Wednesday, April 27, 2016

818 Making Waves in Oil

From Friday, June 9th, 2006 - This is the fourth demonstration piece for the second week of teaching at the Southampton Art School. I asked the group what they wanted to have demonstrated. They all said waves. It was most appropriate given the title of the course. As a result I headed down the road to overlook Lake Huron to the northwest. This put me and the group right in the blast of the cold air advection. One girl darn near froze. The twelve participants were huddled up behind me. I let all of the enthusiasm for plein painting out and this is what resulted. It was an experience that I won't forget.

Unconsciously I painted the surface of the lake curved as though the earth was a smaller sphere. You can see the curvature on the horizon. That is what I saw. The streets of stratocumulus were aligned with the wind direction in the unstable boundary layer. There is a lot of meteorology in this painting. It is interesting how the combination of wind and current even shapes the shoreline.

The view is northwesterly with streets of turbulent stratocumulus and lots of waves. A huge cedar log was up on the beach in 2006. That very same log was still there in 2014.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

806 Saugeen Sailboats

From Wednesday, May 31st, 2006 - This is day three of the three "W's" - "Wind Waves and Weather". The group set up on the north shore of the Saugeen River in Southampton. Everyone picked a different subject matter. My view is slightly upstream at a group of sail boats tied to a floating dock. This was going to be a "waves" demonstration! It is difficult to talk as you paint, explaining what you are doing and why you are doing it. The exercise forces one to be very deliberate on your actions and words and sometimes what you do doesn't match what you are saying and vice versa.

The upper cold front had gone through but the surface cold front was still to the west when we started to paint. This was a classic example of a split front. A few of the elevated altocumulus castellanus dropped some small evaporating drops but not enough to spoil our plein air painting. The surface cold front arrived at 11:45 am and we had to bail then. It was quitting time in any event so some went home and some retreated with me to the classroom. Among the many weather features to discuss, I explained how to observe a precipitating cloud from one that is not - from a distance.

Note that the Ojibway term for confluence of the waters is "Saugeen".

Thursday, April 14, 2016

804 Short Dock

This is the second demo that I ever did in front of a class from Tuesday, May 30th, 2006  ... it was fun although I was always bouncing in and out of the zone. Verbal explanation takes over the left side of your brain while the visual creating half of your brain hangs out in the right side of your brain. I think I was able to connect though. There were some exceptional artists in this class.

This is looking west from the "Long Dock" Beach which is also the home of Gerry's Fries which is a local landmark. It was another sunny and hazy day. I discussed the land breeze transition to the lake breeze and how we could confirm that by watching for a line of cumulus forming near noon, parallel to but inland from the coast. I also described what I was doing and why during this demonstration painting. It was even a better day than the first one. They all seemed to have fun.

The "Short Dock" is parallel to but south of the "Long Dock". It was also shorter. Trains used to drive out on it to load and off load cargo. Today, the remaining structure of both the "Short Dock" and "Long Dock" are about a foot under the water.

The cold frontal cloud was not even visible on the western horizon. It was really quite hot and muggy and we were all sweating.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

803 Miramachi Contrails

From Monday, May 29th, 2006... this was my first ever demo piece in front of students. They didn't know that and my friend Jane told me not to tell... I had done a lot of teaching before but never art. It went well. I have been posting older art in the order it was created. My goal is to eventually get it all on It will take years, one image at a time.

This is looking west from the south end of Miramachi Bay. This is the first day of classes at the Southampton Art School. I talked about the weather and the sky as I did this presentation piece. I also talked about what I was doing and why. I think it went very well indeed. There were eight "students" and some of them were already very accomplished. They all seemed to have fun and told the directors that they certainly did. It was an excellent beginning to the week of art and teaching.

The warm front was already well to the north and another strong westerly flow was rippling gravity waves into the jet contrails. There is quite a bit of jet traffic over Southampton on the great circle route. It was really quite hot and muggy and we were all sweating.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

975 Spring Stratocumulus

From 1:30 pm April 29, 2008... Standing on the deck of the Tolton's Boathouse... looking east toward the American shore. It was about 1:30 pm and I had just returned from a paddle to Jones Creek. The temperature had warmed up to plus 11 Celsius but the brisk northwesterly winds were still chilly.

