Sunday 17 April 2016

Inspiring Image: Abstract Reality

“Japanese Lady With Fan”, George Henry (1858-1943)

Here’s a lovely painting that I’ve admired for years. What I most respond to in this piece is the wonderful marriage of abstract and realism. George Henry, a Scottish painter, masterfully designed a beautiful, rich canvas with varied colors and edges. For a relatively small painting, there is much to keep the viewer’s eye engaged, and the entire painting has a lovely decorative quality about it.

Quite magically, we begin to realize the head of a geisha has been placed right in the center of the image. Her head is turned away in a demure fashion that enhances the mystery and intrigue of her character. It is also a clever device to help the artist keep readily identifiable features of her face from taking away from the overall abstract quality.

Sunday 10 April 2016

From Behind The Easel: Dawning

“Dawning”, 24”x18”, oil on canvas

My daughter and I went for a hike around one of our favorite little lakes yesterday. As we enjoyed the cool, crisp morning air, I was delighted to find that my daughter had transformed into a fairy who happily toured me around her wooded home. She pointed out wonderful signs of spring growth and colorful changes to the lakeshore.

We saw a beaver dam and many freshly felled trees awaiting their place in the woven wall. She also spotted the young lily pads, tightly rolled below the surface of the water, about to emerge and unfurl before they blossom. My fairy guide said she can’t wait fly out and sit on the lily pads where she can talk to the frogs. Lucky her!

Saturday 19 March 2016

The Pensive Palette: A Touch Of Spring

“Touch of Spring”, 18”x24”, acrylic on board

As we begin to thaw from the winter chill, we look forward to longer days and the return of our feathered friends from holiday. I like to imagine nature is a great theatrical stage and the critters are the players. Birds are my favorite “actors” and always add a spark of life to a wilderness experience.  Here’s a little touch of spring for your viewing pleasure!

Saturday 23 January 2016

From Behind The Easel: Simile


“Simile," 21”x15,” acrylic on board

When I decided to paint a river otter, I wanted to capture the spirit of an animal that straddles both aquatic and terrestrial realms. As a mammal, the otter is most closely linked with other small land-based critters. But the otter is probably happiest in the water where it has evolved into a sleek, supple swimmer. I wanted to celebrate both sides of the otter.

The concept of the otter painting came from thinking of the otter’s complementary opposite worlds; land and water. With this is mind I decided to create a composition based on the Chinese yin and yang symbol. You can see the S shape divide between the water and rock, and the dark of the otter opposite the light, reflective water. The otter’s curved body and the bubbling water in the lower left help guide the eye around and back into the painting. I wanted the water itself to emulate the smooth, twisting nature of a swimming otter while the otter itself is at rest. This helps visually link the animal with its environment while maintaining an overall calm, almost zen-like feeling.