Thursday, February 28, 2019

#0381 "Snow Boughs"

This is a painting of low water density snowsquall snow laden on the branches of the Austrian Pine in our front yard at 81 Western Avenue, Schomberg, Ontario during the winter of 1994-95. One part of water can be used to make 15 parts or even 20 parts of light and very fluffy ice crystals. Snowsqualls typically move onshore off Georgian Bay and pass east of Schomberg as depicted in the radar image below. Schomberg is a great place to live. The radar and side view of the snowsquall illustrates these typical Georgian Bay snowsqualls. Barrie may be great but the onshore snowsqualls can be devastating bringing whiteout conditions. .
Sometimes the Arctic winds are more northerly and the snowsqualls can get very close to Schomberg but still remain just to the east. One particular snowsquall swept right over the village and laid down twenty centimetres of the light and fluffy ice crystals typical of the snowsquall process. That is the case that I painted and it brings back all of the memories.

Snowsqualls are a form of severe convection where cold air is directed over warm open water. The intake of heat and moisture from the water surface fuels parallel bands of cumulus convection. Typically the cumulus towers get up to 12000 feet above the ground but can reach even to 25000 producing thundersnow with a thunderstorm. The distance between these bands is determined by the height of the capping layer.
A temperature difference between the lake surface and the atmospheric air at 5000 feet above the surface needs to be 13 Celsius or greater to get the convection going. It also takes about 80 kilometres of fetch over the open water before the cumulus ignite but from that point onward, the line of cumulus can stay intact even as it crosses from lake to lake.

There is much to know about forecasting snowsqualls as they are influenced by upslope, downslope, friction, shoreline shape, frictional convergence, atmospheric lift and even daytime heating. If you know the wind direction and the temperatures involved a meteorologist can give a really accurate long range prediction of the snowsqualls owing mainly yo the fact that the geography of the lake and the land does not change. If that geography does change though we have much bigger problems beside snowfall rates of 10 to 20 cm an hour. Snowsqualls will remain locked in until something changes - most typically the wind direction.

Driving in snowsqualls is dangerous beyond belief. One minute you can be driving safely along with blue skies and great visibility and the next you will not be able to see the hood of your car. Penetrating the side wall of a snowsquall like the one in the above picture might sound like an exciting thing to do but think again. Not everyone slows downs or stops at the same rate and collisions are a certainly. Simply do not drive into a snowsquall. Get off the road and find a safe location.

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

#0329 "Me and My Shadow!"

This is a along one of the trails of the Kortright Centre for Conservation during the winter of 1990-1991. Kortright is owned and operated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). I used to be quite involved with the TRCA when we lived in Schomberg. Conservation is important for the Oak Ridges Moraine given the pressures from Metropolitan Toronto.

My son Keith and I were out for a late winter stroll on the Maple Trail that led north to the northern boundary of the Kortright Centre. I think we branched off on to the Spruce Trail to make a longer than normal walk. Keith and I spent a lot of time together doing stuff. The shadows were strong and the sun was warm... perfect for sitting on the bench at the top of the hill.

The Kortright Centre opened in 1982 to become an example of excellence in the field of sustainable technology. We have implemented the best of those energy innovations at Singleton and I hope to do more.

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

#0180 "Feathered Friend"

Every piece of art has a story to tell. My son and I were out for a walk at the Cataraqui Conservation Area north of Kingston, Ontario in March 1988. We encountered a very friendly and boisterous flock of Chickadees. The birds were begging to be fed. We did not have much - just a few seeds. The mitts were knit by his Grandma and he was wearing one of my old toques. I wonder where that toque is now?

My son was holding his hand out for one particular chickadee while leaning against a very large and very old white pine. The bark and limbs of this pine had a lot of character. Many people probably leaned up against this giant of the forest in a similar pose.

I am the Dummy on the right in the third image.
This encounter prompted me to build a Birdman out of four inch PVC pipe. The shoulder and elbows and arms were filled with seed that spilled out on to the carved hands of the Birdman as the seed was consumed. More seed was added by unscrewing the head. The entire Birdman was mounted on a swivel like a wind vane. This allowed the birds to land upwind into any breeze like they prefer. One of my old coats completed his attire. Another similar coat was available for anyone to wear so that they could stand out and feel the thrill of feeding the birds like Saint Francis of Assisi. The pictures tell the rest of the story. I am not making this up...the truth is always easier to remember. People may think this is strange but I would do almost anything for the natural world.
The Birdman fed in freezing rain...

