Thursday, July 31, 2008


"Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse" was the latest artist biography I tackled. I am always inspired by reading about world class artists.

Like many other artists, Matisse was not understood or appreciated until years after his death. A few visionary souls purchased his work and supported him with commissions even when they did not understand his work.

I loved reading about a particular collector, Marcel Sembat, who bought a painting "Seated Nude" even though it did not make sense to him.

Matisse explained, "You see, I wasn't just trying to paint a woman, I wanted to paint my overall impression of the south." [Oh, that makes it completely clear!]

Sembat bought the painting because he recognized that is was what he called "an egg." In that egg was the embryo that would grow into the many canvasses that would follow after the next decade. And that's exactly what happened.

Do you enjoy Matisse? Here are a few links to his paintings on YouTube you might enjoy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Watercolor sketches

Here are just a few more of my watercolor sketches from the boat. These two guys were waiting to get through Customs and I loved how the light was on them. Man, I do love doing figures. I've got to get back to that when I get home.

At 5:00 am, the light was perfect on Johnstone Strait. Not too long after this painting we saw orcas near Telegraph Cove. Wow. I think I stopped breathing while I watched them. A mother and baby, coming up to the surface frequently for gulps of air. And another on the other side of our boat. Unforgettable.

You can see that I attempted the rock face of Burly Cove, too. I think that I have enough information in these sketches to paint them bigger in the studio.

Life is good. Particularly sweet some days.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Burly Cove and Ansel Adams

I admire the photography of Ansel Adams.
I think that he stood before vistas and felt awe and wonder. And his photographs capture that sense of respect and joy and even fear of the landscape. Especially his Yosemite photos. Half Dome. El Capitan. Majestic landscape in an unforgettable place.

So, when we pulled in to anchor at Burly Cove in the Broughtons, it was Ansel Adams and Yosemite that I thought of first. Well, after I looked to see that there were no grizzly bears on the shore. Little wonder when you see the sheer granite face before me.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pastel paintings, too

Standing on the dock at Blind Channel Marina was a little less stable a painting spot than I might have liked. Every boat that came by caused the dock to rock and roll. And then the wind came up. You never know what kind of challenges will be there for plein air painting!! Plus, from where I painted, several boaters had good views of my work in progress and they commented as I worked my way through the scene. It was unique. And made me smile.

The last painting was done from land (!!) at Shoal Bay. Still, the dock and water and the folks walking back to their boats let you know, it's another marina scene. Life is good. On a boat or on land.

Black lines

Mixed results, I think, with using the black ink line. This is Higgins non waterproof ink and I'm using a small round watercolor brush to apply it. My other little watercolor sketches have some ink marks, but they are usually fine and done with a pen. It never hurts to experiment, in fact, it just might lead to something exceptional.

I'm waiting for exceptional. But, in the meantime, some fun with art.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Traveling North

Desolation Sound is a beautiful area of water, islands, harbors, wildlife and lots of other boaters enjoying the beauty, too. We've seen lots of eagles, and other birds. I watched three separate mother mergansers with their babies in tow, going across various distances of water. The first mama had 17 babies! I couldn't believe it! She seemed to keep track of all of them, even the one (there's always one) who kept lollygagging behind.

Walking through Campbell River yesterday, I saw some paintings that were done with watercolor and heavy black ink lines. I bought some black ink and I'll be experimenting with that tomorrow. Good thing the sun rises to early, I feel that hum inside that I guess all artists feel when something has captured our attention!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chatterbox Falls

It was a long motor off the main path, but about 40 miles of traveling through Prince of Wales Reach, and other granite lined waterways, we made it through Malibu Rapids and in to Princess Louisa Inlet. Our prize? Chatterbox Falls. And a theater of mountains rising with their sheer faces 2000-3000 feet above and old growth lumber covered in moss dripping with dew.

More watercolor sketches

It's been a grand adventure so far. Some moments more scary than "grand" but all in all a great time.

I was determined to try to paint every day of this trip and so far I've been able to do that and more.

I was disappointed to discover that the big block of watercolor paper I brought was hot press, not cold or rough as I prefer. Ah well. The paint just sits on the sized, smooth paper and doesn't mix and blend like I'd hoped. Live and learn.

Here are some of my little sketches plus one full sheet watercolor, done on that miserable hot press paper. Life is good.