Monday, April 30, 2018

#0309 "The Aurora Museum"

From the early spring of 1991...

The former Aurora School was turned into a museum. The Town of Aurora's Museum is located at 22 Church Street and has a very long history.
The Aurora Museum and Archives had its origins in the Aurora Historical Society which was founded in 1963. For 50 years the Society developed, preserved and interpreted a collection of over 16,000 objects. Known as the Aurora Collection, it includes artifacts, photographs, textiles, books and documents spanning the period from 500 BC to present day. In 2013, the Aurora Collection was transferred to the Town of Aurora and the Town's first curator was hired in December 2014. The Aurora Collection was re-branded in 2015 as the Aurora Museum and Archives and is part of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department of the Town of Aurora. This is as it appeared in late February 1991.
Prizewinner in Category SOYRA 1991. I like it when people stop and gaze at my art - apparently absorbed in the image and the brushwork.
 For this and so much more art...

Sunday, April 29, 2018

#0294 "The Way Home"

From 1990...

How many trees have signs like this plastered up and down their trunk? I think in cottage country there is one for each lane access to a lake.
This is the "cottage tree" on the Clear Lake Road during the summer of 1990. Unfortunately there were no signs with my name on it. Maybe some day. My wife wanted to call this painting "P.C. Call Home" after the movie with a similar title. Notice how I signed the painting with my name on one of the waterfront properties anyway. It may happen some day... My Dad is up there as well. It is called artistic license.

I recently checked on this particular tree which is just 2 kilometres northeast of the Opinicon at Chaffeys Locks. It was still there as of 2017. For sure the tree and signs were older. I did not have the painting with me so I could not be certain on just what the changes might have been. There are probably new signs replacing some of those from owners who have moved on. I hope the tree has not suffered from all of the nails.
 For this and much more art...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

#0286 "Main and Park - Newmarket"

From the autumn of 1990.

This is the view looking northwest toward the corner of Main Street and Park in Newmarket on November 18th, 1990. It was a clear and cold Sunday morning at about 11:15 am. The family was at the craft show at the Newmarket Community Centre. I went walking instead.
I was touched by this quiet nostalgic scene with the couple walking hand in hand on a Sunday stroll. The Christmas decoration on the lamp post in front of the Post Office hinted that the Christmas celebrations were about to start. The streets were clean and small town Ontario seemed safe, secure and serene. The line up of newspaper boxes along with the Bell telephone booth were tokens of a slower pace of life that seemed threatened by the hustle and bustle of the expanding city to the south.

I was attracted to the different colours of blue in the sky and the reflected light in the windows. These blues contrasted with the warm colours of the brick and the red of the Canadian flag. It is vital to get the colours right. It is even more important to reflect on how light plays off the various surfaces depending on how they are oriented to the light.

As I was painting this I realized that I was being watched carefully by Mickey Mouse who must have been the weekend cleaner at the Post Office. There are a thousand eyes watching your every move and I did not realize it until later.
 For this art and much more...

Friday, April 27, 2018

#2081 "Trails Past Singleton"

From just a few days ago...
We seldom hear these jets as they fly eastward bound above 30,000 feet. These flights leave the airports of central North America in the late afternoon so that they fly overnight and deliver their passengers to a rising sun and a new day in Europe or even beyond. It would have likely been a blue bird sky had it not been for the jet contrails spreading out beneath the stable layer of the tropopause. There were some gravity waves within the cirrus contrails giving away the presence of the stable layer. This was a Saturday and there were probably many more contrails than we normally see. The contrails also persisted for a long time indicating that the upper atmosphere was moist. This high humidity in the upper reaches was probably delivered by a still unseen warm conveyor belt. There was not yet enough moisture in the warm conveyor belt to produce cloud. The conveyor belt conceptual model revealed that a spring system was on the way even though we could not yet see any cloud.

This is a very rough panel. I had fun using a lot of paint to capture the clouds without all of the details.
 For this and so much more...

Thursday, April 26, 2018

#0256 "Aurora - A Going Concern"

This is the Aurora Train Station on the 1990 Easter weekend - Thursday April 12th at around 6:30pm. There had been a few flurries - the remains of snows qualls off Georgian Bay - during the day. It was quite windy and cold with the strong northwest winds. We were on our way to visit family in Kingston and Brockville with the car pushed along by those tail winds. The edge of one of those lingering snow squalls provides a perfect compositional line in the painting. The cloud was really there.
This beautiful train station dates from a long ago time when Aurora was more of a village than a city. The title came to me as I painted and alludes to that lament. In the 1990's Aurora was developing the same hustle and bustle of Toronto and was a real going concern. My concern was that the rack of daily newspapers and the nostalgic old train station were also on their way out. Times change and nothing stays the same except for the oils on the canvas.

Best of Show in Category, SOYRA 1990.
Looking back along my artistic journey it is clear that different styles have appeared and evolved in my art over the years. I enjoy them all but especially the loose, plein air style - especially the last few years. Realism tends to pull me away from artistic expression into pure representational art - a good way to learn but not nearly as much fun. I can still do it and that is what people seem to react to. I need to wear my glasses now though. 
 For this and much more...


