronto Ontario.
This painting will be available at the One Of A Kind Show in Toronto in November.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

St. Lawrence Market

12 x 12 Oil on canvas
 I thought I would revisit this scene using a different colour palette. This scene is from Front Street in front of the St. Lawrence Market. The gorgeous flower arrangements dominate the scene and a Beck Taxi waits out front. The Gooderham Building, also known as the Flatiron building is visible in the background.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Verticals on Bay Street, Toronto

12 x 12 oil on board
There is no rhyme or reason for the way the light falls in the city. With so many glass buildings creating reflections on other buildings, light and shadow pop up anywhere. This scene was around five o'clock, just in time for rush hour. A beam of light contrasts with the verticals of the tall buildings as it cuts across Bay Street in the financial district of Toronto. The old City Hall clock tower is visible at the end of the street.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Royal Alexandra Theatre, King Street

8x10 oil on board
People often ask me to do streetcar scenes, so I often include them in paintings. Although I do point out that it is almost impossible to take pictures on some Toronto streets without finding a Streetcar or Beck Taxi lurking somewhere in the photograph. I do enjoy the colours, the bright reds adding a nice touch to a grey day or night scene.
 This scene features the Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street West.
Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for the photo reference.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Umbrellas on Dundas Street, Toronto

12 x 12 oil on board
Back to a rainy day scene with this picture of colourful umbrellas on Dundas and University in Toronto. I'm adding a few more colours for this rainy scene, but still keeping it very muted and atmospheric.
For this scene I used a very popular palette of Ultramarine blue, alizarin, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow dark and light, cadmium red, titanium white.
Pedestrians wait to cross the street or head to the subway station at Dundas and University in Toronto during a down pour.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Queen and Spadina, Afternoon Sun

12 x 12 oil on board
I'm trying to work out some "sunny day" colours that are somewhat true to the scene as well as maintaining harmony. From the pevious post, I decided to do a 12 x 12 rather than going larger. 
This scene features a Toronto Streetcar, the colours glowing in the afternoon sun against the shadows created by buildings. This scene is from Queen and Spadina.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Queen and Spadina

8 x 8 oil on canvas paper
So the big question is, did I maintain the atmosphere even with adding more colours to the picture? (See previous post) I think the limited palette conveys more "heat" from a hot sunny day. The other feels a little cooler. (to me)
Which painting shows more atmosphere? I'd love to hear your opinions.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sunny Day, Queen and Spadina

8x8 oil on canvas paper
I'm finding that more and more I like to do a study or two before I start a larger painting. This scene has many more colours than this, but I wanted to try for  atmosphere with a limited palette and then decide where to go from there. 
This is a very busy corner at Queen and Spadina.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Late Afternoon Light, King and University

24x24 oil on canvas
I did an 8x8 version of this scene and wanted to try it on a larger scale. I wanted to keep the looseness and spontanieity of the smaller picture. I tightened up more that I would have liked, but I'm ok with the result.
The late afternoon light is reflected off high rises, creating some shadows and highlights. The Union Building which is home to the Elephant and Castle is illuminated in the background.
(There is some glare on the picture, which I will correct when it dries and rephoto)

Monday, August 12, 2013

En Plein Monitor

8x8 oil on canvas paper
I am hoping to get into the city to do some plein air painting. I think it is important to have some idea how we will approach a scene when we are out there. There are many ways to start a painting. We can do a monochrome value study, draw it in, or block it in and paint from there. In my "Plein Monitor" painting, I chose to block in with thinned paint and a large brush and work from there. I kept to a limited palette of ivory black, viridian, yellow ochre, cad red, and white. (I often use this for rainy scenes). I also worked from a black and white photo to get my values right. (I won't be able to do that out doors).
How do you approach a painting? I would love to hear some thoughts and opinions.
I will be doing the other 8 x 8 in a less limited colour palette and will post that one shortly.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Plein Air, Early Morning Light

