Saturday, August 28, 2010

Line Paintings and Getting Away

Well this sure has been the summer for line paintings! I have three left, and there is interest in those ones, as well...

Ryan - The Bike Mechanic

I'm looking forward to things getting a bit quieter in town. Things need to settle down a bit before I can get into a productive working pattern again.

I've started working on the exterior of the house and studio. The house needs some paint touch-up before the winter, and the studio needs some siding replaced, then some painting. It is always better to get on these things while the weather is nice.

Our trip to Holland is only a month and a half away now, and that will come quickly. We are all really looking forward to the break.

I've been daydreaming about buying a 4x4 RV, loading the family up, and becoming gypsies for a couple of years. Funny thing is, everyone is into it! That is a good sign that all of us are hitting the wall.

When we return from Europe, hopefully our heads will all be a little clearer, and we won't feel so burdened.

If not, don't be surprised if the Mulder-Slaters go Walk-A-Bout!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Art Show Opening this Friday

My new show - inspiRED, Charlotte County, opens on Friday July 2nd, 2010 at Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre, 139 Water Street, St. Andrews, NB. The exhibit continues until August 4th.

For a sneak peak, click on the photo below...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Montreal - Wow

No time to blog. I've been busy with ArtsSmarts, Rock 'n' Ride, hanging shows at Sunbury and traveling to and from Montreal. Here, a quick entry with some photos from The Brush Off exhibition at Avenue Art in Montreal...


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

InspiRED by St. Andrews

I just completed one of the large graphite works for my upcoming show in July. It is called The Red Rail, and depicts a large wooden sardine carrier on a marine rail lift, waiting for the tide to come in.

This boat does not represent any one boat. It is a boat that I have made up, based on the reading of the book Masts and Masters by John D. Gilman. A friend gave me the book on loan to read, and it has inspired a few images for this show.

This boat was originally a sailing vessel, but has just been fitted out with its first engine. Because early engines were largely unreliable, and their masters didn't trust them, all sails and rigging were left in place. I would say that this image fits in around 1910, a few years before WWI. It wasn't for another 20 years that the centre mast was removed, and a pilot house was placed on the back part of the boat.

This boat is about 75 feet long, and would carry 80 hogsheads of fish. When not in use for hauling fish, the vessel would be used to haul freight up and down the coast of this area. Sitting in a cradle, on the marine rail lift, really shoes off the graceful lines of these vessels. They were very elegant ships, and I'm sure their Masters and crews took great pride in them.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I started the day up at the High School, working with some of the students on some creative options for a festival they are planning. I did a presentation to them on the planning process I go through to create murals. They seem eager to start... I can't wait to see some of the ideas they come up with.

In the afternoon, I went outside to paint. It was warm enough to do some work with acrylics, so I headed down to the point to do a painting of Passamaquoddy Bay. I set up looking east, behind a stand of evergreens. Sometimes I find it nice to paint through a screen of trees with the tangled branches and needles partially blocking the view of the main subject matter. It can make for a much more interesting painting, if you don't overdo it.

It was a clear sunny day, and the colours were really "popping". I painted from under the shelter of my truck's topper, so I could observe the colours, without the sun directly in my face.

It will take me a couple of paintings to get dialed in again to working outside with acrylics (it always does) but overall I'm pleased with the results.


Saturday, March 6, 2010


Here are a couple of paintings from one of the nicest March days that I have ever seen in these parts. It must have been 10 degrees out there today!
The first painting is from the point in town, looking across Passamaquoddy Bay to the south. Campobello Island is the nearest landform, with the coast of Maine trailing off in the distance.
It is low tide.

The second painting, done in the afternoon close to high tide, was painted at Chamcook Harbour.
The view is to the east, with the North tip of Ministers Island, with its large sandbar, just peeking out on the right side of the composition.

Tomorrow will be just as nice out, so I hope to get in some riding with my painting.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another Grey Day

Well, at least it is warm out!

