Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dundas Square, Night Rain

12x12 oil on canvas
As I've mentioned before, I like to do smaller images before I decide to do it on a larger scale. The investment in time and materials makes it worthwhile. I like the strong lines on this one, so may do it on a 36x36 size.
This scene is looking towards Dundas Square at Dundas and Yonge.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Streetcar Parade, Queen and University

8x10 oil on canvas
A very busy evening commute had traffic backed up for blocks. Three streetcars passed by at the same time, providing some nice colours and reflections.
This streetcar parade is at the corner of Queen and University with the window of the Four Seasons centre for the Performing Arts at the right.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Snow in April

8x10 oil on board
I must apologize for doing this picture. I know here in southern Ontario and many other areas we have had ENOUGH of winter. But as I went walking early this morning with Bailey my dog, I had to take some pictures of the wonderful soft snow that had fallen on everything. This house is on Melville Street in Dundas.
Spring really is here, and as Mark Twain says,"  In the spring I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours."

Monday, April 14, 2014

T.G.I.F., University and King

8x10 oil on board
When I took this photo, there was some snow still left, with piles of snow on the streetcorners. It was very rainy as downtown workers head home on a Friday. This scene is at the corner of University and King.

Friday, April 11, 2014

April Showers, Yonge Street, Toronto

16x20 oil on canvas
I do most of my paintings from photographs so it helps if you enjoy taking photos. I love taking pictures and heading out on a rainy day or during a snow storm and wondering what images will present themselves. Sometimes great scenes just happen, and other times I will stand in a spot for a long time waiting for just the right people or vehicles. The turquiose and orange of this sign was a perfect match for the Beck Taxi
This scene is from Yonge Street near Dundas Square.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Promise of Spring

8x8 oil on canvas
When I was taking photos in Toronto a couple of days ago, it was windy, rainy and cold. We haven't had a very nice spring here in southern Ontario, but we are hopeful that the nice weather will arrive. I took this photo in front of the Hudson's Bay store on Bay Street. The young lady was walking by the display window full of spring blossoms and pastel dresses.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Yonge Street Tattoo

8x10 oil on canvas
I like to do images that evoke a mood or feeling and I also like to do imges that are "anecdotal", depicting narrative incidences. This scene definitely tells a story...but what will happen will always be a mystery.
These young poeple stand in front of Yonge Street Tattoos.

Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for the photo reference.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


8x8 oil on canvas
We often get a rain/snow mix at this time of year providing some nice reflections. The night colours of the city seem to be getting more predominately green as the type of light bulbs are changing. There used to be a lot of yellow, but now there is always a greenish shade showing up, making for some almost "garish" colour schemes. Streetcars used to have three yellow they are yellow and greenish. I knew this would be challenging with the blue green colours everywhere.
The Beck Taxi dominates the foreground on this rainy night on King Street in Toronto. The Golf Town store canopy is visible in the background.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Queen and St. Patrick, Afternoon Sun

8x8 oil on canvas
I'm spending some time doing small paintings, deciding which ones will work well on a larger scale. Its good to work out color palette etc on a smaller scale before moving up. Plus painting smaller is fun. Results happen faster...good and bad.
This is the same corner as the previous post, but here a streetcar dominates the scene. I love these old buildings on Queen Street. So much character.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Queen Street Shoppers and March Sun

8x8 oil on canvas
Even though we have lots of snow and cold weather, when the sun comes out the stronger light reminds us that better weather and spring is on the way.
These young ladies walk down Queen Street on a late afternoon in March. Posters cover the lamp posts providing some interesting colours.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Morning After the Storm

8x10 oil on canvas
This is one of those pictures where its difficult to know what is being portrayed. The town I live in is in a valley, so we are surrounded by hills and the Niagara Escarpment. When I looked out my front door this morning, the trees and snow on the hills were all lit up by the morning sun. I knew it would be hard to do, but I thought I would attempt a small rendition anyway. I would have liked to work outside, but at nineteen degrees below zero (celcius) I decided to take a photo and do a quick study from that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Toronto's Finest

