"Beautiful But Prickly"
14" x 11" Acrylic on water colour paper #20120219
This plant was by the pool at Bungalows Bahai in Melaque Mexico. I loved how the new flowers were blooming so vibrantly while the older ones were duller, there was so much symbolism in that view. The shadows were like a blank canvas and changing the view depending on how much you moved. This plant was beautiful and scary at the same time with all the spikes - literally look but don't touch.
The heat and humidity were really high with the temperatures in the high 34 - 38 degrees Celsius and the humidity make it feel over 44 - 47. The paint was interesting to work with as it stayed liquid until it hit the gessoed water colour paper then it gummed and dried almost instantaneously, great for dry brush work but not much else. I am happy with the final painting but learned a lot about painting this heat.
Marg, Ken and I walked through town and looked at what the vendors had for sale in Melaque Mexico. I was intrigued by the shapes and colours at the fish vendors. With the acrylic paint reacting so strangely in the heat and humidity, dry brushing really worked for this scene.
"Catch Of The Day"
Acrylic on water colour paper, 14" x 11" unframed, #20115219
"Fishing At Sunrise"
11" x 14" Acrylic on water colour paper #
The sunrise's are absolutely stunning with a new light show every morning in Melaque Mexico. Some mornings the colours are orange and purple and other mornings a mix of pinks, blues and purples, really breath taking and amazing - especially through an artist's eye! I am still trying to adapt to how strangely my acrylic paint reacts in the heat and humidity - very hard to move on the gesso'd canvas paper as it dries immediately. Even using water just separates the paint. I am happy with how I captured the view as so many men were working in their boats with a single bulb or no light what so ever. Very intriguing to watch.
"Not A Selfie"
11" x 14" Acrylic on water colour paper, unframed, #20108212
It was interesting to watch this young Mexican girl up early enjoying the sunrise as I do. It was refreshing to see someone trying to capture the beautiful show nature provides without making themselves the centre.
I was able to check a piece of luggage so filled a carry on size with my travel easel, acrylic paints and palette and headed to Melaque, Mexico. I usually enjoy painting with oils but thought the speed of drying, acrylics made more sense. Here is what I found. My palette stayed moist but when I mixed colours on my palette and tried to adhear the paint to the surface, it completely dried so it was almost impossible to get a proper brush stroke!! The temperature was in the mid 30'sC and the humidity had the weather sites reading "feels like 46C". Any movement made my body react like I was in a shower from the inside out, very strange. Any woman who has gone through menopause knows that feeling and it is not comfortable at all. I decided to mix and put my paint on with a palette knife and that worked better. Below is the first pass while I was trying to figure it out and then mid point with the finished painting at the bottom.
14" x 11" Acrylic on water colour paper #20101212
I painted this once before and had so much fun and a heartfelt time that I decided to paint it again in a larger size. This painting could really be anyone but the unknowing model is our daughter Kristen who's friend took the photo on her phone. There is so much I love about this one, the open sky, tumultuous water and her still, contemplative stance as well as her shadow seemingly grounding her to that spot. A very happy, heart full painting.
40" x 16" Oil on 1 1/2" canvas with sides painted (no framing required) #20119119
Currently hanging in Gallery One-Fifty, Sicamous B.C.
32" x 26" Acrylic on board, framed #20110119
For Sale, please contact me
I just realized that I had not posted this painting that I did this summer. I really enjoyed the experience of sketching poppies in Rigmor's yard then creating a variety of sizes of paintings from my reference sketch and photos. This painting hung for a month in the Salmon Arm Credit Union in Sicamous, you can see it in this blog post.
I finally had the chance to set my easel up to plein air paint this railway bridge in Sicamous B.C. this summer. I snuggled up close to a metal shed for shade and sketched the view in my sketchbook then planned it out on my canvas. At this point the Rocky Mountain Rail Tour train slowly went by and I waved and people waved back, then I waved with 2 arms vigorously and they waved back the same way, back down to one hand - same response. I was laughing so hard it was such great fun. About half an hour later I had a CP worker come and tell me (in the nicest way) I was on private property and had to move. The road was about 20 paces behind me but the shed blocked my view.
There was no place to stand and finish the painting off their property so I packed up at this point. Still wanting the outdoor experience I opened my vehicle hatch at home and finished the painting based on the photo I took (standing outside painting). I loved the whole experience (never been asked to leave before) and especially all the people in the train moving slowly by happily waving! The finished painting is bright and cheery as my experience had been.
