Monday, September 28, 2009

Herry Arifin, Toronto Watercolour Artist

Herry paints loosely, wet on wet, and this type of painting is ideal for him eliminating extraneous details, and closing in on his subjects. Unlike many new watercolour artists, Herry isn't afraid to include people in his works. Because of this his works are filled with energy and human vitality.

Herry is an eclectic artist and he eagerly paints, still lifes, landscapes and urban scenes. But, it seems to me that Herry's work comes to life when he paints his home city of Toronto. His delight of city scenes seems unlimited; be it street cars, ethnic neighbourhoods, busy sidewalks or boats in the harbour.

While Herry's urban scenes are lively and filled with the energy of the city, his still life pictures sparkle with the energy generated from his mature understanding of colour interplay and dynamics.

Herry Arifin, is relatively new to the art scene, but his watercolour paintings are making his presence known in the Canadian art scene.

Herry invites you to read on his website:

"Painting is, for me, a way of communicating, of expressing to others my feelings about the world around us. When I retired early, in 2002, I found that I had suddenly lost many of the opportunities for communicating that had come with my work. Painting has filled that need since then, and I think it could do so for many retirees.

People often think that to paint one must have unusual, inborn talent, or to go through a long period of training in art school. I found that is not really true – painting, like talking is a natural human activity. I had no special training as a young person, only after retiring, I attended painting classes. This taught me the fundamentals of design and of the technical aspects—handling paints and paper. Since then it has been a matter of practice, and looking as much as possible at high quality paintings by others.

The choice of medium and style for communicating in paint is a personal one. At first I wanted to imitate other painters, but fairly soon I realised that the important thing was to allow my own style to develop. I’ve chosen watercolor because it suits my personality as well as my painting style. What inspires me most is taking a busy, even chaotic, scene, and organising it into a pleasing, simple pattern of values and colors."

Along the Columbia Valley Wetlands, British Columbia, Canada.

I took this picture the other day and decided to post it on the blog.
The Columbia Wetlands is a large, wildlife protected area and is the home of many species of birds - including bald and golden eagles - and it is also where I live. I have been challenged lately to paint a picture of this scene.

Robert Genn on Artistic Self Criticism

Robert Genn is one of Canada's most accomplished painters, having gained international recognition with his genre, for the most plart being, subjects on Canada's West Coast. But, he has also painted in most parts of Canada, the United States, Central America, Europe, and Asia. Born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1936, he attended Victoria College, The University of British Columbia, and The Art Centre School in Los Angeles, California. Genn carries on the tradition of the Canadian Landscape with fresh, painterly techniques and strong design, often and especially exhibiting his devotion to painting by reducing grand themes to small panels painted in the wilderness he loves.

source: Mayberry Fine Art,

"Evolved artists compartmentalize their confidence. They tend to be audacious at the primary easel and critical at the secondary easel. Allowing themselves the satisfaction of dissatisfaction, they stealthily check their efforts for the quality they seek. We all know of perfectly incompetent artists who never apologize for anything. This, too, is a form of self-delusion that sends a lot of substandard work out and about.

The real art is to develop the skills to vet your art prior to its completion. Clarifying and isolating elements in the work that may need revising--and doing so verbally--is not a bad thing, even in front of others.

The first trick is to identify those elements that are fixable and those that are not. The second trick is to know how to fix the bad stuff without losing the audacity you had in the first place. The third trick is to know it's all an illusion, and with the help of your devious creative mind you have once more done the best you can under the circumstances. The fourth trick is to avoid the trap of perfectionism. At some point you must abandon all your façades and get on with the next project, no matter what your wife says. "

Source: Robert Genn:

'The Painter's Keys' ezine newsletter. This biweekly art newsletter is now over ten years old and the subscription is complimentary. Please see,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thoughts From Robert Bateman

For readers interested in the intellectualization
of art,you may wish to check out Robert Bateman's

Robert Bateman's Ideas,

I was drawn to his observations, titled, 'Bateman on Art.'
Above picture by: Birgit Freybe Bateman

Quotes to Reflect Upon

"During the 20th century an elite group has established itself as a sort of priesthood.....The curator and critic priesthood holds the keys to the kingdom of "High Art".

