Here is the latest large (60" x 30") oil painting. New looser, contemporary style, but it conveys everything I wanted it to. Can you feel the uplift? My son, crossing a tidal pool in the red sand shore of Prince Edward Island, is doing his best to walk on water and not step on the myriad of life found in its depth. Past this tidal pool, home and night awaits. The reflection symbolizes this beautifully.
Above is the 18" x 24" oil painting I did for August's "Second Saturday Collectors" Special" at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre , a centre of over 30 working artist studios & their galleries, plus a main art gallery in Glen Williams (Georgetown) , Halton Hills, Ontario.
Artist Carmen Hickson and I (Christine Montague) started an exclusive art event at the Williams MIll recently entitled "Second Saturday Collectors' Special" . Wait, you say. I am not an art collector and so this event must not apply to me!
But if you think about it, the moment you take that first step, and buy an original work of art, you are a collector. That may not have been your intent, but by making that commitment, you have done more than passively purchase an item to hang in a room, you have done something even better. You have bought something that you respond to emotionally and that speaks to your heart. You have also done something more! You have just supported your local entrepreneur -which is what being a visual artist is (they suffer all the same risks) - and have contributed to your country's cultural economy.
The event has already created a buzz among the other artists at the Williams Mill where I have my studio and this past Saturday, 5 other artist also participated. Congratulations to Simon MacDonald who immediately sold his painting of a regional scene, with another couple standing by hoping to make it theirs! Wow!
So here's what the buzz about "Second Saturday Collectors' Special" is all about -
- Purchasing art is exciting and special. We want you to experience that special thrill. So on the second Saturday of each month, a brand new art work is unveiled at 12 noon in the studios of each of the participating artists. The unveiled art is a surprise to all. This is even great fun for the other artists at the mill.
- While owning original art is as important as the air to breathe for some, we understand that to many original art is regarded as a luxury item. You may love a work, but you are nervous about actually buying it. SO, for that day only, the art work unveiled, is offered at a very, very special price.
- Owning original carries bragging rights! The moment you buy a Second Saturday Collectors Special, you have purchased a real work of art, you beat out others to get it, and you have immediately made an profitable investment. How so? Because at 5 p.m. that Saturday if the painting hasn't sold? The "Second Saturday" price label comes down, and the true value label goes up.
- Original art is an instant heirloom. It has provenance. Who throws out original art? Who puts it in a landfill? It will live on for ever. Hundred years from now, someone will be admiring that work and talking about you - who owned it.
- And last, but not least, you will have purchased locally. To be an artist at the Williams Mill, one can not be a hobbyist. This is a highly disciplined, entrepreneurial profession with long hours . Like farmers, artists are passionate about what they do, but artists never get to take a day off and every cent counts. We appreciate your business.
[slideshow] Above are a few photos of my studio - all cleaned up for this past weekend's "Spring into Art" Open House - an annual event on the first weekend of May at the Williams Mill Visual Artist Centre. Lots of black oil paint going on it those giant paintings of cats! I changed the "wet paint" sign to the more effective "Warning - Big Wet Cat".
Artist Carmen Hickson supplied the tulips, and not seen, I had lilacs and crabapple blossoms. As an aside, lilacs are out in Mississauga, are simply buds in Halton Hills, and a visitor told me are not yet in bud in Ottawa. The coffee was ready to brew on the Keurig, and the chocolates were out. Thank you to everyone who took the time to stop by. I always appreciate your investing in my art.
Couldn't make it this time? My studio, as well as the over 30 others at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre are open Fridays and Saturday 12 - 5 pm. The Williams Mill Gallery is open Wednesday to Sundays 12 - 5 pm.
The Williams Mill is in the western GTA (Greater Toronto Area). It is only 5 minutes south of Terra Cotta, and is 15 minutes north of Winston Churchill Blvd. and the 401 in Mississauga.
American artist Andy Warhol sums it up exactly "I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anyone could ever want to own." Today I was reunited with a painting I feared had gone astray. On exhibit at an unknown location through an art rental service experiencing difficulty, I feared this was one painting I may never see again.Read More
I just finished a series of 8" x 8" paintings - Scotsdale Farm: Snow & Shadows. I needed to stretch my wings after painting so small.
A larger than life portrait painting of a Maine Coon cat in silver, black, and white oil stick and oils seemed the natural next step.
What I have done so far -
- It is the first time I have used Tri-Art "sludge". I used it to cover the white canvas and add some texture.
- After applying the sludge, I saw a large cat eye, ear & head looking right in the swirls of the paint.
- Decided to go with my instincts. Found a photo of my silver tabby Main Coon cat to use roughly as a reference.
- & voila ... the painting begins. The face emerges some more out of the darkness.
Here is #6 in my series of 8" x 8" oil paintings about the shadows, snow & structures at Scotsdale Farm, a heritage site on the Bruce Trail, in Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada. The iron effigy of the horse head, stands silently, in shadow, by the empty barn. In the sunny background, a car drives by. More symbolism for such a small regional landscape painting? The horse faces left - representing reflection & looking back. The car faces right symbolizing looking ahead. That it has moved out of the picture frame symbolizes movement forward and leaving the horse behind in its dust..err..exhaust.
By 6:15 a.m. this morning, I was out of the drive through at Tim's and on my way to the studio. I finished this little 8" x 8" oil painting of the bird feeder at Scotsdale Farm by 11. Don't be fooled I did not get this painting done in just a couple of hours. Although, I paint with confidence and rarely go back on what I do - these 8 x 8's still always take 8 - 10 hours of solid uninterrupted painting to complete. This is the fourth in my series of 8 x 8 inch paintings based on my January 2nd , 2010 visit to Scotsdale Farm with the Ontario Plein Air Society (OPAS). It was - 25 degrees C. that day and we experienced everything from bright sunshine to grey snow swirls.
