Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Daily Painting In June

I am missing my weekly plein air painting group so I thought, in addition to my daily sketches, I would attempt to do a daily painting in June as a way of continuing to practice regularly.

I thought it would be useful to experiment with a new grey formula as part of today's daily painting as well.

I have some favourite "grey formulas" that I have blogged about before (in my "Plein Air Tuesday" blog post and my "My Colour Files: Hookers Green" blog post) but I wanted to try one that I found recently while going through some old manufacturers papers from Golden and Liquitex. (links below)

As an aside, if you haven't visited Golden's online acrylic colour mixer you are missing out on some fun! Do yourself a favour and visit the link here: http://www.goldenpaints.com/mixer

I chose a photograph that I took on the weekend of the boat "Credence" that was traveling through the Rideau canal in Ottawa because I wanted to practice water and it would work nicely with the colour scheme I had decided on

I have been doing my daily paintings on 6x6 Strathmore Acrylic paper linen finish 400 Series.

Below are a number of photos in sequence of the daily painting session. I really just wanted to play and was happy with each of these but decided later to pull out my new inks and see how they would look.

Number One
I actually loved number one (which was done in about one hour) and I could have stopped there but I really wanted to experiment with the water so I lightened the whole thing up to start again below.

Number Two
I thought, once I had lightened it, that it would be fun to add some ink details. I have bought two bottles of Liquitex acrylic ink and love playing with it using my dip pen.

The ink really helped me to define the two folks sitting on the back of the boat, the kayak tied up to the back of the boat, and the name "Credence" but, after I had inked, I really wanted to go back and intensify my colours and darken the waters up to the same levels as I had in umber one!

Number three

Number Four

The last result feels too overworked to me and so I am finished and do not plan to experiment any further. I think that the original captured the feel of the boat in the canal best?

There was something interesting about each one of the other three results as well and I'm not really sure which one I like best at the end of the day.

But the entire point of creating these daily paintings is to experiment and have fun and surprise myself and I certainly achieved all of that and more!


Friday, June 24, 2016

"Ottawa In Colour" Launch: Saturday June 25

Photo source: Kathy Normandin tweet

I feel so very fortunate to have been part of the "Ottawa In Colour" project which was the brainchild of Ottawa's very own (and incredibly talentedJason Cobill and Maxime Gauthier-Kwan and was made possible with support from the amazing "Awesome Ottawa"! (Awesome Foundation chapters distribute $1,000 awards every month to projects and their creators, no strings attached! Seriously!)

So grateful for Jason and Maxine
Photo source: Ottawa Metro news article
Meet the Artists at the Official Launch in Ottawa! 

The official launch takes place tomorrow, Saturday June 25 at four locations across Ottawa: 

Chapters Pinecrest
Coles Carlingwood Shopping Centre

Note: Activity for children! There will also be a fun kids colouring event taking place in front of the store at the same time of our launch. 
Chapters Rideau 
Chapters Gloucester 

Buy the Book! 

If you can't make it to the official launch tomorrow, but would love to buy the book, you can purchase it online or at one of eleven locations in Ottawa.

To buy online, follow this link: http://ottawaincolour.com/buy/

The book will be available for purchase at the following locations:

If you have any questions please feel free to contact info@ottawaincolour.com

"Ottawa In Colour" Links

Missing Last Summer's Group Art Adventures & Trying To Compensate

I miss my plein air group from last summer 2015
And I miss my "Alley Project" crew

It's June and I have to admit that I am really missing my plein air group from summer 2015
as well as last summer's "Ottawa Alley Project" sketching crew.

Bike-n-sketch study: Patterson Creek, Glebe, Ottawa
(two pages of Starthmore art journal; 100% cotton paper; watercolour and gouache)

It's well known that I love organized sketching (i.e. Ottawa Urban Sketchers which developed organically following the "Ottawa Alley Project" group) and group painting (i.e David Jones plein air group)  events. So far, this summer, I have had to decline participating in group activities like these for various reasons beyond my control.

To compensate, I have created some different types of solo activities for myself to keep my creative juices flowing., The two main activities that I have engaged in for inspiration are:
  • One hour solo bike-n-sketch outings
  • Painting from photos
One hour Bike-n-sketch
Bike-n-sketch - my one hour sketch June 22
Bike-n-sketch outings are so fun. I load my bike up with art supplies and head to a bike path along the Rideau canal and stop and sketch for one hour.

