Wetlands Study

Living near the Grand River has given me an appreciation of the beauty and serenity of the wetlands and all the wonderful species that rely on the wetlands. The reference picture could be anywhere but it reminded me of this area and I loved the evergreen trees since they have so much character. I was growing tired of dominantly blue skies, so I painted this one mainly a pretty shimmery pink which didn’t translate through the camera so well, neither did the trees. Cameras and artwork just don’t always cooperate with each other so well. This was meant to be a quick study using a new surface that I created from Colorfix primer on Canson Board, and have to say that I’m very happy that the container is now gone and only three more Colorfix surfaces left to deal with before I can say a final ‘so long’ to this surface. I’ll be very happy to return to Wallis and Uart for my pastel surfaces. I used my usual Unison and Ludwig combination of pastels.

Wetlands Study

Wetlands Study, Pastel on Board, 9×12″

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The Green Walk

I think it’s funny how artists always say that it’s bad to use too much green in landscape paintings and yet green is one of Nature’s dominate colors;  seemingly, the color of life. It’s is also one of my favorites (perhaps it’s the gardener in me) therefore I decided to break with conventional wisdom and paint a landscape using green as the dominate theme. Sometimes you just need to do things the way you want since art begins with the artists and it is an expression of those artistic desires. I worked from a picture that I had taken near the Grand River in late spring before the terribly dry summer really kicked in so perhaps this is an expression of what summer needed to be instead of what we got.

I used Terry Ludwig and Unison Pastel on Wallis Belgium Mist paper.

Click to Enlarge

The Green Walk, Soft Pastel on Wallis Paper, 18×12”

The Old River Tree

It’s been awhile since my last post I see…guess this means that it  has been summer break time…or at least that’s my excuse. However, I’ve been busy at the pastel easel and have completed some new work including this one.

We decided to stop along the Grand River in Cayuga, Ontario on our way back from delivering some work to the gallery, so I took the opportunity to snap a few shots of the river for reference images. I loved how the gnarled willow tree was growing over the river like an old woman stretching after waking from a long nap. The bark was deeply creviced and the leaves and branches allowed the light to travel through creating a lace-like appearance. The sky was partly overcast lending a silvery appearance to the still waters of the Grand which is something I hope that I’ve managed to capture in this painting.

I used mostly Ludwig’s with a few Unison’s on Belgium Mist Wallis paper. For the darker tree trunk and branches I  used the lovely warm brown pastel BE#6 that came with the Unisons Landscape Set of 72, it is the most wonderful rich velvety brown a pastel artist could ever want.

The Old River Tree

The Old River Tree 12×18″ Pastel on Wallis Paper

I’ll post my newer work over the next couple weeks.

Late Afternoon at the Grand River

Another trip to the Grand River with my camera and several less than impressive photo’s later and I managed to get something I could crop into submission to create a somewhat decent reference photo.

The original picture:

Grand River, Dunnville, Ontario

Grand River

The Cropped Version:

Grand River, Dunnville, Ontario, Canada

Grand River Cropped

Soft Pastel Landscape, Grand River Ontario

Late Afternoon at the Grand River

And my final pastel painting. I changed the basic shapes of the shrubs to make them more abstract and I also simplified the trees so it was a little less busy and moved the shore line to make the line more interesting and musical.  Once happy with the layout, I sketched the landscape in with hard pastels/pencils then blocked in the basic masses, followed by the more time consuming details.  My materials included Faber-Castel Pastel Pencils, Nu-Pastels (hard), Unison and Terry Ludwig Soft Pastels on Wallis paper which has become my favourite pastel surface.

>Grand River Gallery

>

I wanted to share my latest bit of news, I have been accepted into my first gallery since picking up the art again. The Grand River Gallery is located in Caledonia, Southern Ontario, Canada, and is a lovely place to enjoy viewing beautiful work by several talented local artists. The owner, Rene Ariens accepted my pastel Woodland Path and my orchid portrait Lady Rothschild as part of his collection for the next few months. Be sure to drop by the gallery if you’re in the area.
The website: Grand River Gallery
Woodland  Path

Woodland Path

Lady Slipper Orchid Portrait

Paph Lady Rothschild

 

>Springtime Along the Grand

One of those ideal spring days arrived and I had the opportunity to take several photographs of the Grand River. After sorting through my less than wonderful assortment of pictures I decided to settle on one in particular showing the bridge and a few buildings along the opposite shore.  I played around with the composition and finally decided that I didn’t want any man-made structures involved so this doesn’t act as a correct interpretation of the local, but I prefer my work to have little or no presence of human habitation.  However, mostly I just liked the simplified version, the bridge and buildings just made things too busy.

The original image:
Grand River

Grand River

 My Interpretation:
Late Afternoon at the Grand River

Springtime Along the Grand River

>River Sunrise

With the arrival of the nice spring weather I decided that it was time to go for a drive along the Grand River here in Dunnville, and felt inspired to recreate a few scenes based on my love for this area. I’ve lived in this small rural community since I was five years old. When I picked up art again nearly two years ago, l wanted to paint the river but didn’t get to the job right away due to the many distractions of new found artistic inspiration. Sometimes a person just needs to slow down and enjoy what they have right under their nose. There are many tributaries that lead into the Grand along with large expanses of valuable marshland which provides a home to many of our wonderful Carolinian species. Living close as I do to the river I have the good fortune to see many of the birds and plants that are indigenous to this area and hope that I’ve captured a sense of these things without literally including them in the painting.
My interpretation of my reference photo, which looked like very early spring, involves warming things up a little, hopefully without losing the overall calming atmosphere on the river and wetlands. I also didn’t want to add as much detail to this painting, preferring the smoother and blended techniques to communicate the peaceful scene.

River Sunrise

River Sunrise