Wednesday, August 10, 2022

#2668 "Midday Singleton Daisies"

#2668 "Midday Singleton Daisies"
10.25 x 9.25 oil panel

It was a sunny day at least until the line of thunderstorms arrived.

I figured that I had enough quiet time to paint some daisies. I was alone in the Singleton Sanctuary, the ultimate in quiet and at peace. My palette was getting messy but I did not wish to take the time to scrape it and start afresh. Time is limited and precious. 

While painting, I pondered back to the summer of 1915 when Tom Thomson painted "Wildflowers". Tom was frustrated with his efforts. He apparently flipped his brush around and used the pointed end to scratch an "X" in the surface of the wet paint. There are other scratches as well in that surface but the big "X" was clearly an expression that he was not pleased. Tom's painting did hit the mark, the bulls eye so to speak, although he could not see it at the time. 

After I finished this painting, I headed for my swim in Jim Day Rapids. A loon surfaced just ten feet away while I swam. It knew me, made eye contact and hovered around for several minutes before diving further into Long Reach. This reminded me of a previous nickname "Dances with Bees" and perhaps an additional, humourous moniker might apply - "Swims with Loons". 

For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you. 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

#2667 "Blue Columbine Wildflowers and Friends"

#2667 "Blue Columbine Wildflowers and Friends"
9.25x10.25 inches oils on panel

I encourage wildflowers in our sanctuary. 

These blue columbine flowers cover large portions of the marble ridge. The blue-white blossoms are a favourite among the birds and the bees. Bumble bees were really active on the clump of flowers right in front of me as I painted. The natural sugars and pollen of real flowers are really best for their diet. There were several other plants and even maple saplings growing within that clump of inspiration. These are the friends that I alluded to in the title. 

The sounds of nature were almost loud. Loons, red-bellied woodpeckers (that sounded like tree frogs), bull frogs... everyone had something to say. 

We were in the warm sector of a large and unstable weather system. The southerly winds were bringing in hot and moist air. I had to cover up with my hat and long sleeved painting shirt to protect my skin. I needed the sunglasses as well. The extra clothing including pants were protection against the biting insects but my dragonfly air force kept them at bay. I rarely sit down to paint en plein air but the flowers were so low to the ground that I had too in this case. I had to retreat for a cooler environment after finishing this group of wild flowers. 

Sadly if you simply Google "columbine" one gets pages of links about something very different than flowers. I will stick with the original botanical links that I found. Sad. 

For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you. 

Friday, August 5, 2022

#2666 "Dandy Bouquet"

#2666 "Dandy Bouquet"
20x16 inches oils

The best way to not overwork a canvas is to grab another canvas and set the first aside - at least for a while. The bugs were ferocious outside so it had to be a Studio canvas. The painting that needed to be set aside for a while was #2665 "Happy Day Sunflowers"

I had this idea about a dandelion still life for a while. I always tend to paint flowers in the late spring and summer when the outside, biting bugs are bad. Of course, the mosquitoes are just doing what their biology tells them to do. I picked a Mason bottle and some dandelions and put a light on the subject matter. 

I collected these dandelions from around the property. These particular dandelions were outside the garage door of our Singleton Home overlooking the field to the east. I kept having to pick more dandelion flowers and leaves until this canvas was done. I had fun painting the ragged leaves which gives the plant its English name from the French "dent de lion" or lion's tooth. Apparently the French common name is "pis en lit" which means " pee the bed" and originates from the diuretic action of the roots. 

Even dandelions are safe in the Singleton Sanctuary. They provide early pollen for the insects but they can also be delicious. The Latin name for "dandelion" is taraxicum officinale which apparently means "the official remedy for disorders." The dandelion has many health benefits which include being good for the liver, assisting with inflammation, alleviating kidney and bladder stones and as a poultice for boils. Dandelion greens are best in early spring. Fresh roots can be peeled, thinly sliced, and sautéed. 

For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

#2665 "Happy Day Sunflowers"

#2665 "Happy Day Sunflowers"
40x36 by 1.75 inches Gallery Wrap

This painting is based solely on #2435 "Overcast Sunflowers" and perhaps the loud music that I was listening to at the time. I felt I could do a large painting and still keep it as dynamic and alive as the smaller sunflowers. I used one of my finest and most expensive, stretched canvases for the experiment. 