I took advantage of the warm temperatures this morning to install the Groom Insurance Mural. With my buddy Kurt's help, we popped the topper off my truck, and wrestled the mural from my home, to its place downtown. We took down the old fence, and put up the new muralized one in no time at all. Thanks Kurt!

With that done, it was time to paint! I went right down to Market Square at high tide, and set up with the view looking out at the wharf, to the south-west. Another grey sky made for some muted light conditions. In the distance, the coast of Maine can be seen peeking out from behind Navy Island, which dominates the middle-ground of this composition.

Afterwards, I grabbed the single speed to test my fitness on Greenlaw Mountain for the first time this year. This is by far the earliest that I have ever been able to bike up the mountain, and it felt great to do some hard climbing on my favorite ride. The skiing I did this winter served me well, and I would say my fitness is up, compared to most springs. I suffered, but you always suffer on a single speed... and made it up without stepping off. Coming back down the mountain was, as always, awesome!

I hope to get out for a ride in the morning, we'll see what the weather holds in store.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Touch Of Red

The last couple of days have been spent indoors working on some graphites for an upcoming show. "InspiRED, St Andrews" will be opening at Sunbury Shores in July, a date that is fast approaching!

"Red Wave with Buoy "was inspired by the many buoys that wash up on shore in these parts. This one is made of wood. I like to find the wooden ones; they have become harder to find since modern floats are made from styrofoam and plastic. I find this to be a successful piece for a couple of reasons...

The angle of the buoy allows for it to sit dead centre without looking overpowering to the rest of the composition. The rope tied to the buoy goes off the page, at an angle, and is tied to something unknown, creating tension.

The second work is called "Red Dulce" and is a view of the land and sea to the north of the end of Bar Road. At low tide some interesting rock formations are exposed to explore, and some are covered in dulce. I chose to highlight the dulce as a compositional balance to the three mountains(Greenlaw, Chamcook, Grimmers), that are so dominant in the background.

If tomorrow is nice, I'll be back outside to paint.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

After One...Canada 1, USA 0

I have a few minutes after the first, so here it goes!

I did a painting from the boat launch at 1:30, just as the tide was on the way out. The visibility was about 300 metres, and so Maine was invisible today. It continues to be crazy-warm, and freezing paint is not a problem.

There were a few boats in the harbour today as it was too foggy to be out dragging for scallops.

Actually, everyone is watching the Good ol' Hockey Game... and so am I!!!


Friday, February 26, 2010


So I started the day with a trip out to the point to check out the waves. A strong wind was blowing from the northeast, and that makes for some cool surf, especially at high tide. I found that I could shelter myself from the wind and spray with the van tailgate up, so I stood there and did a painting.

Looking at it this evening, I think it captures the feeling of the storm this morning quite well!

Afterwards, I went to the gym at the Algonquin for my physical fix, then lunch, and back out to paint some more in the early afternoon.

This time, I set up in the same area at the point, but facing the other way... towards Maine.
The rain had stopped at this point, and the tide was on the way out. A thin grey mist was hanging out over the water, making the coastlines of Maine and Canada both appear, and then disappear. I chose the show them faintly, as that is the way they were most of the time. A lot of water had fallen from the sky, and was washed up on shore with the winds at high tide. I stood in salty puddles to do the painting. I love the colours in this painting; all in all, quite effective.

It started to snow at about 5pm. The good news is that if it sticks, I can go skiing; the bad news is that the snow makes the satellite ineffective, so no Canada hockey game.

I'd rather ski anyway... :)


Thursday, February 25, 2010

A New Look

So today I took my daughter with me up to the High School to talk with some Board of Ed people about the ArtsSmarts program that they have involved me in. The kid fit in very well at the school, even though she is barely 16 months. Such a social girl for her age... she didn't find it intimidating in the least.

Anyway, it turns out that there is a shift in the way educators want students to learn, and SJDA is a pilot school for these concepts. I started to dig in to the "why" the evening before. The short story is, that the "Information Age" has changed the grounds that institutions of higher learning have been standing on for the last 200 years. No longer are "facts" a saleable commodity. Since the coming of the info age, facts are free. For schools to remain relevant in this new age, they must adapt, and quickly.

