Scenes from the Winter



Neighbourhood Views


I find the sights in a neighbourhood more fascinating as I’ve started to notice things like shapes (the triangles of rooftops), patterns (the fences, in layers) and the juxtaposition of human structures with nature’s randomness.  These things are especially apparent after a snowfall, when each board is decorated with a topping of white, each rooftop angle is highlighted, and the entire scene becomes a monochrome.

Perhaps because, here in the Peace Country, we are accustomed to open views stretching 30 kilometers or so and vast enough to be unobstructed by buildings or fences, these close up, intimate perspectives are novel.

Drawing these things is a test of patience, but certainly good practice for getting sizes and composition right.  It is also important to use lots of contrast for complicated, layered subjects.  This sketch represents an enjoyable hour in a warm studio after a chilly photographic tour of the neighbourhood.


Winter Whiteout

On days when snow is pouring down it silence of the world and the enormity of open territory are quite effective.  It is an artists’ paradise, well, at least for a photographer.  Even the hardiest of watercolourists can’t keep their washes from freezing on a day like this one.  Sometimes the camera can say it all anyway.  This barn exists in the open land near Spirit River, Alberta, and has withstood many storms like this one.

A Watercolour Evening

Copy of BeachAd

Judy and Carolyn are doing a Watercolour Evening, a fund raiser for the Spirit River Municipal Library.  We will paint the subject above; a pleasant beach scene with clouds, waves, rocks, sand, and gulls and people if the artist so desires.  The first layer was poured to make that gentle blend of colours that makes the whole image cohesive.  The rest is watercolour tricks and techniques: kleenex clouds, scraped rocks, dry brushed sand. It should be a relaxing evening and a great way to contribute to the library and get a painting in return!

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!

Studio Tour

Judy, Carolyn and Joshua were pleased to be featured in the 2018 Beaverlodge Art Club Studio Tour!  Each year a band of merry art fans signs up for a cross-country discovery tour, visiting Places Where Art Is Created.

This June the group travelled all the way to Fairview, stopping first in Spirit River to see our studios.  Judy welcomed everyone to her house of art rooms, where all three of us, but mostly Judy, create using a variety of media.  The basement classroom, supply warehouse and library became a demonstration theatre as alcohol inks and Elegant Writers made their appearance after having been tidied away for show.

Squares and coffee squared away, it was time to move on to Carolyn and Joshua’s studio.  We’ve moved into the space just for the tour and then everything will come out again for some renovations.  In the meantime, it looks great filled with Joshua’s themed show and a display of our brushes and paint.  We also happen to have the school mosaic project in our garage, waiting out the rainy spring weather before it moves into it’s permanent home.

On to Fairview, where the Beaverlodge cohort were met with a contingent of members and representatives of the Fairview Fine Arts Centre offering open doors to the spinning and weaving, pottery, painting, drawing and quilting rooms as well as a well-stocked gift shop of local art.

Visitors were also  introduced to an area author of spooky snippets from local people.  Her book cover features the painting of a formerly local artist: his painting of the Ghost of Dunvegan Bridge was also present to be admired.

Our Show, Things Great and Small, is on at the gallery right now (good timing!) and there was plenty of time to wander, chat, and consider the watercolours, felted pieces and miniature books.  Newcomers remarked upon the fact that punch, goodies and chairs were made available right in the gallery, encouraging discussion and lingering attention to the show.

It was, altogether, a lovely way to spend the day and we received plenty of great comments on our work and artistic environments.  We have been inspired ourselves and hope that our guests were also touched by that magic that creative possibility brings to our lives.