This week’s corvid-in-snow painting: a raven on Mt Seymour. I painted this 24″ x 30″ oil painting on cradled panel, but this time I used gesso to prime rather than Gamblin oil painting ground. I learned that the oil ground is worth the cost, time and effort as it’s a much more ‘welcoming’ surface when applied to wood panel. Another thing I’ve learned while painting crows and ravens is that I use far less black paint than I expected to. I don’t adhere to the rigid idea that a painter never uses black paint, but to get the depth I needed, I used more Prussian blue and violet grey (and a little raw umber) than the neutrals.
This week I’ve been worrying, as I have (on and off) for years, about my inability to focus on one genre, one style, one philosophy or direction. My taste in art is also extremely eclectic. I know painters whose mantra is technical proficiency and formal excellence. I also know painters who are completely focused on spreading The Word about process, expression and spontanaeity. And there are countless other philosophies. It’s all good to me, hence my confusion.
We’ve had a winter that is rivalling Edmonton for the amount of snowfall. Since the last year we even had measurable snowfall was 2014, that’s a pretty significant departure. The great thing for me has been seeing the local wildlife in a new and different context. The crows in snow are my favourites, so I felt compelled to work from some of the photos I took out my window. These two paintings are 24″ x 18″ oil on panel, and will be coming with me to Whistler next month when I spend March 18th and 19th as Artist In Residence at Crystal Lodge Art Gallery. The crow in the second photo looks to me like a small-time thug, backed up by his two stooges.
Next I want to tackle ravens in the snow on Mount Seymour. I took some irresistible photos after snowshoeing there last weekend. Ravens are the most playful birds I’ve ever observed, with their barrel-roll acrobatics and love of rolling in the snow. I keep returning to corvids as subject matter, so have decided to just play with it, like the ravens.
I don’t get attached to my own art very often so saying goodbye to it is never an issue. That said, this painting is a favourite that I was happy to hold onto. But when I posted art for sale as a fundraiser for my dog’s surgery, the painting that this person wanted had already sold, so I suggested this 20″ x 20″ painting in a similar style that wasn’t for sale. Now I’m happy to see it hanging, surrounded by other carefully-chosen and sentimental pieces, in her Rhode Island loft.
My canine best friend needs surgery. Coco needs to have her left cruciate ligament repaired three years after her right one ruptured and was repaired, and I need to figure out how to pay for it. In a moment of inspiration I decided to have a sale on some smaller paintings. I actually posted the update to my Available Work page yesterday and did my best to also spread it all over social media, but forgot to write a blog post, so about half are already gone. But please take a look anyway.
UPDATE: February 2017. Coco’s surgery went really well and the money I raised from my painting sale was a huge help. Thank you to everyone who bought work!
The full moon in January is called the Wolf Moon. I painted this winter landscape of a moon rising not knowing that this year’s Wolf Moon is happening today, on my birthday!
I documented each stage of this painting for posting on Instagram, and when I was finished it inspired me to make this very short video:
The moon rising here from behind the coast mountains along Howe Sound has been spectacular this week. I got this photo of the waxing full moon from my house on Tuesday. Yesterday I tried to capture it just after it had risen and got the second shot.