The answer, of course, is creativity!

Speaking of creativity, after some lunch I went out to do a painting. I decided to head down to the waterfront, and went down the boat-launch because it was low tide, and out of the wind. There I painted a nice little painting of the entrance to the harbour at low tide. I left the steel tower channel marker until last, and when I got home I realized that I left it right out! I'll have to go back tomorrow when the tide is right, and paint it in.

All for now,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Quick One!

Just a quick update on the day...

I spent the morning up at SJDA, working with the students who have signed up for some "Project-Based Learning", and we had a productive morning. You can follow the progress of the newly created St Andrews Festival Fundraiser called "Rock 'n' Ride, at

After lunch I went out to the end of Bar Road, and did a painting of the view to the north. As can be seen, we had another mild day, grey skies, but good light. The mountain with the tower is Greenlaw Mtn, next in line is Chamcook Mtn and then Grimmers Mtn fades off to the right.

I got in a 10km ski in the late afternoon, but the trails are breaking down quickly at this point. I'll be lucky to get a couple more days in... bummer!

Canada plays Germany tonight. Boring!

Good night for early bed.


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Start of a New Week

Another mild day for February... about 4 degrees and cloudy.

Taking advantage of the warm weather, I headed out to "the point" for a painting this morning. I set myself up looking north, towards Ministers Island. The tide was almost all the way out, exposing a lot of the ocean floor. Grey skies had rolled in, but in the distance some slivers of blue sky could be seen peaking through. These unusual light conditions usually create some pretty cool colours on snow at this time of year, but since we have none, it is interesting to see the effects light has on barren February ground. I especially like the yellow ochre fields on Minister's Island, and the purple coastline in the distance; they compliment each other very well.

Next on the list was the pyrography course I'm teaching at Sunbury Shores. The class today began to transfer their images of themselves onto their wood planks. By next week, they should have "burnt faces".

After some lunch, it was time for another painting. I decided to paint at Pottery Creek, a beautiful spot in town that I haven't painted in a while. The spot I chose to set up looked straight out to the south-east, with views of Navy Island and the coast of Maine. A lot of light was poking through the grey-blue clouds, creating nice conditions for painting. The tide was on the way back in, but most of the interesting features, that reveal themselves at low tide, were still showing. All-in-all, a nice painting!

In the late afternoon, I decided to check out the trails for a ski. I went to the north end of Chamcook Lake via the Bayside Port road, and started skiing from the rail line north. I went all the way to Hwy 1, and am again amazed at the good quality of the trails, despite the warm weather. If trails can hold up this well in such mild conditions, I can't wait to see what can be done with some cold weather and a few feet of snow!

Tune in tomorrow...


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lovin' XC

Today the artwork was indoors... the painting of two Chickadees on the mural for Groom Insurance. They add a little something to the background; a little treat if you look long enough!

I think I'll seal it up now. It's in the can.

After lunch, I decided to go out and see how the trails were holding up. I decided to skip Chamcook Lake, and use my friend Kurt's access road to his lakefront cottage. Good choice - his road is still great to ski down, and the rail line trail is still holding up well. I'm just lovin' the XC skiing; in particular, skate skiing.

Today I skied out to Lineburner Lake - the last lake on the rail line before Highway 1. The Tidd family with some friends were into some pond hockey, and so I snapped some shots of the game. They were having "some kind of fun", as they say in these parts!

It was warm enough to ski in a t-shirt today, something pretty rare on February 21 in these parts. On the way back, it started to snow a bit, but as I look out the window here at 5pm, it has all stopped and looks wet and mild.

Tomorrow I'll be back to painting outside, which I'm looking forward to!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Water Ski

Another mild day today; about plus 4 when all was said and done. I started my day off by doing a painting out at the end of Bar Road.

The tide was out, and although it was again overcast, the light was good. I placed myself out of the wind, up near a big cedar bush, and focused the work on the gravel bar that leads over to Ministers Island.

