Thursday, December 30, 2010

Red Tree landscape

Here's the painting, all finished. (Photo taken from a close up angle)

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Underpaints red and blue

I've been working on this large 36x60 painting, which is the largest oil piece I've done to date, and when I was working on the underpainting I decided that some of the grays I was using were too dull, even if I was going to eventually paint all over them. Before:

After, with some much stronger red and blue thrown on there:

You can see that I had already added some of the top layers when I went back and made this adjustment.

The other thing going on with this piece is that I'm new to working with such a large size, so I've kept it as simple as possible. That way I could focus on adjusting to the size without getting distracted by conceptual decisions.

Check back tomorrow for a photo of the finished piece.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Going big

Although I'm already at home, so I don't know what that means. Anyway, I'm going from small fish paintings to seeing how large of a painting I can fit in my studio:

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Great Big Smalls opening tonight

I'll be there at least for a little bit. I have 4 landscapes in the show, and when the fish are finished, I'll bring them over too.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Website Updated, Upcoming Shows

Hello Everyone,

I'd like to let you all know that I've added some new paintings to my website.  ( )  You can also see them at Arts on King in Toronto, where they are currently located. There is one piece missing from the website, unfortunately: I apparently forgot to take photos of one of the hockey paintings, and of course, by the time I figured that out, it had been sold already. Kind of a bummer, but that's the kind of thing that happens sometimes when you're scrambling to get everything ready just before a show.

I also have some new small paintings ready, although I haven't added them to the website yet, and some will be going to Arts on King, and some are going to the Great Big Smalls Show at the Cube Gallery here in Ottawa during December. (

I expect that these will likely be amongst the last sets of small paintings that I'll be doing. I will probably do a few more sets of them over the winter, but I've working more and more on large paintings over the last few years, and I've found that there's a much broader range of creative exploration for me with the larger pieces. I learned a lot about being an artist while doing the small scale pieces over the years, and I'm also very gratified that so many of you took them home with you and have been so happy with them. That being said, after doing so many of them, I think they've basically run their course and it's time for me to move on.

Which leads me into what I'm working on now:  I'll be showing at The Toronto Artist Project next March, and about a month later, I'll be showing again at the Spring One of a Kind Show, also in Toronto. I'm very excited about being in both of those shows and I'm really looking forward to it. Two shows are a lot to get ready for, however, and I'm also kind of nervous about being able to get enough work done, so from here on in, I'll be working hard on getting as much really good art ready for them as I can. I'll be sending out more updates in the new year as those shows get closer. You can also keep track of my progress by checking my blog ( )


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kinda slow going

I'm working on some small paintings for the Great Big Smalls show at the Cube gallery in Ottawa, and as well I'm going to send some of them to Arts on King in Toronto. They've gone more slowly than expected, mostly because we've had a bunch of colds go through our house. After these are all done, I'm going to need to start working on getting ready for The Artist Project in March. Very excited about that, but also anxious about whether I'll be able to get some kickass paintings done for it.

Anyway, here's some winter pieces that are getting close to done.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Some more autumn on the way

Here are some of the small paintings I'm working on. Some will go to Arts on King in Toronto and some will go to the Cube Gallery in Ottawa.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Creative process hangovers

I'm back in the studio, cleaning up the wreckage left by the painting frenzy caused by the Arts on King show.

It's often hard to get going after a show. I never know what to paint the week after a show, even if I look at my must-paint list. I usually doodle with frustrating aimlessness for a while, and those drawings rarely work. Probably in some kind of creative hangover mode.

Sometimes I have to just grind through it and hope I come up with something eventually. Sometimes I'll get lucky though, and I'll realize in a flash, while doing dishes or something like that, what it is that I want to do. what I want to paint unencumbered by the pressures, real or imaginary, of what I think my (awesome) audience wants.

That pressure is always there, by the way, and it has to be if you're trying to actually sell paintings to pay mortgages. It's neither good nor bad, it's just a fact of the process. That said, it usually works out better if I can filter through that and figure out what I'll be happiest doing, because that feeling permeates the paintings and makes them more attractive, and that makes them more sellable. Bonus!

So now I'm doing some small pieces for Arts on King and for the upcoming shoe at the Cube Gallery. And I know what I'm doing. :)

Check back here to see what that is!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Framing and delivering

I guess I should've taken a photo of the framing process, but maybe next time if I remember. I was just at the shop that makes some of my panels and frames in Toronto, where they're nice enough to let me use a table to put the new paintings in their frames.