"The driving force was the myth of the artist as a rebel and the rallying cry was "If it has been done before, it's not worth doing again!"

"It is futile to march behind a banner saying "If it's been done before, it's not worth doing again!".

"When the books and articles started to come out and I began to become 'famous', I also began to get slings and arrows from certain Canadian quarters. Canadians are famous for doing this to other Canadians in similar circumstances. I guess that it goes with the turf."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Crazy Woman by Robert Genn

More notes on Emily Carr

When I was four years old, I was riding along in the back seat of my grandfather's 1936 Hupmobile. Passing through Beacon Hill Park, in Victoria, BC, I spied a lone woman on a stool with a big easel. "Look Papa, an artist," I said. My grandfather - I can still see the expression on his face - looked over his shoulder, and confided. "Her name is Emily Carr. Some people think she's crazy.

Within a few years of that encounter, that crazy woman had passed away and then there were only her paintings and writings. Emily was a unique product of a Victorian upbringing, a West Coast vision, and the influence of modern mentors. Her remarkable books started appearing in 1941. In them we get a glimpse of the anxieties and joys of a creative pioneer - an original thinker with an attitude

When you really think about your hand you begin to realize its connection, to sense the hum of your own being passing through it. When we look at a piece of the universe we should feel the same,"she says. Emily felt the hum and found a way to respond. Painting in the "marvellous modern manner" she wondered if she might ever feel the burst of birth-joy, that knowing that indescribable, joyous things, that have wooed and won me has passed through my life." Emily was a spiritual being who responded to the great forests and the native cultures of our coast. She was a quirky loner who hoisted the chairs of her studio, so guests would not have a place to linger. For those she found 'interesting', she might lower one down.

Too young to test her hospitality, I nevertheless ingested her writing. Her words got me going. "There is something bigger than fact: the underlying spirit, all it stands for, the mood, the vastness, the wilderness." This wilderness took both of us away in boat and camper, on voyages of discovery and countless sorties of unfinished business. "Sincerity is itself, religion," she told me and I believed. I was pleasantly surpises that her concerns were mine; "You always feel when you look it straight in the eye, that yuou could have put more into it, and let yourself go and dug harder."

Robert Genn, on Emily Carr: Text, Love Letters to Art. pg. 33.

Studio Beckett, Publications, Vancouver.

Tony Bennett Art Interview

Friday, September 25, 2009

Callling All Gullible Artists

How's this for an email?


279 Sherbrooke West, suite 205 Montréal QC Canada H2X 1Y2 tel: (514) 879.9694 (514) 879.9694 fax: (514) 879.9694 (514) 879.9694

ATT: Frederick Winston
We have viewed your work and would like to offer you an opportunity for an exhibition of your work in Montreal, for the year 2010/2011. Please find below the “Terms and conditions”.You will receive a confirmation, an exhibition date and other related information (by fax or e-mail) within a week of the gallery’s receipt of the “application form” (see page 3)Visit the gallery website for additional information:
Gallery Gora is in the heart of downtown Montreal. The gallery is adjacent to the “Musée d’Art Contemporain” and other major museums. Gallery Gora has existed since 1994 and represents a number of Canadian and international contemporary artists.As an expanding cultural center in North America, Montreal is increasingly attracting ‘cultural tourism’. It has two official languages (French and English) as well as many other tongues spoken by its multi-cultural population. This provides the basis of a lively cultural scene that organizes a great array of cultural events, such as the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival, and the International Film Festival.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS 1. Eligibility and Application ProcedureGallery Gora invites you to exhibit in a solo or in a group exhibition. Selections are made solely on the basis of artists’ portfolios. Please send to the gallery:- Completed and signed application (see page 4)- International bank/postal money order or bank transfer (see “deposit” paragraph 3)You will then receive a confirmation, an exhibition date and other related information.

