Friday, February 28, 2014

Phil and the Southampton Art School - 2014

I have been painting with the Southampton Art School since 2006. It has always been fun! Killarney is not on the list this year but if you want the "Annual Adventure" to return, please let me know. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Great Gray

A combination of a wonderful image by Dave Hotchkiss and a cold and very windy winter day prompted me to paint in the studio. I got the drawing right at the first attempt. Sometimes the paint just flows. This could be a large painting but I choose a small format instead just for fun - 7 by 5 inches. I didn't really want to be tied up in the studio doing a large photographic realism painting. I just wanted to have fun.
The owls are in the process of mating this time of year so it was an appropriate subject matter. Great gray owls are magnificent creatures and Dave captured the essence of the bird.

Blue Sky Blizzard

Painting white on white at the peak of the blue sky blizzard would not have been very interesting. This view of the shagbark hickory in the front yard was at the tail end of the drifitng snow. The wind chill was still significant but the visibility was way better than the zero in whiteouts that had dominated the morning hours.

Notice that I used one of my handy-dandy supporting inventions to hold the canvas from the back. It allows me to paint all of the sides of the painting without getting paint on my hands. These little contraptions worked really well.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Curious George

I decided to give my little easel contraption for small canvases another try. This is George the hereford bull eating an early supper on Foley Mountain. I am not really certain that his name is "George" but it seemed to fit.
Actually the name of the bull is actually Herman. Next time I will call him by his real name. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Snow Day

The chores were done so I had time to paint. I feel as though everything needs to be completed before I can devote some time to art. Maybe it is another one of my flaws but it is one I can't seem to shake.
The winter storm was tricky to forecast and they didn't do well with it. A centre jump across the Appalachians is tricky to time and it affects how far to the northwest the precipitation shield extends. We got at least 20 centimetres of light fluffy snow at Singleton Lake. The snow combined with the wind kept me inside.

I decided to try my new remote shutter release on the old Canon camera. I also decided to grab a square canvas which is unusual for me. It is good to step out of your comfort zone. It was fun.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Foley Mountain Farm - And Please Come to Sydenham 1 pm on Saturday

Foley Mountain Farm -
Another view of the farm on Grady Road but on a very small (4x4 inches) and unusual format. I built a special wood holder that locks into my studio easel and allows me to easily paint all of the sides without getting covered in paint.

As well, please come to the "Reflections on Art & Nature" exhibit in Sydenham this Saturday (22 Feb) for the reception which begins at 1:00 pm. in the Grace Hall, 4295 Stage Coach Rd. (just at the top of the hill, south from Rutledge Rd.).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tracks at Dawn

More fun on a small canvas. These are my tracks headed northward from the fork in Long Reach Lane. It was a bitterly cold morning and the sun was just climbing about the top of the forest. It was tough walking with the encrusted snow up to my knees. I used lots of paint and covered all of the sides as well.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cold Outbreak

The clouds on the southwestern horizon were the tops of the 240 to 260 degree snow squall over Lake Ontario. Cold outbreaks are typical behind the winter storms like the one that kept me studio-stayed the day before. The cloud types and shapes tell the entire story if you know how to read the signs. You would not want to drive south through the snow squall. The Watertown radar did show some of the intensity of the snow squall but even though it was close to the event the radar beam still overshot much of the very low level fury of the flurries. King City radar has a low initial beam elevation and revealed the genesis of the snow squall over the western basin of Lake Ontario.

A meteorologist has to connect the dots to analyze the full extent of the weather. Snow squalls can have the same impact as the most severe summer outbreak of convection. When the wind shifts to 230 or 240 degrees, these snow squalls are directed to Singleton Lake. If the wind shifts any more to the south the over lake fetch is generally not enough or cold enough for the snow squall process.

