Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February's leave taking

Even with the sun out yesterday, it got cold enough for my tubes of paint to get very stiff, not frozen mind you but still… 
As for my hands I managed with a pair of striped, half woolen gloves over latex ones – it’s a pleasure to get moderately filthy during these exercises. The good news is that there was practically no head wind and next week it promises to be warmer,  7 celsius, alsmost downright balmy.

Study of beech tree in Ancaster - oil - 16"x12"

Monday, February 27, 2012

On the floor

Three reclining studies, two from this month on Strathmore - charcoal and pastel and one from last November at Sherman Ave on cartridge.
click to enlarge

Friday, February 24, 2012

Still waiting

So nu?  Where are the 10 to 20 cm of snow that the weather channel cautioned about overnight that would clog our streets this morning. When I awoke this morning all I could see was rain. One doesn’t exactly see rain in the same way as one does snow. It doesn’t quite register in the same way. Visually it wasn’t what I was looking forward to.

 pastel and graphite on watercolour paper 18"x 24"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mixed precipitation

And the odd mixed feeling to go with it. It didn’t hold off,  snow turning into rain – but I went anyway. Lovely snow – this is Canada after all. Moreover,  I found an alcove and didn’t need to use my umbrella. There was also a chair and table, two chairs actually. Comfy  like a five star hotel really with a view but no bathroom so I checked out after an hour and a half.

Catholic retreat - Mont St. Mary, Ancaster 
oil on paper - 16"x10"

as above, oil and pastel on paper - 16"x12"

Friday, February 17, 2012


Years ago my mother wrote in a poem that winter is more mind than snow – but this winter it’s hardly even that – the snow seems to vanish before it even makes an appearance. Fleeting - hardly a trace of the snowfall from last weekend.  We were lucky to enjoy the stuff while it lasted, last Tuesday, Valentine's day.

 Part of a cottage at a Catholic retreat - Wilson St., Ancaster 
pastel on watercolour paper - 9½ x 14½

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


There was a snowfall yesterday, very fine, light snow but steady – I knew that if I worked outside for longer than a few minutes – the snow would make a mess of my materials. On the way to the catholic retreat in Ancaster, therefore,  I stopped at Curry’s and bought a wonderful white umbrella to clamp onto my easel.  To position it was a little more  challenging and awkward than sharpening a pencil. Cathy Gibbon, a brilliant artist who heads our group, helped me with that – so that I wasn’t constantly ducking my head or banging it.

pastel, charcoal 9"x14"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Working over

I painted over a seated figure from mid fall, 2011. I settled on a photo reference from an old magazine and used that to expunge the image I felt would never work. It was the reproduction of an illustration probably from the 1940’s, but I’m not sure who the artist was. Beforehand I sanded the painting of the seated figure as much as I thought necessary. Then there was some frustration that followed, because I was only working from a magazine photo and not from life. 

oil on pre gessoed panel 12"x16"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Standing, leaning

Last Sunday there were a few 20 minute poses and several rapid gesture poses, a few of which I attempted to consolidate, combining, with some of the gestures, two to a page in order to set up ideas for 
a composition.

charcoal on manilla 18"x24" -click to enlarge

Friday, February 3, 2012


He touched a chord in me, the young clerk at Goodness Me where I buy my sesame seeds, etc.
As I was paying with interac I asked him how old he was. “Twenty one.
“Then you probably don’t remember a time when we didn’t use plastic and scanned everything, I asked. He looked thoughtful. He would in fact have preferred the old way, in fact he owned neither a computer nor a cell phone. He preferred to write letters the old fashioned way and to talk to the people around him, locally,  in person.  

wintery field 2008 - pastel 15"x20"