Layout Sketch - Charging Forward with the brush...

Life is not always about the showy and bright flowers. The subtle, darker web of the twisted stems and leaves also support the vortex of life as we all turn toward the light… like the sunflower in real life. I was concentrating on connecting the dark to the light with big brushes and strokes of energy. 

As luck would have it, Robert Genn's "The Painter's Keys" would publish "Johanna van Gogh" on the date that I started this canvas. Johanna was instrumental in spreading the art of her talented brother-in-law Vincent around the world. "The sunflower is mine, in a way" said Vincent Van Gogh. I know that he would share though. I almost share my birthday with Vincent except that his was 100 years earlier than mine. 

I was starting to dab and loosing direction after several days of concentrated effort on this canvas. I decided to paint the edges and let it mellow for a while as I went to other subjects. One can overwork even a large canvas. I did return to the canvas after a few days but one would be hard pressed to see any of those brush strokes. 

The sunflower and this painting are intended to bring some happiness into the world during these challenging times ... and challenges always bring opportunities if we look. For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

#2664 "May Evening Post Cold Frontal Altocumulus"

#2664 "May Evening Post Cold Frontal Altocumulus"
5x7 oils on canvas

The cold front had gone through and a ridge of high pressure was building in. 

Remnant pieces of altocumulus in the hang back from the low pressure area were lingering in the sunset sky. The atmospheric frame winds were clearly northwesterly but there were also elongated fingers of cloud stretched from the northwest. I interpreted those as Langmuir streaks. The night-time microphysics image confirmed the deduced pattern. A band of cloud low on the horizon did not reveal how it was oriented but I painted what I saw so it must be right according to nature. 

The west basin of Singleton Lake was exposed to the northwesterly winds behind the cold front. The rippled surface of the west basin was reflecting the blue sky above. The calm waters of the protected east basin of Singleton were reflecting the sky that was lower on the horizon. 

I wanted to have some fun with the colours and stay home too. For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

#2663 "Singleton Calm After the Storm"

#2663 "Singleton Calm After the Storm"
16x20 oils
The radar bow line of severe thunderstorms passed through Singleton Lake just after 3:30 pm on Saturday May 21st, 2022. Memories from that afternoon will linger for decades just like the aftermath of May 31st, 1985. At least ten people died with this storm almost equalling the twelve people who were killed during the Barrie Tornado outbreak. Many people will also remember the nights of July 13th and July 15th, 1995. Severe weather can be like that with memories lasting generations like Hazel from 1954. La Niña is part of a larger weather phenomenon known as El Niño Southern Oscillation and 1985, 1995 and 2022 were all La Niña years - not just coincidental. As a meteorologist, you want to work those storms and predict them to the best of your ability - to make a positive difference. Weather is important...

Watertown radar before the progressive
derecho reached Singleton Lake
The thunderstorms were cold frontal in nature. The squall line was moving at 80 km/h which was a very clear indication of severe convection producing widespread damage. We did not have any obvious damage but reports of widespread power outages soon came across social media. Trees, hydro poles, roofing shingles, flipped cars and goodness knows what else, went with the wind. Large trees were downed in the Singleton forest. 

Typically a progressive derecho relies on the high buoyant energy of a mesoscale convective system and a quasistationary west to east frontal system. The simpler definition calls a derecho "a line of intense, widespread, and fast-moving windstorms and sometimes thunderstorms that moves across a great distance and is characterized by damaging winds." Using this simpler definition, the squall line of Saturday May 21st, 2022 certainly qualifies to be called a derecho - Spanish for "straight ahead". The event was not the classic progressive or serial derecho that I have been used to during my meteorological career. In this case, I feel that the progressive derecho used the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario lake breeze fronts just like a derecho would employ a quasistationary baroclinic zone. Meteorology is always fascinating. 

Media Coverage was extensive after the May Long Weekend Event
"When Canadian tornado expert David Sills studied the forecast on Saturday morning, he never expected the line of storms headed for Windsor, Ont., would soon strengthen into Canada's first derecho in decades, wreaking havoc across southern Ontario and Quebec." My friend and co-worker David would also be quoted as saying "There wasn't much in the way of any indication in the models of this big derecho coming through," he said. "The computer models we rely on to give us a heads up for these types of events, they've got a long way to go." CBC News · Posted: May 25, 2022. 

