Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Gabriola Encore

Welcome to "Whimsy Wednesday", today's post will talk a little more about my Gabriola painting experience. We stayed at The Haven, and set off for a different painting location each morning. Below is a picture of the totem pole on the foreshore in front of The Haven.

We started at Full Moon Farm; Neil Patterson was our first instructor. He is currently the president of the Oil Painters of America.
“Painting is all about passion,” declares Neil Patterson. “If you respond to the passion that you have inside yourself, that’s when the real painting comes out. Selling your work is a bonus; painting itself is what really matters.  It is his ability to paint feelings rather than merely replicating what he sees that makes Patterson’s vibrant, impressionistic oils so appealing."

Link to Neil Patterson's work.

 Neil's demonstration was in oils starting on a canvas that had been painted black and working from dark to light. I was working in watercolours so this advice was not so useful for me at the time; watercolour is usually painted the other way around with the light, especially the whites coming largely from the paper and working towards the darks. I am trying the technique of starting on a dark background with conte and the results so far are interesting.

He challenged us to set aside 15 minutes every day (he recommended first thing in the morning) to do a painting and to stop after 15 minutes, date the painting and put it aside. He said "Do this every day for a year and you will be a better painter at the end of the year." I may not get to a painting every day but I think it is a good exercise and intend to follow his advice.

Neil Patterson demonstrating painting technique (above and below)

Our group gathered around

Stan Miller met us at Berry Point and demonstrated in watercolour. A quote from his website:
"Shakespeare said the world is a stage. He directed, gave freedom to, and controlled his characters, the players. The writer directs the word; the musician, the note; the dancer, the step; the painter, the stroke. Each artist struggles at some level to bring together and unify the complexity of his/her creative expression without losing the importance of diversity. Too much unity through sameness, we have monotony. Too much diversity, we have chaos. To express the maximum complexity of thought and feeling, maintain diversity, yet simplicity, and end with unity is not only the goal of every artist, but the goal of every citizen of life and of this world."
Link to Stan Miller's work.

Stan talked about getting our creative and logical brains to work in harmony. He had many helpful ideas on choosing a subject, use of light and dark within a painting and the arrangement of objects within our work to create interest and to give the eye an interesting path to follow. He demonstrated in watercolour, I was in my element.

Stan Miller demonstrating at FCA workshop (above and below)

A photograph of his finished painting

Stan Miller also presented a slide show later in the week on the different ways the right and left brains recognize and interpret visual stimuli. His slide presentation included many famous paintings and gave some valuable insights. 

Mark Hobson was our instructor on the third day. We started at Drumbeg Bay, at the south end of the island, but moved when it started to rain. Our "rain" location was a very beautiful house, with a large covered deck, high up on the island with a beautiful view towards Vancouver Island.

From Mark's website:
'A strong advocate for preserving the wilderness he loves to paint, Mark has donated numerous paintings and much of his time to efforts to preserve natural environments.
Mark's Float house studio is only accessible via a 9 km boat ride from Tofino'
Link to Mark Hobson's work.

Mark brought quite a few of his works from a recent "en plein air" painting journey. He was demonstrating in acrylics, and chose to start on a dark background, purple in this case, and painted the negative spaces first. There are two kinds of spaces in a composition, the actual subject matter or focus of the painting are the positive shapes, all the rest of the work between and around the positive shapes are the negative spaces.
'Paint what you love and take time to really look at it. Choose a single focus for your painting and use hard edges and intense colours to define it. While you are on site make sure that you get the unique information like the shadows, highlights and direction and flow of sunlight.'
He premixes colours that he will use a lot and stores them in sealed containers, then he does not have to take time to do that on location.

Mark Hobson demonstrating acrylic technique and starting with negative spaces (above and below)

Than k you to my painting buddy Beverly for helping me with this part after I lost my notes.
On our last day outside Alan Wylie demonstrated in acrylic at Gray's Farm.

He chose the old truck is his subject and first did a value study then a painting. He recommended that we start with a black or sepia and white value study, and then move to our painting. A value study strips your painting of colour, focusing on the lights and darks, which is just as important to your composition as form.

