Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quarry Lake

Quarry Lake   oil   18" x 24"
Our wedding gift to Samatha Peris and Evan Koebel married here
August 27th, 2011

It was a wedding of beauty and the gift of the Gods was the perfect weather.  The photographer has compiled an exceptional slide show which you can view here:

To see my own take on the event; the view from our Marshall family perspective, click here:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Miniature Flower Paintings

I've been incubating a post on this topic for a very long time. Recently the inspiration for it came as the result of receiving an email from a gal named Shelly which included images of six, different, little flower paintings that her mother gave to her. She wrote: "I have always loved these pieces, they have been hanging in my parent's house since they were purchased".

Varnishing a number of finished flower paintings, in the staff house at The Banff Park East Gate, March 1975

The memory of how I actually conceived the notion and then embarked on this collection is lost in time. It may have been the result of finding (in 1973) cute 4" x 5" frames at the Calgary Hudson's Bay Company store and then figuring out what to put in them. For the background, using a roller, I applied a blended a gradation of raw umber and white oil paint on small masonite panels. Once the background dried the flowers were painted on, also in oil.

I first sold these floral paintings at Norrell's Art Gallery, in Calgary, and at the Tamarack Gallery in Banff. Later, the Moriane Lake Lodge gift shop became a very viable outlet, but it was Rundle Photo Shop, Banff, that sold the majority of them. Chuck Hester, then manager of Rundle Photo, became a tremendous supporter of my art and a life long friend. Back then you could purchase one of these paintings, framed, for $15. I tracked down the company who supplied the frames to The Bay. Oxford Picture Frame Company, Toronto, was willing to wholesale these frames to me at $2 each. The shop's commission was 1/3 meaning that for each one sold I received $10. Actually, $8 when I factored in the cost of the frame. Sales were brisk as folks happily collected multiples.

Wild Rose - one of the first paintings in the series   SOLD

It took me about one hour to paint one on the dried background. I could paint several a day. My record was eight in a day. Speaking of records, I'm still annoyed with myself for throwing out the sheets on which I kept track of them all. So, I can't say just how many different wild flowers I included in the collection, but I'll guess at about a dozen.

Bluebells   SOLD

With the records gone, I'll also never know exactly how many wild roses or wood lilies I painted but I'm certain that these two flowers numbered first and second, respectively. While painting larger pieces of other imagery (mountains and wildlife) I kept up production of the flower paintings for five years. During that time I also bore and delivered our two daughters.

Columbine   SOLD

When I dreamed I was eating a wood lily I knew it was time to stop. Bill wondered if maybe I couldn't just make it to 750? The answer was resounding "No". I quit at 735. By this time the retail price had crept up to $30. each, but still it was time for the gig to be over. In my wildest dreams all 735 of them are reunited in a single room ... and solidly paper one wall!

Wood Lily - the only one I numbered and kept   NFS

When I said (at the beginning of 2010) that I had joined the "Daily Painting" movement ... I had really already been there. I was just coming full circle. One of the joys of all of this is being able to show you how my painting has evolved. This is what a small lily painting, I create today, looks like ...

Saffron Lily   2011 oil   5" x 7"   SOLD

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Wedding Gift

Working on Quarry Lake ... oil 18" x24"

The wedding is on Saturday and so I thought I'd best finish the gift.  Although it has been somewhat cloudy today it was so warm that I resumed work on it on our back deck.  May this be the weather that the marriage itself will enjoy, at the site portrayed. 

In this photo the mountain is fully finished and I'm working on the treed slopes.  The lake and the tree were completed indoors because I had to retreat to the cool Anne Frank Room when the thermometer hit 30C!  I'll show you the finished painting once it has been gifted.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Painting in the Play House

The fluorescent light fixture in The Anne Frank Room has died.  I have a call into the electrician, but I don't want to paint down there anyway, so I've set up shop in the play house.  It's not heated, nor does it have electricity.  I run an extension cord into it from the garage.  Bill calls it a garden shed and I suppose that's what it really is.  After all we do store garden furniture in it, during the winter.  But, the lawn mower is definitely not allowed in there.

The sign above the door reads ALICE'S WONDERLAND

Since I was a kid, I've wanted a play house and that's what I call it.  So there.

Although it's a long way from being finished, today I managed to get this 18" x 24" linen panel all coloured in.  It's a gift for a wedding we'll be attending, August 27th.  I asked the bride and groom for input and they provided photos of where the ceremony will take place.  At Quarry Lake, Canmore, with the beautiful back drop of the Lawrence Grassi Range and Ha Ling Peak, on the right.  The latter was formerly known as Chinaman's Peak, which is what this stubborn gal still calls it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Souvenirs; Round Three!

Golden Sundown available as a poster, an apron and a laptop skin!
(Original oil painting sold)

I have entrusted my badlands images to Erica Neumann and given her free reign to put them on whatever items she deems appropriate. 

Sentry Spirits available as a license plate!
(Original oil painting sold)

Illuminated Gold available as a charm bracelet and a coffee mug!
(Original oil painting sold)

Fresh out of art school my first job was designing and hand-cutting silk screens for t-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons, tea towels, and (are you ready?) souvenir pennants!  Does anyone even remember pennants?  If I can get down and be humble I will dig out, from the depths of my archives, some of these items and show you images in a future post, but don't hold your breath!

When I came on board Irwin Specialties (founded in 1926) it was a division of Irwin Toy.  Until today, I thought the company had disappeared off the Toronto scene all together, but no!  While I was looking for a little history for you I learned that they have reemerged as iToys!  You can read the story on their ABOUT US page at  Should you care to know more, please go here:

Irwins was my first incarnation as a souvenir artist.  In 1972, when we moved to Banff, I continued to work for them by mail while I was developing my own line of souvenir items:

And now here I am in round three ... I'm travelling in circles.  Crazy, fun, good circles.  Please allow me introduce you to Erica's artful merchandise at Flipping Art Gallery Gift Shop ...  Some cute gifts there folks!