First Snow

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The first snow is always the nicest because it’s still a novelty!  Here are some poor flowers not enjoying it, despite their new hats.

September 12th, in the Peace Country, Alberta.  They say it will be a cold winter… brr.  This, apparently, is what is called Summer Snow.  That seems colder than Winter Snow.


A Smoky Difference

When I posted a painted view from the window a couple of weeks ago, the air was clear and the crops were glowing.  Then the wind came up and the smoke from a northern B.C. fire swept in to town and the colour has faded to a dismal smoky grey.  The day after the photo was taken, things got worse and the scene was no longer visible. This farm is about 6 kilometres away, in the valley where the smoke particles are thickest. The fire is several hundred kilometres away so there is no actual danger except what the air quality has to offer.

Thinking up a Subject

Sometimes, especially with a show coming up, it is difficult to think what to paint!  What do people want to see?  What makes them stop and look?  Well, I still don’t know but I liked JK’s suggestion for me: Dunvegan Bridge at night with northern lights.  An inspiring subject doesn’t take long to complete 😃


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:


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.


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

Falling Behind on Posts

Hmm, you haven’t been seeing daily posts again…  Hey, it’s summer! I’d like to say we’re out painting, but, um… it’s summer.  I finished a book.  Not in time for book club, but I did it!

We are working on the art business, however.  In writing, here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

With brute strength, careful planning and crossed fingers we delivered the mosaic of alcohol ink tiles to the school, where it is now safely installed in the library.  The kids are delighted.  Grade threes had a rash of “I have to go to the bathroom” before the teacher took them on a special visit to see their work.

Judy and Carolyn took down their show, Things Great and Small, in Fairview.  It went over very well and we were happy to be the source of new visitors and some friendly competition regarding sales.

Judy, Carolyn and Joshua have entered the Dawson Creek Art Gallery’s Summer Members Show with several items each.  We visited on the weekend and it is a colourful, eclectic show.  Judy has some gift shop items as well.

Judy and Carolyn are in the Woodland Wonders show at the Centre for Creative Arts in Grande Prairie, opening today.  Our paintings, photos and miniature book are combined with the work of about 45 other artists, all exploring the forest theme.

Today we are working on a proposal for Peace Watercolour Society’s Fall Show and Sale next year.  The one in 2020 is already in the process of being booked.  It’s great that art is so sought after here that one must put in proposals years in advance!