Scotsdale Farm is a heritage property on the Bruce Trail, just north of Georgetown and my Williams MIll Studio in Glen Williams, Halton Hills, Ontario.
Up and out early to my studio in the Stone Building of the heritage Williams Mill this morning, I was painting by 7:30 am. This little painting 8" x 8" oil painting of the stone silo at the province owned heritage site, the Scottsdale Farm. This beautiful old stone silo is on the Bruce Trail (a popular walking trail - part of the Niagara Escapement in Ontario, Canada).
I love the architecture of the American Colonial Buildings at this farm which I visited for the first time January 2 of this year with my plein air painting group OPAS. With three works of art inspired by this visit completed already, and other ideas lined up ready and waiting - I guess a Scotsdale Farm series is in the works! The photo below is very glossy as so fresh off the easel & it was still too dark out to take outside in more even light. Not a bad start to my day! And here is a better picture of "The Fourth Tree" - also a Scotsdale Farm painting.
Minus 32 degrees celsius with the wind chill did not deter 8 members of the Ontario Plein Air Society (OPAS) from meeting at the heritage Scotsdale Farm, on the Maureen Smith trail area of the Bruce Trail in Ontario.
This was my first visit to the lovely American colonial style farm buildings, and my need to explore and photograph, took precedence over my need to paint. Long tree shadows crossing over white clapboard buildings, a stone silo dusted in snow, and weather vane topped cupolas made for inspiring photo taking.
As there was so much to see, it took me a while to settle down to draw with my Cray pas oil pastels. But by the time I did, the weather changed - everything going grey. Still beautiful, but we all became a little more conscious it was winter. Shadows disappeared, and snow swirled off the roof tops, as in the little 8" x 8" oil pastel drawing on canvas I did, and am quite fond of, even though it was quickly produced, for the grand jaunte it represents.
By drawing on location, my feet buried in the snow, in a farm pen that I had to climb over a fence to get to, for the view I wanted, I can still feel the crispness of the air, and replay the image of the snow swirling past the silo I was drawing. The paintings of Scotsdale Farm that will be created in the comfort of my Williams Mill studio - these paintings, will certainly benefit from the plein air experience.
Today I was to paint with the new group Ontario Plein Air Society, but rain got in the way. Instead we held a very constructive meeting in OPAS leader Zan's SUV, and roughed out goals for the next year. OPAS will be holding plein air painting sessions every Sunday until November and yours truly will help organize at least three of them, including the three day paint out to be held in conjunction with the international plein air paint out day! To find out more about and /or to join OPAS (it's free!) visit http://ontariopleinairsociety.blogspot.com/ Meanwhile here are a few hits of colour on what was a very gloomy day.
Today was the third gathering of the new group Ontario Plein Air Society. Nine of us met at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre in Glen Williams. We used my former studio in the beautifully restored old yellow mill - which can now be rented by the half day - as a home base, but painted down the road by the Credit River.
In my secluded little spot on a couple of feet of eroded shoreline, and only a foot from the water, I painted the tree line that stood at my eye level, resulting in the oil painting on canvas above "Spring Growth by the Credit River. A Glen Williams, Halton Hills scene) . The day was hot, and very bright, but in my tiny shady oasis, I was cool and relaxed by the lapping water. That is, after I decided to ignore the huge yellow jacket that buzzed in front of my eyes every 20 minutes, and the clouds if midges that wafted above now and then!
Some terrific paintings were produced by all, and it is always fascinating to see each artist's interpretation of the same location. I am always surprised how 3 hours of painting outdoors feels like a happy day away! (Please note: this plein air painting is now sold)
And for those of you who think you might like giving painting out doors a try - the following is info on OPAS. By the way OPAS is free, and anyone is welcome. It is a way for plein air painters across the GTA and beyond, to link up to paint.
Find us on Facebook Ontario Plein Air Society(OPAS)
Follow us on Twitter twitter.com/O_P_A_S
2010 Update: This original plein air oil painting, painted on location by the Credit River, -under the bridge at Burnamthorpe Bridge between Riverwood Park and Erindale park - has been given as a charitable donation to the Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM) for its 2010 7th Annual Art Auction Fundraiser, April 29th, 2010.
Above is a 6" x 12" oil painting of a man fishing by the Credit River. We are both under the enormous Burnamthorpe Road bridge - between Erindale Park and Riverwood Park. The day was sunny but the shadow and the wind was cold! After 3 hours my convulsive shaking told me the painting was now finished.
Today I had the fun of plein air painting with the newly formed group, Ontario Plein Air Society (OPAS). I had not painted on location in years and never before with oils ( the exception Tapatoo Tree (sold) in water soluble oils ) . Painting on location is quite exilarating - at least that is what I felt after I was done, and could seek relief from the cold and wind in a more sunny spot.
Just before I headed out to meet up with OPAS at Riverwood Park, I quickly thumbed through some International Artist & other art magazines for some helpful hints. Painting on location requires effort put into the logistics.
Following the example of British artist James Hart Dyke (American Artist magazine November 2003) I used the limited palette French Ultramarine, cadmium yellow, cadmium red light, raw umber and titanium white. What freedom!
Once on location, I struggled a bit with what to paint. I sat across from an enormous old tree, partiatially in decay - but what I wanted to say about this tree could not be said on my 6" x 12" canvas. Suddenly I found my self doing a quick - almost Japanese brush like gesture of the fisherman before me ( I could have drawn him all afternoon) and that was that - I had my subject. I guess I just cannot escape the call to put a figure in my landscapes.