Monday, April 30, 2012

Hint of Spring

Cirrostratus was on the western horizon at 8:30 am - heralding an approaching system. The cold conveyor belt being drawn into the associated low was relatively weak so that the speed of the approaching low almost balanced the cold inflow. The result was nil wind and a plate glass lake surface giving a near perfect reflection. There was a hint of green in the trees of the far shoreline. The colours and the sky were the attraction for this painting. Note there is no sun glint as the sun is to my back. There is also no "sky glint" as the water was calm. Sometimes the absence of a feature is the clue you need to apply CSI - Creative Scene Investigation.
One band of cirrostratus within the deformation zone had sufficient moisture that the ice crystals wafted down in broad ribbons before sublimating in the drier air below. At the higher layers there were some interesting fingers of cirrus that appeared to be parallel to the southwesterly and apparently divergent upper jet. If you paint what you see, you know it must be correct as the atmosphere has already solved all of the equations of motion.
The sounds of spring provided the sound track. A turkey gobbled nearby and the tree swallows buzzed my head picking off bugs. There were no biting insects yet as the overnight low was a frosty minus 3 Celsius.
Walk away from the easel... before I mess it up!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Step Away from the Easel

When is a painting done? You can stroke a painting to death with kindness and striving to make it better. Am I done? Ragged Falls has given me four paintings... Tom Thomson likely fished the pool at the bottom of this falls although I do not have the photo or evidence to prove it like I do for the bottom of Tea Lake Dam. I used a bit of cobalt blue to paint Tom's canoe into the top of Ragged Falls - the same colour Tom used to mix the proper colour for his canoe. Tom's dove gray canoe wasn't really in the scene but it likely was at one time and should have been. In any event, it is Artistic Licence and I have the "piece of paper" to allow me to do it. I wonder if I had turned around really fast, whether I might have caught a glimpse of Tom flicking a spinner bait into the deeper eddies of the pool.
Maybe a few more strokes... but not many!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Backlit Singleton Stratocumulus

The sunset was spectacular. Turbulent stratocumulus was in the western sky and it was only a matter of minutes before it was backlit by the setting sun. Clouds that are backlit are brightest around the edges and are illuminated by the colours of the light. Front lit clouds are bright white in the middle due to Mie scattering and actually darker around the edges. This is one of my important and most favourite diagnostic tools in CSI - Creative Scene Investigation. At sunset you don't have much time before there is no light left to paint by. You have to work fast and bold.
The last few days have been wet... so I have been working on a 3x4 footer which I really hope will be my new favourite.

Friday, April 20, 2012


My view is to the southwest up the St. Lawrence. There are quite a few small islands perched on knobs of Canadian shield. I included three of these islands in this particular painting. I wanted to focus on the colours and the patterns in the upwelling current and waves.
It was actually quite windy and I needed the weight of my art brief case to keep my easel in place. The Gananoque Cruise boats were on "patrol" and their huge wakes compounded by the strong currents brought back canoeing memories from decades ago. Riding the tour boat wakes was always a thrill ride but the reflection off the granite shores of the islands made the result really tricky when the two waves interacted - double the peaks and double the troughs and you didn't want your canoe to be in either.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Blue Line

In my Creative Scene Investigation (CSI) presentation I often describe the physics of the "white line" on the horizon of a lake. It is typically due to sun glint looking toward a strong source of light - the sun.
A bright line can also occur along a lake shore even with the sun to your back! The distant area is bright because of the surface area effect caused by looking at a distant area of a flat and highly reflective surface - water. In order to be bright these areas must reflect the colour of the sky. Typically the lake surface will be rippled by wind action caused by drainage winds flowing down the river channel leading into the lake. The rippled water surface will tilt some surface of the small waves to reflect light from the sky which "glints" to your eye. The adjacent smooth water surface will be the darker colours of pure reflection from the distant shore. The contrast between the dark pure reflection of the shoreline and the brighter reflection of the sky from the rippled water surface creates the "blue line".
The difference between sun glint and "sky glint" is both colour and the brightness of the line. When one observes sky glint, you can be certain that there is surface wind involved and with daytime heating, it is only a matter of time before the wind blankets the lake with wave action. The "blue line" is an example of that situation.
The low deck of stratocumulus in the western sky was evidence of increasing moisture on the west side of a surface ridge of high pressure that had enforced "blue bird" skies the day before.
No bugs in the paint this morning but a raccoon did show up to see what was happening.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jim Day Channel

I decided to paint myself out of a funk. Rather than watch TV I switched to the "Jim Day Channel" and placed myself on the very edge of the rock leading into the narrow passage. I always enjoy painting reflections and how the colour and light play in the water and in the tops of trees. A pair of loons came right up behind me while bass and perch finned in the shallow water at my feet. It was a beautiful, summer-like afternoon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Windy Squall"

It was hot for April. Blustery southwesterly winds kept pumping the temperatures up all day. A cold front was poised to cross the area during the early evening hours with squall line thunderstorms. Wind warnings were out but nothing for severe thunderstorms that I noticed. The water turned a steely gray as the squall approached. The rain preceded the wind and I barely got the canvas covered in time. The weather is a great motivator to not overwork a canvas!