I always felt and advocated that a inquisitive meteorologist had an important if not vital role to play in weather prediction - human 3D and 4D pattern recognition skills while leaving no satellite or radar image unturned until the atmospheric puzzle is solved. Computers and numerical models of the atmosphere are essential tools but apparently not always the solution. 

This is the peaceful sunset following that line of convection. Everything was calm and one would be hard pressed to think that anything severe had just happened. 

For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

#2662 "Nightjar Singleton Sunset"

#2662 "Nightjar Singleton Sunset"
10x12 oils panel

There were at least a dozen night hawks feeding in the Singleton sunset sky. Night hawks are members of the nightjar family which helps to explain the title. They are described as being medium-sized nocturnal or crepuscular birds in the family Caprimulgidae and order Caprimulgiformes, characterised by long wings, short legs, and very short bills. Being insect eaters, these birds are very susceptible to pesticides. Common nighthawks breed in North America but migrate in the fall up to 10,000 kilometres south to the Amazon and Cerrado biomes of South America. The birds make numerous stops along their journey. As a result, pesticides and loss of habitat anywhere along this very long migration is an important factor in their survival. 

The common nighthawk is one of the most widely distributed birds in the Western Hemisphere, but also one of the most poorly understood due to its nocturnal nature. It is not a hawk but a member of the "nightjar" family which is a group of nocturnal birds that "hawk" to catch and eat flying insects. It is well disguised during the day by plumage that camouflages with the ground or tree branch it roosts on. At dusk, it uses long wings, huge eyes and a giant mouth to pursue and capture its prey. I built shelters to try to encourage these birds to nest at Singleton. I was also inspired to paint #2519 "Nighthawk Sunset" because of the night hawks. 

The weather is this sunset sky is also very important. It is a warm conveyor belt marked by multiple parallel Langmuir streaks. Some gravity waves embedded within the Langmuir streaks confirm the southwesterly winds in the free atmosphere. A jet probably on its was to Europe, was enjoying a fuel saving tail wind. 

This is just another sunset sky but I did not need to travel anywhere to enjoy it. There was a definite purple hue to the sky low on the horizon. The weather is always interesting. It was snowing in Boulder Colorado while I was enjoying this sunset. 

The very smooth and slippery surface was fun. For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you.

Monday, July 25, 2022

#2661 "Subtle Soft Sunrise Cumulus"

#2661 "Subtle Soft Sunrise Cumulus"
5x7 inches oil
The warm frontal surface was aloft over Singleton Lake as the morning sun rose in the east. The cool conveyor belt of easterly breezes was being drawn into the low pressure system well to the west. There was not much cloud in the sky but it was mostly convective in nature. Subtle gravity waves in the warm conveyor belt aloft were only evident in varying shades of blue as the cirrostratus was not thick enough to be opaque. The couple of bands of altostratus gravity waves sprouted cauliflower, cumulus turrets and even a bit of subtle virga. The sky is always interesting even if the weather clues are subtle. 

There are many, many ways to look at the weather - beside
using oils, brushes and canvas... 

I employed a small panel to record these observations. Sometimes small is best and less is more. 

For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you. 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

#2660 "May Sky in the Wake"

#2660 "May Sky in the Wake" 16x20 inches oils 

We received 20 mm of rain with the spring storm that was foretold by #2659 "Langmuir Cirrus Meets Mr DZ". The continuous rain had since moved to the east and the streets of turbulent stratocumulus in the gusty northwesterly winds had arrived. I was intrigued by the cloud shapes and colours. Those clouds needed to be recorded in oils. There was even some green mixed in with the greys and the blues of those clouds. The horizon held the promise of clearing skies with patches of white and blue. 

WV High Level - WV Mid Level - Watertown Radar View - Surface Observations

The surface of the lake responded with waves. The classic bright line on the western shore of Singleton spoke of waves reflecting the light of the clearing well to the west... and your eye is also observing a larger area of that reflective surface. 

For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you. 

#2668 "Midday Singleton Daisies"

#2668 "Midday Singleton Daisies" 10.25 x 9.25 oil panel It was a sunny day at least until the line of thunderstorms arrived. I fig...