They look great, I'm very happy with them. A few of them are still not quite dry, but seem to have survived the journey from Ottawa without any issues.

Next stop, delivering them to the gallery. Hope I can find some parking.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Pre-show radio silence

Desperately trying to get my paintings done in time.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's hockey (painting) time!

I know outdoor hockey is still months away, but it's time to start the paintings about it:

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ok, Little Red Wagon is finally finished

I spent some time today redoing the forest in the background. It's much improved, but really, I should have just left it and moved on, since I will never make a living at this if these paintings take this long to do.

The only other way is if I double my prices, but I need to do a lot more paintings and become more well known before I'll be able to do that, and to do more paintings I need to be able to make a living at it first. It's a catch 22 or a vicious cycle.

On the other hand, I do need to spend some extra time on the better pieces like this one so that I raise the overall quality of my portfolio.

Whatever the case, here's the title piece for my next show (this is a grainy photo from my phone, I'll post again when I put a better one on my site):

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Rare occasion: a seasonally aligned painting

Holy crap, this one actually almost perfectly matches the autumn colours outside. I'm usually painting things a season ahead or a season behind.

Anyway: here's its current state:

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cloudy sky gets revised

I'm back at work in the studio after a little vacation. I finished the clouds on this painting earlier today, but then decided I needed to adjust them to be a little lighter. Here's the before:

And here's the after:

It's kind of hard to tell with the iPhone's camera, but I think it's improved. That's the end of my day, back at it next week.

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Flaming cones @ Nuit Blanche

My friend Floyd Elzinga is participating in Nuit Blanche in Toronto tonight - and if I have it right he's bringing a large flaming pine cone sculpture to Queen and University. Worth checking out if you're going to Nuit Blanche.

Floyd's site is here:

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fall colour underpaints

Here's what I'm working on right now. It'll change a lot as I paint over it, but I think it's going pretty well.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's autumn. Time for a new painting.

Actually, the cooler weather makes me want to go up north and go fishing. But instead, i've got this new painting on the go:

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wind, blimps, farm, twilight

Hey everyone, I've uploaded my newest paintings to my website:

"November farm twilight":

"Windy shore blimp service":

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Awesome monster drawings

I don't know anything about them, but I just saw them and they're awesome!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Holy crap, it's finally finished!

I've finally finished the blimpy windmills:

I'm very proud of this piece, it turned out very well, although I did violate the Keep It Simple, Stupid rule that many of us who make software for a living try to adhere to. I got carried away and added extra clouds, a village, and blimps to what was originally supposed to just be windmills in a landscape.

The reason for the KISS rule in software is that programmers have a general tendency to figure out the most complicated way to solve a problem first. Usually because we're trying to incorporate all the best ideas we know about, and because we're trying to anticipate requirements that may or may not ever come up. And also because we want to know that we're able to solve really complex problems.

99% of the time, however, the non-ideal simple solution will suffice, and the complicated one will often bog a project down and cause money to be lost.

In this case, though, the painting is a lot better for the extra elements. I probably won't be able to charge enough money on this one to cover the time it took to make it, but sometimes you have to push yourself, especially when it comes to making a piece that helps you to stand out in a crowd.

Ok, on to the next one! I'll post back here when I've uploaded a good photo of it to my website.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

New sketches 'n' stuff

It feels like I've been away from the easel for too long, buy it's probably not been that long in actuality. Day jobs and babies can do that I suppose. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have a great job and even happier to have my very own little miss sunshine. Still, I do get antsy when I'm away from the easel for too long.

So I'm happy to be back at it and trying to focus on making a good show in November.

Here's a wall of sketches and the first one under way:

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Friday, August 6, 2010

If I've been a little quiet lately...

It's because I've been working on a commission and trying to figure out a good direction to go with my next set of paintings. These are the ones that are going to go to Arts on King in November, so I'd like make them into a coherent set if I can.

Here are some thumbnails that I do at the start of the process:

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Muskoka in the rear view, and what's next

Once again, another outdoor show, with its typical last minute panic painting and frazzled packing and setup, has come and gone. In this case it was the Muskoka Arts and Crafts Summer Show in Bracebridge, Ontario. You never know what kind of weather you’re going to get with outdoor shows; often they’re a mixed bag and sometimes you just get washed out. This year in Bracebridge, however, the weather was almost perfect for all 3 days: it was sunny and warm without being sweltering, and we only got a bit of rain late on Sunday afternoon.

