Still working on the February Challenge put on by Opus Art Stores in B.C. They have given a prompt word for each day or you can use your own to draw, sketch or paint daily. Below are mine for Days 17 through 20. #opusdailypractice
Day 17 "Progress" is a small sketch of a vendor making a sale of mangos freshly cut in an intricate design. Day 18 "Uniqueness" (top right) is the wild looking flowering bushes that are in every boulevard and most yards, some trimmed nicely and others in ragged despair, Day 19 "Present" is a sketch of our neighbour's home that is having some difficulties and the construction has taken a forced break. Day 20 "Heritage" is of a relative new planting of banana trees which hopefully will be a heritage for a farmer's family.
Continuing with the Opus Daily Challenge for the month of February. These are the sketches for these 4 days. Day 13 - Self Love, Day 14 - Connection, Day 15 - Blossom, Day 16 - Delicate
Top left - Day 13 "Self Love" included fresh toenail polish and a cup of fresh hot coffee, ahhhhh- Top right - Day 14 "Connection" is an overview of the pickleball court on my paddle. This game and the wonderful people we have met has been a highlight and gave us a real sense of connection., Bottom left - Day 15 "Blossom" some of the flowering bushes outside the brightly coloured cement walls, Bottom Right - Day 16 "Delicate" is a closeup of one of the many flowers that are in boulevards and outside houses.
As the month long challenge by Opus Art Supplies continue, so have my sketches. I have been fortunate to be able to travel to Mexico so my daily sketches are something in my surroundings as that is usually my inspiration - the view, item and feeling. Having a sketchbook while travelling is such a great visual diary. I often glue things that mean something to me or a ticket receipt, travel boarding pass etc. I find few words are needed. Here are the next four sketches in my homemade watercolour paper sketchbook.
Top left- Day 9 "Daybreak" a sunrise view; top right- Day 10 "Glow" Looking up at the spinnaker sail on the beautiful Catatude catamaran; Bottom left - Day 11 "Play" I happily joined a sketching group that go out every Friday, yup, a play date. This is a view of the lagoon side and the dry hills behind; Bottom right - Day 12 "Ethereal" is a view of one of the amazing driftwood sculptures in the Ancora beach club. We were here the night before and there were lights on the driftwood sculptures with the Mexican band Musica Verde playing - absolutely magical or ethereal.
As the #OpusDailyPractice continues. I had completed the following four. Day 5 "Evolve", Day 6 "Collaboration", Day 7 "Indulge", and Day 8 "Balance"
Day 5 "Evolve" is a sketchbook page that I pasted bits of receipts, beer label, toilet paper roll cover and advertisements in Spanish down first and let this dry. Then I painted the early morning sunrise beach scene overtop in watercolour. A fun note, the fisherman piled up some sand, put his flip flops on top and under his pedal - a perfect kickstand! Day 6 prompt "Collaboration" came to mind as I watched these fisherman put this little boat in the water at sunrise to catch small "bait fish". Day 7 prompt "Indulge" was the perfect descriptor for the extra large cappuccino I ordered and enjoyed at Fer Latte Café. Day 8 prompt is "Balance". The vendors selling fruit from a tray carried on their head always amazes me as they walk in the deep sand.
Opus Art Supplies has art stores in B.C. They are very art community minded and have everything from free demos, outdoor plein air celebrations, and this challenge to name a few. Art supplies are often in random draws during these events and art at every level is encouraged. The #OpusDailyChallenge is for the month of February and they have supplied a list of suggested "prompts" but if those don't interest you, you can do your own. Again, art at any level is encouraged to be put on Facebook or Instagram with that hashtag. The four below are: Day 1 - Action, Day 2 - Dawn, Day 3 - Curiosity and Day 4 - Power
The top left prompt was "Action". The vendors on the beach are in constant action, walking the hot beach, talking to everyone in the hope of a sale and greeting other vendors. Day 2 (top right) prompt was "Dawn". and this sketch is of an early morning. watching the sun rise and all the people busy fishing. Day 3 (bottom left) prompt was "Curiosity" and I am always curious as to the vendor's conversations as they greet each other on the beach. Day 4 (bottom right) prompt is "Power" and the power of words came to mind in this colourful and wordy sketch.
This was so fun to paint. I started with a canvas I keep in my studio to try colours on, use up the paint on my palette and just play on, no plans, just play! I had been working in my sketch book and doing studies on canvas paper of birch trees. When I looked at my play canvas, I thought WOW, that would make great trees if I can tame the rest.
