Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"He-who-sees-far" oil 11 x 14

Portraits have been much on my mind and on my canvas lately - this chief in his ceremonial headdress was my Christmas day and Boxing Day project. I painted this using only WARM colours, mostly burnt sienna, raw sienna, orange, raw umber and white.  I learnt a lot from it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Sea Stacks" oil 20 x 24

We came across these amazing rocks off the Oregon coast - a search on the Internet revealed that sea stacks are formed through a process of eruption and erosion. Anyway, I like the greening of them all, like banners in the wind. I had fun with the impressionist pebbles on a realistic beach. Click the image to see the big picture.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Kelsey" oil 11 x 14

Kelsey sat for the portrait painters of Goward House recently. I was a bit rushed on this three-hour painting so I re-painted her left eye when I got it home. I reckoned it was a bit high during my first rendering of her.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Three portrait sketches at Goward House

While were waiting for Fatality (our model) to arrive today we did a sketch of Ken, one of our portrait artists at Goward House today. Conte pencil and watercolour. We still had a couple of minutes:
So we did another quickie of ken. Charcoal on canvas. Then our designated model Faye (Fatality) arrived straight from her class at UVic. This is my two-and-a-half hour oil sketch of her:

She said afterwards that she liked my portrait 'cos it made her look like a witch but I thought this was her THOUGHTFUL mode - anyway, she DID like it after all, and y'know the rule - if you sit you get to choose which portrait to take home - no charge.

Our portrait session started at 1pm and ended with a Show 'n Tell at 4pm. I'm glad for the chance to have done three sketches in this time.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Elk Lake Reeds" oil on stretched canvas 16 x 20

First a small thumbnail sketch done in pencil on scrap paper (why waste) to work out the composition.

Something bothered me though. After breaking it down to the essential shapes I realised that I had to lose the boathouse because the composition was getting too busy and I was in danger of getting two subjects in one, if you know what I mean.
So I left out the rowing club and painted Elk Lake with the reed shapes alone.
 Much better.

Click on the image to see an enlargement. Your opinion is welcome, is keeping it simple better? Click on the small white envelope below to email me direct. Or click on COMMENTS so that the others can see your thoughts too...the more diverse the opinions, the better.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Nefertiti" 8 x 10 oil on plywood

What exquisite beauty. Hats off to the person who cast this ORIGINAL 3-D image, what good practice it is for a portrait painter!
I painted this on re-claimed wooden plywood.The cracks and fissures show, adding credibility to the rendering.
Click image to enlarge it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pencil practice - sketches of the art group

I feel that the occasional doodle on paper is priceless - it not only sharpens your skills but your pencil aswell! Sketches bordering on caricature that I made at a weekly gathering of portrait painters at Goward House.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

"Jim" 11 x 14 oil

If it's Tuesday it must be Goward House. Our sitter today is Jim, ex-army, jovial, and at ease. You know the rule, if you sit for the dozen or so portrait artists for three hours at Goward House you get to take home the portrait of your choice free of charge. I was pleased when he chose mine, I lost a canvas but I gained much experience from the session. I was the winner here.

My thanks to Captain Bill McKechnie for the photograph.

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Classic Dinghy" oil sketch approx. 7x7 inches

A clinker built dinghy is a classic. I saw this one at the Classic Boat Festival at the Inner Harbour in Victoria BC recently. Lots of brightwork on all sides.

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Fall, Beacon Hill Park's mayor's Grove" oil 8 x 10

Rain, rain, rain but not a pain because the colours are soft and intense - ideal for painting. This is my favourite tree in the fall, I've painted it at least three times over the years. One can cope with the rain IF...

...if one can keep one's canvas from the wet drops. This sign board offered some protection and I erected my painting umbrella too. My  blood is still too warm for the cold weather but I dressed in many layers! The oil sketch is available - please check Fine Art America for the details.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Superintendent Frank" oil 11 x 14

Super Frank sat for about a dozen portrait painters at Goward House today. We spoke about how our respective families are blessed with what my folks called 'a Roman nose.' I think it's a sign of nobility but that's just an opinion... I can quite see this noble Caesar gazing out over his Legions of many soldiers!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Bald Eagle" w/c pencil on gesso board 8 x 10

 Benjamin Franklin didn't think that the bald eagle was appropriate as an American national symbol.
Granted, although he thought the eagle was magnificent, he rather fancied the hard-working characteristics of the ... can you guess?  Keith said the turkey. Thnx Keith, I also heard he liked the osprey: "Bald eagles are notorious for stealing fish from ospreys. In fact, this was one of the reasons why founding father Benjamin Franklin did not want the bald eagle to be America’s national symbol. Franklin thought the eagle was lazy because it would wait for the osprey to catch a fish, then harass the osprey in mid-air until the smaller raptor dropped its prize. "

But mostly the researchers agree that he fancied the turkey. Good one, buddy.

