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.