Things really heated up inside the studio and out this past long weekend! I had 3 days in the studio and it was fantastically creative and productive! While I did wander out to enjoy the sunshine on the deck and do some chores, I took the opportunity to work on a diptych and a portrait commission. The portrait commission is a surprise gift so you won’t see it until the recipient does – but it’s well underway. Actually, Andrew and I are both trying our hands at this portrait so the purchaser will have a few options to choose from and we both have a great model to work from.

But back to the diptych…

The Conversation
The Conversation, Diptych, 12″ X 24″ (unframed) Studio oil

I started out by painting the female member of this duo and titled her “Coquette”. And I was so happy with how she came out that it inspired me to create her male counterpart – “Coquet”. Together, they created a partnership which no longer seemed appropriate using those titles and so The Conversation was born. When I look at them, looking back at me, I imagine myself interrupting them as they speak closely in front of a painting at a gallery art opening. Theirs was an intimate exchange of mysterious, even suspicious nature and I had intruded.

They were great fun to paint and gave me special delight because it appears that I have finally learned how to control the technique. Using just one colour is very similar to drawing with charcoal – in fact, I sort of consider these painted drawings. I use my brush and a rag to push and pull the darks and lights of the oil paint just as I would use the charcoal stick and chamois to push and pull the charcoal.

The portrait commission has started in the same manner but I am going to push it beyond the one colour once I have the likeness where I want it.

The countdown to summer holidays and art shows is on now and if this past long weekend was a taste of what’s to come, it’s going to be a fantastic season!

Everybody Needs a Bit of Success

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I’ve been working on a few things:

1. a series of nest pieces

2. developing my monochromatic portrait skills

3. little art challenges to mix things up a bit

4. plein air and studio landscapes

Because I enjoy a variety of mediums and subject matter, my art and artistic intent has seemed scattered. I am working cleaning that up with these 4 directions. I am finding that desire to jump around is satisfied and I can still feel like I am making progress. When I am feeling let down by the progress in one area, I use the art challenges to find small successes. The work may not be what I would exhibit but for some reason they are more often than not surprisingly nice. The spontaneity apparently works for me. I should figure out how to channel that into my other work.

As summer approaches we will be painting en plein air more, especially when vacation days roll around. I said in the car to Andrew this morning that I would like to develop a consistent method for painting in the field which yields more successes. I feel like every time I go out that I am starting over as a young student. While the young part is good, the student part is not. I know I still have a thousand lifetimes of skills to learn but I am now a practicing artist. And the work should reflect this.

Except the little art challenges. For them, I get to paint donkeys and puppies!!! Why not?!

I also recently added a background to my 2nd nest painting. That process was interesting because I almost had to repaint it all in order to get the background to not look stuck on. Live and learn!

3 pieces have been accepted into the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria‘s Summer Small Works show coming up in June:


And submissions are being readied for Sooke Fine Arts and Sidney Fine Arts. Andrew and I are debating whether to enter the The Salt Spring National Art Prize. We shall see…