He needed new clothes...

Cardinals, juncos too
white winged crossbills dining on the Birdman


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

Monday, February 25, 2019

#0298 "Reach for the Sky!"

Simply this is my view of a colourful maple tree in the fall of 1990 at the Kortwright Centre for Conservation. If I am not looking up at the weather then I am looking up at the forest canopy. Both are intriguing. The family was out for a Sunday stroll on the Maple Trail. We would also attend the afternoon presentations in the Kortright Theatre. It always amazed me that the largest city in Canada was just miles away but we could have the Kortright Centre largely to ourselves.

This is intended as the partner to #0297 "Dizzying Heights!". The phrase used in the title means to "set very high goals and aspire to the best" or in the old cowboy movies, when the good guy told the bad guy to put their hands up. I was always trying to learn and get better on my artistic journey.

The Kortright Centre opened in 1982 to become an example of excellence in the field of sustainable technology. Kortright is owned and operated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). I used to be quite involved with the TRCA when we lived in Schomberg. We have implemented the best of those energy innovations at Singleton and I hope to do more.

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

Sunday, February 24, 2019

#0297 "Dizzying Heights!"

Looking up through the fall colours at the Kortwright Center for Conservation during the fall of 1990. We were out on a walk as a family on a Sunday afternoon on the Maple Trail. I thought that I would try something different.

The Kortright Centre opened in 1982 to become an example of excellence in the field of sustainable technology. We have implemented the best of those energy innovations at Singleton and I hope to do more.

This is intended as the partner to  #0298"Reach for the Sky!". The phrase used in that title means to "set very high goals and aspire to the best" or in the old cowboy movies, when the good guy told the bad guy to put their hands up. I was always trying to learn and get better on my artistic journey.

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

Saturday, February 23, 2019

#0289 "Kortwright Colours"

At the Kortwright Centre for Conservation with the family and assorted other kids during the fall of 1990. The bright fall colours of the trees behind the purple martin house caught my eye. It is challenging to keep any strucutre upright in a marsh. Purple martins were in the decline with pretty much all insects eaters due to many environmental reasons.

We were on the Cold Creek Trail to the west of the Kortright Centre for Conservation Administration building. Kortright is owned and operated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). I used to be quite involved with the TRCA when we lived in Schomberg.

The Kortright Centre opened in 1982 to become an example of excellence in the field of sustainable technology. We have implemented the best of those energy innovations at Singleton and I hope to do more.

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

Friday, February 22, 2019

#0287 "Squirrel Playground"

This is a favourite tree just outside the Kortright Centre for Conservation Administration building and to the north during the fall of 1990. Kortright is owned and operated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). I used to be quite involved with the TRCA when we lived in Schomberg.

A black squirrel was enjoying the free meal taken from the nearby bird feeder. I was walking with my son who was 9 years old at the time. We had a family pass to the Kortright Centre and tried to visit at least once or twice a month. The staff got to know us. We would take the neighbour's kids as well. It was a safe place to enjoy nature and a stroll through the woods.

The population of black squirrels is small when compared to that of the gray squirrel. Black squirrels are a relatively rare mutation between the eastern gray and fox squirrel. If a black squirrel has two copies of the mutant colour gene it will be jet black. One mutant gene and one normal gene will produce a mixed brown and black squirrel.

The black squirrels were predominant throughout North America prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century. The old growth forests were everywhere and the dark fur allowed them to hide effectively in the shadows from predators like owls and hawks which love squirrels. The low albedo black fur also gave them a cold weather advantage. The thick forests are not as abundant anymore and gray squirrels are more camouflaged in the new environment.

The Kortright Centre opened in 1982 to become an example of excellence in the field of sustainable technology. We have implemented the best of those energy innovations at Singleton and I hope to do more.

Those words were written in 1991 while I was still painting in the Under the Basement Stairs Studio on Western Avenue in Schomberg and commuting to the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre in Downsview.

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

Thursday, February 21, 2019

# 0305 "The Morning Cloud - Tom Thomson"

I greatly admire the work of Tom Thomson. The art of Tom Thomson has inspired generations of painters. Tom once said "I'll stick to painting as long as I can." never knowing the impact of his brush strokes.
His friend A.Y. Jackson said "Not knowing all of the conventions of beauty, he (Tom Thomson) found it all beautiful". Jackson also said that "artists are often excellent businessmen. They have to be. Otherwise they do not remain artists." Some things never change. Fortunately for me, I also found meteorology.

