2012 Whistler and Gibsons Summer Workshops

"Wave study n.1"

Wave study n.1 – 14in x 22in watercolour – July 2012

Many thanks again to the organizers and the participants that persisted through wonderfully challenging exercises  at  the 2 workshops I gave this summer. Both the  Whistler Arts Council’s  Workshops on the Lake, and Gibsons School of the Arts have annual fine art programs with a variety of quality instruction. We were blessed with wonderful weather that enabled on site painting right from the studio deck  or to long walks on the beach after   a  hard studio work out  on the sunshine coast!

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Painting from the station house, Alta Lake, Whistler.

From the our subject of moss-covered waterfalls to shoreline waves, watercolour’s magical flowing spontaneity and ethereal softness as well as its ability to make crisp highly defined form were explored.  We focused on colour mixing, values, negative shape reading(no masking fluid or tricks!), creating depth and  controlling the hierarchy of focal point.

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Full Sheet Watercolor Demo.

"Coastal waterfall n.1"

Coastal waterfall n.1 – 22in x 30in watercolour – July 2012

I am looking forward to conducting informal art workshops on expedition cruise ships later this summer in the arctic and later this year in the antarctica summer. More Upcoming workshops will be posted soon.

Posted in Art Workshops, Coast Mountains, en plein air, watercolor, Watercolour, West Coast Rainforest, Whistler | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pacific Spirit Forest Series

"Spring in the Pacific Spirit Forest"

Spring in the Pacific Spirit Forest, 30in x 48in watercolour

One body of work that is evolving over the last few years is a series of large watercolours depicting the subtle seasonal changes in the temperate rainforest of Pacific Spirit Regional Park. These large works are done on 140lb Arches roll paper in which I can cut large format sheets, and have room to interpret the experiences inspired from daily walks in my “back yard”.

Posted in Landscape painting, Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Vancouver, watercolor, Watercolour, West Coast Rainforest | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Painting in Antarctica

The video above captures highlights and the painting process from voyages along the Antarctic Peninsula this past November and December 2011. Early in the season we saw incredible sunsets and unusual amounts of ice in the channels. Recent paintings are now posted on the website and many new studio works are in the concept stage. Having so much amazing reference and ideas is a wonderful problem to have!

"Iceberg n.10"

"Iceberg #10", 15in x 22in watercolour

In the Antarctic spring it is exciting to witness the energy of creatures breaking trails in the fresh snow returning to nest or  to feed below the surface. They seem so at home among the  hidden turquoise ice caves, following the ancient rhythms and echoes of the ocean. Often it seems the weather etches the shapes of mythical beings on the icebergs. Every block of ice has such a story to tell as it  contains  the  layers of the past as well is being  worn by the  warming currents of today.

"Iceberg n.11"

"Iceberg #11"

Posted in Antarctica, Art Workshops, Elephant Island, en plein air, Landscape painting, Peninsula, watercolor, Watercolour | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Painting South Georgia

For all around wildlife and scenery, a visit to the sub antarctic island of South Georgia is incomparable. The video above captures some of the painting highlights and wildlife encounters from a recent trip in late 2011.

Imagine being dropped off at a beach to paint and be surrounded by more than 200,000 King Penguins, this is truly an exciting problem to have!

"Painting with Elephant Seal pup at Gold Harbour"

"Painting with Elephant seal pup at Gold Harbour"

After taking some photo and video reference I find a place to sit without obstructing the wildlife highways and be still to observe the cycle of life displayed within meters. On one landing a real highlight was when an elephant seal pup came out of the surf and decided to curl up underneath my easel thus slowly nudge me off my chair.

"The Gathering at Gold Harbour"

"The Gathering at Gold Harbour", 14in x 22in watercolour

With only a few hours ashore before heading back to the ship, the main landscape contours and mood is recorded in wash as well as inspiring groupings of wildlife interaction rendered. These on location works are really useful as reference for future studio paintings as photos can come with unnecessary details.

"Fortuna Bay - South Georgia"

"Fortuna Bay ", 9in x 22in watercolour - 26.11.2011 South Georgia

We really look forward to go back to South Georgia and Antarctica next season!