NO matter how filled my day is, I can almost always carve out one hour for myself to sit outside and sketch. This, I find, is a lot more challenging than the luxury of spending over eight hours at a lavender farm like last summer, because I must really get down to business quickly in one hour and quit (finished or not) and jump back on my bike to head home!

So far I have done the Mill on the Ottawa River; the tulips in Major Hill Park; the Rideau locks beside the Chateau Laurier and, most recently, the Patterson Creek in the Glebe.

Painting from photos

"Fox on the rocks"
acrylic (6x6) on Strathmore canvas paper
I have been painting from photos that I find online or photos that I have taken while walking my dog. I call some of these my "scouting pictures". I do a quick study from the photograph at home and then think about going back with my easel and acrylics later when time permits to do a plein air painting later.

The small "Fox on the rocks" study (above) that I did came quite naturally after being inspired by Ottawa artist/writer Andrew King on twitter (https://twitter.com/twitandrewking).

Andrew was recently tweeting about his "Solstice Serpent" adventures (Secret of the Snake: Ancient Ontario Serpent Mound Could Be Summer Solstice Monument) and posted a photo of a fox that was watching him while he was on his adventure. I loved the photo and did a quick 6x6 study.

I was so, SO delighted when Andrew saw my small acrylic study on twitter and posted this:

This tweet from artist Andrew King made my day!

And, of course, I always do a #DailySketch, like this recent one of my dear Lexie sitting in my chair. My daily sketches are quick (maximum two hours) activities that I usually do first thing in the morning while waiting for laundry to wash and dry!

"Dog Days Of Summer" a daily sketch
using three colours:  🖌Quinacridone gold 🖌 Burnt umber 🖌Winsor blue

Even though this summer means less opportunities for beloved group art outings, I continue to find visual inspiration everywhere and I manage to carve out at least two hours each day to do what I love most - create and share my art.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Papier-Mâché Workshop With Artist François Cambe

Gallery 101 hosted the workshop

As part of Little Italy week in Ottawa, the first ever Little Italy Artist Studio Tour was held and Gallery 101 offered some hands-on workshop events!

I attended the papier-mâché workshop with artist  François Cambe on Friday night. From his website"
"François Cambe was born in the South of France.
Professionally trained in wrought iron work, bronze foundry, ornamental wood carving, and with a BA from the Superior School of Applied Arts, in Lyon, François Cambe knows how to use almost any tool and work with any medium. For his most recent sculptures and installations, however, François decided to leave the majority of his tools behind and work with the least possible: With his hands, a pair of scissors and tape; he mixes textile, cardboard, plastic bags, leaves, and likes to twist objects from their practical functionality.

The Paper Thin exhibit

The exhibit at Gallery 101 was "Paper Thin" featuring three artists: Vicky Avramopoulos, François Cambe  and Sandra Haar.

My favourite piece in the gallery by François
François Cambe's work is so inspiring! I had visited his website before attending the workshop and this sculpture (above) was pictured there. To see it up close was magnificent!

François preparing the paste

François got busy getting the materials ready for the participants. i had not done papier-mache for a long time and remembered the paste being made from flour an water but François uses wallpaper paste that is ecologically good being made from cellolose

The foam carved body

I had intended to do a sculpture of my yellow labrador retriever muse Lexington, but François had carved some shapes for us an I chose this shape the shape above to make a bird

I cut the wings and tail feathers out of cardboard then hot glued them to the body

My bird - still sticky with glue


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pastel Demonstration at Wallack's Art on Bank

On May 20th, I attended a FREE demonstration at Wallack's Art on Bank St by artist Janis Miller Hall on Holbein Pastels.

Janis Miller Hall gave a great demo on soft, chalk and oil pastels and substrates.

Janis Miller Hall is a mixed-media artist. Janis studied art at the University of Toronto where she received a bachelor of Art Education and at Sheridan College where she received a Creative Arts Diploma.
Janis' "choices of media include oils, acrylics, pastels and mixed media. She likes to mix traditional painting genres and mediums with contemporary mediums to bring forth a multidimensional quality in her work. Her work can be found in both public and private collections throughout Canada, the US and the Caribbean, including the city of Ottawa's collection." (Source: Figureworks )
Artist Janis Miller Hall
Janis brought two framed samples of her pastel work and brought lots of samples of supports suitable for pastels.

