Friday, October 19, 2012

Robert Genn's Excellent Newsletter

The Painter's Keys at has been a wonderful resource over the years ... and continues to be. Robert used my letter in the last issue of his excellent newsletter available at I find that his writings very often hit a chord with me. Artists apparently follow similar paths. I hope you sign up for his free newsletters and enjoy them as much as I do.
Sorry that I am not painting for a couple of weeks. Meteorology and family sometimes takes precedence... and that's OK. The oils will start to fly again in November. If you want to see the meteorology that I do, visit COMET at You can register for free and learn more about the environment than you ever dreamt was possible. I have many modules on Satellite Meteorology (The Satellite Palette) and also lots of information on Performance Measurement...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Joys of Plein Air

The little things when out surrounded by inspiration is the reason to paint outside. The plein air artist sees a lot of interesting parts of nature - this past week I had the camera handy enough to record a fisher watch me paint - if only for a minute.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Thinning Forest

The combination of falling leaves and falling trees was allowing the horizon to peek through the remaining forest on the west shore of Jim Day Rapids. There were still a few lily pads hanging on. One bull frog watched me the entire time I painted. It was mainly sunny again! The cloud bases had shot through the cloud tops since the cold air mass was quite dry. This just means that the lifted condensation level for the mixed air mass was higher that the top of the morning layer of cloud. This is a typical progression for a cold air mass. Oils on burnt umber/burnt sienna mixed oil tinted foundation on commercial canvas - 11 X 14 (inches)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Morning Cloud-2012

I never tire of painting clouds. They are always interesting. The layer of stratocumulus on the western horizon was still convective even after a long October night. I suspect cloud top cooling was the main contributor to the cumulus cloud tops. I was very faithful to the cloud and sky colours. The autumn colours are probably at their peak.  The cold air mass was certainly unstable so by 10 am the sky was overcast with daytime heating cumulus and stratocumulus. By noon the cloud bases had shot through the cloud tops since the cold air mass was quite dry. It was mainly sunny again! This is a typical progression for a cold air mass.

Tom's Zeppelins

I am painting "copies" of Tom Thomson's pieces that I plan to discuss in my coming book "Tom Thomson Was A Weatherman". I have been advised that this is fine to do it this way and the process of getting premissions from the various galleries has now gone into months. The paint flowed. On close examination Tom's brush strokes were really fast and furious. It would have been dark as well and tough to see either by lantern light or the light of the full moon. His brush picked up paint from either side of his stroke and blended them together. There were really not many double strokes so the colours still remained relatively unmixed. The colours were different on the computer image I looked at on the laptop and the book version. As a result I didn't worry much about matching the colours exactly. It is a good exercise to paint copies of each of Tom's paintings that I wish to use in my book. It really forces me toe examine each stroke and to discern more clues hidden in plain sight. I discovered another more subtle example of conditional symmetric instability (CSI) on the left edge of the painting. I even painted "Rigel" in the spot it would appear if there were no clouds. Tom has a flick of white paint in about the same spot and it made me wonder whether he played the same joke and laid the star on top of the transient cloud that could have moved out of the way of the star as he painted. This fleck of white paint is possible especially if Tom's sense of humour is like mine. No one will ever know for certain.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Forest Interior 2012

The weather was too mild to paint in the studio. Gusty southwesterly winds and the odd spit of rain were great conditions compared with what they would be in another month or two. I wanted to practice my handling of fall foliage and the view toward the provincially significant wetland was perfect for that. It was a scene full of details and colour but only a small portion of it all could be included without getting lost in the forest. I liked the colour of the two red cedars - of course the sky poking through the holes in the forest canopy. Oils on burnt umber oil tinted foundation on commercial canvas - 10 X 8 (inches)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Morning Showers

The morning clouds turned into showers. The cloud patterns are actually quite revealing. A strong southwesterly wind aloft created the banding in the stable layer which I interpreted as the top of the planetary boundary layer. The bands are arched (like a deformation zone from which I can apply the conceptual model I invented) which supported the convection which I witnessed to the west. The clouds were changing quickly but I managed to stay true to the meteorology. A shaft of blue sky opened up between the convection on the western horizon. This convection eventually moved through and pushed me inside. The minimal shelf cloud in the third image below is the visual clue to a stronger shower to the west. I got a bit wet but the painting was pretty much done anyway. I shouldn't overwork the spontaneity of the brush strokes in the clouds. We wouldn't want to turn them into boulders in the sky ... Oils on ultramarine blue tinted oil tinted foundation on commercial canvas - 11 X 14

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tunnel Through The Trees

The lane to the neighbour's is in the middle of the dark spot on the right side of the canvas. That is the tunnel through the wall of trees. The autmn colours are really starting to show through. I have been happy to chronicle this annual transformation. A couple of pilated wood peckers and a few crows flew through the scene - I almost included them - almost but not quite. Some small bugs pasted themselves into the sky so I guess I got that colour bang on - so to speak. If I left them there they could have been the crows that I saw ...  I like the way the sky pokes through the holes in the trees. Oils on medium burnt sienna oil tinted foundation on commercial canvas - 8 X 10 (inches)

Thursday, October 4, 2012


The current at the bottom of Jim Day Rapids shapes the pollen and duck weed floating on the surface. There are deformation zones and chains of vorticity maxima and minima. These patterns on the top of the water can be used to read the water currents in the same way that the cloud patterns in the atmosphere can be used to read the atmospheric "rivers". There are also fluid like patterns in the shapes and colours in the forest. It would appear that everything has a fluid aspect to it. The human body is even composed of about 57% fluids.
The wind was funneling up Long Reach and caused ripples in the surface of the water. These ripples reflected the sky colour while the surrounding calm water surfaces reflected the colours of the forest.
I used a lot of paint an wanted to have fun...