Thursday, April 22, 2010

Study, Scottsdale Farm, Ontario


Carol Berry, Study, Scottsdale Farm, Ontario. Oil, 6 x 8 inches. ©2010.

Here in Toronto, it finally feels like spring will stay! The leaves are budding, the grass is greening up and we've put our winter coats and snow boots into storage. 

I'm finally painting regularly, though not every day. I've been plein air painting a couple of times in the past three weeks and over the past few months, I've gotten myself into the habit of going to Tuesday night life painting with the DVAC. Between the plein air and the life painting, I foresee a steady supply of new paintings and studies to post. 

This small study was done at Scottsdale Farm, north-west of Toronto, where early one surprisingly cold Saturday morning I painted with the Ontario Plein Air Society. I was quite a sight, painting in my big Arctic coat with my hood up, snow pants and leather gloves. I had listened to expert advice and was the most comfortable of the group. This was my maiden voyage with my new painting kit, and of course I forgot to pack a tube of white. Since I was the only person using water-soluable oils, I made do and used the white of the canvas instead.  

I never rework either my life or landscape studies. They capture in a moment in time, relative to the sitter or the landscape as well as to my own energy and focus at that specific time of creation. I'm sure I'll speed up after I do a few hundred more, and these studies will become more complete little paintings. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Early Morning Hayfield


Carol Berry, Early Morning Hayfield. Oil, 11 x 14 inches. ©2008.

This hayfield is near Emily Provincial Park. Summer weekends used to find me jumping in my car before breakfast to go take landscape reference photos. I forced myself to paint this in one day, encouraging myself to get into the habit of painting, signing, framing, submitting, showing and selling. This resulted in me having no paintings left, as I sold all my small landscapes at Don Valley Art Club (DVAC) art shows. 

Since then I've refocusing my art goals. I am painting small plein air studies and I joined two plain air painting groups. I am in the planning stages for a larger landscape painting (24" x 48") to be painted indoors. It will be interesting to see how my emerging plein air painting techniques might inform my studio painting technique.

In the past year I've learning how to manage WordPress, Blogger, Feedburner and Twitter. I now manage two blogs, one for the Don Valley Art Club and and this one. A more creative offshoot if this is that I've started a sketch book for the first time, inspired by the Urban Sketchers blog.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday Night Racing


Carol Berry, Tuesday Night Racing. Oil, 16 x 20 inches. ©2008.

In the Toronto Outer Harbour, the wind often drops at the end of the day, as it had here for these unfortunate Tuesday night racers, a couple of summers ago. Dinghy racing was a way of life for me until my mid-twenties, so painting this familiar scene was very nostalgic for me. I grew up in a small town on Lake St. Louis near Montreal, Quebec. I spent every summer day of my childhood on the water, learning how to race and later while in university I spent my summers teaching sailing at the same yacht club. 

I now have a small sailboat, a pretty little Mirror Dinghy with varnished wood and colorful red sails. Although the nothing compares to the inner peace I feel while on the water, I am too busy to commit to a season of racing. Besides, last summer it rained so often that I only had one opportunity to get out on the water. I honestly think that the major role of sailing in my life has been is to give me something to dream about while waiting out the long Canadian winter. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cherry Beach, Toronto Outer Harbour


Cherry Beach, Toronto Outer Harbour (16"x20") oil, by Carol Berry, copyright 2008

I previously posted the smaller study I did for this painting last  January. I used a photo reference that I took while sailing, so this is a different vantage point of a very popular Toronto beach and life guard house. Painted a couple of years ago, I really enjoyed allowing myself to get whimsical with the trees. My breakthrough with this painting was that I used linseed oil instead of liquin, this especially changed how I painted the clouds.  

We are enjoying a record-breaking temperatures this long weekend, it was actually 25 Celsius, about 15 degrees higher than our average April temperature. My daughter and I painted en plein air on this same beach yesterday. Lately I have been laying out my palette differently, compared to when I painted this painting. I am already seeing more of a variety of colours in my new paintings compared with older paintings like this one.