20" X 16" Acrylic on canvas, en plein air + outdoor studio time, FOR SALE #20103119
The last stop for our group was biking around the Abergavenny Wales area. We were on canal tow paths, railway paths and very narrow, tall hedge lined roads. Travelling around town was hair raising, especially the round a-bouts for biking on the opposite side of the street. We had to keep reminding ourselves to "STAY LEFT!!!". We biked in a lot of rain and some really heavy down pours but still went out as planned (I am in the orange coat huddled under a bridge). It sure helped to have the right clothing. One day we stopped in a pub for lunch and we turned it into what looked like a laundry we had so many wet clothes hanging on the back of chairs. The 8 of us biked together for the most part but broke into a couple groups a few times to bike what we wanted. We celebrated Shelly's 60th birthday, making memories all around. Our accommodation was wonderful and Pat greeted us as well as saw some of us off. The people of Wales were very accommodating, friendly and welcoming. Gord and I were the first to leave and headed off by train to stay at Barbara and Peter's home for our last night. The old truck belongs to Peter and I enjoyed looking at it in the backyard or garden as they refer to it. Peter and Barbara drove us to the airport the next morning. Once again Barbara and Peter, thanks for the wonderful hospitality!! It was a wonderful, busy and active holiday filled with good friends and a lot of laughter.
Gord and I traveled by train from Bristol to Bradford On (or Upon) Avon, UK to meet up with our friends. They all arrived by train at different times on the same day. Again I filled my sketch book with train tickets, photos, sketches, daily log entries and anything else that interested me (tbelow are some of the sketch pages). I left a small painting for the owners of the house we rented as a token of our gratitude (blog post). He was wonderful, letting us drop off our luggage early as well as storing them on the last day until it was time to take the train. We biked all around along the canals and old rail beds that are part of the nation wide cycle paths. Our friends Barbara and Peter also joined us in the evenings to go out for dinner, drink wine and play dice games (with a lot of laughter).
My husband Gord, myself, and 3 other couples planned a cycling trip in England and Wales. Gord and I went to explore Bristol UK on our own before meeting up with everyone. I brought my trusty sketch book with me to remember the trip. I put tickets, photos, writing and anything else that interested me in it. When we met up with our friends after Bristol, we also met up with Barbara and Peter (from UK). Barbara had made us each a gift of a quilted bookmark, tissue container and cup coaster to choose from. I used the bookmark to go around this sketch book (in 1st photo), perfect, thanks again Barbara. This slide show are some of the pages with sketches in Bristol, UK.
When I travel and we stay in a friend's or rental home that I feel an affinity to the home or the owners, I leave a thank you gift of a small painting of their home. I found 4" x 6" plexiglass magnetic photo frames that I can take easily in my carry on luggage. The top painting is an AirBnB home that we rented in Bradford Upon Avon in England on a cycling trip with 3 other couples. It was very comfy and made us feel like we were in an English "Harry Potter" style house with bedrooms going off in different directions on different levels. The owner was wonderful and let us leave our luggage inside prior to our check in and after our check out while we toured the town. We had a great time here.
This wonderful home belongs to Pat and we rented it for 5 nights in Abergavenny, Wales as the eight of us continued our biking holiday exploring all the canal paths, narrow roads and rail beds now turned into cycling routes. We all had a wonderful time exploring and living comfortably in her former home, very grateful for the location, hospitality and room.
This was the view across the Salmon Arm Nature Park from the Wharf Park. I decided to en plein air paint the scene I have admired all summer while waiting for the band to get ready for the last W.O.W. (Wednesday On The Wharf outdoor live music). They started playing as I was finishing up which added to this wonderful experience.
MUSIC TO THE EYES
11" x 14" Acrylic on canvas panel, #20113019, AVAILABLE FOR SALE
This was a wonderful time en plein air painting with my (blister-in-law - as she calls us) Marg. She sketched and painted the scene in water colours and I in acrylics. We had many, many laughs and shared our delight with passersby as they enjoyed a stroll on this raised paved boardwalk. We ended our day with a picnic supper watching and listening to the wonderful musicians playing at "Wednesday On The Wharf" in Salmon Arm B.C. (a must do on summer Wednesdays evenings).
Taking a selfie is very unusual and uncomfortable for me but for the sake of this blog I thought I should take my phone on one of my sketching/Stand Up Paddle board adventures. The photo above is me sitting on the Hyde Mountain Golf Course docks on Mara Lake B.C. with my happy hour/dinner snacks and sketching set up. The photo below is of my board and supplies. The last photo is of one of the places I stopped on the way to sketch...how lucky and I!
I had an absolutely wonderful time at Dody's Art For All second camp retreat at McKenzie Camp on Mabel Lake, B.C.. This year Kathy (our hard working organizer), Dody, Raelene, Shirley, Pam, Jean, Marg and I were in attendance. Half this group quilting is their art and the other half are painters. We were well fed and worked away or rested as our bodies and minds dictated. Pam won the decorated hat award and we all won at multiple fun evening games. The weather did not co-operate for plein air but Marg, Pam and I got out when the rain stopped to sketch or paint. The second photo is one of the rare onlookers that visited me, we call them stink bugs because if you squash them, they really stink. The stink bugs look prehistoric but are slow moving, erratic fliers and don't really do to much. He visited for quite awhile and I was grateful I was painting with acrylics and not oils so he was able to fly away after his rest.
