Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Diamond Island-Five Islands, Nova Scotia

It has been a while since I have posted, but here at Elm Street Studio, we have not been idle!  We had a wonderful time with the Studio Rally Weekend, and have even more plans for the upcoming year.  Meanwhile, I would like to share one of the pieces just finished based on my plein air work on Long Island, this past September.  Lines of energy, surging power of the tides and the brilliance of the light made for a wonderful painting experience.  Come by to Elm Street for a studio visit.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Elm Street Studio with this summer's work...

Richard and I have been painting up a storm lately.  We would love for you to come visit us.  Much of the work is either plein air, or based on plein air work here in Nova Scotia.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Port Joli Plein air

Just back from a wonderful week on the South Shore painting plein air with artists Richard Rudnicki, Joy Laking, Nelson Hubley, Bruce Gray, Heather Crout and Bev Hubley.  The sculptured coastline, summer cloud formations and turquoise ocean all combined to give us a perfect week.  (Not to mention, all participants were great cooks!)

My landscapes are inspired by reality, but take off from there, without colour limits, embellishing form with patterns and line.

Monday, June 28, 2010

paintings from Great Village

Richard and I had the good fortune to spend several days at the end of May in Great Village at the Elizabeth Bishop House.  In such an atmosphere of creativity, surrounded by the aura of the great poet, we explored the landscapes of the Fundy Shore.  Working back into the plein air paintings created on site, I have completed 12" x 24" studies; two are posted here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rocks near Prospect

Plein air painting... wonderful with the surf crashing, gulls crying, wind blowing and drying the paint!
Richard and I drove out to Prospect and found a spot on the rocks a bit out of the wind.  Sentinel rocks were all around.  One formation looked like Moses' tablets dropped in awe of the ocean view.
My paintings are inspired by the landscape, but I have put aside literal  colour for a brighter, more expressive pallet.  This is very freeing for me, and also challenging, as I am developing a new style for my studio work.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring grass Sable Island

The horses of Sable Island are so much a part of the landscape--as much as the sound of the wind and the sting of the sand always in motion.  Memories of the gulls crying and swooping down over the land and sea, of the salt in the air and new growth, new life.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Following the well-worn paths of the horses, I am led to a freshwater pond near the West Light.  Floating in gossamer tissue are the bones of a seal.  The horses graze serenely in the distance, the breeze blows the grasses.  (details of 'Seal Bones/Sable Horses)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back to painting and back to Sable Island

It took a while to get my mind around painting, and working in a new style developed while painting on Sable Island and down the South Shore... Old work off the walls, fresh look in my space only.  Here is a detail from a Sable Island landscape I am currently working on.  The horses are one element more spiritual in feel of this sand wind and water place in the North Atlantic.  What a privilege to experience it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chorus line of Vs

I have been here at Banff for about 10 days.  Veronique MacKenzie and Lukas Pearse are here working with me.  It has been wonderful working with these two dedicated artists.  We seem to be overcoming obstacles and getting on with the project which is starting to come together.  I have been going back decades to my days at the New School in New York, where I was immersed in animation of the stop motion sort, plus painting under the camera.  In the photo you see some of my figures which I am working with... miniature Vs have a life all their own.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It is indeed wonderful to be here.  Today, along with my studio work, I attended the open studio event for resident visual artists.  I had lunch with MoJo Anderson, I went to a fabulous concert by a string quintet and several other musicians... I am beginning to understand what Banff is.  It is a place where artists from all over the globe come together to exchange ideas.

Monday, February 15, 2010

finding my way around

My first full day here at Banff.  Today is a holiday here...something called Family Day.  Much of the facility was closed, so I happily went out for a longer than expected hike, first into the town proper, then up a mountainside on a trail spotted with elk droppings.  Obviously well-used by these animals.  I kept one eye on the trail and with the other I kept a lookout for any critters.  Ravens were flying about and the occasional snowflake fluttered down through the still air.  I came to a fabulous look-off into the valley below and up the side of Lookout Mountain.  Returning to the Centre, my route took me past the practice studios for the musicians...small huts, really, and you could faintly hear their music through the sound-proof walls.  From another direction the sound of an aria in a pure soprano voice.  An amazing place.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In Banff

After an early rise, a long flight and a long drive, I am at the Banff Centre.  I will be working for the next two weeks on Motion Activated, a multi-disciplinary art piece with Veronique MacKenzie and Lukas Pearse. I am diving  back into animation, a practice I was studying 33 years ago, before I became a painter.  Here is a view from my window...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hard to believe...

