Wednesday, November 14, 2018

#2168 "Reflecting on Robinson Lake"

The last of the CPAWS campers had left. The silence was tranquil like a library in a cathedral. I heard a pair of humming birds flying around like jet planes in aerial combat before I saw them. They stayed buzzing around me while I painted for perhaps an hour. An adult bald eagle flew down river. I could even hear ruffed grouse drumming. It was very quiet except for the sounds of nature. I painted up a storm.

On Sunday a group of us had swum to the island opposite the DRAW Camp and downstream on the Dumoine far enough to explore the bay on the other side of the black spruce point. In a second swim we had even explored the dense lily pad forest adjacent to the island. The water was deep but the lily pads were thick. I decided that they should be included in a painting.

I used a lot of paint on this smooth and slippery surface. Fun.

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

#2167 "Morning Stratocumulus on Robinson Lake"

Monday was the day to pack up the CPAWS DRAW from another year. It was important to pitch in to break up camp. The overnight thunderstorms had soaked pretty much everything. There was no chance of packing up any of the gear dry. In any event many hands make the work easy and fun. With so many people helping there was not much left to do by 9:30 am so I decided to paint on the beach of Lake Robinson.
Catherine was down there as well doing one more painting before her scheduled time to depart arrived. I was staying another night so I could continue to paint up a storm. I was on no timetable at all which is the way I try to enjoy life and art.

Bryan showed me a fungus map that he had created. The spores created beautiful patterns on the paper. Nature really is the best source of inspiration for both science and art.

I painted looking upstream on the Dumoine past the cabin. The remains of the overnight convection were still on the eastern horizon. Turbulent streets of stratocumulus were caught up in the northerly flow behind the storms. The sunrise was just a dull glow in the sky but the reflections on the water of Robinson Lake were brilliant. The northwesterly winds had not broken through the nocturnal inversion yet. The air mass was still very unstable. It rained a bit as I finished up this canvas.

The last of the DRAW campers had departed and it was really quiet like a library in a church. Some of the DRAW artists asked if I would be okay all alone for the next day. I just smiled. The atmosphere was so still and serene even though thunderstorms were brewing again. I needed to paint.

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

Monday, November 12, 2018

#2166 "Robinson Lake Nocturne"

My friend Mark Patton was keen. Very keen. Mark wanted to do a nocturne. "I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day." –Vincent Van Gogh Maybe my nocturne painting should have been called the "Unstarry Night". I mixed the correct tone and the approximate colour and applied that paint with one stroke. No mucking around. No fuss.

Artists have been making night paintings since the early 17th century. James Abbott McNeill Whistler first coined the word "nocturne" for his moonlight paintings. In a letter to his patron, musician Frederick Leyland, Whistler wrote: "I say I can't thank you too much for the name 'nocturne' as a title for my moonlights! You have no idea what an irritation it proves to the critics and consequent pleasure to me — besides it is really so charming and does so poetically say all that I want to say and no more than I wish!" (from James McNeill Whistler: Beyond the Myth by Ronald Anderson and Anne Koval)

Painting by moonlight can be a challenging exercise in value and color discernment. You will need a light source so you can see the palette and canvas. The light cannot be so bright that it interferes with your night vision. From my limited exposure to painting in the dark, I do not see much colour at all. I see a lot of dark tones and ghostly purple shades but not much else. Perhaps I need to imagine the rest. A simple and limited palette works best. Priming your canvas with a warm underpainting will give more contrast and richness to the colors. Work a little lighter than what you see or the painting will likely appear too dark and dull in daylight.

Perhaps nocturnes need a full moon that might illuminate some of the colours. The trick might be to carefully study the colours and then include them on the canvas the best that you can. I had this unstarry night pretty much completed in twilight. In another ten minutes everything was black and you could not even see your brush let alone the canvas. I invented the window light from the cabin. In fact they arrived the following day so I was really only forecasting their arrival.

In any case Mark and I had fun. Tom Thomson did his share of nocturnes and it was a fitting way to end the day of the year on which he was born.

This was the 141st anniversary of the birth of Tom Thomson on August 5th, 1877. What better way to spend the day but to paint Canada en plein air...

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

Sunday, November 11, 2018

#2165 "Robinson Lake Towering Cumulus"

There was an Open House at the CPAWS DRAW Camp and all of the artists were supposed to paint nearby. The swimming beach on Robinson Lake offered a handy and nearby vista. The point of black spruce filled the right side of the canvas while the island and distant south shore filled in the rest. The real subject in this landscape with the high horizon was the cumulus congestus developing to the south. The vigourous towers flailed out like hands reaching for the tropopause. A patch of
altocumulus drifted into the scene from the west. Gravity waves within this patch revealed the westerly winds in the mid atmosphere. There was a southerly wind at the surface. The resulting veering wind shear with height was conducive to well organized and strong thunderstorms. A bright white cumulus developing in front the towering cumulus was testimony to the energy in the air mass. It would be a dark and stormy night. No one got wet as far as I could determine.

