Friday, February 27, 2015

712 Sunrise on the DEF Zone

This is looking toward the east from the front yard. It was about 7 am in the morning and the Deformation zone from the previous evening was now well to the east.
It was still cold... The analysis of a deformation zone reveals much about the atmosphere and the approaching weather. I firmly believe that art is science and that science is art. The best scientists have an imagination to see and think outside the box. Outside is where innovation starts... and that applies to plein air painting as well.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

709 Snow Clouds

This is looking toward the northwest from the hill immediately behind the farmhouse. I had finished my chores and wanted to try to do something lasting. With the cold northwesterly winds, snowsqualls had developed off Georgian Bay. We pretty much miss them at the farm but every now and again a rogue and confused towering cumulus breaks away and brings us a few flakes. I liked the way the light peaked through the distant thin forest. There were also some subtle crepuscular rays. It was very cold on my hands and this encouraged me to work fast.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

667 Wolfson's Woods

This is looking toward the northeast from the 12th Concession just to the north of the 18th Sideroad. A home is quietly located behind the hill and the forest.
This was started around 2 pm. There was a cold west wind and overcast turbulent stratocumulus cloud and by the time I was done, there was a lot of drizzle in the air as well. I wanted to capture the strong vertical lines of the forest with the light sky and patches of snow peaking through between the trunks. The marsh with the snow and bull rushes and cattails in the foreground worried me but I am very happy with how they turned out. I didn't have to paint each cattail! This was a good thing because by the time I was done, I was damp and chilled to the bone.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

595 Keeping Your Ducks in a Row

A family of common mergansers gave us a wide birth as we relaxed on a narrow bridge on Lake Solitaire, northeast of Huntsville. We were walking the Limberlost Trail around Lake Solitaire and having a snack break. The merganser family were used to being kept in a neat row by the old hen.
The lead merganser is scoping the water for minnows…, as is the second from the last. The remaining mergansers are just happy to be kept in line ready to be called for dinner when a big enough school is spotted and corralled.
The water is heavily sun dappled and reflected. It was mid to late morning on a very sunny day. I was really happy with the impression and I had to pull myself away from working on the canvas trying to make it that much better. There is a fair bit of raw sienna peeking through but that's "okay". Sometimes less is much more and I think and hope this is the case for the ducks.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

624 April Melt

The family Chesapeake and Maine Coon Cat and I headed out again to paint and we didn't go very far. I liked the colours in the last of the melting snow and ice pellets as well as the light poking through the tangle of branches in the forest. The bees were flying once again with the temperatures peaking around plus 15 Celsius. Thus the reason for the strong and dramatic melt as well as the title.
The cat hung out around the easel while the dog chased mice and squirrels in the forest. Chauncy the boarded horse, just nosed around in the mix of straw, hay and manure behind the barn.

Shades of Grey

I started out my meteorological career by trying to get the most data out of satellite imagery. Admittedly satellite images were crude data sources at first but they proved that weather did not come in boxes or Venn Diagram intersections. There was much more information to be understood even from those early black and white and somewhat fuzzy images.
I started with “Enhanced Visible Imagery” trying to get the most out of the sunrise and sunset horizons. The human can discern maybe 17 shades of grey. The satellite channel offers 256 shades or energy levels. I wrote some papers on the topic and illustrated how one could reuse the 17 levels of discernable grey shades several times so as to use all of the 256 different energy levels of reflected solar radiation. This approach allowed the differentiation between convective cells which were tall and reflective enough to produce precipitation from those that were not. I had images to illustrate the approach. I thought it was great science but it was greeted by the sounds of crickets and not much else.
Now as I am resuming my career as an artist I have returned to my first passion. Grey is still my favourite. The human eye can distinguish 2.4 million colours. I am not making that up! The CIE, or “Commission internationale de l'├ęclairage”, established the "CIE 1931 XYZ color space" in 1931. These colours can be plotted and the human eye can differentiate between 2.38 million different colours. A few hundred thousands of these colours would be considered grey - way more than fifty!