Turn out was once again very good and it was very nice to meet so many new people. I'd like to say thanks to everyone who stopped by last weekend. For those of you who I've met before, it was very nice to see you again, and for those of you who were new, it was very nice to meet you.

If you couldn’t make it to the show, I’ve posted most of the new paintings to my website here: 

I’ve also delivered some new work to the Arts on King gallery and the Canvas Gallery, both of which are in Toronto, just in case you’re in that area and you’d like to go see it in person.

So what’s next?

Well, I’ll be the featured artist at Arts on King in November, that’s what! I’m happy to say that once again I’ll be filling a couple of the walls at Arts on King in downtown Toronto. I’m not really sure what kind of paintings I’m going to do or how I’m going to pare down all the ideas that I have, but if you’d like to see what I end up doing as I go, keep checking my blog.
Marcel Guldemond

New paintings posted

Check 'em out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back to doing artist things

I'm now back to work after the Muskoka Show, some time at the day job, and a weekend off. I'm not actually painting yet, though; I have things like website updates, documentation, and gallery contacts to deal with first.

After that I have a couple of commissions to do and then it's time to start making paintings for my next show, which will be at Arts on King in November.

I'll post back here again soon once I've updated the website with the new pieces that I did for the Muskoka Show.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Muskoka's all done

Overall, the show went very well: the weather was nearly perfect and sales were good.

Now I'm off to deliver some new work to galleries in Toronto, and then to get some R&R.

Over and out...

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Friday, July 16, 2010

At the Muskoka Show

All ready to go, the sun's out and the weather looks great. Here's my booth:

Stop by and say hello if you get a chance.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Muskoka this weekend

If it's been quiet here lately it's because I've been busy getting ready for the Muskoka summer show in Bracebridge this weekend.

Details here:

I'll be in booth #73, which is the same place as last year. Hope to see you there if you can make it.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Faster faster! New painting with tweaks

Here's a new painting I just finished, for the second time. To explain: I painted hard on Saturday trying to get it finished, and I did, at least as far as covering it with paint. One side effect of painting fast and focused is that at some point you get fuzzy and start making poor decisions, much like athletes at the end of a hard fought game, and you don't take the time to stop and walk away to reevaluate. Because you don't; you're trying to push yourself and go fast. Fast is also important if you have any hopes of making any money. Sometimes when you go fast, you push yourself out of your comfort zone and intuitively pare the art down to its essentials and you sometimes get something very exciting out of it. Often, however, you get something that looks like ass.

So the first time I thought it was done, this is what it looked like, a combination of good and ass:

I knew it wasn't quite there so I scraped some of the paint off and redid some of the background trees and the sky, so it's tweaked it a bit:

I think the second version is quite a bit better and much more visually interesting.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Trees - new paintings

I'm starting on a couple of new ones today. I think they're going to be autumn colours. The original reasons for that were because I haven't done autumn paintings for a while and I'm kinda done with summer pieces for now. now, however, they're going to be orange because the freakin Netherlands beat freakin Brazil at the freakin World Cup!! Oh yeah!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

we're there!

This one's finally done:

It's 30x54, so I'm continuing on the large trend. They take more mental stamina and concentration, and have s good payoff if you sell them, but that's a big if so they are a much bigger gamble.

Still have to get some minis done for muskoka though.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Outpost - are we there yet?

I feel like a kid in a vinyl clad back seat on a summer trip in the days before vehicular air conditioning - I keep asking myself if it's done yet, even though I know I have a long way to go still. These big paintings have a lot going on, and take a long attention span.

I think the sky and the clouds are working pretty well, although I've been back over them a few times. I think I'll probably adjust the water too, because I'm not really sure about it yet. Here's the photo:

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Big outpost

For my next painting I've decided to do a larger version of Outpost ( )

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

New paintings posted

I've finished cleaning up the images and uploading them to my website, and I've made about 20 of them available for your viewing pleasure:

New Art Festival in the books

Wow, The New Art Festival is over, so that's another outdoor show come and gone. They just kind of whip by, and I don't even do that many of them! The weather on Saturday turned out to be very nice, despite the ominous looking forecast, and there was a great turnout to the show with big crowds wandering around the park. The weather on Sunday, however, stayed with the forecast and really was totally crappy. It was cold and raining almost all day, but people still turned out in good numbers, reinforcing my opinion that Art in the Park/The New Art Festival is one of the best outdoor shows in Ontario.