The title could have just as easily been “Snow Squall” but squalls and cold outbreaks go hand in hand so they are close to being the same thing. It was the cold and the wind that pushed me inside and that explains my choice for the title. The westerly winds were chilly enough to push me back inside to my studio window. The blustery winds knocked the remaining snow off the boughs of the red cedars while I painted. At least I started this outside. It was quite a winter for painting. Note that off-lake flurries started just at sunset. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Flag Day 2014 - 364 Days to the 50th Celebration of the Canadian Maple Leaf Flag

The article by Ronald Zajac of the Recorder and Times does a nice and fair job summing up the event. I should loose 20 pounds but the camera doesn't lie.
Nothing was scripted but honesty doesn't need to be rehearsed. The paintings are indeed lessons in history, climate, weather, the water cycle and even sports. The hand of John Ross Matheson and Bob Harper were with me in every stroke. John picked the art work which I then blended into a composition which flowed anticyclonically through the seasons and Canada. Most importantly John instructed me on the colour of red that he envisioned. I have yet to find a tube of "Canada Flag Red" but I had no problem mixing my own and after a few trial and error sessions with John, we got it right - at least right according to John. That is all that really mattered to me anyway.
The value of the creations will be decided by others. A couple of years of effort is hard to quantify and luckily, I paint for the passion of creation anyway. Every canvas is another opportunity to try to get it right.
Here is the link to Ron's review of the event.
Note to self: never stand sideways to a camera...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Grady Road Farm - Plus Happy Flag Day!

This is the view from a lane off Grady Road near Westport, Ontario. Looking westward from the lane across the open field one can see the well laid out bustle of buildings used to run a 19th century farm that has survived the poor economic times into the 21st century. What I saw was a multitude of different shades of gray, blue and white. It was fun capturing the colours. The time of the view was about 4 pm on an overcast and snowy February day. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

More Good News - Brockville recognized as the Birthplace of the Canadian Flag

Gord Brown, MP

Constituency Office
2399 Parkedale Ave, Unit 120, Brockville, ON  K6V 3G9
Tel: 613-498-3096     Fax: 613-498-3100
House of Commons
138 East Block, Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6
Tel: 613-992-8756     Fax: 613-996-9171

Media Release: For immediate release
Date: February 13, 2014

Motion recognizes Brockville as birthplace of flag

Ottawa – Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville, today announces that he has introduced a Motion in the House of Commons that recognizes Brockville as the birthplace of the Canadian flag.

“As Flag Day approaches on February 15, and we are one year away from the 50th anniversary of our National Flag, I wanted to recognize the work that was done by the late Hon. John Ross Matheson, former MP for Leeds County,” explains Brown.

“He was the man who steered the flag committee through their debates in 1964 and he was the one who eventually placed the current flag design in front of them,” he adds. On February 15, 1965, the National Flag of Canada was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill and across the country.

“Our flag is recognized around the world and is the greatest symbol of our country,” says Brown. “Some of the hours of work that brought that design to Ottawa were spent at the Matheson home on North Augusta Road in Brockville.” Prime Minister Lester Pearson recognized Matheson’s role and said he was: “the man who had more to do with it than any other.”

“I would also like to recognize the work that is being accomplished by the 50 Years of Our Flag Committee in Brockville that is bringing recognition to Matheson’s work,” comments Brown.

The Motion in the House reads: “That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize Brockville, Ontario as the birthplace of the National Flag of Canada.”

Tomorrow, Saturday February 15th is Flag Day. The 50 Years of Our Flag Committee still has much to accomplish in the next year although much has been achieved. The official unveiling of the two flag paintings occurs at 3 pm at the Brockville Rowing Club. One of these paintings has never left the studio. I will also display many of the paintings that were used as a basis for the design that our Friend John Ross Matheson approved. It has been three years of effort to get to this point. The weather will actually clear in time for the event! Life is good and the 50 Years of Our Flag Committee is very optimistic about the next year.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Winter Forested Slope

