Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Night Lights and Wet Snow on Wellington Street

12 x 12 oil on canvas
 I love the way the lights at night reflect off of the surrounding surfaces. The simple parking sign at the TD Centre created intense red shadows and the yellow car and street lights added to the mix. When I took this reference photo, it was a messy wet January snow. The large concrete wall along the TD centre added to the composition.
The Toronto Club is visible on the left, an historical building from the 1880's. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gooderham, Flatiron Building in Rain

24 x 24 oil on panel
The Gooderham Building, also known as the Flatiron Building, is a very interesting and historical building.It is also extremely difficult to paint. It stands out in front of the new high rises, an imposing red brick building in front of the soft blues of the reflected glass.
I thought I would give it a try again...I think I need to blur the receding sides a bit more to accentuate the "triangular" shape of the building.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

March Sun, Spadina Ave, Toronto

12 x 12 oil on panel
After a snowfall, the sun can be brilliant.  On this day, the winter sun came out in full force, illuminating the buildings and wet streets. This scene is from Toronto's Chinatown, on Spadina Ave.
This painting will be available at The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Sept. 18, 19, 20.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Out of The Mist, King and Simcoe, Toronto

16 x 20 oil on canvas
Night time scenes are difficult. The only colours are from reflected light, and sometimes they turn the surrounding surfaces into garrishly ghostly colours, resulting for new neon and led lighting. The new greens of the stop lights are also a much more minty green than before. nonetheless, I keep working at it.
I really enjoy this corner in front of St Andrews Presbyterian Church at King and Simcoe. The steam from the subway grates can almost be blinding on a cold evening. I have taken several shots here, but this reference photo is from Ben Roffelsen.

 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rain, East 20th Street, New York

16 x 20 oil on canvas
I thought I'd change things a bit, and do a scene of New York City. It was a change, adjusting to the yellows of the taxis, but I found them a little easier to incorporate into a scene than Toronto's turqoise and orange Beck taxi.
Thanks to Jacob Santiago for the photo reference for this painting. Check out his Instagram account Here.



 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Late Afternoon After The Snow, Bay and Queen

24 x 30 oil on cradled panel
I almost had this painting ready to recoat with gesso when I decided to take another go at it. The original painting was very "brown". I was using a lot of transparent red oxide at the time I did the painting and I have since taken it completely out of my colour palette. I am not a big fan of orange unless I can control the coolness or warmness of it. I mix most of my oranges and browns with alizarin, cad yellow dark, and blue (with touches of white as needed.)
This was an extremely challenging picture, as so many urban street scenes can be. It is all about what to leave out of the details and what to accentuate.My brain definitely is on overdrive with all the decisions to be made, as with all paintings.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

March Sun on Queen, Toronto

24 x 30 oil on panel
This painting is another "repaint". I think it sat in the studio for two years. I wasn't crazy about the composition, but I did like the scene and I particularly liked the post snow storm sun that illuminated the snow in late afternoon March. But I couldn't figure out the colours. The buildings were dull and in shadow, and the building on the right is a dirty yellow and in shadow. I worked away at it. Basically the painting "beat me up and left me by the side of the road". 
Sometimes paintings are a "fight" to the bitter end. Some paintings paint themselves, and that is so amazing when it works. Other paintings resist and fight back. I think I have made progress on this one, but it still needs something..... as Jazz legend Clark Terry says, "Keep on Keepin' on." Check out the movie by the same name . It is an amazing story of perseverance and sharing of knowledge.
 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

January Snowstorm, Spadina Avenue, Toronto

12 x 12 oil on panel
 I have some shows coming up and I like to have a mix of subjects and seasons, so I'm sorry for the snow storm at this point in our short summer season.
I've wanted to do this scene for awhile. I like the composition with the streetcar, shelter, and people dominating the foreground. I wanted to keep the feel as realistic as possible, including the dirty messy snow and the refuse container that shows up in so many Toronto scenes. (I often take them out). No matter how often I paint snow, I'm still learning. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Repainting a finished painting...why we do it.

