A House Portrait

It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.
Author Unknown

This house portrait was thoughtfully commissioned by a friend as a surprise Christmas gift for her mother after she had seen some of the urban sketching I’d done.

Their house, like many, has allot of sentiment as it was built by her parents more than 30 years ago to be the home to raise their family in and now, the next generation of grandchildren are finding comfort there as well.

House portraits preserve a moment in time -a first home, a family home, a home in a specific season. (pets can also be included in the house portrait.)

Do you have a home, business or building you would like a momento of? Perhaps even a gift to a client. You can email me or send a picture of your home via post and I can produce a hand-rendered 8″ x 10″ ink and watercolor portrait on watercolor paper or illustration board. Once the pictures and details are in hand -it takes approx. 2 weeks to complete the portrait. Please don’t hesitate to enquire!

House Portrait
House Portrait, Watercolour & Ink, 9″ x 12″

 

Amsterdam Vacation Redux

A visual recap of my Amsterdam vacation

The 3 days I spent in Amsterdam on vacation, commonly called “Venice of the North” where I found time to sketch as well as eat, drink & relax.

Thoughts that come to mind:

Sketch at YYJ, ballpoint pen, Moleskine journal
Sketch at YYJ, ballpoint pen, Moleskine journal
Waiting out a layover in the Calgary Airport
“From where I sit”, waiting out a layover in the Calgary Airport YYC.
Travel journal beginnings, ballpoint pen and collage.
Travel journal beginnings, ballpoint pen and collage.

 

Amsterdam Rush Hour
Amsterdam Rush Hour
Late night sketch, Concert Hotel, Amsterdam. Watercolour  ink, Moleskine journal.
Late night sketch, Concert Hotel, Amsterdam. Watercolour ink, Moleskine journal.
House of Bols
House of Bols Cocktail Museum, Hall of Taste to test your senses.

 

House of Bols, samples: 2 types of Genever, Passion fruit and Yogurt liqueur.
House of Bols, samples: 2 types of Genever, Passion fruit and Yogurt liqueur.
 Sketch on Van Baerstraat, Amsterdam. Watercolour  ink, Moleskine journal.
Sketch on Van Baerstraat, Amsterdam. Watercolour ink, Moleskine journal.
Museumplein Ice Skating, Amsterdam
Museumplein Ice Skating, infront of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Eurasian Magpie, Corvidae, Pica Pica. Watercolour  ink, Moleskine journal.
Eurasian Magpie, Corvidae, Pica Pica. Watercolour ink, Moleskine journal.
Reypanaer Cheese school, Amsterdam
Reypanaer Cheese school (with wine pairings), Amsterdam
Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses at twilight.
Amsterdam canal house sketch, mixed media.
Amsterdam canal house sketch, mixed media.
Amsterdam Light Sculpture
Floating light sculpture in the canal, Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses

 

Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses

Amsterdam canal house GIF

Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses

Fast, Slow and a Series

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An assortment of crows. All are acrylics except centre right which is watercolor on birch panel.

 

What can be learned by doing things really fast?  Or really slow? Or in a series?

Reiteration

Many artists painted have the same subject over and over, from different angles (Monet’s Waterlilies) and others have painted the subject repeatedly looking the same (Warhol’s Marilyn silkscreens) in an effort to show that even with endless amounts of reproduction where on the surface they appear the same, the small smears and clogs give an individuality to each piece. Even in my attempts to manually reproduce the same familiar image from memory, each time there would be variations to the theme. Some I liked and of course others not so much.

What I found is that each time I repeat a subject (such as a  bird) I become more aware of :

*the textures & highlights

*the shape & proportion

*the body language & movement

*seemingly subtle things such as the highlights of an eye can draw your attention

*the addition of a tiny prop like a cigarette can change the attitude

 

Speed

I hadn’t tried to give myself a time limit until I applied to compete in Art Battle, along with a few friends (Buddy System!).

My first reaction to the challenge was trepidation but the more I thought about it the old saying of “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” was lingering in the back of my mind.  That’s when I made the dive and sent in an application, only then to panic with my acceptance!

I needed a plan of action so our group, which we soon dubbed “the A-Team” (an attempt to take on the strength & ingenuity of these iconic characters) put into motion several practice sessions, complete with timers, distractions and loud music (we had to learn to block these things out).  We tried new images and old familiar ones to the point where it began to feel that our hands began to form a memory of their own for the twists and turns required, endeavoring to become more efficient in the movements each time. The results did surprise me at times and really made me consider whether some of the long drawn out hours necessarily paid off?