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

#0059 "Blue Horizon"

This is from 59 steps (another prime number) further along the artistic journey. I was still feeling my way in 1977 after the passing of Mario Airomi in 1976.
A seascape off the coast of Oregon, USA in the fall of 1977. The Pacific ocean extends as far as the eye can see and beyond. One would think that something so immense would be beyond the influence of human activities. Of course this is not the case with the impacts of climate change and pollution becoming better understood. Sea levels are on the rise as well.

Historically tsunamis are rare in Oregon but since 1812 there have been at least a dozen tsunamis with wave heights greater than 3 feet. The biggest occurred from 1964 Alaskan earthquake causing lots of damage and deaths. Scientists are well aware of the tsunamis threat now and have on-line maps of threatened areas, safe places and critical resources should a 9.1 magnitude earthquake raise the ocean floor by 33 feet. It has happened before according to geological records. It will happen again.

On this autumn day in 1977 these thoughts crossed my mind accentuated by the large and ancient dead stumps and trees. Artistically I was intrigued by the waves and still feeling my way.

When I revisited this painting in 2018 I was struck by how much things have changed. Sea level are going up by 3 mm a year. The end of this century will have average sea levels up by a metre or more although no one really knows for certain and the science is complex. Forecasters are comfortable with such predictions and the benefits they can have if people take action to prevent them from coming true...
 For this and much more...


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

#0023 "Rustic Road"

The is the last painting done at Mario Airomi's Studio just east of Maitland. I was driving my 1975 Malibu car then instead of riding my bike back and forth. He wanted me to try something large and different and he had this image among his papers of inspiration.
Mario passed away in January 1976. He was missed. After this I evolved into the Group of One and painted by myself. That is when you really start to create your own path not knowing where it might lead. This was step number 23, a prime number and the next one would be taken alone. One cannot really find your unique shelf and style if you are following someone else.

This painting was done just before Linda and I were married. Mario and Lily gave us a fine painting of daisies as a wedding gift. We didn't have anything else for our walls so this and Mario's daisies hung over the chesterfield for years. The Physics degree at Queens was completed the following year and then meteorology and weather came on the scene.
 Step number 23 along my artistic journey...

Monday, April 23, 2018

#0020 "Snowy Trails"

From the summer of '75... sounds like a Bryan Adam's song...
"Had to paint and I tried real hard
Jimmy quit, I got married
I shoulda known I'd never get far"
This is a very popular winter scene which has been done lots of times. This was a picture that Mario Airomi had in his studio. Mario insisted that I was ready to give it a try. I was twenty-two at the time and had to agree. Time waits for no one.

What resulted was my very first landscape painting. My art career was secondary to graduating from Honours Physics at Queens and getting married as well. Life was busy and that explains why it took me twenty-two years to get to my first landscape.
 For this and much much more...

Saturday, April 21, 2018

#2080 "Heavy Snow March"

The last snow painting for the winter of 2017-2018... promise...
It had snowed hard overnight. About 25 centimetres of wet and heavy snow had accumulated. The depth of the snow would have been double that if the flakes had remained as frozen dendritic aggregates. The snow accumulated on the trees in a characteristic way and that was the reason for this painting and the following series of snow studies. As well snow is not just white but takes on the values and colours of the environment. I took a nice walk along Long Reach Lane to capture the fleeting moments.

This particular stand of trees was on the north side of Long Reach Lane about a kilometre past the fork to the Singleton Studio. The boughs were heavily laden by the wet and clingy March snow. The interior forest was dark in the early morning light. The skies were overcast nimbostratus and some light snow was still drifting down at one metre per second.
 For this and a lot more...

Friday, April 20, 2018

#2079 "March Maple Snow"

From March 2018...
It had snowed hard overnight. About 25 centimetres of wet and heavy snow had accumulated. The depth of the snow would have been double that if the flakes had remained as frozen dendritic aggregates. The snow accumulated on the trees in a characteristic way and that was the reason for this painting and the following series of snow studies. As well snow is not white but takes on the values and colours of the environment. I took a nice walk along Long Reach Lane to capture the fleeting moments.

This ridge of snow is just north of the Singleton Studio. The marble ridge leads northeastward all the way to Red Horse Lake Road and beyond. In the summer it is almost a sidewalk. In the winter the many cracks and fissures in the ancient rock provides many hibernacula for all kinds of creatures including the grey rat snakes that call the area home. They are resting deep below the frost line waiting for spring like the rest of the world.

A few of last summer's leaves cling to the beech sapling. There are also a lot of sugar maples, butternuts and red oak along this beautiful ridge of nature. The butternut trees are not doing well.
 For this and much more art :>)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

#2078 "Snowed In Long Reach"

From March 2018...
It had snowed hard overnight. About 25 centimetres of wet and heavy snow had accumulated. The depth of the snow would have been double that if the flakes had remained as frozen dendritic aggregates. The snow accumulated on the trees in a characteristic way and that was the reason for this painting and the following series of snow studies. As well snow is not just white but takes on the values and colours of the environment. I took a nice walk along Long Reach Lane to capture the fleeting moments. A few beech leaves still clung to new growth along side the lane. The evergreens were very heavily laden by the heavy and wet snow.

