Monday, June 30, 2014

The Square Foot Show

The Grand Manan Art Gallery on Saturday, June 28, opened the First Annual "Square Foot Exhibit", which has been a great success.

The premise is simple: anyone can submit up to two pieces of art, upon submission of an entry fee of $25.  But every piece must be 12" by 12", framed or unframed.  All pieces would have the same selling price: $200, with the Gallery getting its percentage.  This was to be a fundraiser for the Gallery.

A total of 96 pieces were submitted by 57 artists; 27 were from Grand Manan, and 30 were from elsewhere.  There were different media used in the creations and a lot of imagination and creativity was evident on the walls of the gallery.

I haven't done as much painting recently as I should, but I really wanted to be part of this show, so I picked up a couple of 12" x 12" canvases.  I decided that the subjects needed to be simple for this format  So I painted a "Gull Soaring" for one  of my pieces:

For the other, I painted a simple subject: a colourful "Lobster Buoy" on the open sea:

A large crowd came in for the opening night, and everyone had a grand time walking around looking at all the pieces on the walls.  To add interest, each person there was given a ballot and asked to chose their three favorite pieces and write them down in order of preference and put the ballot in the box.

I know it was a difficult decision trying to figure out which ones to choose.  (I didn't think it would be right to choose my own, so I avoided them and pondered my choices).

Anyway, Last evening I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from David Ogilvie (the organizer of the show) to tell me that the "Lobster Buoy" was voted #2 for the show.

I told David, that one of his submissions had actually been my first choice for its brilliant colours and textures.  All in all, this was a great idea, and kudos to David for organizing it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Whale Breaching

I haven't been painting for a while, but after watching some whales perform out in the Bay of Fundy off Grand Manan, I thought I should try painting a whale breaching. So over the last several weeks, I have been working on this painting, finally put finishing touches on it this morning.

I had taken lots of pictures of these amazing performances and selected one to help me get what it should look like.  But having photos wasn't quite enough for me to be sure of what I was painting, so I looked up several sources on humpback whale anatomy.  That way I could emphasize the features a little to be faithful to what the whale looks like.

When a whale breaches, jumps out of the water, it makes a huge splash. It is an awesome display of power to propel such an enormous mass out of the water; quite exhilerating really.  And I expect the whale feels pretty good too, showing off that kind of power.  So it was quite a challenge to paint the spray sparkling as it slides off the whale and explodes off its fins.

These pictures were taken with the painting right on my easel, before the paint is even dry.  I hope sometime soon to get good light conditions to be able to make prints of this painting to be available for people who would like a print of such a display of natural power.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fairway Buoy

Last week I did an oil painting of a fairway buoy out at sea, to which I have given the unimaginative title "Fairway Buoy":

I enjoy painting the sea, so I had fun with this, which is mostly sea, except for the red and white fairway buoy.  I would have liked to have painted the buoy entirely red so that it would stand out better, but no; Transport Canada says it is supposed to be red and white, so I painted the buoy looking at the red side.

Fairway buoys are found off the entrances to harbours, and can be passed safely on either side.  Being located well off from a harbour, fairway buoys encounter a lot of heavy sea in bad weather.  My fairway buoy is contentedly cresting on a swell.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Driftwood Frame

Quite often broken lobster pound slats that have drifted about the Bay, wash ashore in our cove. I hadn't paid much attention to them, but there are always possibilities.

My recent painting of a red lobster buoy in open ocean is an odd size, so a driftwood lobster pound slat seemed like a good candidate for framing the painting.

So I carefully cut out sections avoiding nail holes, mitred the corners and rabbetted a place to secure the painting, and viola! A Driftwood Frame.

The framed original painting will be for sale at my booth at the Rotary Community Market tomorrow, along with a few other originals and a whole lot of prints, map posters and note cards. See you there!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Oil painting of open sea

Well, today I did my first oil painting in about 30 years.  I have been thinking about trying oils again after being reminded of it by seeing an image of my oil painting "Dory Memories", painted about 30 years ago.  I have been mostly working in acrylics, quicker drying, perhaps a little more forgiving.

But oil paint has a richness to its colour and texture you can't get with acrylic.  So I went to Luke's store "Endeavours" in Fredericton (great store for art supplies, by the way) and picked up some water-soluble oil paints, which are also almost odourless (another problem with regular oil paints).

Since I hadn't done this for so long, I decided my first oil should be a small canvas to try it out, just 11" x 14".  So what to paint? Well, for me it had to be ocean, and what better to paint that open ocean: 

Since it is oil paint, I expect it will take days to dry, so I photgraphed it on the easel:

I hope to make some prints of this too, if it seems that people like it.  As far as the buoy goes, I have no idea whose mark it is, or even if it is a local mark, but the colours worked for me in the picture:

Perhaps the richness of colour and testure will convince me to spend more time working in oils once again:

I enjoyed this return to oils; perhaps I will do some more soon

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Sculling the dory"

This framed print is a reproduction of a painting I just completed, "Sculling the Dory", an art not as common now, with outboard motors being used to propel a dory

This painting depicts a dory being used by weir fishermen to tend a Grand Manan herring weir. 

The two men in the dory are going into a herring weir, to make sure the fish are still inside and see how many are there.

Here, the dory is being manoeuvred into the weir between nets hung on the weir poles and the “drop”, a net across the mouth of the weir to hold the fish inside the weir.  

The fisherman with the oar is “sculling” the dory, working the oar back and forth, twisting it each way so that it cuts through the water like a propeller blade and pushes the dory forward.  The stern of the dory has a notch in it that acts as an oarlock for sculling.  "Sculling" allows a dory to be propelled in tight quarters where there is not room enough to spread oars to row.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dory Memories

About thirty years ago I did an oil painting of a dory on the back of Grand Manan Island.  I was quite pleased with how it turned out, and it wasn't long before it was sold and off to a new home in Ontario.

Well, recently the owner kindly made the image available for me to make prints of the painting, to be able to share it with others who, I hope, will like it as much as I do.

The whole painting is intended to convey the grand peacefulness of the back of Grand Manan Island, with cliffs in the background in softer colours.

The water has a light ripple, which dances with reflected colours.

And of course, the old man rowing his dory is deep in thought, drinking in the grandeur of the cliffs and delighting in the solitude; the only sound being the gentle splash of his oars dipping softly into the water and the soft creak of the oars in the thole pins.