8x10 oil on canvas paper
This is a study for a commission I am planning to do. The photograph had a lot of atmosphere, but not a lot of detail, so I thought I would see how it looks on a smaller scale before doing a larger one. I used canvas paper for the study. My palette consisted of ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, terra rosa, yellow ochre light, cadmium yellow med, transparent oxide red, cadmium red.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Night Lights on King

12x12 oil on canvas
I've been wanting to add some different colours to my palette. One of the great things about the internet is that we can study other artists and often find their colours of choice.I noticed that when Marc Hanson does nights scenes he adds some pthalos and Quin colours. I looked through drawers of paints that I have accumulated over the years and found a quinacridone rose and a phthalocyanine blue and green. I also added cadmium orange. 
I took this photo on a very crisp cold evening, where the sky is a stunning blue (don't know why that happens). With the light bouncing off every object, nothing had the colour we would have seen in daylight.
The sign for the Kit Kat Restaurant is visible above the streetcar.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sailboats at Macdonald Marine

24 x 30
Oil on canvas
I know this is quite a change from my previous posts. I entered a "contest" at the upcoming show (the Artist Project) that I am doing Feb 20. Even though I'm exhausted from painting, I committed to the contest which is called "Set Sail". I looked through my marina files (photos I have taken over the years at different marinas on Lake Ontario) and found one that I thought would be good to paint. was really really difficult. I had the water pretty much the way I wanted it, and then the mast reflection had to go in. What a mess.  It was more about paint removal than putting paint on.
These sail boats are moored at Macdonal Marine in Hamilton.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Under the Gardiner,Toronto

30x48 oil on canvas
Toronto's Gardiner Expressway runs along the lake and divides the city of Toronto from Lake Ontario. Not a great idea, but when it was built no one was concerned about the industrial lands along Lake Ontario. Now of course, with condos along the water and much of the industry gone, everyone wants the Gardiner gone.
I liked the way the concrete pillars receded into the distance on this messy day. Without a lot of interest in the concrete highway of the foreground, I got out my palette knife to create texture and some interest.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Late Evening on Bay Street

30x48 oil on canvas
When painting city scenes at night, it seems there are no rules for warm and cool colours. With daylight, a warm light creates cool shadows. In cool light, shadows are warm and light areas are cool. Its hard to follow these rules in a city at night. There are many types of city lights: incandescent, flourescent, mercury vapor, sodium, Led, etc. Each one has its own colour. I find more and more lights that create a green hue, which of course adds a green hue to everything around it. ( not a good mix with the warmer yellow lights). Green traffic lights are more turquoise now rather than green. I suppose the rules apply, but it seems much more complicated.
These street lights are warm, creating warm colours on the surrounding buildings. The iron fence in the foregroundis from the National Club.
Thanks to John Tavares for the use of this photo reference.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

King and Spadina

I needed a break from squinting at night lights so I thought I would do an early evening rain. I allowed myself to do a little more detail in this one. The image is cropped a bit due to the difficulty in photographing a dark wet painting. (I removed glare the easy way rather than using photoshop) Photographing dark paintings poses many problems and oil paint dries unevenly so getting a good photo is not possible at this stage.
(Thanks to Ben Roffelsen for the photo reference)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Rainy Night at the Opera, Queen and University

30x30 oil on canvas
This is an amazing building, and very difficult to portray. The lighted glass building provided a difficult image with the back drop of dark buildings. Its one of those paintings that I had to get away from for a bit so that I wouldn't keep messing with it.  As it dries I will decide what it needs.
This corner of Queen and University is home to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January Cold, King Street, Toronto

24 x 24 Oil on Canvas
We have been having unusually cold weather here in Southern Ontario. I took this photo when it was about minus 20 Celcius (around minus 4 F). The wind was blowing and everyone on their way home from work was rushing to get Streetcars buses or trains to escape the weather. The sidewalks were cleared of snow, leaving cool colours on the cold concrete, highlighted by streetlights or traffic lights.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rainy Night at the Theatre, King and York

36 x 48 oil on canvas
The colours were quite different in this piece. I like this corner at King and York. The colours of all the surrounding elements change with the light on the Standard Life Building. The building across the street changes from mauve to blue, depending on the reflecting light. I have to admit it was challenging.
This couple heads home after an evening at the Theatre on King Street. The Standard Life Building is on the right, its yellow lights glowing in the night rain.