In discussing my art I have frequently used the term “shades of grey” to describe some of my pieces. Unfortunately that phrase is now out of my vocabulary due to silly circumstances beyond my control. I have lost other really good words in the past as well and they are gone.  But happily my favourite colour remains “grey” spelled in the Canadian fashion with an “e”.
This painting is #1028 "Last Light - Gray" with the American spelling of "grey".

Monday, February 16, 2015

622 April Storm Watch

This is another in the series of April precipitation. A Winter Storm Watch had been issued overnight for a snowfall beginning during the afternoon hours. The family Chesapeake and I headed out to the neighbour's fence line and I parked myself on the top of the hill in the lee of the pine forest. The northeasterly inflow to the low was really quite strong and the wind in the cold conveyor belt was really moving the clouds along. My easel was in danger of being blown over more than once. I weighted everything down with my camera case and even that wasn't enough.

I focused on the sky leaving only the bottom slice of the canvas for the horizon and the distant Niagara Escarpment. The overrunning altostratus cloud was thickening up into nimbostratus and there was increasing amounts of snow virga during the three hours I spent on the hillside. I was true to the colours. By noon, thge Chesy and I were pretty much frozen with the wind chill. The temperature was hovering around minus 4 Celsius. Of course the wind chill made it feel colder.

Friday, February 13, 2015

963 Spring at Chimney Island

Singleton Philly's Forecast Painting for six weeks from Ground Hog Day...
This view is looking southeast across the St Lawrence River. I was attracted by the lines of turbulent stratocumulus that were following the northeasterly flow up the St Lawrence. It was windy enough that I had to stake my easel down to prevent it from blowing into me while I painted. The temperature had climbed to around plus 10 Celsius so I was no longer chilled. There was still a bit of snow on the north face of Chimney Island.

Small flocks of bufflehead and ring necked ducks where courting in the shallows between the mainland and the island. An osprey also flew overhead while I painted. It had something in its talons but I couldn't tell just what. There is a small mouth bass in this painting if anyone can find it! People should look at clouds and see shapes rather than just physics and clouds. There is also a great white shark but you have to look upside down to see it. I also moved Singer Castle and its red roofs eastward so that it would fit on my 14x18 canvas. I really like this painting. It was a wonderful day.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

618 One More Drift

One the last time of the season, I headed south to the neighbour's fence line to catch the last pockets of deep snow. This view is looking south-southeast and some of the fencing has already been painted in previous works. The colours of the basswood trees in the sunlight as well as the colours in the grass and the distant cedars caught my eye.

Once again my honey bees were flying and landing on my palette and my clothing. It was nice to hear them buzzing around me. I'm certain that it would have made some people very nervous but these were my employees. The family Chesapeake was with me and proceeded to tear the lower, dead branches off the pine trees and chew them down to size so that I could throw them. She spent a lot of time roaming in Jimmy Coulter's fields across the fence line.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

617 Last Drift

I had some time on the waning days of the winter so the family Chessy and I headed south to the neighbour's fence line. The shadows across the melting snow in the deep drift to the north of the fence line, were very strong and caught my eye. It was a beautiful day and the warmth of the sun was amazing. My honey bees were flying and one actually went down my jacket. I rescued him without mishap to either of us. It was a fun painting to do!
The panel had been primed with a medium-light coat of raw sienna.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

616 March Melt

This scene is looking north-west from the top of the hill behind the farm house. This was the second day of the spring thaw. A dramatic change in the upper jet stream which the models did pick up two weeks ahead of time, allowed the temperatures to get above freezing for the first time in two months. The temperatures had been 5 to 10 degrees Celsius below normal and now they were 5 to 10 degrees above normal. Everything was melting.

The colour of the hills and the moisture hanging in the air inspired me to focus on the colours rather than the details. The colours are absolutely right on. The cedars have that pale, orange, green colour to them and there is some pink blush on the tips of the willows that line the swamp that is in the valley behind the hills. The details of the sky shining through the distant forest and the deer trail that runs up the shoulder of the hill to the right are there.

Red-winged blackbirds, robins, a Northern Shrike, a Northern Harrier plus a murder of crows, kept me very entertained. The family Chesapeake was along with me and only lost two balls in the sugary snow on the hillside.

The panel had been primed with a medium-light coat of raw sienna.