Alan Wylie demonstrating (above and below)

The painting on display at our "chair" show on the final evening

Gray's Farm was my favorite location partly because of the variety of subject matter and partly because of the animals. The sheep and donkey went about their day, grazing, drinking from the water trough and walking amongst us. There was one sheep that was quite vocal, and surprised many a painter as she would sometimes get quite close before announcing her presence. Baaaa! I knew we were going to have a critique at the end of our session but I didn't think it would be from the animals. 

Here are a couple of my pictures, I need a lot more practice with plein air work:

And a painting that I did since my return:

I took a lot of photographs; here are pictures of a photo walk along the beach in front of the Haven at low tide.

An inviting chair

A busy tidal pool

Interesting rock formations

Silhouette of an Inuksuk

Driftwood detail

A few more island memories:

Curious sheep (above and below)

Birdhouse among hollyhocks

The rocks appeared to have been sculpted

Whimsical garden decorations (above and below)

Colourful boat at Silva Bay

Odd shaped tree trunks

Canopy of maple leaves

Leaves starting to change

 I am still "processing" the Gabriola en plein air experience, it will give me lots to think about and to paint over the fall and winter months.

"Thought for Food" series original paintings on display at Image West Hair Salon in October:

I am pleased to announce that I have accepted an opportunity to display my work at Image West Hair Salon at 2885 West Broadway. 
All 12 of the original paintings in the "Thought for Food" series will be on display beginning in October.
The paintings are 6.5" X 6.5", matted and framed in 12" X 12" black wood frames.
"Podcast?" is sold but the rest of the paintings are available.

Here is one of the paintings that will be on display:

"Just Peachy"

 Thank you for visiting my blog and happy "Whimsy Wednesday".


  1. What a wonderful workshop to attend. I love the totem pole at the beginning. I liked all the photography and art and I thought you did a great job with your paintings, even if it wasn't a new technique for you.

  2. Such an awesome workshop and rich in material! Your drawings are great! Good job1

  3. All your instructors were very good! (Thanks for sharing the links.) You must have returned home feeling inspired!

  4. What a lovely job you did in the painting of the peaches … capturing so well their soft fuzzy texture. And I like your version of the birdhouse with the hollyhocks. Also, highlighting each artist and their diverse skills provides interesting information for anyone wanting to choose or better understand a particular medium. So much fodder for projects in the future!

  5. the peaches are great! just want to reach out and touch the fuzz! :)

  6. Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

  7. They are beautiful; thanks for your visit.

  8. You’re so talented for both paintings and photography. Probably your aesthetic eyes have been polished more and more through your experiences with these great painters as your instructors. Thank you for introducing them. I’d like to keep the words of each of them. I like your sketch of “Birdhouse among holly hocks” (I could compare it with the picture), and the peaches in “Just Peachy” looks lifelike.

    I’ve had a trouble of posting a comment to those who use this “embedded below post” comment form. Today I could send to a few of them, I hope this would be successful, too.


  9. An excellent post full of information! I really enjoyed reading it. And thank you for visiting my blog.

  10. Gillian, First off, I love your name!!! What fun to see all these demonstrations on drawing and painting--I'm sure you learned alot. Love all your photos, and your birdhouse drawing turned out really well. Have a lovely weekend. Mickie ;)

  11. So beautiful. I would love to live on that island! I love all of your amazing paintings, thanks for sharing!

  12. Thanks to everyone for the comments, I really appreciate the feedback.

  13. Looks like a lot of amazing talent there! Love love love your birdhouse painting

  14. Gillian, I love that you talked about the philosophy and technique of each artist, and then linked to examples of their work. This was an enlightening and visually stimulating post, with your photographs and paintings greatly enriching the experience for your readers. Congratulations on displaying your work at the hair salon. Those peaches made my mouth water!

  15. There is so much information to devour in this post. I had no idea that there was a value study, or what it was. Now I know.

    Your work is amazing, and I would love to see some more of it. Congrats on the show.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  16. WOW!! What a post.. I just love seeing all your photos. and those peaches look wonderful.

    Happy Sunday to you!!

  17. very nice and interesting post ! great painters and your work is beautiful !
    have a wonderful next week
    many thanks for your visits on my blog, your words are appreciated !

  18. Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog today. Yes, those grasshoppers were so well camouflaged that I was the only one who could find them.

    We have exchanged feedback each other and last time I joined this site not to miss your new post but looks like I failed. I'll try once again. Have happy days ahead.