2. Duration of ExhibitionThe exhibition runs for a minimum of 3 weeks (at least 19 opening days, not including setup and take down time).

3. Exhibition FeeA - Solo Exhibition- Each artist can have up to 20 pieces of work depending on size- The fee for a solo exhibition is $2,500.00 to cover gallery expenses.- The first $2,500.00 of sale are commission free.- The gallery takes a 20% commission during the 3 week exhibition- A deposit of $700.00 is paid together with the application. It is payable by International Money Order (see application form page 4)
- The balance of the fee is payable 5 weeks prior to the exhibition date. All money is refundable in full if Gallery Gora cancels the exhibition.


From Renoir:

Milo Andrea Wagner
"The figures of a Renoir blend sublimely into their settings, and the settings back into the figures. That his subjects exist in intricate symbiosis with their environment is both a technique of the brush and a philosophical statement, nowhere better illustrated than in his early masterpiece of 1874, La Loge (The Theatre Box)."

Emily Carr Journals:
"I begin to see that everything is perfectly balanced so that what one borrows, one must pay back in some form or another that everything has its own place, and is interdependent on the rest, that a picture, like life, must also have perfect balance."

The Catholic Herald. UK
Emily Carr: 'Hundreds and Thousands'. (earlier posting)

Tony Bennett: The Singing Artist

At the end of the day, I think that the singer, Tony Bennett will prefer to have made his name with a paintbrush rather then with a microphone.

Tony's portrait of Duke Ellington is in the Smithsonian collection and he is rapidly making a name for himself in art circles.

If you check out his works I think you will be surprised for when it comes to his brushwork, he's definitely got the tools.

Since this blog has a watercolour focus, you will be surprised to learn that the painting above is a watercolour. Not too many artists make a comfortable transition from oils to waters, so I wonder if Tony didn't begin as a watercolourist before taking up the rag and turps media.

When Tony sings, "I left my heart in San Francisco," I wonder if his heart wasn't on a canvas he had painted of that city?

Tony's art website:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Artists in Motion: What Artists Can do in Small Towns

What a small town can do when a small town wants to

Marmora, Ontario celebrates a year of Art

Marmora is by all intentions, a sleepy little village in eastern Ontario. One of its residents told me that those who are employed in Marmora service the needs of the retired and unemployed.

This is definitely a "roll up the streets after 6 o'clock," village.
Then, along came newcomers Christine Dominico and Eiliean Teat. Two very artistic ladies with big dreams and huge ambitions. Both wanted to wake the sleepy little village up with a fresh coat of paint and bring it to life.

By the time a year had passed - they had not only created what they set out to do but they created a model for small towns everywhere.
The first thing the women did was seek out other like minded artists with advertisements in the local papers and word of mouth and together they initiated their goal by featuring an art workshop in an abandoned railroad station and an Arts in the Park event along walkways which grace the Crowe River which flows through the village.

By the time these two events ended, the wheels were turning. The two called for meetings in a committee room in the village 'town hall', and the art community turned out in force; musicians, writers, dramatists, and visual artists all.

By November, the little village was taken by surprise when the group initiated their first of many to be, Christmas Showcase of the Arts. Those who attended attended were greeted by singers, a juggling clown, and a splendid supply of refreshments.

By the time their first year had ended time, the group had created bye laws, a committee structure and had incorporated. They also found a local shop which was empty to showcase the visual arts and to feature books written by local writers. The store is funded by a governmental funding grant, and by local artists who committed themselves to $30 a month to display their works.
Their list of activities in the first year, is nothing short of amazing. The group has spun off, art workshops, a literary contest, a juried art show, a dramatic presentation, and a musical performance.
It is rather amazing to think that a village of about 1,300 people and a surrounding area could produce about 40 artists to display their art in the village gallery. But what surprises most visitors is the quality of the artwork. Most of these artists have produced their artwork quitely and without fanfare to be shared by friends and family.
But there was more. The artists for the most part had been working, without connection to any other artists. The side benefit of the work of these two ambitous and visionary women, and the people they drew around them to share their dreams was that a community of artists was born and that this community strengthens their sense of identity.

