oil paintings

There's a Bear Model in My Studio

As fascinating as it would be to actually have a polar bear in my artist studio to paint "live" from, I realize the "live" part probably wouldn't apply to one of us for long.

Polar bear portrait study 1.   ©Christine Montague. Polar bear oil paintings on canvas. 12" x 12". Contact Christine  here .

Polar bear portrait study 1. ©Christine Montague. Polar bear oil paintings on canvas. 12" x 12". Contact Christine here.

So to simulate this experience I brought up one of my photos of the wonderful Inukshuk (the adult male bear at the Toronto Zoo) on my laptop.  I positioned my laptop at a distance and height a human model would sit in front of the easel.  Imagining the model before me was 3D,  I blocked in the shapes, values and colours I observed on the blank canvas. There was nothing drawn up before hand.

Detail: Polar Bear Portrait 2  . (private collection). ©Christine Montague 12" x 12" polar bear oil painting. Please feel free to comment below or comments & inquiries are always welcome   here  .

Detail: Polar Bear Portrait 2. (private collection). ©Christine Montague 12" x 12" polar bear oil painting. Please feel free to comment below or comments & inquiries are always welcome here.

 

In this style of painting, the background is more than a backdrop of colour to hide the white canvas. The paint helps carve out  and define the outer edge of the head, helping it to stand out from the canvas. Only at the end of the portrait painting are the fine details, and pure blacks and whites added.

Of course, for me, whether the portrait subject is human or otherwise, the big reward is always when I get to finish the eyes. Thanks to the magic of oils, the polar bear eyes in these portrait paintings, as well as in my imagination, are very much alive.

Polar Bear Portrait Study 3.   ©Christine Montague (Please note that this image is slightly cropped. ) . For comments and questions about any of my art please   contact me.

Polar Bear Portrait Study 3. ©Christine Montague (Please note that this image is slightly cropped. ) . For comments and questions about any of my art please contact me.

Premonition: Ophelia and the Polar Bear

"Premonition: Ophelia and the Polar Bear", is a 36" x 48" oil painting on canvas, and another work in the Polar Bear Dreams Series.  Like the other polar bear paintings in this series, this art work is a blue, white and black dream-like tribute to the mighty bear.  This painting, however, has a mystery to it, a hint of tragedy, and possibly, foreboding.

The Premonition (Ophelia and the Polar Bear) ©Christine Montague

The Premonition (Ophelia and the Polar Bear) ©Christine Montague

The light of the aurora borealis (northern lights) reveals a young woman trapped in the ice to a passing polar bear. Who is she, and what is her connection to the polar bear and the north?

Artist Notes:

In 2011,  Canada’s Environment Minister declared the polar bear as a species of special concern under the Species at Risk Act.

The woman in this painting is after "Ophelia" by Sir Henry Millais (Tate Gallery, London, England). See the famous Pre-Raphaelite painting that depicts the death of Ophelia and innocence lost in Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet" here.

Flowers representing the Canadian provinces and territories replace those found in the garland in the Millais  painting.

New Portraits: Twice as Nice

Portrait oil painting of baby twin brothers. 6" high by 12" wide. www.littleportraitpaintings.com Copyright Christine Montague As you may know, LittlePortraitPaintings.com is my portrait business where I offer 6" x 6" portrait oil paintings (from a photograph) for a set price. It is a way for clients to buy original art, a one of a kind oil painting created personally  for them, at a good value.

I paint these smaller portraits with the same care and attention to spirit and detail I give to the larger , more traditional portraits I paint.

Interestingly, almost all these portraits are ordered as a surprise gift. When the client wants two portraits done on the same canvas, the solution is simple -  I paint on a 6" x 12" canvas.

Above is a 6" high by 12" wide portrait oil painting of  baby twin brothers, commissioned by a proud great grandparent. A loving first birthday present that these handsome little boys can treasure forever.

Below, is a 12" high by 6" wide portrait of a newly married couple, the happy young bride looking with adoration at her equally happy groom. This portrait was commissioned by the husband as a surprise (and romantic, don't you think?) 25th anniversary present for his wife.  Read more about this portrait  http://littleportraitpaintings.com/2013/09/06/painting-with-love/

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weddin portrait oil painting copyright Christine Montague

Wedding portrait oil painting of newly married couple. Commissioned to mark the 25th wedding anniversary of the bride and groom. 12" high x 6" wide.  Copyright Christine Montague

 

 

New Face of Portraiture: Mostly Online Except for the Painting

Baby boy portrait oil painting by Christine Montague. 6" x 6" on canvas. Here is my latest little 6" x 6" portrait oil painting on canvas. Commissioned by this dear little guy's mom, it was a joy to paint this bright little baby boy face.

This is an example of one of the wonders the internet holds for the artist and for the art collector. I  have never met this mom or  baby. In fact, they live hundreds of miles away.

The mom stumbled upon my web site while surfing online late one night (all new moms can relate to this). She took a photo of her baby in his stroller with her cell phone and emailed it to me. We discussed the commission process by email, including that I leave out details of the stroller straps, etc.

I received payment for the commission via snail mail, but, there are many payment alternatives available to buying online.  I  used Canada Express Post to deliver the carefully packaged portrait. This insured service supplied a tracking number that I shared via email with the client.  By the time I got home from the post office , only a short distance away, the online tracking info informed me the parcel was in the system, about to be on its way, and posted the estimated date and time of arrival.