My son Keith was doing a project on Tom Thomson. I thought I might inspire his project a bit if I also painted some of the art that he found in his reference books". I also thought Tom wouldn't mind if I did a miniature quasi-copy or three. It is odd that in painting and even in displaying a couple of pieces of art that two is never enough. So I did three in this Thomson Trilogy.

I really like the weather subject matter and the original was well beyond my reach. "The Morning Cloud" was painted by Tom Thomson (28 1/4x 39 7/8). From the scene, an inactive cold front (katabatic) must have gone through just before dawn. The sharp back edge is the deformation zone formed by the stretching of the cold, descending air in the cold air advection behind the front. The wave action suggests moderate winds which would be typical behind a cold front early in the day or overnight. From the colour of the forest, it must be late summer and Tom must have been looking east-southeast. I have presented many times about the science in the art of Tom Thomson. In fact, Tom was a weather fan...

This is third partner painting in the Thomson Trilogy along with #0304 "Evening, Canoe Lake" and #0306 "Snow". I had reserved another pieces of wood to paint on.

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

#0304 "Evening, Canoe Lake"

The art of Tom Thomson has inspired generations of painters. Tom once said "I'll stick to painting as long as I can." never knowing the impact of his brush strokes.
His friend A.Y. Jackson said "Not knowing all of the conventions of beauty, he (Tom Thomson) found it all beautiful". Jackson also said that "artists are often excellent businessmen. They have to be. Otherwise the do not remain artists." Some things never change. Fortunately for me, I also found meteorology.

My son was doing a project on Tom Thomson and it is from of his reference books, that I saw "Evening, Canoe Lake". I thought Tom wouldn't mind if I did a miniature quasi-copy. I really like the subject matter and the original was well beyond my reach. This is the partner painting to #305 "The Morning Cloud" and #0306 "Snow". I had reserved other pieces of wood to paint on.

Those words were written in 1991 while I was still painting in the Under the Basement Stairs Studio on Western Avenue in Schomberg and commuting to the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre in Downsview. My drive was from quiet agricultural land into the bumper to bumper bustle of Steeles Avenue and north end Toronto. That drive to work was getting busier and longer and 12 hour shifts were the only answer for survival. It was a good thing that I loved the science and the weather. The shift work also freed up some time for painting.

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

#0306 "Snow"

I greatly admire the work of Tom Thomson. My son was doing a project on Tom and it is from of his reference books, that I saw "Early Snow". It is one of my wife's favourite works and I thought Tom wouldn't mind if I did a miniature quasi-copy for her. I couldn't afford the original. I painted on a gessoed small slab of pine that I had left over from some construction project.

This is the partner painting to #0304 "Evening, Canoe Lake" and #305 "The Morning Cloud". I had reserved other pieces of wood to paint on.

In 1991 I was still painting in the Under the Basement Stairs Studio on Western Avenue in Schomberg and commuting to the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre in Downsview.

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



Monday, February 18, 2019

#0290 "Forgotten Winter"

This is a scene I would love to have looking out any window of my home - maybe even a studio. My dream is to have a piece of the environment that can be protected for both my family and the nature that we would share it with. Land has been treated like a simple commodity for personal or corporate profit with little or no regard for the future. Certainly the economy based on extraction and exploitation of the land is not in any way sustainable. Maybe someday we will acquire a bit of land no one could make a buck off - preserved simply as land for the sake of habitat.

The willows were supporting a lot of sucker shoots on the edge of this frozen wet land. Overcast bands of thin cirrostratus foretold of another winter storm even though the colours of the trees and the light hinted at longer days and spring. I was looking southwest toward the approaching storm. The early spring sun felt good.

Those words were written in 1991 while I was still painting in the Under the Basement Stairs Studio on Western Avenue is Schomberg and commuting to the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre in Downsview. My drive was from quiet agricultural land into the bumper to bumper bustle of Steeles Avenue and north end Toronto. That drive to work was getting busier and longer and 12 hour shifts were the only answer for survival. It was a good thing that I loved the science and the weather.

Sometimes if you work hard enough, dreams do come true. The alternate name of this painting is "Out my Back Door". For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you!
 For this and much more art, click on Pixels. Thank you!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

#0250 "Bunny Habitat"

This was an abandoned cedar rail fence just south of Schomberg and south of the Schomberg River. The kids and I were out on a February walk. My daughter asked if this (a cedar log) was a good place for a bunny to live. I said it was perfect...She stepped on the log and out popped a cotton tail. The kids loved it!