All of which leads to the question - if this small, Ontario village and nearby vicinity can produce so much hereto unknown art, is this characteristic of small towns throughout the province?

The Marmora AIM project has further implications. Small town Ontario, and for that matter - small towns and villages in Canada have seen a shift of economy and the brightest and most ambitious of their youth have 'moved on' to where employment offers a more secure future.

Over the years, a spiritual decay has set in, within these villages. Village pride has taken a back seat to despair and loss. Villagers see themselves as boondockers.

The dynamic influence of art in Marmora, has provided this little village with colour, and identity. There are those who now have a vision of the town attracting, an business "arts community" to create boutiques and coffee shops.
It goes to show what two people with a vision for the arts, and hard work can achieve.

Please visit the Marmora AIM (Artists in Motion) website, for a more extensive story of their accomplishment, and to read of the contributions of others who have joined the village art team.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Passing of Tom Bjarnson

Tom Bjarnson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was born in 1925, seemingly with an inherent love of airplanes. Bjarnson dreamed of becoming a pilot, but his dream wasn't realized because of visual problems. His mother, who as an artist excouraged him to take a correspondence course in drawing and that marked the beginning of his future as an artist.

In a Legion Magazine' article about Tom, Jennifer Morse wrote:

"Bjarnason’s paintings are unusual in both style and composition. He layers on transparent ink and acrylic (often white) and renders outlines as part of the work. Although he has created lovely oil pastels, he avoided oil paints because of the drying time required to finish a canvas."

Tom illustrated for Readers Digest, Star Weekly and Air Transport in Canada.

He died on Augut 26, 2009 of pneumonia at the age of 84.

Sources: Legion Magazine (online)

Windsor Star (online)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Coping with Pretty

Emerald Lake, Alberta

Don Konrad, an artist friend and I talked at length about the difficulty of painting mountains. Mountains are so formidable a presence, and so appealing to the senses that it is easy to paint them in their grandeur. But, we both chuffed with indignance at the thought of painting pretty. Its downright plebian.

Artists have been known to walk mountain trails and almost perform physical gymnastics to find the right scene - in the attempt to avoid the classic, pretty mountain against the pretty sunset scene. Is it any wonder that artists, take vast liberties with nature? A rock here, a boulder there, a pine which has long died and is about to crash into a river....anything...even an old shoe submerged along a lakeshore to grab interest. Anything but what the eye sees! it anything to enhance what the eye sees?

Why did we we both bob our heads in agreement that we didn't like painting conventional mountain scenes? The answer I suspect was found in the universal appeal of mountains. The world is awash with violet and crimson sunsets, and bold dramatic mountain peaks and emerald lakes. Prints of such pictures can be found in every bargain store and cut rate emporium throughout the land.

The problem is - there is almost a universal appeal to the beauty of mountains. Maybe this is what scares artists away. They have overdone to the point of boredom. And, artists being artists, many of us try to redefine what we see. We search for the unusual...something unique to capture the eye.

What hurts so much is that, there is a big market for kitch art. And brutal economics rears its ugly head when we pick up our paint brushes and are faced with the decision of painting ' His Majesty' as he is illuminated in the evening sky, or coming up with something, uniquely........artistic. Where's that boot along the shore I was looking for?

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meet Clive Powsey: Background Bio

Cliff: Towards Castle Craig

Clive studied drawing, painting and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art, graduating in 1980, and began exhibiting, primarily watercolour, in 1981.

Group exhibits include International Waters (1991), a joint exhibition of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, the American Watercolour Society, and the Royal Watercolour Society. Paintings are in the collection of IBM Canada, McCain Foods, HSBC Asset Management, Trent University, the Fulcrum North collection, Providence Health Care, and Gibralter Solutions, among others. In 1999 he received 'Best Watercolour' at The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.

