Saturday, September 25, 2010

FCA Workshop - Part Four

September 17th; another grey, cool day and the group goes to Full Moon Farm. For me it was the most delightful of all the sites. This is the view from the field in front of the house. I'm told that, on a clear day, you can see Washington's Mount Baker between these headlands.

Mike Svob with plans to paint a boat, set up on the beach, to the left, where he could see a marina. By days end, with the tide in, this beach was gone!

I've known Mike since he billeted me, in 1992, when I flew to Vancouver to attend the FCA's annual Board of Governors meeting. I'll never forget that trip; Mike not only introduced me to sushi, he took me flying in his small aircraft and showed me the coastal mountains up close and personal. Prior to that, I had taken one of his workshops and so today, as he gave his demonstration, I wandered off and found myself utterly seduced by this ...

I was sure I had painted my under painting quickly enough, but, by the time I got back to Mike and his students he was finished his painting!

Artists then dispersed to find all sorts of magical spots and things to paint.

Early afternoon, the grey sky began to lift as Bill appeared across the field. We'd been apart all week and so just like in the movies (but without any running) we made our way to one another and embraced. Then, I took him to where I was painting, clustered with three other artists who also couldn't resist the view. Mike was multi-tasking, eating lunch and doing his rounds.

The sun broke out completely, transforming the setting entirely so that the scene looked nothing like my painting or the mood that I was originally attracted to. When this happens (and it happens often) all you can do is rely on your memory, finish as quickly as you can and definitely resist the urge to repaint everything ...

... above all, keep smiling!

More photos:

FCA Workshop Part Two

Friday, September 24, 2010

FCA Workshop - Part Three

On September 16th our group was at Gray's Farm. We knew we were on a working farm when, randomly during the day, sheep would run and bleat their way through the maze of painters!

Instructor of the day was consummate water colourist, David McEwon. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to paint with David while on an artist's, multi-day painting expedition at Lake O'Hara. His passion for painting, and life, is as vital now as it was then. The enthusiasm of his communication and demonstration held everyone enthralled.

He chose to paint a portion of the one hundred year old, vacant farm house, the shed and the tree to the left ...

Now, if anybody could inspire me to return to painting in watercolour it would be him. Right behind where David sat there was this enormous stand of trees, so I set up in front of them and got out the watercolours.

Although I employed his methods, what I painted was sadly disappointing. So, I bailed and went running for my oils!

Normally a shed would not hold my interest but because of the rusty licence plates tacked to it and the vegetation growing up, over and all around it, this one did. Of the four paintings I completed during the workshop this was decidedly my strongest piece. I shouldn't have let it go!

That evening the Phoenix Auditorium was filled again and all were treated to a talk and a painting demonstration (thanks to the big screen) by guest artist, Robert Genn.

More photos here:

Hanging Out in Victoria

FCA Workshop Part One

Thursday, September 23, 2010

FCA Workshop - Part Two

September 15th, 2010 ... Day two of plein air painting and the group I am travelling with goes to Drumbeg Park, one of three provincial parks on Gabriola. It's at the south end of the island, offering excellent views of the Strait of Georgia and the Coast Mountains on the Mainland. The instructor for today is Deane Lemley.

Deanne's approach appears to be very loose and fresh but her every mark is deliberately placed. She's a delightful woman who knows exactly what she is doing and I enjoyed watching her work in oil.

Her students are attentive as she demonstrates. After which there were artists scattered all over the two points, on either side of the small bay.

I go in quest of an arbutus tree because I don't feel like painting the sea. In the woods I spy another artist planning to take on these two ancient ones. And, God love him, Tim pulls it off. They're almost alien looking with their thick trunks crazily twisted and bent low to the ground. Although I considered painting them I decide against it.

Finally, I snuggled under a bank and set up, precariously, on a pile of washed up driftwood, where I opted to paint this graceful bow ...

And this is what I come up with ...

The sun didn't come out and when it began to spit rain we packed up early and went home. We were kept busy day and night; it was this afternoon that I had my one and only opportunity to soak in The Haven's hot tub and then enjoy a leisurely happy hour with the other SFCAs, before dinner. On this particular evening David McEwon presented an amazing slide show of his trips to the Arctic and the Antarctic. More about him, tomorrow!