I have loved living and painting in the Sicamous, B.C. area this summer. One of my favourite past times is paddling on my stand up paddle board (SUP) and travelling by water to stop and sketch along the way. If I can work it right, I usually go at happy hour time taking a beverage and snacks with me. I will often paddle to the Hyde Mountain Golf Course docks and sketch something around me (picture #1 and 2). The bouncing dock and water from all the boat waves offers a challenge so I can't get to focused on making a piece of art but instead try and capture the moment with my homemade sketch book. It is becoming a wonderful diary of my outdoor adventures. Obviously selfies are not my forte, especially looking into the sun on a bouncy dock!
I was really fortunate this summer to enjoy W.O.W. (Wednesday On The Wharf) evening concerts at Salmon Arm's Marine Park as well as the Music In The Park at the Sicamous Public Beach Park, both weekly. I brought my sketch book and practiced sketching people. Some sketches were unfinished as the person got up or moved and others I had more time with so added more details. It was a wonderful way to experience live music, very aware of the musicians and people around me.
This fabulous view of Mara Lake is taken from the roadside before going into the town's landfill (dump). Arriving before the landfill opens, it is very peaceful and serene. Painting in acrylics once the sun began to shine was challenging it was drying so quick as was the changing light and colours. This is a view of my en plein air set up. My paint box had fallen but the lid was still on so it was messy but still usable.
I went paddling with the Sicamous Eagle Valley Dragon Boat early one morning followed by the usual group coffee at Joe Schmucks Road House. At the back of the property they have rental cabins and camping spots. I set my easel up at the edge of the river and happily painted the view in front of me (changing the chair colour). I was physically, mentally and emotionally filled up, what a great morning!! The painting below is currently hanging in the Sicamous, B.C. SASCU (Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union, Sicamous Branch).
I am the artist of the month for the SASCU (Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union) in Sicamous B.C. I love how my paintings go with the beautiful colours they have on the wall and chairs. These paintings are up until the end of August if you get a chance to go in and have a look. The poppies are from an en plein air study I did and photos I took in Rigmor and Ken's garden (blog write up here), the cherries and pears are from nearby yards and the lower painting is an en plein air painting I did from the back camping area of Joe Schmuck's restaurant in Sicamous, B.C.
Ujamaa Grandmas is an organization that is being supported by the DeSonus Fundraising Gala in Airdrie and Calgary this fall. My water colour painting "With Gratitude", (below) is one of the silent auction items that will be in the Calgary Gala on Sept. 22, 2019. Ujamaa Grandmas is an organization that several of my friends are very passionate about and work hard at supporting. If you get a chance to check out their websites (click on their names in orange above), have a lively fun musical evening and support these wonderful soulful groups.
20" x 16" water colour, framed
DeSonus Silent Auction Item for Calgary Gala, Sept 22, 2019
These beautiful cards were created in a FUNdraiser (for Eagle Valley Arts Council) beginning water colour class that I taught. Two ladies had to leave before I could get their 6 cards in the photo. The most interesting part for me is that they created the cards while learning the water colour language and different ways of working with it, BUT without having a final product in mind, it was process learning. That is very difficult as adult learners because we are so driven to get the final product right. These ladies were given as little direction as I could on using the colour and placement of their "objects" and I found it inspiring with how well they developed their cards. It was a very uplifting evening for me, thank you ladies!
I have found a new place to sketch that is both unique and fills my soul. I have packed my sketch book, travel water colours, pencil and pen and headed off on my paddle board on Mara Lake, B.C. If the lake is fairly calm, I sit on my stand up paddleboard, hang my legs in the water and sketch the scene in front of me. I can't be too particular or detailed as the board bobs with any waves. I do get some funny looks from boats passing by but thankfully no one has stopped to ask me if I need help! The second favourite is paddling to Hyde Mountain Golf Course boat docks and sitting there sketching. Again the bobbing wave action occurs but I don't have to worry about grabbing anything in the waves. I love sketching and being on the water so you can understand the "fills my soul' part. If you happen to go by in a boat, be sure to honk and wave!.
I taught this beginning water colour class as a fund raiser for the Eagle Valley Arts Council in Sicamous B.C.. My friend Karen was staying with me so I had a great helper. The wonderful ladies were in the mood for fun and learning as we worked through various instruction. The painted pieces were then made into beautiful cards to take home with them. This was so much fun, I am looking forward to teaching the same course again on August 1.
Karen Oliver's Art Journey
Thanks for stopping by to see my art journey and what I am currently working on. If you are looking for previous posts, they can be found on my old blog: http://karen-oliver.blogspot.com/