Sunday, April 10, 2016

Painting in Victoria

All will agree that there is no shortage of beauty in Victoria, especially in the springtime. For a plein air painter it's bursting with locations and subjects. The first place I wanted to return to paint at was Beacon Hill Park. In my mind's eye this tree looked for all the world like those in Autumn Hillside painted by Group of Seven artist, Franklin Carmichael.  Maybe not! 

February 25th, 2016

It proved to be a much larger challenge than I imagined possible. At the end of the two hours (I painted between 10 and noon) the light had changed so significantly that the tree was completely in shadow. I simply had to quit. 

A week or so later, in our vacation rental and armed with a photo of the scene, I took it on again working it further ...

My Carmichael tree 12" x 16" -  remains still mostly unresolved!

It wasn't always nice enough outdoors (yes I can be a fair weather painter) so some days my good buddy Sharlene and I painted in her studio. Bless her for letting me move in and take over half or more of her space.

Here Sharlene is developing a massive background while I start a painting featuring a cherry tree
 Cherry tree with blossoms just beginning to unfold, close up and personal  oil 12" x 16"

There is a group of painters in Victoria called the Al Frescoes. Every Friday morning any number of them trundle off to a prearranged location. On February 26th many folks painted strictly the sea and the sky, but this former mountain gal had to find some rock to anchor my painting ...

I was overwhelmed by the number who came out (around 30 artists) to Saxe Point Park, Esquimalt. At noon they assemble for 'show and tell' ...

Ken Faulks and the masses at the Al Frescoes 'show and tell'

I was amazed that I finished this one on site - SAXE POINT  oil 9" x 12"  (and yes I've yet to sign it)

The following Friday, March 4th, the Al Frescoes painted in Chinatown. While others chose street scenes and buildings, I opted to paint the dragon outside of the Mountain Equipment Coop.

In two and a half hours all I was able to finish was this umber drawing, painted on with a brush in oil ...

The non-red dragon oil 12" x 16"

Someday, maybe, I'll finish the painting so that it will have the red I was so keen to paint!

That same afternoon, after freezing my legs and feet to my very bones by standing on cold pavement in Chinatown, we were still on some kind of painting high, so we retreated to Sharlene's studio ...

You can see that we hardly have any fun at all working together
Afternoon results, another half baked painting, a peony in acrylic this time

Sharlene and I had one more studio day at her place on March 11th. This time we painted parrot tulips from life. You ought to have heard the complaining about how the blossoms opened and changed so much while we were painting them! I mean how dare they?

For my tulip painting Sharlene gave me a canvas on which she had already painted the background. It may be signed but I'm not convinced that this one is finished either ...

OPENING  oil on an acrylic background 12" x 12"

On March 15th, Sharlene and I both went Gelli plate printing in Brentwood bay at Arlene's studio. I've worked with Win making Gelli prints, but it's always fascinating to observe how another artist works in the same medium. Sharlene hadn't Gelli printed before and grasped the process like an A-student. I have to confess that I wasn't on my game that day and yet it was still a most pleasurable time.
Arlene and Sharlene. You try keeping their names straight, I often can't!

Yours truly pulling a Gelli plate print

There was one final painting day, March 19th. This one with and in the studio of Sharlene's friend, Marcela. Everyone worked away on their own creation. It pleased me that Marcela allowed me to work from a painting she had done which employed a new-to-me technique.

Happy painters in Marcela's studio

Marcela surrounded by her colourful oil paintings

The wild and wonderful oil painting above, unfinished as it may be, vibrates with exciting energy. It was a fine way for me to wind up the painting part of our six week stay in Victoria. Huge thanks to my painter pals for indulging me and making me feel so welcome.