This is the view to the southeast and the forest on the adjacent arm of the Frontenac Arch. These hills all align from northeast to southwest. I liked the way the deciduous tree trunks mixed with the afternoon shadows and the snow. I had to be careful not to overwork this little gem.I liked how the paint was going on the canvas so for me it is a gem. I typically try to make my art “perfect” but the perfection really lies in the imperfections and the bold strokes. Let them be. Perfect is something I strive for but never attain so I use the word with a huge grain of salt and a smirk.
The northwesterly winds were still chilly enough to push me back inside to my studio window. At least I started this outside. It was quite a winter for painting. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Outstanding in Their Field

I like cows. I really like herefords. They are quiet and docile - at least the ones I have been around. Originally from Herefordshire, England more than five million pedigree Hereford cattle now exist in over 50 countries. The Hereford cattle export trade began from England in 1817, starting in Kentucky, United States and then spreading across the United States and Canada. These outstanding herefords simply stood in the middle of the remains of a large round hay bale. It was breakfast, lunch and supper on a rather cold, cloudy and sometimes snowy day. Apparently three is not a crowd for herefords.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

3D Water Vapour Imagery and Atmospheric Conveyor Belts

A meteorologist really needs to be able to understand the 3D flows in the atmosphere from some simple Sherlockian clues. I first dreamt of putting the water vapour (WV) brightness temperature on the vertical axis in the 1980s - it was a night shift for sure. However it was my co-workers at COMET who figured out a way to do this in an operational setting. Three dimensional WV motions are now clearly displayed. The complex circulations that occur as a system develops are now revealed without numerical simulations. I have been artistically hand-waving about these circulations my entire career but now they are on display for everyone to enjoy. This allows meteorologists to become situation-ally aware and to anticipate the weather. Otherwise forecasters become observers. These animations are best enjoyed with a beverage and a bag of popcorn.
By the way, this is just the tip of the research. Imagine panning and zooming these images to look at areas of interest in the real data...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Grace Hall Art Show - Reception February 22nd 1-2:30 pm

Note that the opening reception is on Saturday February 22nd 1-2:30 pm. Sounds like fun. What a great time of the year to paint! No biting insects. This is the link to the Grace Hall website. Hope to see you there. Plus I do a presentation on Saturday March 8th.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Singleton Fall Reflections

I wanted to play in the oil with lots of paint and colour. After painting some pretty detailed subjects I needed something that was a bit less demanding. There was no intention to make the image photographic. Heavy rain fell making the extensive ice surfaces even more slick. Plein air painting is still a few days away. Until then I will play in the studio.
There is almost no "tooth" to the gessoed panels so I have to lay the paint on thick - wet on very wet on very-very wet. It is a fun change for me... painting with pools and swirls of oil and pure colour.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Morning Thunderstorm

Morning thunderstorms are much less common than those fueled by daytime heating. Nocturnal cloud top cooling can keep these nighttime cumulonimbus clouds thundering along but they generally also require the support of an upper trough and wind shear. Any thunderstorm that survives overnight is more likely to be a supercell that can deliver surprising wind, rain and even hail at an unlikely time of day. Such was the case for this summer morning at Singleton Lake. We did not receive any damage but areas to the north and east probably did - out of the blue.
There is almost no "tooth" to these gessoed panels so I have to lay the paint on thick - wet on very wet. It is a fun change for me... painting with pools and swirls of oil and pure colour. I did this in the comfort of my studio during the last winter storm...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Portage from Charleston

This is the view looking into the north basin of Red Horse Lake from the end or start of the portage from or to Charleston Lake - depending on your frame of reference. It was exactly 800 steps from water to water. In most places the portage was more like a sidewalk. Some low lying areas in the middle portion of the portage have well constructed board walks so canoeists wouldn't get their feet wet - not that they should care.
More fun on a small slippery surface. These "SSS" paintings are a joy for me to create. They also link me to my Dad who made the supporting frames from the cedar post of the back stairs of the home on East Avenue, Brockville. Parts of the post were rotten and after making the repair, Dad cut down the rest of the 6x6 timber to make stretcher frames. Waste not - want not. Many of these have been stretched with heavy canvas while some have been finished with plywood. The heavy canvas has a lot of tooth but the panels like this one have almost nothing to grab the oil paint.