Monday, May 7, 2018

Painting With Patti

February 5th, 2018

When we moved back to Canmore, in August 2017, we secured a sweet townhouse in the complex of my dreams, but here I don't have a proper studio. Although I've painted at our kitchen table, I was pleased when Patti Dyment responded favourably to my request for a painting date at her place. Three days a week her large, well lit, open concept kitchen, dining, living room becomes her studio. We had such a good time we've turned these dates into regular events. 

Working on The Towers at Mount Asiniboine, January 22nd
Patti at work on her Towers, January 22nd

Mostly it's pretty serious business, but there is always time for laughter ...

January 22nd

Sometimes we work on the same subject. Such was the case on this day when we both painted Anastasia, from an image off an online paint-the-model photo website ...

February 12th
February 12th

That day I came home and worked on her too-small head, and more, for a further four hours.

She still isn't finished!

With the cradled panels we'd covered, using pretty scrapbooking papers, we launched into the following ...

February 26th, Patti at work on a portrait
Patti's gorgeous portrait
My iris

Patti had the brilliant idea to cover panels with old typographical maps. She brought some from home and since then Bill has coughed up several duplicate maps and donated them to our cause.

March 4th in our Dungeon - the perfect place for this kind of panel preparation

The very next day we were on a roll, both of us finished one painting, so we started another, on the papered panels ...

Patti's magnificent raven, March 5th
My bobcat, March 5th

Next, we both painted a bighorn ram portrait. Neither of us finished the second painting.

March 5th
March 5th
My bighorn

When Bill and I returned, from our month in the Philippines, Patti and I resumed our painting dates. Here we both worked on Bow Lake ...

April 22nd
April 22nd

Although the first paintings weren't finished, we moved on to begin another and worked on different images. By this time of day the sun had moved around to where it was pouring its brilliance in through the skylight. Here we are shifting around the room to escape being directly in the spotlight ...

Patti working on Ha Ling  
I opted to paint Quarry Lake

Now our task is to finish all these starts!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Christmas 2017

I was hoping to get this post out before Valentine's Day, close but ...

We're very fortunate to always spend Christmas with the Scammells. For the past decade we've taken turns hosting the holiday. Last year, when I needed it most, we had the pleasure of being pampered at their home. This past holiday season, our first back in Canmore, we were hosts. I managed well, but certainly accepted help in that last minute crunch of getting the feast to the table.

After the feast, Christmas night

Meanwhile in Manila ...

The Koebel's Christmas family portrait
Amira (6) and Everett (2)

With the wood stoved removed we were able to put up the big tree ...

Avery decorated the tree pretty much single handedly

On Christmas Eve the reading of the old, pop-up Night Before Christmas is a long standing tradition in our family.

Larry and the crazy turkey hat with Denise and Avery reading The Book
Avery trying to guess what's inside the biggest gift on Christmas morning
Hats play a big part in our Christmas celebrations
See what I mean?
And then there is this one!
Looks good on Denise too
Nine and very sparkly in her new Christmas outfit

We opted to not make a gingerbread house in 2016 but our comeback in 2017 was pretty spectacular. Avery spent a few days with us while her parents moved the bulk of their possessions from Calgary to Saskatoon. Before her parents arrived she I got a head start making the dough pieces for the house plus a ton of cookies before her Mom and Dad joined us ...

Lots of industry here
An excessive amount of cookies!

I was all hands on the project Christmas Eve ...

Everyone worked hard at assembling and icing cookies

It's a feat to get all the pieces in place and keep them there until the icing sets
The finished product

The above photo was taken at the small gathering we hosted on Boxing Day at our condo association's club house. It was somewhat of send-off for the Scammells who moved to Saskatoon right after the New Year arrived.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Amira's 6th Birthday Painting

Where Fairies Play  2017 oil on canvas 12" x 16"

Sometimes our daughters give me direction, sometimes the children do and sometimes there is no direction at all. I don't recall asking Amira for input nor do I remember her giving me any feedback, so I was on my own to come up with something a six year old girl would like.

The start

I was pretty excited about how the powdered (pan) pastels looked when I used them over my 12" x 12" commercial tree stencil - on paper.  However, when I used the stencil and the pastel pigments on a prepared canvas they simply wouldn't take.  Not at all.

Laying in colour with acrylic on the canvas

There was to be no shortcut, I had to paint the tree. The castle is borrowed from the internet.  I flipped it because I had placed the tree on the left ...

Internet image of the Disney castle, Anaheim, CA

All coloured in in acrylic - now what?

Once again I was not satisfied with the look of the painting, in acrylic paint, so I switched to oil. You might say I retreated to my comfort zone ...

With a coat of oil paint
Here I extended the bank of trees, to the left, and refined the castle a bit more ...
... and added a couple more fairies

The tree was a challenge. I had difficulty convincing myself that it looked authentic. As the painting dragged on, for eight days, I eventually had to tell myself that it was a fantasy piece, how authentic did that tree have to be after all

The final touch was adding the row of blue cornflowers, from where the fairy on the left had plucked her flower. I chose to leave Tinker Bell out of the painting.

Where Fairies Play  2017 oil  on canvas 12" x 16"

The parcel, with this painting, her brother's painting and the entire Manila family's birthday and Christmas gifts did not make it in time for Christmas. It's arrival, in January, seemed a disappointment at first but it was actually bit of a blessing in that the family had a second Christmas while Bill and I, here in Canmore, were able to witness the gift opening in a FaceTime call.

January 3rd, 2018, next to momma Laura, Amira opens her birthday painting 
The lovely Amira with her painting, February 2nd, 2018

Happy sixth birthday Amira!

Amira's official 6th birthday photo shoot. Her actual birthday is December 9th

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Everett's 2nd Birthday Painting

The Royal Hudson and The Three Sisters (Canmore) 2017 acrylic on cradled panel 13" x 18"

He's all over trains these days, so for Everett's second birthday painting Laura suggested a train and mountains. The Royal Hudson immediately came to mind as I recalled the only time I've seen this train. It was in the interior of B.C., on our way home from the west coast. It was the morning after we'd sprung the clocks forward. Laura was exactly three months old. The time change had the effect of making me think the babe and I had slept through the night, but had we really?  I look so tired because I was!

Yours truly with the baby Laura, April 1st, 1978
The Royal Hudson train when we saw it, April 1st, 1978
The drawing
At work, September 30th, 2017
Day two

If this painting has the feel of a watercolour it's because I used the acrylics transparently and very thinlyIn my time, I've painted many mountain landscapes, a good deal of them in watercolour. I didn't expect to have any trouble with the mountain but I did wonder how I'd manage the train. Miraculously it fell easily off the end of my brush and the painting went from drawing to being finished in just three days.

I scored a Canadian stamp image from the Internet and was rather pleased with myself for changing its denomination to 2, for the little man's birthday, which is September 18th. It was Bill's suggestion to paint the track running right through the stamp which helped the stamp to become a part of the painting. Adding the stamp and the railway crossing sign makes it a bit of a mixed media piece.

Day three and The Royal Hudson and The Three Sisters (Canmore) is complete 

Initially all of us were bummed that the Manila parcel, with all their birthday and Christmas gifts, arrived after Christmas but as it turned out it was a good thing. They are 14 or 15 hours ahead of us so we would never have been able to watch them opening their gifts Christmas morning. On January 3rd, the family got a second Christmas and we able to view it all via FaceTime.

Everett opens his painting in Manila, January 3rd, 2018

Cutest little man with his painting, January 23rd, 2018