The remaining snow on the island can be seen in the open field above the bar. It is the dark side of the island this time of year, and so a little snow lingers, despite the warm spell. Also, a little ice can be seen on the edge of the turn-around at the end of bar road.

A nice part of the image is the coloured rocks that line the road at the end of the bar.

After the painting, and some lunch, I went for a ski. I started at Chamcook lake again, but with all the rain, some deep puddles are sitting on top of the 2 foot thick ice. You go from fast skate-skiing one minute, to waterskiing the next! The trails beyond Chamcook Lake are still holding up, but I only give them a few more days in these mild conditions. I think I'm done with the lake until it gets cooler as well. I didn't like the wet feet!

Had a nice walk with the family later on in the afternoon, and finished things off with Youth Centre hockey.

All in all, a pretty full day.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

February Rain

It rained all day today... bit of a bummer if you like snow. On the other hand, I think that tomorrow I'll go out painting on the mountain bike.
I tried to find a bit of snow to paint today, and the only place it exists in town anymore is north of the Algonquin Hotel, in the ditches and dark spots of the forest. The road down to the subdivision, behind our famous hotel, has some not-so-straight service poles that always catch my eye when I go by, so today was their day!
What little snow that was there at 11am was totally gone when I went past again at 4pm. The nice browns and rusty-reds of the trees and undergrowth at this time of year, played well with the green of the pressure-treated poles. Throw in some rainy skies, and a wet asphalt road, and voila - February 18th, 2010 in St Andrews NB!

I'm also finishing up a small mural for Groom Insurance that will jazz up the small fence that blocks the alley between them and Tradewinds. I should complete the painting tonight, and have it ready to be sealed up with varathane tomorrow. If the nice weather holds, I'll install it early next week.
All for now.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I started out my day with a trip up to the high school for a meeting with local music guru, and all-round great teacher and mentor, Shawn Corey. Shawn has kindly included me in an innovative program called ArtsSmarts, a collaboration that brings artists in the classroom to help students to "think outside the box" a bit. Some of the students have offered up some good ideas for creative projects to work on together, so I'm sure I'll have some cool entries to make in the weeks to come.

With that well on the way, I headed up to the golf course to do a painting of town. It was a grey day today, but very mild, so freezing paint wasn't a problem. The lack of sun made some of the colours of the leafless trees really "pop". I also love the colour of the exposed grass, and how it contrasts with the battleship grey of the sky and water.

After some lunch, I picked up fellow artist Cedar Sky, and we went out to Chamcook for some XC skiing. We put in about 20 km, skiing out to hwy 1 before turning around. The trails continue to hold up well, despite the mild weather; and the lake continues to be perfect for skate skiing.

That done, I dropped Cedar off and headed out to the salt-water marsh to do another painting. The afternoon light from the west made for perfect painting conditions, even though things were still overcast. The February colours of the area popped with great clarity, and I think I captured them at just the right time of day.

All in all, another productive day!

Back soon...


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Breaking out of the Studio Blues

I've been spending a lot of time in the studio these days, preparing a new body of work for an upcoming show. The work is all graphite... or black and white, with a touch of red as a point of interest. The show will be called "InspiRED St Andrews", and all the pieces are - you guessed it - of St Andrews and area.

The absence of colour was getting to me, and so today I changed things up... I painted outside with watercolour. Normally, I do this in the warmer months of the year because of the challenges with the paint freezing. But today I just let the paint freeze on the paper, and took my chances on what it would look like when it thawed. I gotta say, I'm pretty happy with the results.

I also took the time to do a couple laps of Chamcook Lake on the skate skis. I've really taken to XC skiing this winter, and am finding it a great way to keep my fitness peakin'!!
My health continues to be great. I've introduced whole grain rice to my diet (specific carbohydrate diet) in small amounts, with no ill-effect. Also, I've tried small amounts of potatoes, and rye-crackers. So far so good... I'll keep everyone posted as to how I make out!

Olympic Men's Hockey begins tonight; they'll hammer Norway, but it will be interesting to see the team for the first time.

Go Canada!