Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Playing With Sharlene

Sharlene and I have known each other since 1976. We share a long personal history of synchronised tastes and art styles. Sometimes, with our earlier work, I can't tell who painted what without checking our signatures; they  themselves are similar; Saltiel, Stusnov. When we were young mothers, living closer to one another than we do now, we made art together. In recent times there have been only a couple of opportunities to paint side by side; in Beacon Hill Park (2007) and on Gabriola Island (2010).
In Sharlene's studio - happy to be creating together again  
Bill and I are spending February in Victoria, British Columbia. He is completely adept at entertaining himself playing tennis (yes, he's found a geezer group here to play with) photographing, scouring antique, book and other shops which gives me ample time to play with Sharlene in and out of her studio. She, and her husband Ray, have been pulling out all the stops extending their remarkable hospitality, entertaining, feeding and watering us!
Sharlene trying on an abstract style

The efforts of our first day - I'd started three before leaving home

Sharlene takes over on the Door

Sharlenes's delightful background before she handed it off to me

Day two

Sharlene continued in acrylics

I laced into the portrait using oils
Unexcited about how work our was progressing (above is how we left those two pieces) we allowed ourselves to be distracted. We went shopping for art supplies and mixed media toys. And now that the weather has turned, from grey and gloomy to glorious, the outdoors beckons ...

Historic Pendray House, home of the Coast Collective on the shore of the Esquimalt Lagoon  
Magnificent arbutus trees on Yellow Point, Vancouver Island
Sharlene and I may or may not get back to those collaborative paintings or her studio this month. We're not terribly bothered about it. We're secure in the knowledge that the future holds many more opportunities for us to work together!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Skimmerhorn Grapes

Skimmerhorn Grapes   2015 oil 24" x 18"

Two weeks ago this grape painting was just a concept, a belated, idle promise. When I finally set aside a block of time to make it a reality I invited Judy Dahl to paint along with me. I've got to hand it to her for being brave in biting off an unfamiliar subject on such a large scale. Judy turned up every day that I spent on this painting, to work hard and very diligently on her "twin piece".

With Judy at the Linderman Law Art Room 

There are a multitude of ways to begin a painting. For each work, I let The Muse dictate the approach and this time she said "Start with an un-tinted (white) canvas and paint your drawing with burnt umber."  I find it best to establish the darkest darks and lightest lights, then wash in the mid-tones using paint thinned with odour-less thinner.

For this image I drew from two different photos I'd taken one October afternoon at the gorgeous Skimmerhorn Winery in Creston, B.C.

Skimmerhorn Grapes at the end of day one

With the composition established and because burnt umber is a fast drying pigment we were able able to proceed in colour the very next day.

Conclusion of day two

After the first day of "colouring it in" it tends to bog down to where it may not be easy to see the progression, but below are the subsequent days ...

Conclusion of day three

Conclusion of day four

Firstly, I'm blessed to know the satisfaction of painting, period, but then when I'm so fortunate to be on the receiving end of immense gratitude, it doubles my pleasure and joy.

On January 28th, I finally delivered on my promise ...

Skimmerhorn Grapes lives at Debie and Dean's house now

I am no stranger to painting grapes, they are a theme I return to again and again. Anywhere in the world, I chase down autumn vineyards to photograph plump, ripe specimens hanging heavily on the vines. From my archives here are a few other paintings that you may be interested in seeing.

The Noble Vine 2003 oil 18" x 24"

Grapes Over a Doorway in Gault, France   2004 oil 24" x 14"

Jewels of Provence   2004 oil 18" x 24"