I'd like to say thanks to everyone who stopped by last weekend. For those of you who I've met before, it was very nice to see you again, and for those of you who were new, it was very nice to meet you. Also, special thanks to Peter who helped me set up on Saturday morning, resulting in what may have been a record for fastest set up. Awesome.

A number of people who already have some of my paintings came by during the show and told me that they look at their paintings every day and it makes them happy. That's probably just about the best compliment that I think someone could give me about my art, so wow, thank you very much for that.

Now that my travelling outdoor gallery has been dried out in the backyard and put away again, I'm off to make some paintings for the next show, which is in Muskoka in July.


PS. I'll be posting the new paintings to the website shortly.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

At the New Art Festival

Today is cold and wet, but people are still coming out. Here's my booth:

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day one in the books

Although it was cloudy and drizzly early this morning, the weather today turned out to be nearly perfect. Add to that that great guy Peter came by to help me set up and that lots of friends and neighbours and people in general came by during the day, and it turned out to be a great day.

Forecast is still rain for tomorrow but today was such a good day that it's not bothersome at all any more.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I was half way done loading my indoor booth wall panels onto the roof rack, when I suddenly decided to double check how talk my tent is. The tent is just over 7ft. The panels are 8....

Would've sucked to be at the park in the rain tomorrow morning and have realized that then. Now I'll just have to stick with my older smaller outdoor setup from last year.

That was a close one.

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Looks good in a frame

I'm always pleasantly surprised how much of a difference a good frame makes. This one come from my neighbour Patrick Gordon. It's also nice to see the paintings hanging in my house, especially because I never know how long it's going to be around for.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Art in the Park / The New Art Festival this weekend

Just in case you missed it, the Art Festival formerly known as Art in the Park is going on this weekend at Central Park in the Glebe neighbourhood in Ottawa this weekend. All of us artists will be there rain or shine (hopefully more of the latter and less of the former) so come on by and say hello if you get a chance. More info here:


Friday, May 28, 2010

Buzz buzz buzz

Some bumbly bees:

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I posted previously that I wasn't sure what I'd end up doing for the last set of paintings. I've started a bunch, and 3 have ended up as fish paintings, there are 3 bumble bees, and 3 cottagey ones. Not sure if the cottagey ones will get done before Art in the Park, though. Here are the fish, almost finished:

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Last new work before Art in the Park

This is the last set of paintings I'll do before the show. Still doodling, still not sure what I'm going to do with them.

I'm tempted to just do grumpy guy pictures like that sketch on the right. Would be kinda funny...

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my iPhone

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spruce rock outpost

This one's mostly done. Yes I'm working today even though it's a holiday: Art in the Park is coming up in less than two weeks so I'm trying to squeeze in a bit of extra work.

After this one's done I'll probably do some more mini paintings. I should probably do some cttagey images, but I'm kind of feeling like I need to do something cartoony. Check back here to see what happens, because I really have no idea myself...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Piney lakey finished

Here's a close up photo:

Now I have to figure out what to do with the next one. That gets harder as a show approaches. Do I do something fun and cartoony or do just stick to landscape because that's a safer bet especially because the few brain cells I have left are tired and sore? Or do I one of those crash and burn experimental things that are clanging around in the hollow back spaces of my mind?

Who knows?

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Piney Lakey

Today I'm working on this one:

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Supply and demand that doesn't stretch

The other day I mentioned to a friend that I was having trouble keeping paintings in stock. I know that's not a bad problem to have mind you, but it does make it harder to put a good show together. My friend suggested that I should follow supply and demand and I should raise my prices and thereby slow my sales down.

Unfortunately, I don't think this will work, even if I ignore the idea that at this stage of my career I need to get as many paintings out into the world as possible and not worry about maximizing dollars per painting. An even stronger reason that I have to be very careful about raising my prices is that you can't lower them if you go too high.

I am finding out that the business of selling art is a little different than commodities that go up and down like oil or gold. Those types of things have an elastic supply and demand type of behaviour, whereas art is inelastic.

Art is more like edging towards a cliff. Galleries and other sources have informed me that once you're established you can raise your prices, but you can't drop them.