Although an artist by occupation, Clive has occasionally instructed courses at art institutions, vocational schools, continuing education programs, and gallery programs including The Ontario College of Art, Malaspina College's continuing education program and Max the Mutt Animation School.

He also worked for many years in the animation industry for companies and clients including Disney and Nelvana as an art director, background supervisor, stylist and painter for theatrical release features, direct to video features, television specials, television series and advertising.

Clive is a member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour and lives and paints in the Comox Valley, British Columbia, Canada


Friday, September 18, 2009

Kawartha One, by Clive Powsey

The stillness of autum descends on the reflective waters of the Kawartha Region of Ontario.

When I first went into Peer Christensen's Gallery in Peterborough, Ontario, I found myself standing transfixed in front of one of Clive Powsey's works. I would have eagerly taken one home, but my many years of collecting art have caught up to me.

Here we find a Clive Powsey interpretation of the part of Canada where I live. I prowl the lakeshores and rivers at home, in search of the perfect scene to paint. But, Kawartha One, tells me that there is no need to search relentlessly for the beauty that unfolds around me. Its all right there.

Here in typical Clive fashion, we find richness and depth of colour. We find boldness in the evergreens and we find the contrasting beauty of a shoreline of autumn evergreens. Clive creates a mood of tranquility with his long lakeshore and the stillness of water. The sky goes about its daily business without the interruption of wind blown clouds. The viewer gets the impression that time is held in suspension and that nothing much has changed since the beginning of time.

Its hard to know where to begin to describe Clive. His personal biography is rich with his many accomplishments. I will expand on this in a forthcoming blog.

Expect more future paintings from these Courteney, BC area artists.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Best painting tip you've ever received (watercolours)

Have you received any suggestions which have made you a better painter? Feel free to add your comments below, before today's blog entry sinks below the horizon. Here are a few tips which I received which impacted me.

1. Never clean your paint tray at the end of a day's work. Your tray provides you with a visual memory of what you mixed the day before. Its hard to pick up your painting where you left off the day before, with an empty palette.

2. Keep it simple stupid. Some of my best pictures, have the least detail. A good artist studies the scene, and then decides what to exclude.

3. "Put away that damned small brush." A professional artist and teacher said to me. And with that, he literally picked a small brush out of my hand and tossed it down on the table. A small brush constricts your thinking and you work from the left brain hemisphere.

4. Paint with a restricted palette. This is rather personal, I suppose, but I try to restrict my paintings to about 5 colours. I find that the smaller the palette, for me the easier it becomes to
create atmosphere.

5. Never paint after the sun goes down. I lose my ability to discriminate colour.

6. Its your call.....add what you wish.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Watercolourist Profile: Ron Morrison, Courteney BC

Whatever else, Ron Morrison will surprise you. He's a dynamic Canadian Watercolourist from Canada's west coast. Ron is a self admitted motorcyclist with a passion for art. He is self taught, and admits to having began dabbling in watercolours after he left school and he has never looked back since. When you check Ron's profile on his website, you discover that Ron likes shaking the boat.

And shake it he does! For one thing, Ron love painting old cars and boats. His portfolio is rich with paintings of junked cars and beached boats. This is Ron's primary interest, and as he has often said, he paints them a lot, because there is something in them which captures his personal quest for growth. And, when you peel back the "I like that colour," critiquing and delve into how it all flows together - colour dynamics, subject arrangement, visual flow, and atmosphere you can see what Ron means. And, I never cease but to be amazed how Ron can redefine the same subject, over and over - like a golfer perfecting his swing in that constant search for perfection.

Intriquingly there are parallels which can be drawn between the works of the earlier BC iconic painter, Emily Carr, and Ron. Emily explored decaying Haida villages where the people had vanished and their totem poles and buildings are leaning and falling into decay as the forest embraces and reclaims them. But for Ron, its his search for the nostalgic, haunting, primitive, reclaimative beauty in old discarded boats, cars and trucks, which blurs with a sense of loss and nostalgia.

