Canada 150 celebration in Woodstock this weekend

Tomorrow, I will participate as an exhibitor at ‘Pavlo in the Park‘. It goes from 2 pm to 9 pm in Woodstock Ontario’s Victoria Park.

It has been a pretty busy summer, and I’ve put together a post on my other blog telling all about it if you’re interested.  It has filled me with inspiration and I’ve been itching to get busy in my studio.  After this weekend, I finally can.  The paints await!

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Painting Holiday in Italy!

I do apologize for the months of neglect.  I didn’t even wish you a Happy Canada Day but with it being our 150th perhaps I’m allowed to say Happy Birthday Canada all year long.  More on that later!  I did participate in an art show in June with our Artists of Oxford group at The Arts Project in London, Ontario, called ‘Canadiana’  I had three paintings there and one of them was a new one.

My husband and I also took a trip in June, to Italy.  It was a big deal for us, celebrating a milestone birthday and a milestone anniversary!  In fact it was the first time the two of us have been overseas together.  We had a terrific time, and while I’d love to share with you the many photos I took (over 1000) I am sure that is not what you’re here for.  So, instead, I will share the paintings I did and tell you about my painting holiday!

You see, a friend of mine had recommended this place called The Watermill in Posara, Italy, which holds painting holiday workshops.  We visited Florence first, before being picked up at Pisa airport by the Watermill staff, and spending a week there.  Later, after we were dropped off there again, we visited the Cinque Terre, Milan, and Venice, driving our own rental car (tip:  don’t do that, take the trains!)

But The Watermill will stay in our hearts and minds as the true holiday.  Okay maybe one or two pictures are warranted:

Courtyard of Watermill

Side of Watermill. Our window was the far one.

They  were so welcoming, catered to our every need, and we made lovely friends there from all over the world.  And I got to learn some painting techniques from master watercolor artist Keiko Tanabe!  The countryside around Posara is absolutely beautiful.  Every day had an excursion to an interesting place for us to paint or just explore.  So many interesting things in a short distance, that most tourists would miss.  (If only we could have stayed in Lucca a few more hours for the outdoor Green Day concert!!!).

Anyway, I gained some great plein air painting experience and instruction and best of all, we two both had a great time!

Here are the paintings I completed during the week:

Vernazza, painted using Keiko’s photo reference and following her demonstration. Later, after the painting holiday, I was able to actually go see this place!

Verrucola. Painted mostly en plein air. Finished in studio with my photograph as reference.

Market Day in Fivizzano. Painted en plein air at beginning then finished in studio from memory.

Convento del Carmine. Painted mostly en plein air, finished in studio with my photograph.

It wasn’t all fun and games, we worked hard!  🙂

Painting in Verrucola

Sketching in Lucca

Discussing progress in Convento del Carmine

And now, I’m off on another trip!  This one across Canada, by train, with my daughter!!

Oxford Studio Tour

May 6 & 7 is only two weeks away!  Some of you may have taken the opportunity to drive around the countryside of Oxford County, Ontario in previous years, so you know what a fantastic selection of original art can be found.  You also know how much fun a daytrip or weekend jaunt like this can be if you pair up with a friend or family member, or gather a carload of them.  We have 18 locations featuring 38 artists, and our brochures are available all over the county in libraries, tourist offices, and businesses, as well as at each studio.  Admission is absolutely free, and all you do is follow the maps and the red signs to get to each studio.  Then you just wander in!  The artists will be there to answer any questions you have (we love when you ask questions), and will leave you alone if all you want to do is enjoy the feast for your eyes.

Below is a small sampling of my own art, in case you are new to it.  I paint traditional subject matter with watercolours and I also do fractal art, all on various surfaces.  Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll stop by my open studio/gallery, at the back of my home which is Location #3.  I’m in Otterville, which is a little off the beaten track for many travelers but it’s worth the drive.  I’m easy to find, on Main Street near the historic mill and waterfall.  And my good friends Sue Goossens and Rhonda Franks, whose work I admire very much, are nearby at Location #4, along with Ashley Beecraft.  I’ve never met her but she makes really cool looking ‘misfit beasts’.

See you soon!

Lianne Todd Art Samples

Oxford Studio Tour basic information

Under the Milky Way

There’s a new juried show opening, at the Elm Hurst Inn in Ingersoll, ON.  It’s called Spectacular Skies.  The title of the show immediately made me think of the night sky: in particular, the night sky in places where light pollution hasn’t destroyed the ability to see the Milky Way in all its glory.  In spite of so many nights away from cities, I’ve yet to really see the night sky in its full splendour, and I hope to do that someday.  I was pondering where, in the world, might be a good place to do this, and my mind went back to this lovely and somewhat isolated cottage at Glen Coe in Scotland.  While thinking about all this during a car trip, I happened to be listening to SiriusXM’s 1st Wave channel, and ‘Under the Milky Way’ by The Church came on.  Complete with bagpipes mid-song.  So, that settled it, I was definitely going to paint this scene.  I dug out my photos of the cottage, changed the composition a little (the photos were taken from a tour bus), imagined it at night, with the Milky Way above it, and got started.

I photographed my work as it progressed, and put all the photos together in this little video.  I hope you enjoy it.  If you’d like to see the framed finished piece, which is a full sheet watercolour on paper (22×30″), it is hanging at the Elm Hurst until May 17.