The day of the competition was loaded with adrenalin, unfamiliar materials and faces but I’m certainly glad I did it. Will I compete again? Only the future will tell but in the meantime I have a collection of birds in various sizes and shapes to contemplate and learn from 🙂

 

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Virtual Paintout Ireland, Dreaming of Grand Houses, Forests & Lakes.

Virtual Paintout Ireland

Muckross House, Virtual Paintout Ireland
Muckross House, Virtual Paintout Ireland
Muckross House

I participated in the Virtual Paintout Ireland this month. The area to focus on was County Kerry.

It  was very easy to “wander” the streets and pathways for hours through Google Streetview this month. It seemed every time you turned a corner that there was another beautiful lake, a fine old pub, stone cottages, and little churches overlooking another pastoral scene.

I chose another tall building, maybe I’m attracted to the distortion of the upward angle.

Muckross House is located in Ireland’s  Killarney National Park and was built in 1843  for the politician Henry Herbert.

Muckross House, County Kerry Ireland as seen through Google Streetview.
Muckross House, County Kerry Ireland as seen through Google Streetview.

If your curious to see a glimpse of how Muckross House appears in Streetview, click the link here


 

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Back to Sketchbook Skool Homework!

I enjoyed the first semester so much that I’ve signed on for another semester of homework at Sketchbook Skool (and no, I haven’t forgotten how to spell).  This term is called “Seeing”.

The online school was founded by Danny Gregory based in the United States & Koosje Koene from the Netherlands so for fun anything normally spelt with a C gets a K to give it some “Dutch Flair”.

The structure of the sketching and journalling courses the teach is: 6 different teachers in 6 weeks. I find this a great way to try different techniques and mediums while getting to know different teaching styles. The sketchbook homework is also simple enough to be done in a portable sized book.

In the first semester called “Beginnings”, I learned from some wonderful and inspiring artists:

Sepia India ink and watercolour on watercolor paper.
First assignment from Danny Gregory, Learning to see: Toast
Assignment from Danny Gregory
Assignment from Danny Gregory
Assignment from Koosje Koone
Assignment from Koosje Koone
Assignment from Prashant Miranda
Assignment from Prashant Miranda
Assignment from Jane Lafazio
Assignment from Jane Lafazio
Assignment from Roz Stendahl
Assignment from Roz Stendahl
Assignment from Tommy Kane
Assignment from Tommy Kane

Tommy Kane

Traveling the world -virtually!

 

Nils Ericson Central Train Station. Watercolor and sepia, Virtual Paintout
Nils Ericson Central Train Station. Watercolor and sepia ink on 90 lb. hot press paper.

Gothenburg, Sweden is on the other side of the world from me &  I have never had the pleasure of visiting there but it is this University town where my brother in law lives & works which is why this months Virtual Paintout Challenge caught my attention.

“A good traveller is one who knows how to travel with the mind.” -Michael Bassey-Johnson

A few months ago I found this particular painting challenge which Bill Guffey began in 2009. The idea intrigued me and I have been meaning to try it but this month location gave me the extra motivation to finally put pen and brush to paper.

The general concept of the Virtual Paintout challenge is to use Google Street View as source of inspiration and reference for painting and sketching. No matter where in the world you live, if you are lucky enough to have access to the Internet you can cruise the streets from the view point of a camera mounted on the roof of a Google car. While you certainly have plenty of urban scenes to choose from there are also rural landscapes,  people or animals to be discovered too.

For the last year I’ve been practicing my urban sketching locally so I thought I would be up to this challenge. Once I zoomed in on the locale selected what I came across was very intriguing.  I was cruising the streets,  peering into alleyways and parks,  glimpsing people having lunch in outdoor cafés,  passing cyclists and wondering “Are they going to work or school? “. Part of the test is deciding on an image and while you can submit more than one entry they all that you limit it to three per month.

Shall I do another or wait to see what neck of the woods Bill chooses next?

Check out Bill Guffey’s site. :

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P.S. I came across this article after I did my painting.  They’re so tempting I’m going to need to try some of them too!

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51904/16-amazing-places-visit-google-street-view

Mystery Art Show Revealed!

The Mystery Art Show is now over!

Quadra Island boat painting, art show
“Quadra Island boat” is ink & watercolour painting on wood cradle board, 10″ × 10″. SOLD

I’m happy to say that my painting “Quadra Island Boat” sold yesterday via Red Art Gallery! I’m to see it off to a happy new home.

I shallook forward to participating again in the future and meeting many more local artists. 

Is like to extend my thanks to Bob & Marion for hosting this fun event!