I sense an empathy in Ron, for his crumbling old vehicles. And, I find myself wondering if it isn't all part of a grand metaphor on the human condition and Ron isn't making a statement that beauty triumphs over all.

What captures my attention is how Ron uses his art to create atmosphere. The car in this posting has dignity and pride as it sit alone in the field. It sparkles with light and it is the stuff of poetry.

Ron searches for what remains after the beautiful old family car which has been lovingly waxed by caring hands, and then experienced social rejection. If you look carefully behind the broken windows you see a teasing play of light and shadows and you sense the presence of a world of sprites.

Ron is a master extraordinaire in understanding what colours to use to create the atmosphere he seeks, be it a phosphorous, moonlit sky or the brilliance of an afternoon sun - and then, he takes this light and explores how it effects colour on metal and paint.

I suspect that Ron finds conventional landscapes and florals boring and too restrictive. There is not enough room for him to explore the breadth of his paintbox and to include the kind of detail he searches for and the fineness of expression he seeks.

The amazing thing about Ron's works is that he plots his course as he goes along. There is no preplanning, and there are no values sketches. What you see is what you get. Its the magic of his spontaneous touch. Its the ulimate of right brain painting.

Ron Morrison has carved for himself a unique place in the community of Canadian art and he is an artist to be reckoned with.

Adolph Hitler: Painter part 2

Monday, September 14, 2009

The End Game

When I finished the top picture, I cleaned my brushes and packed away my supplies and thought..."There...job done!" But, I am learning that its wise to sleep on my work and let it lie for a day.
When I returned to it the next day, I saw the picture with fresh eyes and a clear mind. I realized then that the picture didn't pass the test.
It didn't take much to give the picture life: a bolder and more dramatic sky, and lots of cloud shadows on the forest line below the mountain, and even the suggestion of a cloud that loses its edge and blends with the forest on the right side.
Interestingly, the end game was all intuitive. I simply mixed my paints, and laid them on and watched the picture come to life. It was right brain play, all the way.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Emily Carr's Reaction to Lawren Harris's Critiquing

Lawren Harris North Shore Lake Superior: L Harris

December 24. 1940
Lawren and Bess came in today. Lawren pulled out a lot of canvases but his crits were not illuminating, although they were full of admiration and appreciation. He seemed to pick on some small unimportant detail and never to discuss the subject from its basic angle. Trivialities. I observed that he turned back to former canvases often with epithets like "swell," "grand," "beautiful", and the latter canvases he was perhaps more silent over. I wonder if the work is weakening and petering out. Perhaps so, I feel that the angle is slightly different. Perhaps the former was more vigorous, more disciplined, but I think the latter is more thoughful. I know its less static. Perhaps the static was more in line with his present abstract viewpoint. He was enthusiastic enough and complimentary - but not enlightening. Praise half as warm many years ago would have made me take off into the sky with delight. Now I distrust criticism. It seems to be of so little worth. People that know little talk much. And folk that know, halt, wondering, self conscious about their words. Perhaps the best thing I got out of this visit was a calm looking with impartial eyes at what Lawren pulled out of my racks, things that I had almost forgotten that stirred my newer and older thoughts together in my mind and made me try to amalgamate them.

source: p. 434. Hundred and Thousands - the Journals of Emily Carr

publisher: Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver, Toronto, Berkley.

Painting: National Gallery of Canada

Georgia O'Keeffe, American Artist, US tv network

The Georgia O'Keeffe Story will be viewed on Lifetime TV network, in the USA, on September 20th. Canada's Emily Carr has often been compared to O'Keeffe, insomuch as both were strong women and foremost female oil painters, in their respective countries, at a time when painting was dominated by men.