This portion of Long Reach actually borders Long Reach itself which is just upstream from Red Horse Lake. Those are my tracks in the snow along the lane. A car would have had a difficult time to navigate the lane.
 For this a so much more...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#2077 "Snow Load"

From March 2018...

It had snowed hard overnight. About 25 centimetres of wet and heavy snow had accumulated. The depth of the snow would have been double that if the flakes had remained as frozen dendritic aggregates. The snow accumulated on the trees in a characteristic way and that was the reason for this painting and the following series of snow studies. As well snow is not white but takes on the values and colours of the environment. I took a nice walk along Long Reach Lane to capture the fleeting moments.

These particular section of pine, fir and hemlock trees was on the Long Reach side of the lane well beyond the fork in the road that leads to our place. I do not travel there very often. It was still snowing lightly and the dim morning light was not making much of an impression through the overcast nimbostratus.
 For this and much more art...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#2076 "Snow Day Cedar"

From early March 2018...
It had snowed hard overnight. About 25 centimetres of wet and heavy snow had accumulated. The depth of the snow would have been double that if the flakes had remained as frozen dendritic aggregates. The snow accumulated on the trees in a characteristic way and that was the reason for this painting and the following series of snow studies. As well snow is not white but takes on the values and colours of the environment. I took a nice walk along Long Reach Lane to capture the fleeting moments.

This is looking toward the Fork in Long Reach Lane with the minimal morning light on my back. The forest was quiet and dark in the dim early morning light. The mound of marble and the ancient red cedar that I painted in #2075 "Long Reach Snow Day" was in the foreground. I was standing in one of the very few natural breaks in the northeast to southwest ridges that cross the Frontenac Arch Biosphere. These ridges are all that remain of an ancient mountain range that was created when continental plates collided. The path to our place follows the branch of the Fork to the left.
 For this and much more art ...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Cloud Identification

Environment Canada used my cloud picture library to publish the following. The weather is your friend once you get to know it... There is a story behind every cloud and it is vital to be weather-wise... 


















#2075 "Long Reach Snow Day"

It had snowed hard overnight. About 25 centimetres of wet and heavy snow had accumulated. The depth of the snow would have been double that if the flakes had remained as frozen dendritic aggregates. The snow accumulated on the trees in a characteristic way and that was the reason for this painting and the following series of snow studies. Snow is certainly not white but takes on the values and colours of the environment. I took a nice walk along Long Reach Lane to capture the fleeting moments.
This mound of marble is the northeast side of a break in the ridge of rock. The path for the Long Reach Lane naturally flowed through this natural break. The northeast to southwest ridges are all that remain of an ancient mountain range that was created when continental plates collided eons ago. I was at the fork in Long Reach Lane. The path to our place follows the valley between the ridges. The other branch of Long Reach follows around the break in the marble ridge to the other property owners. The red cedar growing out of a crack in the marble was probably way older than its size would indicate.

That is the glow of the 8 am sun through the clouds and the trees of Long Reach.
 For this and much more art...

Sunday, April 15, 2018

#2074 "Spring Snow Long Reach"

Winter storms can be beautiful if you get to stay at home... no travelling in dangerous conditions...
The winter storm foretold by the sky of #2073 "March Snow Virga" had arrived a delivered more than 20 centimetres of heavy and wet snow over the course of almost three days. It was beautiful since I stay home all of the time anyway. On the morning of Friday March 9th I went for a long walk in the morning and captured as much inspiration as I could before the strong March sun and the wind removed it from the heavily laden trees. The snow was not going to hang around for long so to speak. Technically this was still a winter storm but the birds and other wild life think that spring has already arrived. Who am I to disagree?

This particular scene is looking across the outflow of Jim Day Rapids and downstream along Long Reach. I have painted this before but every day is different. The variation in colour was low in this back lit painting so I had to rely on value. The thick and heavy brush strokes were used to create a rhythm to draw the eye into and through the scene. I always struggle with these inventions as it is easier to paint exactly what one sees.

Some of the snow stuck to the rough bark of the soft maples. Cotton balls of snow were clinging to the open tops of weeds that lined the water front. The snow covered marble humps along the far shoreline were like stepping stones leading the eye down Long Reach. The drooping boughs of the white pines and the spindly branches of the maples were used to keep the eye from escaping out of the plane of the painting.

The brush strokes were bold and designed to keep the eye moving. The Long Reach current make look more like a waterfall. It was fun. Art should never be dull.
 For this and much more art...

#2123 "Rocky Entrance to Gargantua Harbour"

Gargantua Light was important. Without that beacon it was easy for ships to find the rocks of the eastern shore of Lake Superior. The c...