8 x 10 oil on canvas
I have been spending some time on our sailboat and took some paints along hoping to get some plein air work in. This scene was viewed from the dock beside the boat. The early morning light was great, so I tried to sketch in the lights and darks before the light totally changed and clouds moved in.It was also very windy, so the dock was bouncing around. I got more seasick from the dock than the boat. This took about an hour and a half. I would have liked to work on it some more, but the conditions deteriorated so much, I decided to leave it as is.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Plein Air, Green Rover

8x10 oil on canvas panel
Another attempt at plein air painting. This scene was very close to home. I walk by it almost every day when walking my dog Bailey and always remark to myself that it would make a great painting with the touches of red roses and the copper beech tree. Of course the green Rover (1950's?) stole the show. I wanted to get the car right, and so I did a bit or preliminary drawing on the car. I still think I have the nose too short, but I'm sure I will be corrected by the car buffs in the family.
I found myself reaching for the knife more often than I normally do, to get the golden colors to sit on top of the darker background.
Although I prefer moody rainy subjects, I can't plan the weather. I am enjoying a bit of change in the colour palette.
I have a pochade box that has been altered to hold 8x10 and 4x6 and  sits on a camera tripod. I don't normally use a styrofoam tray for a palette, but I forget one and grabbed this at the last moment.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Green Garden Door, Dundas

8x10 oil on board
I have been wanting to get outside and do some plein air work. It is a nice break from doing larger studio paintings and hopefully can help incorporate more spontaneity in brushwork and the overall energy in a painting. Signing up for shows on a regular basis leaves little time for plein air work, but I feel it is important...and it is fun.
I need to get over my shyness which has always been a problem with getting outside, especially in a town or urban scenario.
My first attempt in a long while was done in my town of Dundas. my focus was the ivy covered brick wall with the green garden door. The afternoon light was crisp and cool, which required warmer shadows. I forget my thinner, so it was a learning experience trying to keep my color mixes clean and reserving brushes for either darks or lights.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Late Afternoon Light, King and University

8x8 oil on canvas
Thanks to all the wonderful people who came to my booth during the TOAE in Toronto. It is the communication and feedback that makes shows like this worthwhile and one of the reasons I like to get out and do these venues.
I have been focusing on learning and painting grays, mostly painting rainy muted scenes. I want to add more varieties of light conditions and a few more colours to my palette while incorporating what I have learned about grays.
In late afternoon, as the sun moves behind buildings, the light bounces around,reflected off of the highrise glass. This study is from University and King Streets in Toronto.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Morning Light in Liberty Village

16x20 oil on board
Early morning light illuminates a Toronto Streetcar on King Street West in Liberty Village. The light in this image was very subtle, with no strong colour contrasts. The colour of the light effects all objects in an image and for this reason, I find that a limited palette works best to try to keep the harmony in the painting.  For this picture, I used primarliy Ultramarine blue, terra rosa, transparent oxide red, cadmium red, cad yellow, yellow ochre, titanium white.
Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for the photo reference.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Rainy Day Shopping on Spadina

24x24 oil on canvas
I've painted this scene a couple of times, but I wanted to visit it again, trying to capture the misty rainy feeling of the day. It should be a "fun" scene to paint with so much going on, but this also makes it difficult to bring the two sides (bright signage, misty background) together. It was more about leaving out details and looking at what made the image interesting.
This painting will be available at the Toronto Outdoor Art Show, Nathan phillips Square, July 5, 6, 7.

Monday, May 27, 2013

TIFF Bell Lightbox in Blue

18x18 oil on panel
When I find out that I have been accepted into a show, its as if everything else in my life goes on hold and my total focus goes toward preparation for the show. It doesn't matter how many paintings I may have in the studio, there are always some that I want to get done. I recently received notice that I am accepted into the Toronto Outdoor Art Show at Nathen Phillips Square in downtown Toronto. This is a great show, and I feel honoured to be a part of it this year.
This painting features King Street with The Bell  Lightbox Building on the left.
Thanks again to Ben Roffelsen for the photo reference. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Crossing the Bathurst Street Bridge