Premieres Saturday, Sept. 19 at 9 pm et/pt. Encores Sept. 20 at 7 pm et/pt and Sept. 22 at 9 pm et/pt

From's website:

When fiercely independent and then-unknown female artist Georgia O’Keeffe (Joan Allen) discovers famed photographer and art impresario Alfred Stieglitz (Jeremy Irons) is displaying her drawings in his gallery without her permission, she confronts him and orders him to remove the collection. But Georgia finds herself taken with Alfred’s charms as he convinces her to allow him to become her benefactor and to champion her artistry. Their working relationship evolves as they fall deeply in love and Alfred eventually leaves his wife for Georgia. She soon becomes a rising star who is poised to eclipse Alfred’s light. As their relationship suffers, Alfred finds twisted ways to emotionally wound her, including taking a younger lover. Georgia’s search for solace moves her west, where she finds new inspiration for her paintings – and ultimately her own voice – in the New Mexico landscape.

Adolph Hitler - Painter part 1

Friday, September 11, 2009

Winston Churchill Artist

I did a bit of online searching to see what I could locate on Winston Churchill, artist. Churchill painted at his country home, 'Chartwell'. His wife Clementine said that he never even been in an art gallery before he took up painting. Although Churchill did study under an artist friend, Robert Lavery. In 1921 Churchill sold 3 landscapes under the pseudonym of Charles Morin, at a Parisian artshow. Check out this website for an interesting article on Churchill as an artist: Churchill presented his painting Marakesh as a gift to President Harry Truman. This picture was later put up for public auction by Truman's estate. Sotheby's sold it for for 468,500 pound, or about $1,000,000 US.

For additonal information, see Robert Genn's Painter's Key: and reader's comments on the subject:

The Grombich website, from the UK lists in an article on this url:, the following items.

Beginning in Watercolours - Biting the Bullet

The first time I picked up a paintbrush, I knew where I was heading.
I watched with amazement as colours flowed from my brush onto paper.

Within a few sessions, my first watercolour teacher, took me aside and asked "Can you see yourself as an artist, selling your works professionally."

Yes! Yes! Yes!

There was only one problem. As the kids say. I sucked! My first paintings were terrible. They were so bad that I was embarrased by my lack of skill. Whatever Maggie saw in my art was puzzling. The only thing that kept me going was sheer, mindless, determination.

I have since learned that I wasn't alone in being shocked by my lack of competence in watercolour art. I have talked to many painters who decided on the strength of their first futile attempts that watercolour painting was definitely not for them. Fortunately, the one thing that life has given me was an ample supply of patience. And trust me, it has taken a lot of patience - and hard work to see my development.

Why then does watercolour painting attract so many 'entrance level' artists? Go into any major bookstore and you quickly discover that watercolour painting books vastly outnumber books in acrylics or oils. Watercolour classes for beginners abound. But yet when the grain is sifted through the seive and the chaff is blown away there seem to be relatively few professional watercolour artists left over. Watercolour paintings in galleries seem few and far between.

What is there about watercolour that attracts so many beginners?

The answer to that is embedded deep in our childhood years. Almost all of us come into art with experience in painting in colouring books and water based paints in school. If we could paint in waters as children, then surely watercolour painting must be much easier for an adult to learn.

But yet, when we bite the bullet in watercolour art - we had better be careful which way we aim it, for as any serious student of watercolours knows, its a tough media to learn! But the rewards are great for those who persevere.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quotation from St. Francis of Assisi

"He who works with his hands is a labourer,

he who works with hands and mind is a craftsman

but he who uses hands, mind and heart together is an artist."

Another Van Gogh Theory: What They See In Van Gogh's Ear

I wonder if there has been an artist in the post Romantic
Years who has been as intriquing as Vincent Van Gogh.
I was looking at Robert Genn's Painter's Key, yesterday
and discovered that there is another theory afloat.

In 2008, Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans, floated the theory which eventually became a book: "Van Goghs Ohr: Paul Gauguin und der Pakt des Schweigens.

Ann Landi, explores the theory of the missing piece of ear, in her readable article, "What They See in Van Gogh's Ear."

You can find this by chasing down this link in Art News.

I won't take away from Ann's column by advancing it on my blog, but I think you will find it a good read.

