I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Thursday 11 October 2012


I spent the past weekend in Whistler. Canadian Thanksgiving and a beautiful place to spend it. Weather perfect.

My art plan for the weekend was to do a one-day acrylic demo in the White Dog Studio Gallery and to do as much plein air as my wife would allow.  So I decided to put my self to the test – of time.  I often get the chance to do quick studies – an hour or less – but usually feel that it is not worth the effort so I generally don't bother. So I decided that for the weekend  any plein air would be ONE HOUR MAX – from set up to take down – oil or acrylic.  A test of me and the efficiency of my setups.

Acrylic Demo White Dog Gallery Studio.

White Dog is a new gallery in Whistler and I am very pleased to be represented there. It is full of energy and represents artists I am proud to hang alongside.

I did two acrylic demos – total time 3 hours.  I keep coming back to time taken because I really want to push myself  to improve my efficiency.  I can always add finishing touches as required later.

Initial lay in 12x16 on acrylic primed linen

Got a bit carried away with colour - again

Second demo set up on Coulter Art Box Standard Size with StaWet palette on left holding heavy viscosity paint , glass palette in middle for mixing, Golden and Liquitex fluid acrylics on right

Plein Air Sketchs

I painted three mornings and one midday.  

Each morning I was at the site just after sun up – about 7:30, the mornings were beautiful with no wind and a clear sky – but COLD – from 3to 5 C. I “ suffer” from Raynauds Syndrome– a nuisance disorder that causes me to not be able to use my hands in cold weather so I was worried – but gloved up and it worked OK because there was no wind – another reason to push myself for time.

Oil set up ; mid size Coulter Art box, 6x8 acrylic primed linen 

Started with good intentions of a careful sketch

Cold got the best of me and I grabbed my palette knife and went wild 

Two Green Lake Mornings 

First morning oil - WS 

The hour went from almost dark to intense early light - a real challenge to hold onto 

Again grabbed the palette knife to finish up quickly 

Second day acrylics. Because it was COLD the acrylics were not drying to I started two and staggered them hoping that time would let them dry - but no luck. And I HATE working with acrylics that are not drying quickly as I am a layer painter. So  the day was a challenge and the sketches showed it. Total time for the two was 1.5 hrs. I was so cold I could not have finished them on site. 

Quick outline using blue china marker on linen

Previous acrylic underpainting 

Juggling two 

The mid day was in Whistler Village, my wife and daughter wanted to continue to hit the stores and I had had enough so said they gave me a hour to meet them back at the car. So by the time I got to the site – a beautiful fall stream – I had only 40 minutes to setup, paint and clean up. Normally I would not have bothered but  I really wanted to test myself again.  
This one I really enjoyed. The mid day was warm and the site beautiful.

Oil on acrylic primed linen - bit of palette knife in the foreground 8x10

A great weekend and it was fun to push myself - product suffers but all a part of progressing. I am VERY happy with the Coulter Art Box systems for both the oil and acrylics - fast setup and easy to work with.

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