I was never happy with this painting so I decided to rework the background. The main focus should be the bird (which I like), but the background was much too busy for that to happen. I removed many of the blossoms, toned down the green and generally simplified the whole thing. I’m not sure it is a total success, but I do like the new version better.
So I haven’t been doing much painting lately. Time is short as we are packing up for a potential move. As I was pulling things out from the back of my closet, I found boxes of old watercolours. Since there’s nothing new to post, here are a few oldies. This feels a bit like cheating, but it’s all I’ve got.
Recently, someone who has never seen my work asked me what style my paintings are. I should know how to answer that, but I was at a loss. I don’t know the answer. I know what I paint and why I paint it, but I don’t know what my style is called. It occurred to me that I should have a short prepared statement that I can rattle off when needed, so I am giving it some thought. These are the first words that come to mind: design, pattern, bold colour, light vs. shadow, simplified. I will keep thinking. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
I am always happy to paint a tree. If I am at a loss for something to paint, or if I am undecided, a tree can be an excellent subject. They are available in an endless variety of sizes, colours, shapes and positions. I am lucky to live in a city that has so many beautiful trees. This huge maple is one that I pass by frequently in Jericho Park and I’ve painted it before as a tiny painting.
I painted this from an old photo that I took while traveling in France. It is the second time I’ve painted it. I wanted to try it again because my first attempt was many years ago (10 to be exact), and I think that my style has evolved since then. I deliberately did not look at the first painting before doing this one. However, I couldn’t help but compare them after I’d finished.
I can see that I have become less adventurous with my colour – or to put a positive spin on it, more accurate with my colour. I also see that I am more precise with shapes and forms. What I used to imply loosely, I now work to make more solid. I am not sure that this is a good thing. My older painting is shown below. (I apologize for the glare in this photo. It seems I have become more careful about photographing my work as well).
Sometimes I have trouble knowing when a painting is finished. When the painting is nearing completion, I have this need to tinker – brightening here, darkening there, adding more detail, fine-tuning the colour, and on and on it goes. The trick is knowing when to stop, before the painting becomes overworked. So, I am taking a break from this one. I think it might be done, but I’m not sure. I have to look at it for a while.
By the way, I’ve painted this boat before (several years ago). You can see the first version on my home page or here.
I just wanted to update you on where you can find my artwork in Vancouver.
Corner Cup, Kitsilano
I just finished hanging my work at Corner Cup, 3301 West 4th Avenue. It’s a cozy neighbourhood coffee shop a few blocks from my house. The owner, Bruno, has done a great job of creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere, with delicious coffee and snacks. If you’re going to stop by, let me know – I’d love to buy you a coffee.
Laura K Jewitt in Point Grey
I have recently dropped off 3 new paintings at Laura K. Jewitt Design, a jewelry shop at 4469 West 10th Avenue. Thank you Laura for selling my Boathouse painting last month!
And last (but certainly not least), you can find a few of my paintings at Oh Brothers, 2575 West Broadway. They have a great selection of hand crafted items by Canadian Artists.
Now that all of my work is out in the neighbourhood, I better go make some more.
This is my second post comparing a painting to the photo I painted it from.
This one was done a few years ago. It is interesting to me to look at older work, because it always seems like it was done by someone else. I do remember working on this painting, but I can’t remember how or why I decided to use that vibrant purple, both in the foreground and background. But I’m glad I did, because I think it works. If I did this same painting today, I would probably make different colour choices. It worries me that I’m not as adventurous with colour as I used to be. I know that my style will evolve and change (hopefully in a good way), but I have to remind myself to be open to the happy accidents that can happen, and not to be afraid to experiment.
I want to share with you one of my favourite places to escape the city. Westham Island Herb Farm is located just outside of Delta, BC. We usually go at least a couple of times in the summer and would not miss the Pumpkin Patch in October. The kids love to see the chickens and pet the donkeys. I love walking through the garden to see what’s ready, and stopping at the cute little general store for some honey and jelly. In addition to the fresh produce, I always come back with lots of painting ideas. The painting in my previous post was inspired by our strawberry run to the farm in June. I have included here three more paintings from the farm (and more to come, I’m sure).