24 x 24 oil on canvas
I'm finding working out color temperature in  night scenes is quite difficult. In a sunny scene, one can default to warm light and cool shadow and have the picture work. Even if the photo reference tells me an object is warm, I need to work with the picture and use my own judgment. I had to use the black and white photo reference most of the time after I had of my color mixes. I decided to get out the knife to add interest.
 It was a much more difficult picture to do than I originally thought.
Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for the photo reference.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crossing the Bathurst Street Bridge

8x8 oil on canvas
Doing small studies is a big help in deciding what images will work out on a larger scale, but it is no guarantee. Sometimes the smaller images are more spontaneous and looser with more focus on the abstract qualities.Of course, as I always say, there is no way to find out how an image will look larger unless you paint it larger.
I really like the abstract quality of this image. It has  strong verticals and a nice balance of darks and lights. So, guess I'll get the large canvas ready.
Sometimes I want to stop learning and just start painting. Maybe that never happens.
This scene is from the Bathurst Bridge at Front Street.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

City Lights on Wellington Street, Toronto

24x24 oil on canvas
This is the same scene as the previous post, but on a larger scale. I used the same color palette as the small study. At this stage, I need to leave it around for a bit and see if it is done. Sometimes its good to leave it before I start adding more details.
Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for the photo reference for this painting.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Night Study

8x8 Oil on board
In this study I used a combination of cobalt blue, transparent oxide red, cad red, yellow ochre and white. I usually use ultramarin blue as a combination color for darks, but I liked the colors resulting from this mix.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Night Rain in Blues

8 x 10 oil on board
I still want to do some night scenes on a smaller scale, experimenting with different night time color palettes before I attempt a larger one. For this scene, I used ultramarine blue, ivory black., cadmium red, yellow ochre, and white. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Newspaper Boxes on Front Street

8 x 10 oil on board
This area of Front Street next to St. Lawrence Market has such beautiful lush planters. I liked the mix of colour and reflections of this row of newspaper boxes next to the greenery. Normally I rarely use alizarin crimson because I don't like the "pink" that results from making the darks from a mix of Ultramarine blue and alizarin. In this scene, with the one pink newspaper box, it really seemed to work. I did tone down the dark mix with a touch of transparent oxide red.
There are no planters on Front Street yet. Normally in our area, we don't plant gardens until May 24 to avoid risk of frost. I took this photo last year during a warm misty rain.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

City Lights, Yonge Street, Toronto

8 x 10 oil on board
Doing small paintings or studies is an important way to keep work fresh and more spontaneous and is also a great way to examine an image for compostion or colour schemes for larger paintings. I have gotten away from doing them, and I think it shows in my work. And more importantly, they are a lot more fun to do.
With this scene, I was interested in the abstract quality of the shapes and lights rather than a detailed representation. I used the Zorn Palette (black, red, yellow ochre, white but then went in and added the green lights.)
This scene is Yonge Street looking toward Dundas Square on a rainy evening. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Late Night on Yonge Street

36 x 48 oil on canvas
I've been experimenting painting larger sizes these days and I'm still not sure how much I like it. I definitely like the impact of a larger painting but the downside is that mistakes are huge, they are more expensive to paint, and they take way more room and more time. Unfortaunately, the only way to find out what we like to do is by doing it.
This is another night scene from Yonge Street in Toronto.

Thanks again to John Tavares for the photo reference.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Busy Saturday at St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

16 x 20 oil on board
I like these busy scenes, with lots of people and activity. St. Lawrence Market in Toronto is an amazing place. There are vendors outside and inside providing lots of variety. And as their website states, " Be inspired by locally-produced products and dabble in new foods and traditions from across Toronto’s vibrant cultural tapestry. Or simply come for the people watching!"
On this Saturday, there was a soft rain falling, making it a perfect day for people watching and capturing all those reflections that I love.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Caught in the Rain

16 x 20 oil on canvas
I take several reference photos and often I find what I like to call "collateral images". Tucked away in the corner of photos are lots of images that I didn't have my view finder set on. Thanks to digital imagery, we can blow up these images and create new ones.
I need LOTS of practice painting people, so I thought I would paint a few of these found images. I have a long way to go in painting people, but I think I was able to capture the irritation felt by this young woman after being caught in the rain.