Bill and I made an extended holiday of this trip. If you'd like to see more photos, please click on these links:

Getting to the Coast ...

Vancouver Island ...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Federation of Canadian Artists Workshop

In September of last year the FCA held a week long workshop at The Haven on Gabriola Island. Four instructors, 80 students and several Senior Status FCA members (that's where I fit in) as invited guests who floated amidst it all and "shared the beach" as a perk for their contributions to the organization. I didn't go. Liz Wiltzen and Sarah Kidner did and they reported that it was an arena I would have revelled in; that I should have been there! The format was the same this year, I put my name in the hat and was drawn, but they were not.

When I told my long-time friend, Sharlene, that I was attending she signed herself up as a student. Sharlene lives in Victoria and we don't often have the opportunity to be together, so for the better part of a year we looked forward to our time on Gabriola.

With Sharlene, arriving at The Haven, September 13th, 2010

Our ground floor room in the back of the Haven Haus building

Rooms at The Haven seemed vastly varied and we shared a really cool one with another "SFCA Floater". I'd never met Marilyn Timms before and was delighted to find that we have a similar humour and energy around making art.

The 80 students were divided into groups of 20. The groups followed a different instructor each day, and were exposed to four different plein air painting sites. In order to take it all in I followed Sharlene's group. Day one, September 14th, we went to Berry Point and spent it with Brent Heighton The day started out foggy but it cleared off and became the most perfect day of all; hot and sunny.

Brent's instruction was well thought out and succinct. In his sketch book, he painted a black and white, acrylic value study of his subject before taking on the image, in acrylic, on his large canvas. After his demo, he spent the rest of the day circulating with and helping his students.

Students watching Brent paint

I chose to paint the lighthouse and buildings on the island with shoreline rocks and tidal pools in the foreground.

That evening I participated in a panel discussion with six other SFCAs including moderator and general organizer of the "camp" Janice Robertson. This was especially helpful for me in that it enabled me to get to know the other SFCA artists who, for the most part, live on the west coast. Through the questions and our answers, I felt that the students had some of the mysteries which surround signature members revealed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Babysitting Avery

September 4th to 6th, 2010
We had the joy of having Avery stay at our house for a few days. Her Mom and Dad brought her Friday evening and stayed over as well. They departed Saturday morning after Denise helped decorate the gift wrap on birthday presents.

Avery's nap caused us to miss the Lelek girls birthday party, but we were invited to go out afterward. It was actually even better to have the delightful family all to ourselves. Tess turned 5 and Rory would be 3 in a few days. Avery had a ball jumping on their trampoline, playing and :hanging out" with them.

On Sunday, Gran and Gramps took Avery to the swimming pool ...

... she didn't want to come out!

Thw weekend was full of fun things, some really good play times together and I even got to have some great snuggles. Come back soon, Avery!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

When You Have Too Much Art

Artists are asked all the time to display their paintings in offices and restaurants and although the establishment hopes they can reward them with sales, it isn't a usual outcome.

In the lobby of Linderman Law Offices

On Friday, September 3rd (the 2nd anniversary of us moving into our Claresholm house) Bill and I installed ten paintings at Linderman's Law Office, for several reasons ...

1. I had met Karen Linderman around town and liked her immediately.
2. When we sold our Canmore house (the deal closed last month) Karen was our lawyer. I was impressed with her advise and handling of the sale.
3. Karen's appreciation for art amazes me. It's as though she sees through the eyes of a painter, which she is not.
4. And then there is the fact that I happen to have too much art stored away in my basement. So, why not enhance someplace where it can be seen?

In the boardroom

So, if you're in the area, please stop in and see my new, mini gallery at ...
Linderman Law Office
4916 - 2nd Street West
Claresholm, Alberta
(403) 625-2880

Just as an aside, a couple of decades ago, we met Karen's husband, Keith, before he was married to Karen. Keith is a Fish and Wildlife Officer who once worked in Kananaskis Country when and where Bill was a Park Ranger. More reinforcement that it really is a small world after all.