30" x 15" Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas with painted sides
#20029122 On hold, sale pending
I wish I had taken a photo of my play canvas before I started! The photo on the top left (below) has the birch trees taped out and the background painted over top. I tried to use dull colours but for me that is really hard. The top right is with the tape pulled off to see what I had. On the bottom left I am trying to define and dull the colours so they drop into the background. I had the painting against the window in my studio and the sun was shining through it. The colours don't really show in the photo but the trees were in brilliant jewel tones and I thought, thank you nature for showing me just what my vision was, now to paint it....!
I came into my studio and my painting was against a window. The sun was shining through it and the trees looked like jewelled stained glass, just what I wanted! Okay how to make that happen...I need to dull the background further and add more light to the trees (easier said than done). Loved working on this one and the final result!
I am happy to have my little painting "Sonic Echo" in the upcoming Federation of Canadian Artists "Works on Paper" Exhibition from January 25 until February 6. This little gem is painted with acrylic and inks on water colour paper. Water is very important to me and is often found in my work. This painting depicts the sounds heard underwater, in nature and manmade. Click Here to preview the show.
Even on a short flight, I take a sketch book to pass the time. If the seating area is not full, I can usually quickly sketch people around me. So many people are focused on their phones that they don't notice me or think I am writing as my homemade concertina sketch book is only 8" x 6". If the seating area is full, I concentrate on the footwear I can see, that way I don't have people making eye contact and wondering what I am doing. Occasionally it stirs up an interesting conversation. My flight was delayed so I had extra time. I also will take my sketch book and sketch on longer flights.
Meet Marley. This is Marley as a new puppy. He has grown and fulfilled his earthly life. Marley was commissioned by Brent for his brother after Marley passed away. I had previously had the pleasure of painting Brent's French Bulldog Pierre. Hopefully this surprise Christmas present will warm his heart every time he looks at it.
"Marley" a commissioned pet portrait
10" x 10" acrylic on gallery wrap canvas with the painting over the sides and bottom
#20007122 NFS (not for sale)
The pictures above are the painting in progress. The first (top left) is the photo reference I used. The second (top right) I am working on the underpainting and trying to figure out the background. The 3rd photo (bottom left) is more progress on Marley and the background. The bottom right is with his eyes painted in and more details. Sometimes I don't paint the eyes until later as it can feel like the dog is watching me! More details on the eyes and nose. Thanks Brent for the pleasure of painting such a cute pup and for sharing the reason behind it.
What fun this puppy was to paint!! This commissioned painting is of a young pup with a steady focused and learning gaze. This Christmas present was a delight to paint as the gifter had commissioned other paintings, I felt quite free to paint Louie as I saw him.
I have process photos at the bottom of this blog for those interested. I used Red Iron Oxide as an undercoat and to get started over the intimidating white. I then drew Louie in with the same colour just not with thinned paint. Then the fun with colour began!! I often will not paint in the eyes or finish the eyes until later as it is unnerving to have the pet "watch" you paint, strange I know, but when you are intensely looking, they start coming to life. It was a joy painting Louie and this Christmas gift was a hit. Merry Christmas and may you enjoy new art in 2022!
"Louie" a commissioned pet portrait
8" x 10" acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, #20125221 (Not For Sale)
I have been having fun in a homemade concertina sketch book. I had not connected it in the middle thinking it would be to large to travel with and would attach the two pieces after. Well that did not work as well as I thought as the pages were no long in order. I had used the front and back of the pages then connected them to the second half. No matter, I just dated the individual pages. Below are some of the pages.
This handmade sketchbook is a place to explore, try things and put in memories of the moment not making it precious. The covers are made from cereal boxes that I have covered with tape pieces that are full of colourful paint used in this book.
Meet Guinness. This lovely dog's pet portrait was commissioned. I had a lot of fun painting a black dog without using any black paint. Purples, blues, Quin Red Iron Oxide and white were used on a Quin Red Iron Oxide underlayer. Guinness' face had so much character, it was really fun to bring to life as you can see in the photos below. Thank you Barb for this wonderful commission!
"Guinness" a commissioned pet portrait
12" x 9" acrylic on cradled board, #20111221
In the top left, I have the thinned Quinacridone Red Iron Oxide to cover the canvas then drew with a paintbrush the outlines in undiluted paint to make sure I mapped it out right. The second photo (top right) I have filled in the underpainting and added to the background. Bottom left photo I have added more details and eyes. The bottom right, getting closer, now adding the final details.
