Last week at the Lodge we gave the ladies a couple of pictures of the Peace River along with a couple of painted examples. Then they took off on their own, each painting an interpretation of what they saw. Several couldn’t stand to paint winter and added lots of warm summery green. That’s the joy of being a painter!
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.
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.
Actually, it began as an afternoon walk with Yorkie and Beagle, and then the sun began to set because it was 4 p.m. in Northern Alberta. As we drove down the road we had just walked on, the low light made rainbow sun dogs out in the field. The deepening of the colours was the fading of the day’s last warmth.
And the sun is down within ten minutes. No more sun dogs, no more walking dogs. Time to see about supper!
Wow, herein lies a challenge! The sunshine and shadows where these two fences, one quite plain and one more ornate, meet were eye-catching. However, it wasn’t until the sketch was underway that the true intricacies of the subject became apparent. Perspective is intriguing by itself, but shadows don’t have to play by the rules!
Is it the angle at which the photo of the sketch was taken that makes the metal fence lean in rather than out? I’m not sure. I didn’t notice until I looked at the image on the screen. Our eyes and brains deceive us!