A Good Match

At first I thought my painting looked a bit green and maybe a little gloomy.  Then I set it up for a direct comparison… hmm.  Pretty close!

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If you look carefully through the raindrops you might be able to see the wedding arch on the grass.  Fake flowers (not melted in the rain) on the steps of a couple of ladders and a plank between them made a simple and, as it turned out, very hardy decoration.  I do hope the wedding was over though!

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Scenes From the Mountains

The Pine Pass in British Columbia, Canada, is one gorgeous view after another.  Here are some of the things we saw on our two day excursion.

B.C. is very lush: it rains all the time!  But it pays off in rainbows, cloudscapes, clear water and the sweet scent of spruce in the summer.

Bijoux Falls

One of our favourite destinations in Northern B.C. is Bijoux Falls, near Mackenzie.  It’s a three tier waterfall, at least, but it is a slippery climb through some steep drop offs to get to the upper tiers.  Safest to stay behind the fence… although someone had a sense of humour and a creative brain.  We did visit the upper falls and got wet through for a reward.  It’s hard to complain about leafy water when one enjoys the waterfall mist!

Mackenzie Swallows

DSCF3218DSCF3236 At Morfee Lake in Mackenzie, Northern B.C., the swallows were fascinating.  They were very busy, skimming low over the lake and returning to chatter in the dead tree on a point of land extending far into the lake.  They are very attractive blue and green birds.  Two babies huddled together, desperate for a nap and bothered by the melee of adult family members.

Impromptu Plein Air

Judy and Carolyn went painting outside!  It was a lovely morning so we took the opportunity to gather a few supplies and set up in the wild lands of… the school grounds.  But, as you can see, there is an exceptional view from the school.  You may also notice that we didn’t exactly paint what we saw!

Here’s Judy’s:IMG_0666

Painting in glaring sun makes it difficult to see contrasts, and on a cloudless day, there aren’t many shadows to help.  Using isolated spots of bright colour and establishing a clear background, foreground, and mid ground can strengthen an outdoor landscape a lot.  Judy exaggerated the aerial perspective and checkerboard pattern, and she zoomed herself half a kilometer closer to the foreground trees.

The pain of outdoor painting is that things change so fast: the light, the clouds, the shadows.  The joy of it is that you still have the artists’ license to change what you see.  Call it capturing a mood or impression, or call it being smart and using tried and true techniques that give results in any conditions; outdoor painting is not like indoor painting!

Here’s Carolyn’s:

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This painting is all about isolating the shapes.  Painting outdoors, the sun dries paint and paper very quickly.  You have to work on small spots, or mix a big puddle of one colour and fill in an area quickly.  Finding strong shapes helps to make each element clear to the artist’s mind and the viewer’s eye (because nature is messy) and it’s also a way to avoid getting heavy masses of colour, especially greens.  Simplicity equals serenity.

Below is another painting, done from a memory of the old railway snow fence as seen from the highway.  It’s all in this view, just far away.  Carolyn wanted to contrast the yellow canola with some purple – the low, dark cloud we’ve seen often this summer, just not on this particular day.

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It was a successful couple of hours!  Maybe we’ll be on to a new site on another morning.

Kleskun Hills

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Judy’s plein air painting of Kleskun Hills was done from the top of a hill overlooking the park.  She hauled art supplies up the trail and sat out in the elements until she’d captured the view, like a dedicated painter should.

The Kleskun Hills, an unusual outcropping of badlands,  melds with the usual northern Alberta landscape.  The tiny ecosystem of sandy soil and desert-like plants survives despite visitors climbing all over the hills.  In days past, there were organized fossil hunting picnics for the locals, who would park at the base of the hills.  Now the site is better known for the campground, picnic site and museum.

First Painting in the New Studio

Blustery SKiesThis is the first painting I’ve done in the new studio, after organizing and before renovating.  It is a lovely place to work, especially on a hot summer’s day.  I was inspired by the amazing clouds we’ve been getting lately, although the foreground is more reminiscent of our time in Scotland.  I find that it doesn’t really matter what it is, exactly; I’ve achieved a feeling of freedom and possibility that hopefully bodes well for my future time in the studio!