The layers of nimbostratus were still visible on the eastern horizon as warm, creamy white cloud illuminated by the sun in the western sky. A couple of bands of cirrus were also apparent along the jet stream that wrapped around the large upper low. The streets of stratocumulus were wider apart as the boundary layer had risen with the surface temperature. These streets of spring stratocumulus were on the relative warm side of the upper jet stream. Daytime heating was contributing a cumulus component to the cloud. The individual stratocumulus streets cannot be discerned due to my oblique viewing angle.

The large and relatively old cloud droplets were not efficient Mie scatterers of sunlight back to my eye in the direction that the light came from. The stratocumulus was thus rather dark compared to the smaller and more numerous cloud droplets associated with the departing nimbostratus.

The far American shore was mainly in shadow when I started to paint. There was a lot more sun by the time I was done.

The point behind this entire painting was the colours of the various elements. It was fun!

Friday, April 8, 2016

962 Spring at the Jones

From Monday April 14, 2008...
I was standing on the edge of the limestone cliff overlooking Jones Creek. I went looking for the last remnants of snow to paint but found none. This view is looking northwestward across Jones Creek with some strong, dark trees in the foreground. The chilly northeasterly winds made me feel as though I was painting a snow scene.

The geese and red winged black birds were making their mating calls for spring. American mergansers were busy in the creek while ravens croaked in the distance. This is what spring is like at the Jones.

The shadow across the foreground is my easel and panel. It could have just as easily been a tree but it was me. This is in parody of Tom Thomson's painting "Algonquin Afternoon" where the art critics argue that Tom painted his shadow into the work. He may have. In my case, I am around to admit to this bit of self indulgence - the closet thing to a portrait that I am likely to do.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

961 Entrance to the Jonses

From Friday April 4th, 2008...
This is the view from "Tub" Tolton's boathouse on the St Lawrence. Tub was my Grade 10 science teacher who gave me 100% as a final year-end mark. We have remained friends ever since...

I was standing under the sheltered overhang out of the rain. The wind was calm and the rain was falling straight down so my canvas and palette stayed quite dry. The temperature was plus 3 or 4 Celsius but started to drop as the rain intensified. The precipitation was mixing with snow by the time I was done. The wind also picked up out of the east with the approach of the low pressure area. As a result, the wind and the rain started to penetrate under the overhang and I got very wet and very chilled. It took me a couple of hours under the cat and the comforter at the condo to get warm again.

The ice floats were headed down river when I started to paint but were headed back upriver with the wind by the time I was done. Flocks of waterfowl kept me entertained and I turned frequently from my canvas to watch them fly by. It was great to have them so near.

The entrance to Jones Creek is just to the right of the ice. The area is beautiful and I was thinking how nice it would be to live there and to "keep up with the Jones' ". This explains the title for the painting. The "the" was added as though it was an after thought in order to make the point of the double meaning in the title. The boat house that looks like it was tipping into the river was doing just that. It has since disappeared.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

959 Jones Creek Morning

From Thursday April 3rd, 2008.
I hiked to the northern section of the Brown's Bay Camp Ground and stood overlooking Jones Creek. There were lots of trees between me and the water but that was the way I wanted it. The geese were honking and I think I heard a single ruffed grouse drumming. It was a beautiful morning with the sun rising behind me. The temperature was around zero Celsius but without the wind, it was really quite pleasant.

I had to break through the think crust of snow in order to get a place to stick my brushes. A chocolate and yellow lab came by to check on my painting. The dogs were not critics.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

956 Spring Island

From March 2008...
I headed to the "Back Pond" and the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area. I knew I didn't have much time before the cold frontal rain showers would arrive and I didn't feel like getting soaked to the skin. This snow covered hammock (a local and well-defined elevation of the land) on the south shore was close to the car park and attracted my attention. The park on the northwest shore of the "Back Pond" was visible through the trees. The snow on the hammock was "ripe" and pot marked with age - very ready to melt.

Migrating Canada Geese, grackles and red winged blackbirds supplied the sounds of spring as a musical backdrop to the island.

I was almost done when the rain arrived. I got wet but not too bad. It was a fun morning.