After clearing out my art studio and painting the walls, I was finally back at the easel. I worked out compositions to see what one I preferred (more on previous pages in sketchbook). The bottom row is defining the shapes and the last one is defining values. Then the fun began with a paintbrush in hand and a plan in mind. I hadn't painted in oils for quite awhile so this was a real treat.
"Days Of Summer"
16" x 12" Oil on canvas panel, #20106222
Warning: Long post ahead. This is an exercise in the online art group I belong to on Mighty Networks called 4C, owned and lead by Sharon Lynn Williams. It is a community of artists who are serious about improving their paintings and growing their art practice.
I was "Mining My Photograph" as an art exercise. The top photo is the winter scene photograph I am working from. The top right is the work I did on paper to find the shape and what I wanted to paint from the scene. The ones underneath those are the oil painting I first did (8" x 10") on canvas pad. I will often look through my phone at the image in black and white to check the values.
I also tried to paint in oil in my sketchbook on thin gesso'd water colour paper. It was interesting and very dry to work on. The gesso just seemed to soak up the paint and not move it well. I used a two page spread to make it 12" x 6 1/2". If you click on the photos you will see it full size.
I want to make a larger painting in a rectangular format so this is my working page on oil canvas paper. The squiggly lines in the preliminary drawing is an evergreen tree. Deciding on a format, values and shapes are always easier to do in pencil rather than in oil at the easel. These exercises are so valuable to do but I am always eager to get the brush in my hand and often skip these steps. I will post the final larger version when it is completed.
As our daughter and 5 month old grandson were visiting for a very busy week of travelling around the city to visit (and introduce Jack) to her friends and our friends, there was no time for a paint session. I signed up for a free 5 day course called Mandala Magic with artist Julie Gibbons and got up early to work in my sketchbook. The top 4 were moons and the last one was the 8 stages/seasons(?) of the sun. It was quite meditative as you just did what your heart desired following her prompts. I played with water colour and pens. The second one has cut out paper moons glued on. I did enjoy the non-stop writing and colouring the letters in.
Well a tough decision was made...pickleball or a plein air painting time (well maybe not so tough). I dropped my husband off at the Salmon Arm pickleball courts and then drove back down the road as I had spotted this barn on our way. I found a shaded spot under a beautiful old willow tree and set up. With the heat, smoky summer, and our first grandchild born (Jack), the summer flew by without very much plein air painting which is my favourite way to paint. The weather, smells, sounds, people visiting and checking out what I am doing is all embedded in the painting. It was a glorious morning.
The owner of the barn was driving by and stopped to chat so I also enjoyed the historical information. Of course using my creative side of my brain, I forgot all those details so can't share them!! If anyone recognizes the barn, please let me know. Next time I will bring paper and pencil, Lovely walkers and couple of cars stopped, to look and chat. The wonderful neighbours offered me a chance to come back and paint their vine covered old barn in the back. My time was up before I had a chance to see it but will definitely go back next spring.
Barn in Salmon Arm, B.C.
8" x 10" plein air (on location) oil painting, #20122121
My husband and I were loving gifted a holiday stay at the wonderful Crystal Cove Beach Resort in Tofino, B.C. by our daughter, son-in-law and our son for our 40th wedding anniversary. We had our own loft cabin complete with hot tubs in the trees! We had a wonderful time exploring on our bikes and I was able to complete the painting below on site. I hope you feel the calm and peacefulness I felt while painting it!!
"Tofino Anniversary View"
8" x 10" Oil on canvas panel, plein aire (on location) #20116121
The sketches below were done on water colour paper in my homemade concertina sketch book. The last one was done on the ferry ride on our way home. Jack is our first grandchild and was definitely on my mind after we sadly hugged goodbye and headed home from our visit together. It was a good way to celebrate and use up the ferry ride time. If you click on the image you should get the full view.
This was the second year my friend Evelyn and I stayed at the wonderful Beaver Lake Mountain Resort just above Lake Country, B.C. in Last year we stayed for 2 nights, this year 3 nights (whooo hooo!!). It is a beautiful fishing lake with cabins, camping, motorized and paddle boats & boards to rent and wonderful accommodating staff. We laughed a lot, ate extremely well (Evelyn is an excellent cook and I was an excellent chopper and cleaner-upper). I had my plein air set up and happily painted 3 oil paintings (8" x 10") while I was there as well as a couple of sketch book pages. Much to our surprise (after a full moon walk the night before) we woke up to snow one morning that melted by noon, so many surprises, and so much fun!
We also both had a wonderful and healing session at the Lotus Wellness Retreat on site. Thank you Daniela and Myra for your wonderful expertise, intuitiveness and sensitivity. We both felt amazing after and are still enjoying the effects.