The deer flies were especially pesky. One landed on the canvas just as I was finishing up. It flipped on to its back and the wings stuck into the very wet paint. The deer fly was positioned in the sky and could have been a soaring turkey vulture anyway so I left it. This painting was then a multimedia piece of work employing oils and bugs.

This was the 141st anniversary of the birth of Tom Thomson on August 5th, 1877. What better way to spend the day but to paint Canada en plein air... For this and much more art, click on Pixels.
 For this and much more art, click on Pixels.

Friday, November 9, 2018

#2164 "Dumoine La Chute Bridge"

I stayed in the shade to avoid the scorching August midday sun. I had spent many days working from this bridge but had never included it in a painting. The time for the bridge had arrived. I employed a smooth and slippery surface and lots of paint.

The deck of the bridge was badly worn. Apparently car ties had been punctured by bolts and shards of wood. Some places of the bridge deck had been replaced as a stop-gap measure. I drove across this bridge many times and avoided a few of the boards with their exposed bolts. The supports for the bridge were apparently excellent though. The flood waters in the spring of 2017 had come within inches of reaching the bottom of the deck of the bridge.

A tiny and prickly puffball was located where I stood. I was careful not to trample it. I prefer to let nature stay in place, unmolested. I did a bit of research and think that this is Spiny Puffball
(Lycoperdon echinatum). The most easily identifiable characteristic is the spines. The spines stick out of the mushroom's rounded cap. When the puffball is young and prime, they are white, and turn brown or olive colored as they age. This puffball is very young. Typically the interior of a puffball is composed of spore-bearing flesh. When the puffball matures it splits open or a perforation develops on surface of the ball. The spores escape through these fissures -when raindrops land on the puffball, via air currents, or by some other mysterious means.

This was the 141st anniversary of the birth of Tom Thomson on August 5th, 1877. What better way to spend the day but to paint Canada en plein air...

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

#2163 "La Chute Dumoine Cataracts"

I had to retreat into the shade of the Dumoine forest. The heat and humidity in the southwesterly flow was stifling. The challenge of capturing the look and feel of moving water compelled me to try again. Plus I could stand in the shade of the forest on the south side of the east end of the bridge. Every rock and boulder has a story to tell on the surface of the water. Green water, eddy, foam, hydraulic hole, seam, sieve, hay stacks, standing waves, wave-holes, souse holes, boiling eddies, drops, ledges, keepers, chutes, strainers and many other terms describe the features that paddlers look for. The water in front of me was best to be avoided in any boat. This is a partner for #2149 "Grande Chute Whitewater".

A nice couple came by riding bikes. They had left North Bay and were headed to Montreal. They were bundled up tightly in waterproof jackets like it was pouring cats and dogs. The weather was decidedly very hot and humid and I wondered how they survived the sweat boxes that they had on. The jackets were purely to keep the deer flies at bay. The bugs tend to follow the vehicles and the slow moving bikes were easy targets. I smiled and said "Je parles seulement un peu du fran├žaise" in my High School French as best as I could. The lady replied similarly and said something like "Je parles un peu du fran├žaise". Then she asked with a thick London accent if I spoke English. There was no need at all to stumble through my second language.

The deer flies had created a strange ecology along the Dumoine road. Deer flies bugged me every time a car passed by but after a few minutes they were gone presumably hot on the heels of the vehicles exiting along the road.

This was the 141st anniversary of the birth of Tom Thomson on August 5th, 1877. What better way to spend the day but to paint Canada en plein air...

 For this and much more art... click on Pixels
 For this and much more art... click on Pixels.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

#2162 "Downstream on the Dumoine Grande Chute"

Most of the fog and mist were gone by 9 am. The sunny skies were going to make it another hot and humid day but I felt there was just enough time to attempt another painting from the exposed middle of the bridge. The visibility was good and I could see more subject matter in the forest and the rocks. The sunlight was starting to penetrate into the deeply carved Dumoine canyon.

I was getting close to finished when Christopher Griffin headed out. Unfortunately not all of the artists can stay for the entire DRAW. Christopher is a very talented artist and extremely unique - he paints on canvas using liquid asphalt from Home Hardware.

Thunderstorms would develop again during the afternoon and overnight. The atmospheric river just kept on flowing.

This was the 141st anniversary of the birth of Tom Thomson on August 5th, 1877. What better way to spend the day but to paint Canada en plein air...

 For this and much more art, click on Pixels!
 For this and much more art, click on Pixels!

#2168 "Reflecting on Robinson Lake"

The last of the CPAWS campers had left. The silence was tranquil like a library in a cathedral. I heard a pair of humming birds flying ar...