After doing three shows in four months, it has been difficult getting back to the studio. I took some nice rain/snow photos the other day and was inspired to paint this scene. I liked the reflected lights on Wellington Street, walking past the TD Centre. I would like to paint this on a larger scale, so tried it first on a 12 x 12.
This scene is definitely out of my comfort zone. Too many orange buildings, too much sun and a very busy composition. It started out as a painting for a client who wanted all of the Toronto iconic images: CN Tower, Streetcar, and a sunny day. I painted it about a year ago and didn't like it. It sat, with so many of my "disappointments" at the back of the studio on the floor. I decided to do a repaint. I am trying to work out a colour palette that works with a sunny scene. I approached it like a plein air painting, painting more freehand and loosely over the original painting.I'm still deciding if I like it or not.
I'm not a great photographer, but I love to take photos. And its even better when I capture scenes that tell a story. In this scene a young woman looks at the window display as she walks past The Hudson's Bay Store windows on Bay Street. The weather was cool and rainy, but the window displayed spring blossoms and warm weather...a promise of spring.
I've mentioned before that
Yonge Street is a challenge to paint because of the colour scheme, but I
keep going back. I like this busy melange of signs, people, and traffic. Also, I must like the challenge.
This painting is a repaint of one that I wasn't happy with. Sometimes I wonder if there is any advantage of doing a repaint since it takes almost more work than starting fresh. Just a slight change in colour temperature requires that the whole scene be changed. I've been leaving transparent oxide red out of my palette. It seems to have too much of an effect on colour temperature and almost appears like "mud" if I'm not careful. I make my greys with a mix of alizarin, ultramarine blue, touch of ivory black, titanium white and cad yellow deep.
This scene is from the same neighborhood as the previous post. It is near College Street, south of the University. As I mentioned, there are interesting paint applications and lots of unique architecture in this area.
I'm jumping ahead a bit, anticipating early spring flowers. I thought this scene would be easy to do, but the cascading flowers proved to be fairly difficult. Often, its about what to leave out, not what to put in. Too much detail takes away from the shape of the flowers as they hang down.
I love this area of Toronto south of the University. There are interesting old homes in various states of disrepair, brightly painted and often overgrown. Chestnut trees line some of the streets. I happened to be there last year in early spring with a soft light coming through the clouds. I believe this area is called Grange Park.
I haven't done the One Of A Kind Spring Show in awhile, so with a few spaces left, I decided to jump in. They always do a contest, and this year's theme is "Water". So of course I thought "Sailboats". I took this photo last year at Bronte Harbour in the early morning light. We own a small sailboat and so I often take pictures of marinas and harbours.I'm not sure if understanding all of the mechanics of a sailboat makes it easier or more difficult to paint. I spend a lot of time trying to get it "right".
The dark hulled boat second to the left is called "Lady Jane".
I am drawn to scenes of Young Street in Toronto and keep going back to them even though I find them very challenging. I like the variety of colours and activity, but finding harmony in all of this proves to be quite difficult. (Harmony defined as the colour of the light that acts as a common denominator to visually unite everything it illuminates.)
Beck Taxis are everywhere, and I like the spark of colour they create, but often they contrast with the other colours in the scene.
Here, a young woman crosses Young Street at Dundas Square. The Guitar from The Hard Rock Care is in the background.
When I like an image, I want to jump in and paint it on a large canvas right away. I'm glad I did the smaller version first. Painting the intricacies of the gates and fence proved to be very difficult. I try to do a painting from start to finish while the paint is wet, and work wet into wet rather than letting it dry in between. This allows for lots of blending, but makes it difficult to add any fine details.Here, I mostly suggested the detail with a more impressionist style.
These wonderful gates and fence have been in front of Osgood Hall since 1868. Osgood Hall is home to the Law Society of Upper Canada.
We never know what might inspire us. Looking through Pinterest I saw a photo of New York on a snowy day featuring a beautiful light standard with buildings in the background. Unfortunately, I don't know who the photographer was but I loved the way the photo looked. While taking photos during a very snowy day, I took this image of the light standards at Toronto's Old City Hall. I had a 12 x 36 canvas in the studio, and decided it would be a suitable size for this image.I don't normally paint this size, but a suggestion from artist Mary Karavosinspired me to paint something in a different size. Mary does beautiful collages using imported papers. Check out her work here. The light in the background on top of the Canada Life Building is a weather beacon, in use since the 1950's.
This picture is pretty much the weather we had yesterday with blowing snow and not so great driving conditions. Anyone who lives in an area that gets snow, knows that snow doesn't stay white for long. It turns into a brown salty slushy mess.
This scene is in Toronto's Chinatown, along Dundas Street.
This painting proved to be very dificult, mostly due to working out the temperature and colours of the sidewalk and road. I also kept thinking that there should have been more dark value to balance it out.
This scene is from Bay Street in the Financial District of Toronto, the Deloitte Building on the left.
I love trees and I especially love urban trees and how they affect our surroundings. Trees are difficult subjects to paint when trying to portray the "big picture" as opposed to painting a picture of a tree. Almost all of the detail is lost and blurred.
This was very difficult to paint, but I loved the small forest of trees at the corner of Queen and University where the beautiful wrought iron fence passes in front of the Law Society Building. It was pretty much a snowstorm when I took this reference photo which created a subtle light everywhere.
I never know when to stop, so decided to leave it alone for a bit.
Another painting in my foray into sunny scenes. I am not leaving the rain and snow behind...I love weather events, but I was in the mood for a change. Maybe it's the -18 C (about 0 F) weather were having. I tried a little different composition, including the yellow crosswalk.
This scene is at the corner of Bay Street and Richmond.
I usually like to paint images that reflect the present mood of the day..a typical January cold snowy atmosphere. For my upcoming show at the Artist Project I want to include some sunny city scenes in the Financial District of Toronto and so I will be exploring a new colour palette and doing some studies, trying to create the early morning or late afternoon atmosphere in a busy city.
For my first attempt, I chose a difficult subject with the darkness dominating the foreground. And the other usual complex issues of what details to add and what to leave out. I will have to live with it for awhile and see if I like the result.