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Archive for July, 2010

Farm Fresh

Farm Fresh

Farm Fresh 16" x 16"

I am discovering that I love to paint fruit and vegetables. I really enjoyed doing the strawberries. That is not to say that they were easy. It took me a few tries before I figured out how to paint them. The danger when working with acrylics is that things can quickly become overworked and these berries are on the verge. I would like to follow up this painting with a smaller study focusing on just the strawberries and see if I could do better the second time around.

I would also like to do a study of the potatoes, not because they were difficult, but because they were so much fun. In this painting, I think of them as the spectators (taters?) watching over the strawberries. But they have such personality that they threaten to steal the show. They definitely need their own painting. Watch for more produce paintings coming soon!

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Elevator in Mayerthorpe with photo

Elevator in Mayerthorpe with the photo reference

I work almost entirely from photographs. As much as I would love to be outside doing plein air painting, my current life situation (with two small children and a part-time job) doesn’t allow much time for it. So instead, I often travel through my days with a camera close at hand, in case I see anything that might spark a painting idea. I thought it might be interesting to do a series of posts where I show a painting along-side the photo that was used as a reference.

This first one is the grain elevator from my hometown. For me, seeing this image conjures up the comforting memory of the train whistle in the night or early morning. This painting was done a few years ago, and as I look at it I have trouble remembering why I did certain things. You can see that I moved things around quite a bit, which was done to improve the composition. Moving the elevator to the right places it closer to the center and gives it more importance. I removed the pole on the right because I didn’t want the sky to be divided up. Overall, I simplified everything in the photo, which is very typical of the way I paint. My goal is not to copy the photo but to do whatever works to make a better painting – a continual learning process.

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Louise's House

This one took me a while to finish (that’s what happens when the kids are out of school), but I really enjoyed working on it. Louise was my grandma and this is the house where she lived and raised her 11 children. My grandma has been gone for several years now, and although this picture shows the house in disrepair, it brings back great memories and warm thoughts for me (and hopefully for my many aunts, uncles and cousins too).

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Leaning Fence

I saw this fragile looking fence beside a country road near my hometown of Mayerthorpe, Alberta. When I go home to visit, I always come back with lots of painting ideas from the town itself as well as the surrounding countryside. My brother or dad will usually take me for a drive so I can take lots of photos. It is a task that requires their patience as I continually shout out “Stop here! No, back up.” At this point I often jump out and hike around in the ditch to find just the right view-point. Then I get back in and we repeat this process a mile down the road. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do!

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