Monday, April 16, 2012

10th IPAP Paintout at Rockport, the Heart of the Thousand Islands

The first IPAP Paintout in Rockport was very successful and plans are already afoot to repeat the event for September 14, 15, 16 2012. We had more than 20 artists in 2011 and great weather. The forecast for 2012 is even better!
International Plein Air Painters - International Great Worldwide Paint Out
The International Plein Air Painters is a blanket organization created for the sole purpose of advancing the execution and enjoyment of plein air painting without the restrictions and limitations of borders or regions. Membership is restricted to plein air painters, those serious to learn about plein air painting and those who wish to be benefactors advancing the plein air movement.

Phil the Forecaster has been Qurified

I do not have a Smart Phone but it seems like everyone under the age of 20 does... QR Codes are simple... just two dimensional barcodes that can be scanned using any modern mobile phone. The code is converted or "dequrified" into a piece of interactive text and/or link. The link to this Blog looks like ... on the left... while the link to the Chadwick Art House looks like ... on the right ... One should stay current :>)

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I had paddled out to put fresh hay on the loon nesting platform. Loons were yodeling their appreciation for the hay even as I left the platform. Upon returning I decided that my "new" (from 2006) canoe needed to be painted in its natural habitat at Singleton Lake. This is the result with Jim Day Rapids in the background and the large maple to the right. A pileated woodpecker was hammering out its new nest in the dead top of the main stem of the maple.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sunrise Long Reach

It was time to practise what I preach. At 6:30 am I was out standing (so to speak) on the granite outcrop that pokes into Jim Day Rapids. This is the view looking southeasterly across the whirl pool formed a long time ago water really gushed through the waterway. The sun rising to the left cast a faint yellow-rose colour to the cirrostratus. "Cirrostratus coming at us" meant a storm was approaching but it would be a while before it arrived with precipitation. This is the same system that threatened tornadoes of mass destruction to the American Midwest. Weather is important!
I always enjoy the way that the light filters through the trees. Ruffed grouse, pileated woodpecker, barred owls and a host of other creatures provided the sound track. There were no biting insects!

Friday, April 13, 2012

CSI Applied to Tom Thomson Garage Sale Painting

The meteorological solution to this painting is that Tom is looking southeasterly after sunrise in the late summer. A large synoptic scale storm is approaching from the west through southwest – from his back. Tom is in the warm sector of this storm and temperatures are above the normal values for that time of year. Note that this is confirmed by the absence of a cold conveyor belt. The water is warm. The surface winds will increase sharply and dramatically when the radiational inversion is broken down through both daytime heating and turbulence effects. Southerly wave action will increase sharply which is not much of a stretch since it is currently calm! I would expect winds to be greater than 15 knots (conservative) with white caps a certainty. Streets of stratocumulus will develop aligned parallel with these southerly winds when the planetary boundary layer becomes convectively unstable by noon. Convection will develop where these cloud streets intersect the warm front which is displace to the north (left). There will be ample sunshine between these streets of turbulent/convective stratocumulus. The amount of sunshine will increase with the daytime temperature and the rising bases of these streets of stratocumulus. The only threat for precipitation will be with the associated cold front which is some distance to the west – behind Tom.

Am I sure? Absolutely not! I am making all of this up based on a fuzzy image and the science of forensic meteorology. I call this CSI or creative scene investigation.  There are exceptions to every deduction. However when one looks at the evidence, the more pieces that can be assembled from the clues and the more that these pieces fit neatly together into the puzzle, the more confidence one can have that the deductions depicted in the image are sound.

More importantly, Tom had fun and there were probably no biting insects!

Group of One Garage Sale Bargain

A bargain hunter cruising a Lyndhurst, Ontario garage sale has hit the jackpot after spending $100 on artworks that turned out to be by an inconic member of the Group of One... probably worth $110. The artist's wife, aka "Dumpster Chick" recently downsized the studio of Group of One founding member "Phil the Forecaster" and decided these works must go. Stay tuned for more developments ...

The Group of One artist who couldn't be reached for comment, feels that society is completely missing the point. Art is not about money and profit but about beauty and self expression. Art is not about size and consumption but appreciating the simple things around us... like the environment and especially the weather. Some things are eternal truths and money and wealth are not among those.

The Group of One artist continues to salute the inspiration of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. They have made a great living from their art after they died and Phil the Forecaster hopes to do the same some day ... but not today!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Arts on the Arch
Arts on the Arch is part of Explore the Arch. A Guide is currently being produced that will be a road map for visitors to this unique area. A map to Arts on the Arch is part of this guide ... and I will be part of that. Here is the draft ad for the Chadwick Art House. I am still wondering whether we need to label text as web addresses, emails or phone numbers anymore. It is likely giving instruction to someone how to use a seat belt...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Another Step Forward

Any move is a big one. Recreating a business card is one more step to completing this final move to Singleton Lake. The home will remain 99% done for a few years.... I was playing with some logos too - but the jury is still out on those. I welcome any suggestions. I have tinted a bunch of 11x14's and am ready to paint!