Hoodoo’s at Writing-on-Stone, Watercolour
Mule Deer Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, Watercolour and pencil
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park May 19, 2013
Leaving Banff, Alberta; we drove to Calgary and then south to Milk River, which is very close to the US. border and Montana. This would be our last stop in Canada before heading south to Yellow Stone National Park.
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is a small nature preserve (18 sq. km.) that straddles the Milk River. It contains the greatest concentration of rock art on the North American Great Plains. We spent the night camped here near the river. The next morning I was up early to paint and managed to do a couple of good sketches. The Mule Deer that live in the camp ground make easy subjects as they allow you to get reasonably close.
I was also fascinated by the sand stone formations called “Hoodoo’s” that make an interesting subject to paint and sketch. Some of these formations look like other worldly creatures. The Blackfoot Peoples considered this place very sacred and were probably the ones who created many of the rock carvings and paintings.
Richmond, BC., Canada May 16, 2013
Having left our mountain home in Squamish, BC. we drove down to Richmond, BC., just outside of Vancouver near the Frazer River. We spent a couple of days here to make sure that we had everything we needed for the long trip ahead.
We had some time on our hands and so we took advantage of the opportunity to be tourists in our own back yard. We went to the nearby fishing village of Steveston where I did some sketches of the water front. Steveston is known for its commercial fishing port and was historically a salmon canning port.
Forest Buddha, study #1
Forest Buddha, study#2
In the original post of “Experimenting with Watercolour” I was showing my first attempt at this painting of a gateway at Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia. In the second study I have painted the picture without a pink sky and I have tried to focus more on just the stone heads. I wanted to express more of the feelings of serenity and awe that I felt looking up at these massive stone heads in the forest.
These pictures were a great practice exercise and will be left at that.
A couple of years ago I was visiting the Unesco World Heritage site of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is an amazing place to explore. I was hoping to paint some watercolours of this place as soon as I got back. I did some sketches while I was there but soon realized that it was going to be a challenge to paint.
This week I have decided to give it a shot and see what I come up with. Painting moss covered, crumbling ruins requires some thought and a little risk taking. Getting bogged down in all the detail would be very easy to do. I have taken a more impressionistic approach to focus more on the mystery of this place.
I am not finished exploring the possibilities of this picture and so I will paint it over and post the results soon.
Pencil and watercolour sketch
Old Man of the Mountains, Pencil and watercolour sketch
Sherpa, Nepal, Pencil and watercolour sketch
Nepalese Woman #1, Pencil and watercolour sketch
Nepalese Woman #3, Pencil and watercolour sketch
Pencil and watercolour sketch
Most of the time I am painting landscapes from Canada and my travels. The last couple of weeks I have been focusing on watercolour portrait sketches as a way to practice accuracy. I find doing these sketch book studies a lot of fun and at the same time challenging. I think for the style of art that I do that drawing is foundational and always will be. I believe it is really important to develop the spatial drawing skills that just comes from practice and close observation.
The Yin and Yang of painting portraits is for me a way of describing the relationship between accuracy to form and detail and at the same time keeping the pictures loose and allowing for the organic nature of watercolour. I have heard it said of painting portraits that “the soul is in the details”. With that in mind I usually put more detail into the face and specifically the eyes. While I am working carefully on the details of the face I am at the same time putting in loose washes in other parts of the picture. It is a challenge to be loose and accurate at the same time. At the end of the day I am making a piece of art and so I am hoping to convey a little of the spirit of the person.
The title of my blog “The Paddle And The Paintbrush” is a reference to the adventure
spirit that was instilled in me from a young age. Along with painting in watercolour, I spent many summers working as a white water rafting guide in Western Canada. The picture above shows me guiding in Bow Canyon, on the Bow River in Alberta.
It’s been a few years since I hung up my paddle as it relates to river guiding but the spirit of adventure, exploring and travel lives on. My watercolour paintings and sketches are often scenes of Canadian wilderness, however I also love to paint my travel experiences and adventures world wide. What I hope to share with people is the beauty I see along the way with a special emphasis on Canada.
I grew up with a fascination and respect for a group of Canadian painters called the Group of Seven. They painted Canada in a style that show cased Canada as a rugged land of lakes, rivers, mountains and forest. This is a big part of what Canada still is and I would like to be a part of that tradition of painting this great land.
The idea behind my blog is to share with you my journey of painting in watercolour. When I couple this idea with my love of travel, hiking and fascinating places, I feel their is no end to this adventure. I would like to think that there is value in sharing thoughts and experiences and so I welcome your comments.
Thanks for stopping by!
Sketching at Lake McArthur, Yoho National Park,BC