There are apparently artists who went too high with their prices (without a commeasurate increase in quality), and what happens then is not a predictable slowing down of sales, but a complete dropping off. Basically, their careers are finished. If they drop their prices they devalue all the paintings that they've already sold, and they send a signal that they might go down again, meaning that their paintings aren't reliable investments. The other signal they send is that their existing collectors paid too much. Their only options are to quit painting or to start over again at much lower prices using a pseudonym. Yikes.

So in the end, you have to suck it up, pick a reasonable price scheme (mine goes by size) based on your average quality work, and live with the fact that you'll be selling your best pieces at less than their value. And then you gradually inch your prices up and inch towards that cliff.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

New painting finished

Here's a grainy phone photo of the painting I finished on Saturday. I'm not sure about the name yet, but it'll probably have some combination of backwoods backroad lotsa miles and a six pack on the passenger seat. Just kidding. Maybe 'Saturday logging road 1982' - oh wait that's pretty much the same thing.

Headed north. Northeast northwest it doesn't matter cause I got lotsa gas and lotsa miles. something like that. Titles are the worst, unless you're an artist like The Charming Baker, then your titles rock and you make it look easy. Oh well, title it no, the work has to stand on it's own.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Love and hate stage

This is the stage in the painting that I love and hate: when the underpainting's done. There are parts of it that I love, and I really don't want to paint over it. It's raw and loose and scribbly, but I know that it's going to look better after I do the over painting. Yes, there are definitely customers for the raw and loose and scribbly paintings, but from my experience with trying it out on the small painings, I'm pretty sure that there are a lot fewer of them. It would be nice to say f*ck it and do the scribbly paintings, but I'm pretty sure my income would drop off. Not so good.

I'm trepidatious about the next layers, I hate this stage because I'm worried about screwing the piece up. Underpainting's easy to fix, overpainting is nearly impossible. Underpainting's like rehearsal, overpainting's like a live performance.

Anyway here it is at the love hate stage:

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

This am

It's Massive Attack and some mad scribbly action. I have no idea how this one is going to work out...

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Saturday, May 8, 2010


I'm starting on a new piece, I have the panel and I know I want to do so something vertical and treeish with it, but i'm still trying to figure out how that's going to work:

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Chinatown Remix tomorrow

I'm not participating in this studio/restaurant tour, partially because I wasn't really paying attention and because I'm busy getting ready for my summer shows, but it is going on in my neighbourhood and it's a fun event if you're looking for something to do.

Also, I wasn't really keen on hanging paintings in a restaurant for a month or turning my living room into a temporary gallery, but then someone at Raw Sugar said just use your porch. Then a dim witted light bulb went off in my head and I realized that I could set up my summer show booth on my driveway, so maybe that's what I'll do next year. Ha!

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Winter minis in progress

I know, it seems weird that I'm doing winter paintings as the weather gets really nice and spring is sliding into summer. Actually, I seem to be going in reverse, having done a set of summer minis, then a set of spring minis, and now I'm doing a winter set.

I guess I'm that kind of person who (mostly inadvertently) does the opposite. Opposite of what you ask? Left/right, whatever was the last thing i was thinking about. I'm also terribly indecisive, spending inordinate amounts of time trying to calculate the best course of action or thing to buy, getting more confused than ever, and then just going with some other random option that I wasn't even considering. You should see the groceries I come home with if I don't have a very specific list!

But I digress, photo:

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring paintings

Here are some spring landscapes that I just finished:

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One thing I like about spring

Is that I can open the studio window and hear the breeze in the trees with their newly opening leaves. Reminds me of camping and working up north in the bush, or something vague and good like that.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Work in progress

I'm currently working on some spring landscapes, the underpainting is done and it's time for a coffee and on to the next step.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Road trip photos & clear cut musings

When I was digging through old digital photos the other week, looking for pictures I hadn't printed before and hoping I'd find something that I could paint that wouldn't feel stale, I found these two road trip photos:

I printed them out with the rest, even though I kind of doubt that paintings of them would really be that popular. I think I kept them because they remind me of the endless miles of northern highway and kidney jarring logging roads that I drove down during my years as a treeplanter.

It's been 20 years since I started Planting, but Every year in the spring I get the urge to migrate up north and get lost in the bush. Cottages are great to go to, but it's not the same as being so far north that the light is different and the air smells different and you're hours from the nearest permanent building.

Hmmm, considering that it's stuck with me for so long, I might just have to do some paintings of logging roads and clear cuts, whether I think I can sell them or not.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

One set finished...

And the next set well under way:

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