Looking out into the back yard of bare branches and crusted snow, it is hard to believe the transformation that spring brings to our garden.  Seeing Richard's photo, I can smell the fresh scents of the flowers and feel the soft breezes of the gentler season to come.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Up Home at The Centre for Craft and Design, Sydney, NS

Just got back from a wonderful few days in Sydney for the occasion of the opening of Up Home at the Centre for Craft and Design.  I spent several days working with the sixth grade students at Harbourside Elementary.  They did a wonderful job writing and illustrating special memories.  Their work is on display along with the original illustrations and text from Up Home by Shauntay Grant, published by Nimbus.  Her Honour, the Honourable Mayann E. Francis, ONS, DHumL, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia opened the show with a moving speech.  The exhibition was made possible through partnerships with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs, African Nova Scotia Service Provider Network and the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board.  Thank you all and thank you, Kris Webster and Carol Beaton.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flash animation

Another challenge-- Learning the Flash program to animate segments of dance collaborating with Veronique MacKenzie and Lukas Pearse.  Off to Banff to do some serious studying.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Port Joli painting

Last summer, Richard and I were painting plein air on the South Shore.  Fabulous time and a breakthrough for me with my work.  Sitting high on the rocks at the Seaside Adjunct, the wind carrying the cries of the seals to us as we painted.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The City Speaks in Drums: cover image

Today I put the final touches on the illustrations for my next book with Shauntay Grant and Nimbus Publishing called The City Speaks in Drums.  I have been working on this in one form or another since last July... a long haul, but I am happy with the illustrations.  Once again, I was working with members of our community on this book based in Halifax, following the adventures of two boys as they explore the city.
Thanks to Dante and Chris, two very patient young men, and the stars of the book.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Richard at the easel

Richard Rudnicki and I share our painting studio.  It is a pleasure to be able to look up and see him deep in thought, working away at his latest painting.  Here he is painting an illustration for Groundwood's upcoming book on Viola Desmond.  We are lucky, in that this would not be possible with just anyone!  It is good to have a second eye ready to comment when needed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nude with Owl

Nude with Owl is roughly based on "Odalisque" by Ingres for the positioning of the model, painted from life. For the past five years, I have been practicing life drawing/painting and became interested in the nude as the subject for a series of paintings, deriving the settings from dreamscapes and local landmarks.  Several of my other paintings from this exploration are set in the Public Gardens.
I am eager to get back into this work following completion of my last few illustrations for The City Speaks in Drums by Shauntay Grant.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Night visitor

My studio painting has lately been influenced by my interest in symbolism and dreams.  My dreams are particularly vivid, often threatening and anxious.  This is not completely a bad thing, as they are remarkable in themselves and the source of potential imagery.  The owl is a creature of the night, often known for wisdom, but also connected to the underworld and death. The penetrating stare of the owl. The eyes that can see into the depths of darkness. The head that can turn almost 360 degrees to follow and discover. The flight on silent wings. All of this in a creature full of mystery and primeval associations.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Spoons" Rudnicki

Now, for all of you who wonder how we manage to make ends meet, here is Richard working hard to supplement our income.  Well, actually, he is posing for  The City Speaks in Drums.  Great job, Richard!  We swooped down on the Public Gardens, and Richard demonstrated his technique learned from a quick lesson on Youtube.  We left in a flash right after hearing a child say "Look, Mom!  He's going to play the spoons!".  

Sunday, January 3, 2010

natty dreads

It is harder than it looks, but Andrew manages to "whip air to the beat" with some advice from a passerby... another detail. Models are very sympathetic, lending their personalities to the creative process. Behind, sitting on the bench, a local celebrity helps support the pigeon population, wings mimic the flying dreadlocks.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

the man on the bench

Starting to post, and finding that people know, people recognize this fellow intent on his crossword outside the public library. I am interested in dissecting my paintings, finding small parts that become a passage unto themselves. Capturing the fleeting moment, holding it in your hand, in your mind's eye, then returning to it months later to examine it once again.