Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Plein Air Tuesdays: 2/6

The group had a wonderful day plein air painting at a farm called "Rideau Pines Farm" situated on Fourth Line Road, very close to the 416 highway and Brophy Road.

Rideau Pines Farm offers more than 9 varieties of strawberries and raspberries, including fall bearing plants. Today, the raspberries were being pruned by the farm workers and folks were showing up to pick the red currants which were plentiful.

The owners, the Vandenbergs, grow everything from pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, corn, and broccoli to potatoes, cauliflower, onions, garlic, honey... and much more!

This field that I painted had beautiful purple cabbage ready for the picking.

Plein Air #3

First location
I started the day by doing a bunch of quick sketches of things that caught my attention: the forked dirt road, the workers pruning the raspberry bushes and a bright red shed surrounded by pines.

Quick sketch of "Tree"

Quick sketches in my art journal
Quick sketch of David

David W. Jones gave us a great lesson on colour mixing - there were so many variations of green on the farm!

Colour mixing lesson with David Jones
Quick sketch of red shack

I thoroughly enjoyed painting at this location and, before leaving. I made sure to stop and purchase some of the great jam that they sell.

Ashton Naturals jams

"Rideau Pines Farm"

Plein air painters

Plein air painter

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Blessed Are The Weird People" Puzzle

My art work "Blessed Are The Weird People" was the featured 
"Daily Jigsaw" puzzle on June 27 at JigsawExplorer.com

Jigsaw Explorer: Blessed Are The Weird People
I used Internet Explorer to open the puzzle because of issues between 
Google Chrome and Microsoft Silverlight. 
It was lovely to see it on the opening page.

Once you have clicked on the puzzle you arrive at the direct link page https://www.jigsawexplorer.com/puzzles/weird-people-jigsaw-puzzle/

The puzzle had 108 pieces

It took me 17:10 minutes to complete the entire puzzle
and there was thunderous cheering and applause 
from the silhouetted folks at the bottom

Once the folks at the bottom disappear
full credit is given to me and Jigsaw Explorer also provides a link to my page

About Jigsaw Explorer

Jigsaw Explorer was created with the intent of providing jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts with a great selection of high quality, family friendly online jigsaw puzzles. We have thousands of hand picked puzzles available and new puzzles being added every day. Most of our jigsaw puzzle subjects are chosen from the photos of Flickr photographers who have either graciously made their photos available through Creative Commons licensing, or who have given explicit permission for their photo to be featured here. In return, we give credit and links to the photographers on both the puzzle pages and within the Jigsaw Explorer puzzle program. We hope you will use those links to visit the photographers’ pages and leave a comment on their photos if you are a Flickr member.


The website for Jigsaw Explorer is 

And you can find them on twitter at 

Urban Sketching Working Class Ottawa - Quinn's Row

Both buildings that I chose to sketch on Friday are located on Nepean St. at Kent in Ottawa.
Quinn's Row
ink sketch

255 Nepean St., Ottawa, Ont
Mixed media 30 minute sketch

I was surprised to find a old 1938 photograph of both of them (below) and the two buildings, 255 Nepean and Quinn's Row, haven't really changed that much at all in seventy-seven years.

On the left: 255 Nepean St. and Quinn's Row, Ottawa - 1938
Photo taken from same angle June 27, 2015

Quinn's Row

Quinn's Row is located in what was working class Ottawa and the present day Heritage Ottawa plaque on Quinn's Row reads: "A clssic and simple design in clapboard this row was built for Patrick Quinn and is the only surviving 19th century working class terrace in Centretown."

"This four-unit row house was owned by Patrick Connelly Quinn and likely housed some of the labourers hired to build nearby Saint Patrick’s Basilica.It is the only 19th-century, working-class row house to survive in Centretown. "

"The first record of housing on this site occurs between 1889 and 1890, but Quinn’s Row is styled after other 1870s homes. This raises the question, was this row house newly built on the site or moved from another site to this one? Many believe it is the latter."

"Patrick Quinn immigrated to Canada from Ireland as a very young man in the 1850s or 1860s. He ran his own construction business and owned a number of lots and houses in Centretown including his own home on Gloucester Street. "

"In the 1980s, the Centretown Citizens' Community Association was successful in obtaining a heritage designation for Quinn's Row."

Text Source: Capital Neighbourhoods: Quinn's Row
Source:Heritage Ottawa NewsletterJanuary-February 1986 Vol.14 No. 1 

Quinn's Row Photo

Quinn's Row
June 26, 2015

255 Nepean St. Photo

255 Nepean St.
June 26, 2015

Heritage Ottawa Archived Newsletters


Special thanks to "My Artworld" for featuring my tweet in their
paper.li "The Art Daily Part 4

Friday, June 26, 2015

FemArt Friday: Miriam Schapiro (1923–2015)

Miriam Schapiro, Canadian-born American painter and pioneer of feminist art, died June 20, 2015.

Miriam Schapiro (1923–2015)
Photo source: Hyperallergic
"Miriam Schapiro was born on November 15, 1923, in Toronto, Canada. Her artistic training began at age six when her father gave her weekly drawing assignments. She attended classes at the Museum of Modern Art and learned to draw from the nude model at age 14, when she attended Federal Art Project classes. She received both her undergraduate (1945) and graduate (1946, 1949) degrees in art from the University of Iowa, where she studied printmaking with Mauricio Lasansky. While at the university, Schapiro met and married fellow artist Paul Brach. They moved to New York in 1951, when Abstract Expressionism was exerting a powerful influence. Schapiro's Cubist-derived style was transformed by that influence, leading her into a series of painterly, calligraphic figural and landscape works. Known as one of the "second generation" Abstract Expressionists, she began to show at the Andre Emmerich Gallery in 1958. " (Source: Your Dictionary)

The “Shrine for Two Paint Tubes” 1962

Photo found at Brooklyn Museum

“Curtains” 1972, (Miriam's first femmage)

Curtains image found on Pinterest

Femmage: "An Invented Word"

Miriam began to layer “femmages,” a term she coined, as a “container for her feelings.” In these works she incorporated the female icons, the apron, doilies, curtains, hearts, the fans, the house and more.

From Melissa Meyer Studio

From Melissa Meyer Studio
Miriam Shapiro In Her Long Island StudioPhotographed by Gordon M. Grant for the New York Times




Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Plein Air Tuesdays: 1/6

Day 1 of 6 of plein air painting sessions and the weather was wet and damp again. The rain started early and later there were 50 km winds that had developed by lunch. Easels and canvases were falling all over but the group of nine persevered.

Rockliffe Pavillion (close-up)

The rain location again was the Rockliffe Park (which I have written about previously). I decided to locate myself in a corner of the pavillion and paint a view with a gentle, red  sloping hill, stately  pines and an interesting curved path.

I did a thumbnail sketch and decided to include the pavillion's concrete column and wooden roof as a frame for my composition.
The thumbnail sketch
The winds, rain and changing light created a challenge that I struggled to overcome and I grew more unhappy as the painting developed. The transparent palette that I chose was a mistake.

My easel (after two hours)
So I made a decision to rework it at home. I abandoned the transparent palette (except burnt umber) and used Ultramarine Blue PB29, Cadmium Yellow PY35, Cadmium Red Med PR108 and Titanium White.

I made a decision to only spend two hours on the remake which I ended up liking so much more than my original effort.

My two hour rework of the original plein air painting
 (with a different palette)

During our lunch break, David offered a demonstration and within one hour had created a brilliant painting of the iconic Rockcliffe pine tree.

Our plein air instructor David W. Jones
giving a lunch time demo
I am hoping that our next outing will be less challenging and that the weather will be more pleasant than the past two Tuesdays!

Update: July 8, 2015

David Jones generously shared the names of the oil colours on his palette:

  • Cerulean blue 
  • Cobalt blue 
  • Ultramarine blue 
  • Cadmium Yellow Middle/Medium 
  • Cadmium Orange 
  • Cadmium Red Middle 
  • Alizarin Crimson 
  • Sap or Chrome Green 
  • Viridian or Phthalo Green 
  • Yellow Ochre 
  • Titanium White
He purchases his oil paints from Stevenson's Paint, a Toronto company that produces "Artists Quality" paint at "Student Quality" prices. David has used them exclusively since 1978.