The pastel painting on the right was created using the red suede above.
I purchased pastels (MUNGYO soft pastels and my Gioconda soft pastel pencils) and I have"played" with them but with no real success. I had hoped to use them in mixed media (my mono printing) but lacked any general knowledge about pastels.

I purchased a book on pastels "Creative Painting With Pastel" by Carole Katchen and breezed through the pages and LOVED the art but still felt a little lost.

"Creative Painting With Pastel" by Carole Katchen
 I am so grateful for the clear information that Janis gave us on various types of pastels, health and safety issues, types of supports to paint on and storing and cleaning your pastels that I thought I would share some key points from my notes:


Janis spoke about the three main types of pastels: soft, chalk and oil and later answered questions on pan pastels.

She told us about Holbein pastels. Holbein is a Japanese art supply company that has been making art supplies for over 100 years. Holbein only manufactures artist grade pastels (not student grade) except for the oil pastel.

  • Both soft and chalk pastels are basically pigment and a binder. 
  • The hardness of a pastel is important to note. A general rule is that softer pastels are rolled and square pastels generally indicates that they are in the harder range.
  • When painting with soft pastels, start with a harder pastel and move to the softer pastels.
  • The hardest pastels are generally the pastel pencils.
  • Softer pastels are usually more expensive.
  • Oil pastels were originally developed by Sennelier for Pablo Picasso. (In 1947, artists Henri Goetz and Pablo Picasso approached Henri Sennelier with ... with the help of the two artists, Sennelier invented the first professional oil pastels. ... The unusually wide range of grays were chosen specifically by Picasso. Source: The Oil Pastel Society)
  • Holbien's oil pastels use parafin wax and oil.
  • Oil pastels never dry (unlike oil bars or oil  sticks that have a drying agent so that they will dry) and require special framing.
Pastel Safety 

When working with pastels, you should always wear gloves and NEVER blow on your painting. Take every precaution to not make the pigment airborne and if necessary, wear a mask.

There were a lot of examples of the various supports that can be used for pastel painting:
  • Canson mi-teintes papers  
  • Kitty Wallis sanded paper
  • Matte board with clear gesso
  • Suede or velour boards
  • Grounds: fibre paste, pumice gel, Golden pastel ground, micaceous iron oxide, etc

There were lots of other information shared. Like when you use pastel in a sketchbook, what can you use as a barrier paper to avoid smudging? The answer was glassine paper (or even parchment paper if glassine is not available)

To clean pastels, have a container with white rice and place the pastel and shake gently.

This workshop was very helpful and inspiring and now I am excited to try some small pieces. 

I bought coloured matte board ends from a local framing shop and I will coat with a clear gesso and give it another try!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Drawing At The Rooster #28

Tuesday night I attended the monthly "Drawing at the Rooster" (DATR) event in Ottawa at the Atomic Rooster on Bank St. This open and free event is hosted every month by two Ottawa area artists, Peter Purdy and Rebecca Gilman.
"Drawing at the Rooster is a monthly life drawing event. There are multiple live models (clothed/costumed) that will do a variety of short and long poses. 

Each event has a different theme! Drawing at the Rooster is a no cover event, and is a creative, non-judgmental environment where artists of all skill levels will have an opportunity to practice their life drawing skills.  (Source: DATR facebook)

My sketchbooks at the Atomic Rooster

My Previous DATR Blog Posts
The evening started at 7 pm with the three models doing quick, short poses leading up to ten and fifteen minute poses by the end of the night (at 10pm).

I loved this final fifteen minute pose of the night with all three models!
I started the evening sketching the short poses in my Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook using my favourite Progresso 8911/HB graphite pencil.

Three minute pose

Three minute pose

I also used my gouache in my Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook for some of the short poses. I am currently obsessed with using the dioxazine purple gouache as my "black"

Three minute pose

Five minute pose

Loved the big earrings and sunglasses!

Ten minute pose
I switched to my Strathmore 500 series cotton sketchbook part way through the night.

Ten minute pose

Fifteen minute pose
I decided to switch to water colour for the fifteen minute poses at the end of the night

Two fifteen minute poses
The final fifteen minute pose of the night
I really enjoy these monthly "Drawing At The Rooster" events and I am looking forward to July!