36 x 36 oil on panel
Lets talk about repainting an already completed painting. From my experience, if a painting sits out after completion, visible on a daily basis, it will get some corrections, or in this case a major repainting. I didn't like the middle area (marked this area in the original painting) and I also thought the painting lacked atmosphere. The colour temperature was wrong, especially in the said middle area. I couldn't remember my original colour palette, so I went ahead with the one I have been using lately. Ultramarine blue, alizarin, touch of ivory black, cadmium yellow, touch of cerulean hue, titanium white. The retouches became a major repainting because ALL of the colour temperature was wrong. Richard Schmid says that when paint looks like dirt on a painting, it means the temperature is wrong. So, here is the new with the old one as comparison. I didn't hate the umbrella painting so some of that remained unchanged.
Which one do you prefer? Just a warning, if anyone likes the old one better, I may have to stop painting forever. (Just being dramatic, I appreciate all comments.)

Do you repaint finished paintings, and if so, what inspires you to do so?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bay Street Blues

14 x 14 oil on canvas paper
I've mentioned this before, but doing studies on paper allows me to get the information down quickly and helps me stay "loose" and less contrived. I think it has something to do with the fact that its only "paper" and therefore just a study. That said, I always like the way they turn out and wish I would have been so spontaneous on a canvas or board. I'll get there..sometime.... .
I'm looking forward to trying this on a larger scale.

Friday, June 19, 2015

College and Spadina

 30 x 40 oil on canvas
This painting is still a work in progress. At 30 x 40 inches it is taking longer than I had hoped, but one can't force it. It takes what it takes. I need to add some streetcar lines, its always risky doing this as they need to be present, but not draw attention to themselves.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Late Afternoon Shadows, Bay Street

8 x 10 oil on panel
When I do a study, I don't know if I will do a larger painting from it. I like the composition and the colours of this image, and so I think it will work well on a larger scale
.The  sunlight shining down Queen Street is reflecting off of The Old City Hall tower and spilling onto the adjacent towers. Suits head home after a day in the financial district.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Waiting For a Streetcar on Spadina

12 x 12 oil on canvas
Waiting for a streetcar on a rainy day on Spadina in Toronto.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rain on Yonge Street, Dundas Square, Toronto

24 x 24 oil on canvas
It was quite a downpour when I took this reference photo. I looked so drenched, someone wanted to take my photo. I have to admit it. I love the rain, the moodiness it creates and the atmosphere. Dundas Square on Yonge Street is our version of Times Square in New York. It is much smaller, but is interesting nonetheless. Large signs change the colours in the street. The Ed Mirvish theatre, formerly the Canon is visible on the right.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lunch Break, Bay Street at King

14 x 14 oil on paper
Sometimes I like to do studies on canvas paper. I often do a series of studies before I take on a larger painting. When doing an oil sketch, working on paper seems to allow me to maintain more looseness.
This scene is midday at Bay and King in front of the Bank of Montreal. (I don't have a thing for Don Draper of Madmen, but sometimes a similarity emerges).

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rainy Saturday in Chinatown, Dundas Street

12 x 12 oil on canvas
I'm not sure why I keep revisiting Chinatown. The reds, greens, and yellows of the signage are a difficult combination when attempting to achieve colour harmony. This scene is in Toronto's Chinatown on Dundas. It was a very blustery rainy day and all colours were grey and misty.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Night Ride, 504 Streetcar on King

12 x 12 oil on board
 Night scenes are difficult. There is no set rule for warm and cool.(As far as I know...if anyone knows them, please let me know!) Just when I decided to put viridian in the drawer because it was too cool, I brought it back out for this scene.
The 504 streetcar stops for a night rider near the Kit Kat restaurant on King Street.
Thanks to John Tavares for the photo reference.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Suits at Bay and Wellington

12 x 12 oil on canvas
Lunch time at Bay and Wellington on a warm spring day. Another view of Toronto's financial district.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rain at Bay and Richmond, Toronto

8x10 oil on panel
Another study. This scene features the corner of Bay and Richmond in Toronto's financial district.

Monday, May 11, 2015

End of The Day, King Street, Toronto

8 x 10 oil on panel
When I want to start some larger paintings, I often do smaller studies to get a sense of how they will look when painted. I get to decide colour schemes, compositions etc.
A lone "suit" heads home after a day at work in Toronto's financial district. This scene is on King near Bay.
Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for the photo reference.