"West Point - Falkland Islands"

"West Point" - 14in x 22in watercolour - 22.11.2011 Falkland Islands

Posted in Antarctica, Elephant Island, en plein air, Landscape painting, Point Wild, South Georgia, Watercolour | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Commander Frank Wild Returns to South Georgia

It was a privilege to witness the return of the great polar explorer, Commander Frank Wild, back to South Georgia. It was Frank Wild’s wife’s wish to have him buried in South Georgia and it was fitting to have his ashes reunited along side his friend Sir Ernest Shackleton.

The attached video captures some of the highlights we shot  from the service that was attended by relatives of Frank Wild as well as Alexandra Shackleton, Sir Ernest’s granddaughter.

This historic event became a possibility when Frank’s ashes were discovered by the efforts of Angie Butler during her writing of the book “The Quest for Frank Wild”. It is a fascinating and informative read about this great but unsung man. Also it includes his unpublished memoirs from the “heroic” age of polar exploration.

After filming the morning service I spent all afternoon pacing along the shoreline of Grytviken trying to find a composition that would capture the significance of the day.  In late afternoon light I found a perch just above the cemetery overlooking the bay.  The scene was overwhelming to paint in the few hours left so after several tries I simplified the composition using only the top part of Shackleton’s  grave stone in lower right as well as one cross. These suggestions give room for directional lines to pull the viewer across to the church and the last light on the abandoned whaling station.  Thanks to One Ocean Expeditions for  making this event possible.

"Grytviken, South Georgia "

"Grytviken, South Georgia" 14in. x 22in. watercolour, 27.11.2011

Frank Wild wrote of Shackletons’s grave site (from Angie Butlers book):

“Grytviken is a romantic spot. All around are big mountains, bold in outline and snow covered. Below lies one of the most perfect little harbours in the world, at times disturbed by the by the fierce winds from the hills and lashed by gusty squalls to a mass of flying spume and spindrift. Often it lies calm and peaceful, bathed in glorious sunshine and reflecting in its deeps the high peaks around, whilst the sea birds, “souls of old mariners,”circle in sweeping flights above its surface and fill the air with the melancholy of their cries. An ideal resting place this for the great explorer who felt, more than most men, the glamour of such surroundings”

Posted in Antarctica, Elephant Island, en plein air, Landscape painting, Point Wild, South Georgia, Uncategorized, Watercolour | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Return to Antarctica and South Georgia

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In November 2011 I will be returning to Antarctica and really look forward to visit South Georgia again. This special expedition will be taking the ashes of explorer  Frank Wild to South Georgia where he will be buried beside  his “boss” and loyal friend Sir Ernest Shackleton. Mr Wild was Shackleton’ right hand man and played a huge role in the 1914-1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic  expedition  . As second  in command he was left in charge of 21 men on a desolate rock on Elephant island while Shackleton and crew of 5 made the epic  rescue mission to South Georgia in a lifeboat. From April 24th to August 30 (winter in antarctica) , Wild and men waited until rescued on a rock now called Point Wild. They all survived. Attached on this post is  some short video clips from a previous trip to Elephant Island  and a taste of the  incredible wildlife  and painting-photography opportunities at St. Andrews Bay on South Georgia Island.

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Last week I was honoured to receive  the Curry’s , Da Vinci award, in recognition of the  painting   “Paradise Bay, Antarctica’ . For several years now I have painted on the great white continent and always find inspiration in its natural  beauty and endless abstractions of form. Witnessing climate change among the massive ice shelves, and glaciers, I contemplate this melting flow of water that effects us all. Watercolour is an ideal medium for attempting  to capture the light and flow of this journey  and i am grateful to share this painting at this Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour  open international juried exhibition in Toronto.

"Paradise Bay, Antarctica",

"Paradise Bay, Antarctica", 22 x 44 inches, watercolour

Posted in Antarctica, cspws, Elephant Island, Paradise Bay, Point Wild, South Georgia, St.Andrews Bay | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pacific Spirit Regional Park

"Autumn in the Pacific Spirit Forest" 26in x46in. watercolour

"Autumn in the Pacific Spirit Forest" 26in x46in. watercolour

The Pacific Spirit Regional Park, which adjoins my backyard in Vancouver, provides countless inspiration for new paintings.  In October, the Big Leaf Maples of this forest decorate the hemlock and sweet fir moss-draped understory.

Posted in Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Uncategorized, Vancouver, West Coast Rainforest | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment