Sunday, June 26, 2011

Painting and Camping

Fiesta Iris   unframed oil 5" x 7"   $100.   SOLD

You're likely aware, primarily through my continual complaining, about how wet (and cold) our spring has been.  So, as soon as we get a window of fine weather off we go R-Podding.  There was one such window last week.  We hitched up and went south west, for two nights, to one of our favourite places; Beaver Mines Lake.

I'm lured by the beauty there which includes my new favourite mountain and Bill is drawn by the fishing.  He goes out on the lake morning, afternoon and evening.

When I accompany him I get to gawk at Table Mountain

Sometimes when I don't go with him I paint. 

I had started Fiesta Iris a couple of weeks ago and thought this would be a good time to finish it.  When it was done, I laced into another, seen below, which I didn't finish ...

And then, as quickly as the window opened, it closed.  Under a threatening sky, on the morning of June 23rd, we packed up and came home.  And home is just a little more than an hour away from Beaver Mines.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Out of the Fire

Hot pots out of the kiln ignite newspaper in the pit

In our spring of rain, the sun shone on June 12th for Bertine's annual pottery class firing of primitive, horse hair and raku pieces.  Students are anxious to see how their creations finally turn out and what with all that fire, it's a guaranteed high energy event.  Below, Mike (who gets the sweltering, dirty job of loading and unloading the kilns) takes vessels to Bertine and Jenn who lay horse hair on them while they're hot.

The Quonset is a hub of activity inside ... 
... and out!

For primitive firing, pots are placed in barrels with burning wood, sawdust and other weird stuff like food scraps.  They're left to slow cook all day; when they're done so are we and it's time for beverages and feasting!

My six pears and two pots

Inspired by my raku pieces from out-of-the-fires last spring I only made raku pottery this year.  And although I used the same glazes, the clay was different and therefore so too were the results.  I had hoped for a copper metallic finish but the Fire God obviously had other ideas!  Now to find twigs to use as stems.  And I will polish them.  I promise! 

To see the photo essay and the other types of firings please click on this link:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Painting in the Living Room

... or as Avery would say; the Linen Room.

After all, painting is portable

As much as I like The Anne Frank Room I have no desire to be in the dungeon on a spring or summer day.  I might not have painted indoors at all yesterday except that it was overcast and gloomy (until much later).  So, I set up in the living room and happily worked with only natural light on my subject and to see with.  It made for a lovely afternoon.

Last fall I painted several 6x6s of crab apples which I had clipped from the trees down the street.  Right now these trees are an amazing spectacle, glorious in full bloom.  Every time I pass them I swear the blossoms all whisper "pick me, paint me!"  I could resist no longer.  Look at how completely relaxed the little bough is reclining next to my thrift store pitcher.  I'm sure the flowers were as happy with their stem in a water-filled florist vial as I was when the glass of wine was delivered.    

Crab Apple Pink   unframed oil   6x6   $100. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Glazed Pears

Yesterday, I went to the pottery studio and glazed my precious pears plus these two pots.  I'm planning to give the pears stick stems after the raku firing which happens this coming Sunday.  Pray that they don't blow up in the kiln!

Teacher Bertine figures I used rainbow and copper glazes on the bowl I made last year.  Don't you just love the names rainbow and copper?  If she is right (and I really hope she is) then my pears should come out looking like the finished bowl in the photo above ... but there are no guarantees in raku firings. Wish me and the little babes luck!

To refresh your memory of the process behind the pears please click here:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Alberta Badlands

Exquisite light at sundown, May 31st, 2011

A week ago today we were camping with Don and Ann at Dinosaur Provincial Park, near Brooks, Alberta.  It was our third visit and everywhere I was tripping over familiar hoodoos and memories.  Titles of oils and watercolours, painted long ago, came tumbling out of my mouth.  And all over again I found myself completely fascinated by the strange beauty of this World Heritage Site.  Our first visit was in September 1993 and it was quickly followed by a second trip in April 1994 because I was on a bender to paint this wild, barren, lunar landscape. 

Me, Bill and a favourite hoodoo behind the Visitor Centre

If you click on the above link it will take you to the photo essay I compiled of our recent time there in which I integrated some of my paintings. 

I came home consumed with the desire to really remember that time.  So I dug out photos from the early trips and revisited the artwork as a result of them.  I fished out painting slides, learned how to scan them and made a complete digital record of the collection.  It was a deeply satisfing experience.  I invite you to click on the following link to know the details behind the series, the exhibitions and to see all of my badlands paintings:

May these thumbnails whet your appetite ... 

New Image Gallery, Calgary AlbertaDinosaur DuskDinosaur Fantasy ParkSeptember Alluvium 16x12Nature's RustBadlands Trail Head
Layers of TimeEroded SculptureRainbow in the Shade, Drumheller, AlbertaStone Mushrooms, Drumheller, AlbertaPhred the Camel Wears a Bentonite SkirtFeel the Stillness
Where the World Becomes a Wonderland 24x36Strata Cake, Strata Cake