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.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Arizona Memories

Arizona Memory Acrylic 16x24
Back from the trip south ( William Hook workshop at Scottsdale) and settling in to my West Coast routine. Did a few Arizona pieces  along the way and at home and found it challenging to get a feel for capturing such a different place and to use colours that both  represent and still  are interesting.

I am reminded of how difficult it is for a landscape  painter to get dropped into a different world and how much I rely on my own experience at home and use my memory and imagination in finishing my work.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Day Two On-location Tofino


Second day painting on location in Tofino, Vancouver Island. Nice day. Dull. No sun to worry about. Same light on palette, on supports and on subject. But then need to push the final colour a bit to give it punch.

Initial water mixable pencil sketch on clear primed linen 11x14
Acrylic markets for final sketch of shapes and placement 

Diox Purple and Magenta mixed for dark red underpainting 

letting underapainting dry on rocks 

Begin sketch of second piece while first drying 

Violet underpainting of second painting

Back to first painting while second drying and wipe down with magenta

Working in opaques on first and beginning second

First rough-in of each 

Day was flat and colourless so had to invent and play with adding colour to the shapes. 

Tofino Sketch I   11x14 

Tofino Sketch 11

Final pieces.  Total time just over two hours.

Cute anecdote. I dragged my umbrella and acrylic cart along the beach from the RV to where I was painting. On the way back my hands were covered in paint and I was tired and grubby. Dragging my equipment along through the sad a cute little guy with an Aussie accent came up to me  and asked " Hi mister. Are you a homeless person?"

Thursday 17 April 2014

Back to Acrylic Plein Air - West Coast Style

Last week we returned from our trip to Scottsdale. I had hoped to work our way up through Utah but it was too cold - at least for Cathy - so we headed back home. As we returned earlier than expected with headed to Tofino for 5 days before getting back to normal life. Gave me my first chance to do some acrylic plein air since last fall.

Off the coast at Ucluelet, south of Tofino, there is a great coastline that looks out into the Broken Group of Islands. A favorite kayaking destination. The Wild Pacific Trail is a great hike along the shore.

Working on a linen 11x14 I followed my thumbnail sketch to lay in the large shapes using acrylic markers - black for the foreground rocks, dark warm for the midground rocks and blue for the back ground . Keeping the planes separate in this way I think helps in early decision making. 

I filled in the fore and mid ground with warm dark Dioz Purple ( Golden Liquid) and thinned it randomly with the rubber shaper to vary the intensity and create a rock-like feel. I then washed with Magenta the background - so its a bit of a two value plan. 

drying in the sun 

Magenta added - and again drying in the sun

Finished "start" on location 

Took it back to the RV, popped it in a frame to consider. Decided to play with it a bit more. Finished piece is below and I think I might have lost some of the freshness and energy of the start done on site. Part of the game. But was sure fun getting out again.