christmas in the country

I know, right? Major faux-pas using the ‘c’ word so early in November. But it is November and from my view currently there is fresh snow on the ground and a wintry nip to the air. It also happens to be the first day for Christmas in the Country at the Leighton Art Center near Millarville. I have a bin there with 14 pieces in it. The set up for this particular show is one of a rummage sale, but for art. All participants were instructed to bring a clear plastic bin of a certain size, and up to 15 unframed works to be sleeved and labeled for easy identification at time of purchase. The perfect opportunity to put some of my small works on paper, oil sketches and smaller acrylic paintings together for sale. Below is a visual catalogue of the works I have for sale there for the next two weekends.

  winter garden with wren house II,  mixed media on wood panel, 16x16(in), $450 + GST,  2018

winter garden with wren house II, mixed media on wood panel, 16x16(in), $450 + GST, 2018

This painting came from a photo I took of my garden last January. I waited too long, eased into laziness by our mild autumn weather the previous October. November came and like a switch the weather got cold, the snow came and stayed, and the garden did not get cleaned up until spring. It did make for good creative fodder for painting and drawing though, so it was still kind of a ‘win’.

  the garden piano, mells UK,  mixed media on canvas, 12x12(in),  SOLD ,  2018

the garden piano, mells UK, mixed media on canvas, 12x12(in), SOLD, 2018

A lovely weather piano that sits at the back of the Walled Garden at Mells, in Mells, Somerset over in the UK. I can’t remember what the other wooden structure is to the left, but there is something very beautiful and kind of lonely about this piano spending it’s retirement years in a walled garden in the English countryside. The Walled Garden at Mells is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. You can have tea outside at one of the many tables scattered throughout the garden, and if the weather is wet, there is a seating area inside a greenhouse where you can sip underneath a growing tangled ceiling of grape vines. The whole setup is rather magical, and part of it warranted a painting to commemorate it.

  a clear july day, lac la biche, AB,  mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in), $175 + GST,  2018

a clear july day, lac la biche, AB, mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in), $175 + GST, 2018

Back in July we made our first visit to Lac La Biche and camped on the island campground there. I had no idea Alberta had any island campgrounds. There were quite a few walking trails snaking around the forest and along the shore of the island. This particular beach had lovely sand and some benches for sitting. It was a very hot day and the flies were horrendous. A typical summer in northern parts of Canada, really.

  early spring, vermilion provincial park, AB,  mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in),  SOLD ,  2018

early spring, vermilion provincial park, AB, mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in), SOLD, 2018

In the winter the wonderful wooded trails of the provincial park here in Vermilion are strictly for cross-country skiers. But in the warmer months, it is a dog walking, trail running, berry picking, rowing haven. The tender leaves of spring and long tree shadows are what prompted me to paint this little piece. That light green canopy and dark trees shadows making neat patterns on the fresh spring grass is just the nicest memory of spring time around here.

  our backyard, january evening,  mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in),  SOLD ,  2018

our backyard, january evening, mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in), SOLD, 2018

Our neighbors have a bright light at the back of their garage and it casts the most interesting light patterns on the snow at night.

  early october snowfall I,  mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in), $175 + GST,  2018

early october snowfall I, mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in), $175 + GST, 2018

I missed the first and second snowfalls that happened in September while I was away on either coast. I happened to be home for the third which was a pretty substantial one. We got about 30cm of it! Painting snowy scenes is one of my favorite things to paint. The shapes, shadows and light play on snow are so fun to capture in paint, paper and ink. I love the way the snow changes the shape of the tree in this little painting.

  early october snowfall II,  mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in),  SOLD ,  2018

early october snowfall II, mixed media on canvas, 10x10(in), SOLD, 2018

  gordon leslie conservation area, AB,  oil on mansonite, 9x12(in), $150 + GST,  2018

gordon leslie conservation area, AB, oil on mansonite, 9x12(in), $150 + GST, 2018

The Bearded Dude and I spent a fine day last month pheasant hunting (him) and sketching (me). I like the way the light plays on the rolling hills around here. The foreground can be in complete shadow while off in the distance a hillside can become an illuminated beacon of gold as the sun escapes the cloud ceiling. The effect is very fleeting and quite marvelous.

  autumn garden,  oil on masonite, 9x12(in), $150 + GST,  2018

autumn garden, oil on masonite, 9x12(in), $150 + GST, 2018

The wild tangle of growth that was the garden shortly before I started cleaning it up for the winter. So many interesting colors and textures to the dormant foliage.

  bere point, malcolm island, BC,  oil on masonite, 9x12(in), $150 + GST,  2018

bere point, malcolm island, BC, oil on masonite, 9x12(in), $150 + GST, 2018

My friend Robin and I spent a lovely few hours sitting on huge drift wood logs pushed up onto the shallow, pebbly beach of Bere Point sketching with our oil paints. The sky above us was pretty clear, but over the water and above the mountains near the horizon, it looked like a storm was brewing, or wet weather at the very least.

  prickly pear I,  mixed media on cold pressed paper, 8x8(in),  SOLD ,  2018

prickly pear I, mixed media on cold pressed paper, 8x8(in), SOLD, 2018

  prickly pear II,  mixed media on cold pressed paper, 8x8(in),  SOLD ,  2018

prickly pear II, mixed media on cold pressed paper, 8x8(in), SOLD, 2018

  sand dune I,  mixed media on cold pressed paper, 8x8(in),  SOLD ,  2018

sand dune I, mixed media on cold pressed paper, 8x8(in), SOLD, 2018

  sand dune II,  mixed media on cold pressed paper, 8x8(in), $80 + GST,  2018

sand dune II, mixed media on cold pressed paper, 8x8(in), $80 + GST, 2018

These last four drawings were inspired by a walk on an active sand dune near Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan. There was so much prickly pear in bloom along the sandy path leading to the dune, and the dune itself was quite impressive and very hot when the sun came out. The ripples created in the sand by the wind are so fascinating, not to mention the shape of the dune itself and how quickly it can change due to weather or tricks of the light. These four drawings were done from memory, not long after we got back from our visit.

If you haven’t made a trip to the Leighton Center before, I encourage you to. For one, the drive is lovely and the history of the house is interesting as well, not to mention the artwork housed inside the house. The list of artists that have bins of work in this show is a long one. There will be something for every art lover on your list, to be sure. Go out and explore!