Fine Art America is now offering this original drawing and a number of prints for sale. Go to for prices.

You can see a bigger version of the drawing if you click on the image above. Then press your BACK button to return,  and it'll be great if you could leave me a response or ask a question - click on COMMENTS below. Or click on the tiny white envelope to send me an email.


Friday, October 21, 2011

"Tom" Conte pencil on Robert Bateman paper

I was supposed to be painting with the ALFS outdoors this morning but it rained cats and dogs, so I drew indoors instead.
A very patient Tom sat for me. We worked for forty minutes. Anyhow, I like this portrait not because it's good but because I see now that this jerky, rough way of drawing is unique - no one else I know draws like this. The style is mine, I have been doing it like this for thirty years or more - perhaps I'll post an earlier one some time - as a comparison.
I'm glad I have a STYLE  - it's something one cannot force, it just comes with time.

Click Tom's image to see an enlargement,  then (at the top right of the new window) click it off at the X to return here -- please drop me a line (click on "comments" below here) that'll be great!

Fortunately the pencil portrait kinda looks like Tom. Corry likes it.

When Sargent's sitters ever complained about their likenesses (it didn't often happen) he used to tease them by saying "you can always fix it when you get it home..."

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Pat Bay Berry Tree" oil 6 x 8

I arrived late for the morning's paint-out with the Al Frescoes. Frank looked at his watch and said that I had 45 minutes to get my work done before Show 'n Tell time at noon!

So, liking a challenge, I went ahead and dashed off this lil' 6 x 8 in 42 minutes. Does it work? COMMENTS (see below) are invited.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Alannah" oil 14 x11

After a summer break I returned to the Goward House Portrait Painters to find the dozen or so artists in good form. Our sitter today sat very still yet I didn't think I got a good likeness after the three-hour session - you can't win 'em all,  painting is a lot like golf, some times you miss,  some times you are on par.
Anyhow, I was happy with my colors and brushwork even if I wasn't exactly accurate in my portrayal. So I went back after a couple weeks and re-painted her eyes. Still not an exact likeness but more pleasing than my first rendering ...

Click the painting for a bigger view.   X it off your screen at rop right when you're done.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"High Wind at Cattle Point" oil 16 x 20

I actually saw this bird (a female Brewer's Blackbird) clinging to a twig, facing into the wind just as a schooner was sailing by. I was struck by the scene and vowed to paint it just as it appeared on that windy wintery morning at Cattle Point, Victoria BC. According to Wikipedia, the Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) is a medium-sized New World blackbird, named after the ornithologist Thomas Mayo Brewer. (They like to be near water, feed on insects, and need not have to migrate).

If you click on the image you'll get a bigger view, then press your BACK button to return here.
Your COMMENT on the style and the mood of this piece is welcome (click the word COMMENTS below, or for a private and direct email to me, click on the tiny white envelope).

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Sunbeams Under the Sea" (Poster) acrylic

My "Sunbeams" got third prize at the outdoor Gallery-by-the-Sea on the Fish Hut at the end of the Sidney Pier in BC. Nicceee....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Dodge Truck" oils on canvas 8 x 10

We came across this surviving Dodge truck on the quay at Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island. At a guess I would say that it dates back to the war years 1939-1945. If you know the actual year of manufacture, please let me know by clicking on COMMENT below and sending a message
. Thanks, Ron

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Sea Stacks" oils 20 x 24

I learnt that the rocks of these vertical columns are firmer than the surrounding material, so,  through the erosion process over thousands of years these sea stacks are formed. Anyway, they make excellent subjects for the artist. I found them on the coast of  Washington State. I decided to render them with a looser approach than the style I usually employ.

If you click on the image you can see a larger view.

Your COMMENT is welcome

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday, September 02, 2011

"Wild Sweetpeas" oil 11 x 14 plein air

Wild sweetpeas paint the slopes of the Dallas Road Cliffs in Victoria.
It was a strange morning because fog rolled in and hid the horizon for at least forty minutes. Some artists packed up and left, others stood around and chatted until the weather cleared. And it did.
Click on the image for a bigger view then press your BACK button to return here, and leave a COMMENT if you will - feedback is welcome.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Aubergine Specialty Foods" oil 8 x 10

This painterly shop is in Fernwood, Victoria BC.  Specialising in Canadian, South African and British fare, it sells fresh produce and coffees, biscuits, cereals, jams, and boerewors.  It's in a trendy neighbourhood complete with a theatre, coffee shops and art galleries.
If you click on this image you'll see a bigger picture but afterwards use your BACK button to return here. COMMENTS are welcome.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Harpoon Rock photograph and painting

This is the actual photo I took after I had finished my two-hour painting. Next is the painting itself - "Harpoon Rock" at Harling Point in Victoria BC. Acrylic on canvas 8 x 10, painted en plein air.