Here is their website: http://hwww.dlstevenson.ca/

Stevenson Paint

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ottawa Urban Sketchers

Really grateful to be urban sketching with this group of super talented Ottawa artists!

Ottawa Urban Sketchers June 2015

Ottawa alley sketch #1

Ottawa alley sketch

Ottawa alley sketch #2

Awesome Ottawa Artists:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

FemArt: 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art in Three Minutes

This is an old video uploaded to YouTube on April 2007 but so lovely that I though I would republish it today.

Set to  Bach's Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 performed by Yo-Yo Ma, this video was nominated as "Most Creative Video 2nd Annual YouTube Awards",

Phillip Scott Johnson uses 90 portraits of women from famous painters to seamlessly show their changing features as time elapsed. It was created using Abrosoft Fantamorph 



Friday, June 19, 2015

USk: Sketching Kits

It's Friday and there is so much going on in Ottawa this weekend: New Art Festival in the Glebe, Ottawa Jazz Festival, and Glowfair (etc) so I thought I would share a picture of my urban sketching (USk) kit that travels with me wherever I go.

A sketchbook, a pencil, an eraser, a sharpie, a compact set of watercolours, and a Pentel or Koi water brush is my basic urban sketching kit.

My minimal sketch kit today at Jazz Fest

If you "google" the phrase "urban sketching kit" you will see a wide assortment of kits ranging from the minimalist sketching kit (like mine) all the way to a full backpack loaded with a variety of materials.

Results from a google search for "Urban Sketching Kit"

I am a huge James Gurney fan and thought I would post him talking about his favourite urban sketching materials.

Watercolor Materials for Urban Sketching with James Gurney

Hope to post some of my sketches at the end of the weekend. Happy sketching.

Urban Sketching Links 

Urban Sketcher Tools 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Let's Do Some Summer Urban Sketching

There is a world wide community devoted to urban sketching . You can find urban sketchers on flickr and facebook and Twitter.

There are world wide sketchcrawl days and even an urban sketchers manifesto!

Urban Sketchers (USk) History

From the website:

"Urban Sketchers is the brainchild of Spanish-born illustrator and journalist Gabriel Campanario, a staff artist and blogger at The Seattle Times. After seeing an increasing number of people sharing their location drawings in the blogosphere, Campanario started a flickr group in November 2007 as a showcase of urban sketches. A year later, he decided to expand the flickr initiative with a by-invitation group blog where correspondents would commit to posting on a regular basis and also sharing the stories behind the sketches."

Gabriel Campanario,
the founder of Urban Sketchers and
author of The Art of Urban Sketching,

"In a short period of time, the Urban Sketchers blog and sister flickr group have become popular online outlets for people to share their location drawings. Thousands visit daily for inspiration or to travel vicariously through the visual dispatches from hundreds of contributors on six continents."

Nina Johansson is USK correspondent
and lives and works in Stockholm .

"Drawing a city isn't just capturing it on paper, it's really about getting to know it, to feel it, to make it your own," says Nina Johansson, a correspondent in Stockholm."

"To better serve this rapidly growing community, Campanario and other blog correspondents established Urban Sketchers as a nonprofit organization on December 6, 2009. The nonprofit aims to organize educational workshops and raise funds for artists' grants and scholarships."

Check out the urban sketchers FAQ here: http://www.urbansketchers.org/p/faq.html

Ottawa Urban Sketchers?

About one in every twelve Ontario artists resides in the City of Ottawa (4,600, or 8%). Those numbers represent folks who make their living from creating.

We know that EVERYONE is an artist. There are many more artists working at other jobs and finding time to do some art in between. With so many artists in Ottawa, wouldn't it be great if there was a community of urban sketchers?

There are Urban sketcher chapters in  Kitchener-WaterlooMontreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Wouldn't it be great to build a community here in Ottawa!

Sign Up for the
48th World Wide SketchCrawl 

If you live in the Ottawa area and love to sketch, consider signing up for the 48th World Wide SketchCrawl - July 25, 2015 - Ottawa