Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Allan Gardens

This past weekend Pat and I took a break in the city, enjoying the last days of summer vacation. We visited Allan Gardens Conservatory one afternoon, and took in all the beautiful plants and gorgeous buildings.

The Palm House.

Pat and the enormous palm trees.

Me, with slightly less grand vegetation.

Leda with swan, fishes, pond.

In a window.

The Palm House, 2.

Epic sun-flare.

Here's hoping for an industrious and invigorating September!

- Liz

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hungry Owl

Here's a piece that I just finished on the thick paint background from the last post. I did a sketch of this little Saw-Whet owl a few years ago and always wanted to use it in a painting and came across it last week while I was working on ideas for this.

I tried a few different pens for inking the hair and found that a brush pen is by far the best because, with the slightest change in pressure, it can make a line that flows from fine and delicate to thick and bold.

The rat is based on my first and favorite pet rat Domino, (photo-reference as she is no longer with us). I have painted her before and probably will again. She is the archetypal rat and embodies both their intelligence and, at least to me, their cuteness.

I have to apologize to Liz for being such a blog hog, I'll let her have a turn for the next post.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Paint so wet that I'm in need of a mop"

I am referring to a new painting that I'm working on and not a candy-coloured ride, although being in suburbia I kinda wish I did have a nice car.

Like the background of my tree portraits, I start with a layer of really thick brushstrokes of colour. There is something so satisfying about thick paint- applying it freely without having to worry about details. I like to go back to the painting later when the first layer dries and add imagery on top, where I can focus on detail and bring the beauty and liveliness of the thick paint through to the rest of the piece.

I'm going back to work on this piece and hopefully it will be done later in the week. I am taking a break from painting trees for now, this time it will be something different...

- Pat

Thursday, August 19, 2010

White Oak, finished!

It's finished! I had a weekend of binge painting, which is how I'm sure many artists do it. I committed myself to my studio until the piece was done, leaving only to get coffee. I haven't done that in a while and I forgot how much fun it can be so I'm planning on doing it again soon.

- Pat

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New York: Part 2

I had such an excellent time at the museums I thought they should have their own post. This weekend I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters, and The American Museum of Natural History. My mind is ready to pop from all the imagery I've tried to cram in there. While I was delighted by all the artwork and all the dioramas, it was of special personal interest to see the work of Charles R. Knight, who's illustration and theory inspired me as a child and still informs me today.

At the Met.

Cloisters 1.

Cloisters 2.

Cloisters 3.

American Museum of Natural History.

Sketching at the AMNH.

More sketching...

Sketchy sketch sketch.

- Liz

New York: Part 1

I have just returned from a wonderful long weekend in New York City of visiting a childhood (and adulthood) best friend. We spent many hours walking parks and museums, which left me exhausted, but inspired by the artwork and architecture. I think my mind may be permanently warped by the number of paintings we attempted to view at the Met (eventually we were forced to surrender). An effective balm for the gallery fugue was walking Central Park which, as you might imagine given the tone of the last post, I was extremely eager to do.

Below are some images of the park and the city. Excuse the hopeless tourist photography.

Girl at the airport.

Another airport girl.

Central Park 1.

Central Park 2.

Central Park 3.

Central Park 4.

Central Park 5 (Strawberry Fields).

Library lion.

Flatiron Building.

Skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge.

- Liz

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Park Garden

Pat and I have recently moved to Richmond Hill (ON), and have set about to find some natural oasis near our new suburban home. This has proved to be a greater challenge than we first anticipated, but we are not easily thwarted! There is a park down the street that will tide us over with its pretty wildflower gardens, until we can find some more serious vegetation.

Clear blue sky.

Pat sketched some bees...

...and we took their pictures.

Another busy pollinator.

A bench! My favourite.

Pat also enjoys a good bench.

Sculptures in the garden.

- Liz

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tree Portraits and Street View

To follow up on the last post, here are a few of the tree portraits that I've done from around the Beaches neighbourhood. I've linked each title to Google Maps so you can have a look at the street view of these trees. Luckily, the street view van made its rounds during the fall and the trees are in the same seasonal stage as when I painted them.

These paintings are part of my submission to two group shows held in the Beaches at
Balsam Bistro. The first one "The Good Show" happened July 8th 2009 and the second one "This Place" we had on July 8th 2010, and I'm looking forward to the third one next July.

Queen and Balsam
(Northern Catalpa)

Lee, south of Queen
(Chestnut Tree)

Queen and Maclean
(White Oak)

Leuty and Alfresco Lawn
(Chestnut Tree)

Kew Gardens, from the north-east
(White Oak)

- Pat

Friday, August 6, 2010

White Oaks

This is a project I'm working on of a beautiful old White Oak for a client in the Beaches. The neighbourhood is one of the best in the city to see these trees in particular. They can be seen all over the area, some of my favorites are around Queen St and I've painted a few of them; one on SilverBirch, one on Maclean, one on Willow and another in Kew gardens.

This sketch will soon (hopefully) become a painting in acrylic.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Centre Island

Toronto Island is one of my absolute favourite places in the city. It is beautiful, easy to walk, and allows me to indulge in drawing animals (at the hobby farm on Centre Island). Last month Pat and I took a trip out to the island to walk, draw, and explore.

Toronto skyline from the ferry dock.

Liz and Pat on the south pier.

Calf and pony meeting at the gate on the hobby farm.

Liz draws cow and calf.

Pat sketches a goat.

Liz's cow.

Some sleepy animals sketched on a previous island trip, from Liz.

We hope to visit again soon, perhaps to see some autumn leaves.

- Liz