 I learnt that Harpoon Rock is an ERRATIC, dragged down to the seashore during the ice age some fifteen-thousand years ago! Not only that, the rock had religious significance to a local tribe.

This painting of mine suggests different things to different people. What do YOU see? I see a face or perhaps the rear of a bear:

Your COMMENT is encouraged.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

"Cattle Point Revisted" oils 8 x 10

"It's MY party and I'll cry if I wanna..." I was unhappy about my first rendering of this scene so I went back and changed it.

 COMMENTS can CLICK on the image to make it appear bigger.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Sketches from my BC tour.

 If nothing else, grab whatever scene comes into view - whether it be something you see out of your window - like this scene while sailing on a BC ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert at the end of July 2011. I wasn't the only artist sketching on board, Laurie Collins from Australia was doing rapid watercolours from the stern. I can't show them here but they were very good.

You could try a shopping bag right before you.

Sometimes even an unsuspecting customer in the restaurant will do. (I DID show it to him upon completion but he pretended not to know who that gentleman was).

Lastly, copy a photograph from a magazine - remember to change it a lot so that you don't get accused of plagiarism.

I take a sketchbook just about everywhere I go - it's sometimes a relief from dragging a camera around.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

"Wild Roses and Irises" acrylic, 6 x 8

'Twas a dull morning at Government House in Victoria but I loved the complementary contrast between the irises and the yellow-green grass and I welcomed the chance of using my fast-drying acrylics again. The irises were dropped in by knife - they are taking longer to dry 'cos they're so thick!

Click the image to see a bigger picture then press your BACK button to return here.
COMMENTS encouraged.
Thanks, Ron

Friday, July 08, 2011

"McNeill Bay" (Trial Island) plein air oil 11 x 14

Windy but good to be painting outdoors - a real bounty. That's the CanadianTrial Island lighthouse in the middle distance with the Olympic Mountains (a mile high) of the USA in the far distance. The Strait of Juan de Fuca lies between the two countries. Hi there, neighbours!

Friday, July 01, 2011

"Way to the Beach" oil 11 x 14

These standing palms line the way to the beach at Kihei.
 Sunlight, the sea and sand, they stand on guard for thee.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Faye" 6 x 8 oil

Faye was our sitter at Goward House Portrait painters in Victoria BC today. First I did a face-on sketch in charcoal just to warm up (I won't show it here). 
It is our last session before the Summer Break and everyone did very well ...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Poppies and Wild Roses" (Saxe Point) oil on canvas board 6 x 8

Painting from my heart with no commercial agenda in mind, only deep respect for the medium and application. I love what I do, and hope you do too ...
First I sketched the scene on my blank white canvas using thinned Cadmium Red then applied the main colors with a broad brush, only hinting at detail, allowing some of the underpainting to show through.
I use water-soluble oils. Some call it water-mixable. I like the Grumbacher Max oils mostly but I also use COBRA from the Netherlands (watervermengbare olieverf) and ARTISAN by Winsor & Newton water-soluble oils too.

Click on the image to see a larger view then press your BACK button to return here. Your COMMENTS are always helpful to me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Trish" pencil portrait 9 x 11

Our sitter at Goward House this week was Trish. 2B graphite pencil on Robert Bateman bristol paper.

"Hillside Morning" oil on canvas mounted on Baltic plywood 6 x 8

Moss seems to gather on a remote stony outcrop, especially if the only passing traffic is the occasional deer. My friends always want to know where this is - well I'll give you a clue = Nanaimo on Vancouver island where I lived for a couple years.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Saxe Point Musack" en plein air 11 x 14 oil on canvas board

Although the sun was shining on Vancouver Island this morning we were greeted by a chilly sea breeze - which was good 'cos it makes the tree bend al la Group of Seven and it was no problem to cheat the cold by throwing on a sweater. Following the sale of an earlier painting of mine which was done with juicy brushwork a little light went on in my mind - bing! So I went thick impasto today. 'Hope you like ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Marilyn" oil on watercolour paper 10 x 12

Firstly I sketched Marilyn's face with Conte pencil just to get the drawing done, then I wet the entire paper with ordinary kitchen cleaning spray. While the paper was wet I used a paper towel to wipe the whole paper down and started applying oils - (water-soluble oils).
I'd never done this before so beware if YOU try it.

Marilyn was our sitter at the Goward House Portrait Painters this week. The likeness isn't accurate - I was going for how I imagined Marilyn might FEEL inside ... so the painting is expressive rather than an accurate representation of who she really is. A different reality, if you like.