The art of splitting cedar rails might be a lost skill. There are many hours of effort and countless cedar rails in that zig zag of fencing. The fence was still functional even 150 years later. The rabbit liked it - and where there is one bunny, there are many more.

This painting brings back a lot of great memories.

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

Friday, February 15, 2019

#0109 "A Moody Winter at the Blue Church"

This is the famous Blue Church of the Church of England between Brockville and Prescott, Ontario in the middle of the winter of 1980-1981. Actually to be more precise, the church is 3 miles west of Prescott in the historic community of New Oswegatchie, Augusta Township, Grenville County. There are streets of stratocumulus giving virga, evident in the painting. The winds were from the northeast is advance of an approaching winter storm.

Prior to 1800 the location was part of the village plot laid out by the Government called the Village of "Augusta". The location had been used been used for burials for quite some time. One historian location a tombstone dated 1780 just after the American Revolution of 1776. A sign says that the cemetery was established in the 1780s. Empire Loyalists would have been fleeing the patriots.

In 1809, Anglicans of Augusta and Elizabethtown built a frame chapel at this location. The chapel was later called the "Blue Church" because of its colour. It served the parish until St. James in Maitland, was opened in 1826. The "Blue Church" was unconsecrated and rarely used for services. Without maintenance the building was in bad repair and partially burned. The original chapel was dismantled in 1840. The present small blue church was built in 1845. It was smaller than the first building and located a bit more towards the river than the first building.

This is one of the area's oldest cemeteries still in existence and is the final resting place of many original Loyalist inhabitants.

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

#0181 "The Sugarbush Beech"

This is a large, two stem beech tree in Henry Bond's Sugar Bush just north of Athens, Ontario in the spring of 1988. The sap was flowing and the world was waking up after a long winter. The sounds of birds and creatures thinking about renewal filled the hardwood forest.

The smooth skin of a large beech is the perfect parchment for writing something that will remain scarred in the bark while the tree still stands. The claw marks of bears climbing for the sweet nuts which they crave often overlay any other carvings. Initials had been carved on this particular beech during the years. "PC L LN" were added while I painted but they are not really on the actual tree... Artistic license!

There is really no need for Valentines to be just a single day of the year. Every day can and should be special and the little things are the most important.

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

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

#0160 "Schomberg Fence"

This is an old cedar-rail fence near the Brydon's milk house in Schomberg on the coldest day of the winter of 1986-87. It was a very cold and windy Sunday and I was out all by myself. The snow drifted around the obstacles revealing the air currents that created them. I could see the cedar posts as convective updrafts in the atmosphere and the makings of a supercell thunderstorm. You really have to use your imagination though.

I would have painted this in the Under the Basement Stairs Studio. There were a few square feet of floor space next to the play room. I had great lighting set up even though the quarters were a bit cramped.

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

Monday, February 11, 2019

#0167 "The Brydon's Gas Station - Schomberg"

This is the old, manual pump gas tank beside the barn in Schomberg. It was a very cold and windy day and I was out all by myself for a walk. Jack and Golda were close friends.

I would have painted this in the Under the Basement Stairs Studio. There were a few square feet of space next to the play room. I had great lighting set up even though the quarters were a bit cramped.

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

Sunday, February 10, 2019

#0197 "Sap's Running"

The family was having a lot of fun at the Bond's Sugar Bush just north of Athens, Ontario in the spring of 1988.  My parents were the guides and they knew Henry Bond well.

The dark smoke from the fire contrasted sharply with the steam billowing off the evaporation pans. It was a sunny and mild day after a chilly night - perfect for a strong flow of sap from the tapped sugar maples. The sap was really running.

An elevated ramp to the one end of the sugar shack allowed the tractor to deliver the maple sap to the interior holding tanks using gravity as a helpful friend. There is a ton of work in making maple syrup. Anything that makes the task easier is well worth the effort.

I would have painted this in the Under the Basement Stairs Studio. There were a few square feet of space next to the play room. I had great lighting set up even though the quarters were a bit cramped.

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

#2238 "Warm Sector Winds"

Strong southerly winds were ushering the stratocumulus across the lake. Turbulent mixing of the moist air mass resulted in uneven and rag...