Pretty amazing, I think.

If you would enjoy seeing more of my little 6" x 6" portraits please visit www.littleportraitpaintings.com

For larger oil paintings, please visit www.christinemontague.com

Polar Bears in Orangeville

No danger though, the seven polar bears in question are the 8" x 8" polar bear portrait oil paintings I completed earlier this year. This is their first excursion out of my Williams Mill studio, and you can see them at the Dragonfly Arts on Broadway Gallery in Orangeville, Ontario. Joan Hope, the very personable gallery owner, and a great lover of original art, and supporter of Canadian art & Canadian artists, saw them online and asked that I bring them in. Done!

These Ursus maritimus portrait oil paintings, inspired by Inukshuk, the Toronto Zoo's male polar bear, are studies for future larger artworks. Thus I have priced them similarly to my little portrait painting series (here) . They are 8" x 8" gallery mount canvases,  framed in black floater frames, and are easily shipped.

If you would like to see these polar bear portraits in person or would like more information. Here is Dragonfly Arts contact information: 189 Broadway, Orangeville, ON L9W 1K2 (519) 941-5249 ‎ · dragonflyarts.ca

Here's the google map http://goo.gl/maps/fwP4

Well, I realize not quite like the remarkable story of the British Columbia man who can swim with the polar bears, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7rZTZBOrqQ&noredirect=1 but I hope you enjoy perusing these works online, or at Dragonfly Arts.

P.S. Orangeville has a delightful main street, Broadway, with Dragonfly Arts, home design shops, Orangeville Theatre, an art supply store and a myriad of restaurants for every taste.  Plenty of free parking, too. I can't tell you how great it is to find parking almost in front of the gallery so I can unload my work with ease!

Polar Bear Portrait 1. "Inukshuk" 8" x 8" oil painting copyright Christine Montague

Polar Bear 6 oil painting portrait. Copyright Christine Montague

Polar bear Portrait painting 7 copyright Christine Montague

And for a great story about encounters with a polar besr listen to cbc radios The Wild Side with Grant Lawrence. It's great. http://www.cbc.ca/thewildside/

For some great reading about polar bears in Canadian north, and the effect of changes in snow on reproduction, read this related article

New Cold Wax Oil Painting Collectibles

 

Cold wax painting is the search word subject most used to bring visitors to my blog.  It's been just over a year since I took my workshop with the  creative Janice Mason Steeves and my curiosity about this interesting medium (along with yours) continues to grow.

I haven't experimented with cold wax as much as I 'd have liked, but I enjoy how my painting style changes when I do these little art works.  I work  fast and free with my Wilton pastry cutter and oil paint mix. I think some of these small works would translate well into large acrylic paintings on canvas, don't you?

So scroll down to see my most recent cold wax and oil paintings below. The Williams Mill Gallery has added them to the "Big Show, Small Works" one of a kind gift show on until Dec. 24th.

Once again, the historic 1850's yellow lumber mill outside my Williams Mill studio window are the inspiration for these cold wax panels. And when I do a painting involving koi, water-lily and ponds, the Chappell House Pond at Riverwood Park, Mississauga is my inspiration.

 

 

 

Canoes in Fog & Other Lake Dreams

"Canoes in Fog' a 24' x 48" oil painting, is the latest  in the Lake Dreams Series, my series of paintings of canoes &  water at the dock's edge.

Torn between labeling the series Dreaming of Summer and Cottage Dreams I did some  "dream"  research online. A dream about a lake that has still water represents a reserve of inner peace and spiritual energy. Such a dream provides solace and  security, as well.

My longing for an end to the gloomy spring and for escape to a lake (any lake!) inspired these paintings.  It wasn't the hot, noisy, splashy days by the water I craved. I dreamed of  those still and solitary moments at the water's edge. Those moments alone on the dock, reflections of clouds and blue sky leaving me wondering which world is real. Or the quiet of early morning, before the others are awake. The mist or fog not yet cleared, and the world  dreamy and undemanding. Time to contentedly reflect and contemplate, the spirit replenished.  Yes, these are definitely Lake Dreams paintings.

But what about canoes and dreams? A canoe in a dream represents serenity, simplicity, and independence. I don't know what six canoes overturned represents though. Normally in art, odd numbers of items, make for more interesting composition. Artistically this still applies to my work, as the overlapping canoes read as one shape. Squint and you'll see what I mean. (See some other canoe paintings here here)

However, there are six of them. In dreams, "six" stands for co-operation, balance, tranquility, perfection, warmth, union, marriage, family and love. Mental, emotional and spiritual states are in harmony.

And the fog? Positive changes are afoot if the fog clears in the dream. In this painting, Canoes in Fog, the fog is lifting. The promise of clear day, with time spent on the water, lies ahead.

Fall is now officially here. I never did get away this summer, or was anywhere near a lake. These paintings, and  the paintings of "dreams" to come, will have to give the solace I need until next summer.

This winter, if you need solace, or a reminder that summer will return,  you are welcome to see what "Lake Dreams" are in my Williams Mill studio most Friday and Saturdays 12 - 5 p.m..