Also, if you have a spare hour or more, you may wish to check out this super documentary by Simon Schama. Another great BBC production.

YouTube - Simon Schama's Power of Art: Van Gogh 1/13

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Emily Carr and the Haida Basket


Emily Carr was influenced by Lawren Harris, a Group of Seven painter, noted for his effectively simple and powerful paintings which captured the atmosphere of the Canadian north. Many people linked her works to Van Gogh's Romantic impressionism. But there is more to this painting. While this work is impressionistic, it is also has strong qualities of realism. The lines are hard and the angles are sharply described, metaphorically indicating a life which was defined by hard realities.

Emily's Haida village appears like a metaphorical basket. It is painted with strong bold colours and it contained the lives of people who lived interconnected lives, in buildings which touched and were linked to one another.

The village basket is wrapped beneath defining folds of a cloth of deep ultramarine blue waves of mountains. The mountains and sea were defining features in the lives of these people.

But the basket, while being rich with design, is empty. There is a sense of desertion. The people are gone, and their structures are indicative of the cultural richness of the life they left behind.

The Haida village basket is pinned together by the spiritual presence of tall, black, totems which are staggered throughout the village and stick out of the ground like upraised darning needles from a ball of wool at the bottom of a sewing basket, joining together the native tapestry by linking the earth with the sky.

Mona Lisa - Painted with Hamburgers?

And when you've think you've seen everything in art?

or try this: How to paint the Mona Lisa using MS Paint

Come now! Who would really want a name like Mona?
And while I'm at it, try out this history of Lisa Gherardini, born in Florence in 1479.

Ice Bear, Canada's Native Leonardo?

The upper work, was painted by Ice Bear, (also known as Chris Johnson), and
is a foremost Canadian native artist. The bottom work can be seen on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in the Vatican and is painted by Michelangelo.
An Article on Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson in his studio (from his webpage)
Chris says about his technique and style:
"I believe that as an artist, to be an artist, is to continue to learn, explore, expand one’s knowledge and skills. This means constantly testing, pushing the boundaries of both one’s own skills and the products available.

For me, to ever be confined to one genre, palette, or family of products would be impossibly stifling. The creation of Art is a lifelong adventure, to be explored and savoured, Each vision has a life and presence of its own, and demands its own unique way of being presented to the world"

Friday, September 4, 2009

Celebration Time

Wedding Weekend - Kristi and John Say their Vows

Is this the little girl I carried?

I don't remember growing older. When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?When did he grow to be so tall?

Wasn't it yesterdayWhen they were small?

Sunrise, sunset Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly flow the days

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers

Blossoming even as we gaze

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mr.Bean and Whistler's Mother

This is quite possibly the most recognized face in the world.

I had thought of using this video clip, "Bean: The Ulimate Disaster Movie" to introduce the painting session I will be having this fall. This, I am sure, will become the source of many a blog posting to follow.

I won't tell you about the You Tube video clip. I will let you see it for yourself. Its almost six minutes long, and it is a delightful art story.

Comedy in itself is an artform, and this man is a giant in the world of humour.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Definition of the Age of Romanticism

For an excellent definition of what the Age of Romanticism represented in art, you may wish to check the site below.
When I think of Romanticism, I find myself thinking of Turner's great skies and the seascapes.

Fredericks-Artworks Blog, copying policy

The Canadian Copyright act, section 29 reports on fairdealing, that it is not an infringement to reproduce someone else's work for research, study, criticism, review or to report. Which pretty much sums up what this site is about. All content sources, be they artists, printed references, and website url's are respectfully identified on this site. http://http//

Mission Statement
A Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada, is intended to celebrate the richness of Canada's visual arts, and to promote the arts in Canada.

Statement of Intent
I make every effort to credit the sources of information used in this blog and to obtain the permission and cooperation of all the works presented by living artists. I try, as much as possible to use works from public sources eg. national and provincial collections, of deceased artists. If for any reason, any artist disapproves of anything written about them or their work the artist is encouraged to request withdrawal of the content.