Dody gave the group a lesson in pastel and answered our many questions. It was fun to play with another medium. I will sometimes take a black and white photo on my phone or look through it at my painting to check values. The photo on the bottom left was the first time I did that and realized I did not have enough darks and the circle at the end of the path showed up as well. The second time I was happier with more variation. This painting exercise is not for sale as I was looking at a magazine photo and did not have permission. Really enjoyed my day, thanks Dody for being so encouraging to all!!
I would like to thank everyone that has come out to see the Courtyard Gallery in Enderby, B.C. and enjoy the wonderful work of a great variety of local artisans. Today and tomorrow are the final days of my Featured Artist exhibit. I will be hosting tomorrow then taking the unsold art down. In particular, I would like to thank my supportive friends: Sharon, Helen, Ciana, Karen, Marc, and Rigmor who travelled on the days I was hosting to see my art as well as the great variety of pottery, jewelry, felting, cement/rock pieces and mixed media sculpture. A few treasures were also taken home! This September almost doubled the sales of previous Septembers, whoop whoop (huge thank you)!
The gallery is closed on Sunday and Monday and will hang a new show "Open Exhibition" where non-members are invited to put 2 paintings in this show, what fun. As well the rest of the gallery will have wonderful tempting art for the eyes and practical use. This is an artist run gallery with no pressure sales, so come and enjoy the variety. Click here for the Courtyard Gallery website.
Pre-Covid I had participated in the B.C. Culture Days celebration by painting en plein air (on location) on the Rail Trail near Oyama. It was a real treat as my sister Shannon accompanied me for the day. Not only did she share her busy time with me but she also packed a wagon with chairs, a cooler with lunch and refreshments, my art supplies and magazines that she never has time for. It was fun to talk to the families and people walking and biking by. There were wonderful questions filled with curiosity. Artists were invited to paint anywhere along the rail trail from Oyama to Vernon and the paintings were then brought to the Vernon Arts Centre for display. Shannon just sent me the above photo she saw on Facebook and when I went into the link, I found the one below. The rail trail paint out has not been organized for this year or I would of certainly participated again. You can check out the activities on this link: https://culturedays.ca/en/hubs/713a50c5-60ef-472f-8aae-e409a7aa0667
I am fortunate to be the Featured Artist at the Courtyard Gallery in Enderby, B.C. until October 2, 2021. It was fun and very much like a puzzle to choose paintings that would fit within the two walls and would look good together. I took some of my favourite paintings off the wall for this show and sale. It is a fun way to re-decorate as there are no empty nails in our Sicamous home walls even with this show!! I am also the gallery host on Thursday September 23, if you are in the area, I would love to see you. If you get a chance to stop by on another day, please let the artist host know you have come to see my featured wall and all the other wonderful artisans work, they are a very friendly, talented and welcoming group.
The smoky skies in British Columbia this summer did not make for great plein air (on location) painting. This is the view from our yard and normally you can see the houses mountains, trees and hill on the other side of the lake. That day, they were barely darker shapes. If you look at my palette, there is very little mixing of colours for this painting. I rubbed this painting out when I was done as there was no need to keep this memory. It was good practice painting with greys. A month later, there are still 2 small smoke drifts from the fires on the hill, hopefully the rain today will help put those out.
It is wonderful when a local Sicamous business supports the local arts community. HUB International is a local insurance company located in Sicamous, B.C. The Eagle Valley Brush and Palette Club join with the Photography Club with a "Photo to Canvas" event. They have a whole collection all over the walls and welcome customers and those interested in photography and painting to come in for a look.
A bin of photos is left for the artist's to choose and use as a reference for a painting. Some of the paintings are very realistic, following the photo and others are used for the idea as mine were. I painted two using mixed media on watercolour paper. The painting on the left in progress below. I will post the painting on the right in progress in my next post.
The Eagle Valley Brush and Palette Club in Sicamous, B.C. teams up with the Photography Club annually for this challenge. The photographers submit photographs and the painters choose what they are interested in and paints their rendition. Some artists choose very realistic rendention while others take the idea or essence of the photograph and paint it with their own voice as I did with the two mixed media paintings. Usually there is an exhibition at the Red Barn Arts Centre in Sicamous B.C. but of course with Covid, it was cancelled. HUB International insurance in Sicamous is a great supporter of this challenge and puts the photos and paintings all over their office for customers and interested people to come in and enjoy. Thank you HUB International!! Below are some pictures of the painting in progress.
Karen Oliver's Art Journey
Thanks for stopping by to see my art journey and what I am currently working on.