Undesignated Direction

Which way up?  A painting with subject matter like this could go any which way.  Which do you prefer?  By the time this post goes up, the painting will be finished but the way up will still be up in the air…

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This way looks airy and draws attention to the grouping of three in a row.

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No, this doesn’t work. None of them look right side up necessarily, but this one looks upside down for sure.

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I don’t like the movement in this one. Some kind of shuffling dance jerking to the right.  On the bright side, the flower on the left looks quite striking.

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This is right side up according to the original plan. It has the advantage of the light being at the top and all those shadowy stalks moving upwards.

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Painting Expedition

Wind.  Rain.  Just really cold.  Welcome to painting in the great Alberta outdoors!  Still, it must be done.  This is really good for bulking up one’s artistic know how.  The thrill of painting in the elements is unmatched by any studio experience.  The paint and paper and water doing uncharacteristic things builds patience, technical skill, and the acceptance of mistakes…  sigh.  The practice is what makes it perfect.  This is our first plein air expedition of 2019.

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Painting at a local pond along the highway and railway tracks, there isn’t much to choose from as far as subject matter goes.  The train was colourful and horizontal.  Judy managed to fit the historic NAR building in as well.  Actually, just now there is quite a dirt pile around the building, which is still under construction, so we have both made the dirt browns a little nicer than they are.  Both Carolyn’s and Judy’s sketches are done in pen, then painted with Cass watercolourcolours.

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It always helps to have a critic.  Once the camera started coming out Pip took off for a walk around the pond.  Spying a muskrat, he jumped in the water up to his belly and enjoyed himself very much.

Working on Values

At our weekend watercolour course, we led the students through a lot of information about values and contrast.  We began with pencil thumbnail sketches, studying photos and imagining how light sources could move or change to enhance an image.  Then we moved into the painting, following through in colour all the thoughts about light and dark.

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Above is Judy’s value sketch of a small waterfall, brightly lit by the summer sun.  Her painting is below.  The snow study was done by a student.IMG_1599

Carolyn’s winter building was chosen to show the use of warm and cold colours as well as primary, secondary and complimentary colours.

Here are more examples of value studies, all student work except Carolyn’s painting on the right:IMG_1601.jpg

Acrylics Right and Wrong

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Our adult art classes were exploring the proper approach to acrylic painting.  The one on the right was a demonstration of a quick, one shot painting.  The canvas was not prepared beforehand and the paint was not dry between layers.  You can probably tell that the colours don’t cover bare canvas very well, and they leave very prominent brush strokes.  The colours in the roses are weak and almost transparent.  You might also be able to see some streaks across the painting that were on the canvas and not sanded out prior to painting.  Only on the right side, where an extra layer of greens was added later, is the look of depth and saturation of colour beginning to grow.

The one on the left was done in class, after several layers of gesso were applied and sanded to prepare the board for paint.  Three or four layers of paint were built up to make a vivid, realistic image.  Finally, a coat of gloss was applied to settle in the colours and make the painting look finished (but also a bit matte for the camera).

This was a great learning lesson which extended over three weeks, beginning with a value sketch and ending with a finished piece.  Check back tomorrow to see the class results.

Peace Watercolour Society at the Palliative Care Gallery

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The hospital in Spirit River has a great little gallery where local artists can show their work for three months and, in return, donate 25% of their sales to Palliative Care right here in the hospital.  Staff, patients and the general public enjoy the changing scenery.  As we take down each show, eager questions as to what will be up next are proudly met.  As we hang each show, passersby stop to take in the appeal of brand new art.

Judy is a long time member of the Palliative Care Committee and was the genius behind our hanging system.  She has been booking artists and hanging shows since the space was first set aside for a gallery.  Carolyn is good at helping to hang, label, and take down shows as well.

Until June, members of the Peace Watercolour Society, including Judy and Carolyn, will have their work hanging in the hallway gallery.  We hope our pieces brighten the days of all who pass.