Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Don't have time to paint the light on the snow in the yard outside my studio doors. Something magical about how light plays on snow and how it reflects moods with the changing daylight hours into the night. These are digital sketches done when I had time.

At the AGO and even at the National Gallery in Ottawa, some of the paintings that captivate me most are the studies of snow by the Group of Seven. I may be doing a book tour to Flin Flon in Northern Manitoba in late February (my 3rd visit) and I will be looking forward to sketching the black spruce and snow. The north may not be an easy place to survive in (speaking of -47 with wind chill today) but you cannot beat it for poetry of light, line and form.

Speaking of black spruce and the north, I highly recommend Joseph Boyden's "Through Black Spruce." Perhaps because I used to fly north through Moosonee to Povungnituk, and even spent a few days there on a reading tour, I find that book beautifully written, so evocative of the place. I could feel the cold, see the ice on the Moose River or the light over James Bay. Wonderful characters, beautifully written (reapeating myself). Oh how I want to return if only it were not so expensive! Soon I hope.

I wish we coud send every school child north to experience it at least once in their life, to meet the people and to feel the land.

I left the trees out of this sketch...made me feel the light more.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

'Squirrels are outside again this morning. It's just too easy to sit and watch them. Fun to sketch them as a warm up. The black squirrels are very plump but their tails are thin, so unlike the grey squirrel who's tail is thick and fluffy and obviously quite warm to wrap up in.

While I was sketching the squirrels, my cat Mouse jumped up on my desk and decided the best place to sit was on the paper. It left me no alternative than to draw Mouse. Must have been his plan all along.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Outside my window

It's hard to work today and not be distracted watching the squirrels outside my windows feasting on bird seed. They can be terribly aggravating (they chewed through wiring and insulation under our roof) and yet so pretty to watch in their fluffy fur and cute eyes. Arrrgh!! Back to work!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

First day of 2009 at the AGO

If you live in the Toronto area or visit the city you must, and I emphasize MUST, visit the new Art Gallery of Ontario. We decided to start our year with a visit today and we came away tired but thoroughly impressed with the new building and the collection on display. Toronto has finally joined the world of great art galleries. Matthew Teitelbaum, Frank Gehry and the late Ken Thomson must all be congratulated on what has been achieved here. I wouldn't know where to start with the praises. The building is beautiful. And it works. It invites, it holds the art well, beautifully in fact. The building is art. And the art inside is captivating in it's breadth and beauty.

I admit I am a sucker for the Group of Seven, and the collection is beautifully rich in works. The section on drawing is wonderful. The curators have done an excellent job of hanging, with the flow of one area into the next feeling like going from one section of a marvelous treasure cave to the next. But a cave it definitely is not since the rooms feel open and yet intimate at the same time. We bought memberships so that we can return again and again, and so we will.

The visit cannot help but inspire. I wanted to return and draw, but since I will leave that to tomorrow I've posted a small sketch from my Ungava works that was inspired not by a gallery, but by the land itself.

Happy 2009! It feels good.