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.
I finally remembered to take photos of a painting in progress. The first picture is after I did the thumb nail to figure out placement as well as orientation (portrait versus landscape). The second photo is the drawing done with watercolour pencil on black gesso. The rest of the photos are the painting in progress with the final painting below. This painting was done based on the reference photos and sketch that I did at Rigmor and Ken's yard (see previous post).
"Rigmor's Luminous Poppies"
Acrylic on Board 34 1/2" x 26" In a black distressed frame
I had an invitation from Rigmor and Ken to paint their beautiful huge poppies. Early the next morning I grabbed my sketch book and water colours and headed by bike to their house. I found a nice flat rock to sit in the sun in their garden and happily sipped my coffee and sketched away. I forgot Ken goes on a daily early morning walk and was not finished before he came home. My surprised gracious hosts offered me a latte and a comfortable seat but I had everything I needed. Rigmor took photos for me and I am sharing them now (how great to have green thumbed friends!). Below are the photos of their very healthy a vibrant poppies. I am planning to paint these.
My sister Shannon and I were lucky enough to get seats and enjoy Alex Fong's water colour demo at Opus Art supplies. He was generous in his sharing of his process as well as painting 4 small demo's that he raffled off at the end. Unfortunately we did not win one but certainly enjoyed learning how he works and what inspires him.
This art show was the first one I ever entered with the encouragement from my art friends in the Eagle Valley Brush and Palette Club. It was incredibly hard to put my art out there, to be displayed among talented artists, pricing it as well as learning how to frame and finish the paintings to hang. Happily this is also where I sold my first piece of art (to the town mayor). Since then I have helped set up this art show and enjoyed hosting time, all again learning moments. There are all styles and levels of painted art as well as a variety of crafts. I try to craft something for a table each year and this year I painted Dominoes and made them into necklaces. I also have unframed paintings and art cards and book marks for sale. If you are in the Sicamous, B.C. area, please join us at the Red Barn Art Centre.
This painting is a representation of all the hidden beaches in B.C., particularly in the Okanagan/Spallumcheen area. There are so many places to stop for a swim in a lake or river off the main roads, you never know what hidden gems you will find.
"The Hidden Beach" Oil on canvas board 8" x 10" #20013619 For Sale, if interested please contact me.
"Returning To The Natal Home"
30" x 36" oil on 3/4" canvas with painted sides (no framing required). 5th fish painting in this series so far. #20005619 For Sale
My reference photo was taken from a highway bridge near Malakwa B.C. of the salmon spawning below. The fish were resting in the water cooled by the bridge's shadow. They would rest facing the current and then shoot ahead a few feet or when another salmon got in it's way. The water's current gave them an abstract look and feel.
30" x 24" Oil on canvas, framed #20028519
Not sure why I am so enamored with fish but this large framed painting of Koi was fun to create and another addition to my fish series. These Koi were very fluid with dripping colours, as well as a variety of colours in the fish and background made it really intriguing to paint. I had to step back a lot so that I did not get into small details that did not matter. I wanted the painting to look and feel fluid.
30" x 15" Oil on canvas with 1 1/4" painted sides (framing not required)
The reference for this photo was taken on our daughter's phone when she was in Bali. I loved the blues and the contemplation factor in her body language. The long format gave me the opportunity gave to show the great expanse of the sky over the ocean. The vast scene aligns with her contemplation of the rides ahead.
Shannon and I drove to Keluki Beach parking lot and I had to paint the wild Balsamroot. Due to the end of the day and dull light I painted it very loosely in acrylic and added ink (see photo below).
aNothing like finishing a very full en plein air painting day with framing in a parking lot. These paintings will be on exhibit and for sale at the Vernon Community Arts Centre 2704A Hiwy 6 in Polson Park from May 31 to June 11.
The photo reference for this painting was taken by Karen Jensen Letendre. Karen posted it on Friday February 13 on the Sicamous Rant and Rave Facebook site. It is taken from the town beach park out towards the lake. I found it just stunning and of a place I love and know well.
I sent Karen a message asking if I could have her permission to paint it. Not only did she give me her permission but also let me know she is part of the Arts Council and is going to submit to the Eagle Valley Brush and Palette Club/Eagle Valley Photography Club annual photo to canvas painting show tomorrow May 12 in conjunction with a Mother's Day Tea. As I am part of the EVB&P Club, I was thrilled to be able to participate. The tea and exhibition are from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. with a slide show at 2 p.m. at the Red Barn Art Centre, The cost is $5 and everyone is welcome to this celebratory event.
Instead of the photograph landscape view I decided to do my version square (24" x 24"). The other noticeable difference is the reflection of the sun on the back of the tree (camera lens reflection). I felt joy as I painted this one, loving the colours and reflections. I am also using Karen's title for her photo. A huge thank you to Karen Jensen Letendre for her generosity!!!!
"A Splendid Day In The Neighbourhood"
Oil on canvas with 1 1/2" painted sides 24" x 24" #22001519
Reference photo by Karen Jensen Letendre
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/