Opening night at Paint Ontario

If you haven’t been to the Paint Ontario exhibit in other years (I hadn’t) this is really an exhibit worth driving to.  Such an amazing array of really good art portraying so many aspects of Ontario life.  Some really large pieces, some quite small…. mine fell somewhere in the middle, size-wise.  Maybe I should paint larger more often – the large pieces have such an impact.  I loved all the bright colours in many of the pieces, and some of the innovative mixed media.  Very inspiring.  I was also especially glad to see some watercolour pieces winning awards – and congratulations to all the award winners regardless of medium!  I don’t know how a juror would be able to choose, it must have been very difficult.

Anyway,  here is a little picture of me with my two pieces.  I was really happy they decided to hang them together.

Paint Ontario

I recently entered the juried show Paint Ontario with two of my paintings, and to my great delight, they both were chosen for the show.  I’ve certainly been painting Ontario for a long time but this was the first time I’ve entered – partly because it’s a bit of a distance from my house to the venue, and in other years there wasn’t the option of entering online via digital photo – you had to physically bring the painting.

Aside:  In the olden days 😉  juried shows often had you send slides of your paintings.  Remember slides?  And there was special tape to crop the slides with so that only the painting showed in the projection…

Anyway, the digital age is here and I’m really glad.

The two paintings I have in the show are ‘Four Chairs’ (which I posted in ‘A Beautiful Fall’) and a new painting ‘Resting, Killarney’, which I haven’t posted anywhere yet.  I think I will wait to post it.  I like to have people see the real painting first, sometimes.

Opening night is March 10 (this Friday) from 4-9 pm.  Admission is free for the opening night, and there is a cash bar.  Here is an invitation to the exhibit itself:

po_inviteacceptednight2017

Achieving All the Bright Colours

Here’s a question for you:  how many of you artists out there still consider the primary colours to be red, yellow, and blue?  It is what we were taught from day one in school.

What baffles me is why it is still being taught as the standard, even in art school, apparently.  Even though we know that if we want a giclee print made from one of our paintings, it will be made with the ink pigments magenta, yellow, cyan and black.  Even though if you pick the most primary red (i.e. 100 percent red) you can think of from your computer screen (which we know uses red, green and blue as its primary colours because these are the additive primary colours of light), you can still print that red out and your printer is programmed to mix that red using the only pigments it contains: magenta, cyan, yellow and black.  Does it make any sense to you that we use red, green, and blue light to get all the colours on the computer screen, but somehow only the yellow colour is the different primary on the traditional painting colour wheel?

Have you ever been trying to make a fuschia or magenta-coloured flower look right using what is commonly taught as a primary red?  Let me guess – you gave up and went out and bought a colour of paint (possibly magenta…) that was as close as you could get to that flower colour.  The reason?  Magenta and fuschia are synonyms, essentially, and in order to get a nice, saturated fuschia, you cannot start with a ‘traditional primary red’ pigment.  That is because magenta is the actual primary colour.

If you search magenta on the internet, the first thing that comes up is a definition.  It describes magenta as “a light purplish red that is one of the primary subtractive colors, complementary to green.”  We also find, further down in that same box, that the natural dye named magenta was not discovered until the 1850s.  From Wikipedia, we learn that paintings featuring the colour magenta soon followed.  Why do you suppose that is?

Cyan is what most of us would describe as a greenish blue.  In fact, if you mix green light, and blue light (additive primaries), you get the colour cyan.  Interestingly, the use of the word cyan has also increased significantly since the 1850s (search cyan, then click the ‘Translations, word origin, and more definitions” button below the definition.)  I am not sure why the name for this colour was based on the Greek for “dark blue” and the Latin species name for cornflower.  It certainly isn’t a dark blue OR the colour of cornflowers.

So, why are artists so unwilling to let go of the red, blue, yellow model for the colour wheel?  It does have its place in art history.  Historically, artists had to use the limited number of pigments that were available to them.  Certainly, we can get purple from red and blue, we can get green from blue and yellow, and we can get orange from red and yellow.  This works.  And of course we can get to the tertiary colours as well.  But the results are sometimes unsatisfactory.  That certain really bright green – that’s a difficult colour to mix, isn’t it?  Unless you start with a greenish blue, i.e. something at least close to cyan, you are not going to get there.  And that really bright purple you want?  Unless you start with a magenta, you aren’t going to get there either.  Of course, we are not restricted to the traditional primaries when we are mixing colours on our palettes, are we?  We have the luxury of purchased modern paint pigments that are already very close to the colours we want.  We can cheat and use these or at least mix with them.  But what if we were restricted to only three of these paint pigments?  Which ones would you choose?   Mastery of colour theory as taught by modern science will give you the tools you need to mix most of the colours you want using a minimum number of purchased pigments.  Knowledge is power!

If you search primary pigments on the internet, the first link that comes up explains modern colour theory in a very accurate and succinct way.  I would say it may be the best explanation I’ve seen yet.  It even has a link to a demo near the end in case you are having trouble wrapping your mind around it.  And if you still have more questions, read the Wikipedia page on colour theory… it does have a lot of explanations as to the history and the reasons why the traditional artistic way of understanding colour has been slow to catch up with the scientific way of understanding colour.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t sit well with you.  It took me a long time, too.  The dogma of red, yellow and blue as primaries is surprisingly entrenched, although there are other notable scientific theories that come from the 1850s that many  people also find difficult to accept ;).  Hah!  Just found out I’m not the only one to make this comparison.  And I guess the new cyan, magenta, yellow model didn’t really develop until sometime after the 1850s.  So maybe I shouldn’t actually be so surprised.  These changes in paradigm take time.  Eventually, if you keep testing out the theory, and trying to disprove it, you will accept it – like any good theory.