I had originally painted this painting after an actual location that I have visited many times. On re-visiting the painting and touching up areas I felt that it deserved a name change. I had also been listening to Fields of Gold by Sting from the Ten Somners Tales cd, and it just seemed right. The name; Fields of Barley.
There you go.
Today I is a challenging day. We all have them, the kind where from the moment your feet hit the floor and as the day advances you get a growing sense of the challenges you will face in the course of this day. We have a choice to either climb the mountain and beat it, walk around it and avoid it all together or turn and walk the other way.
I choose to take a moment to view the mountain, then climb it.
The Peak. 24"x24" oil on canvas
When I was a child I had life of travel. My Father took all of his vacation weeks to drive us, all six of us all over this great land of Canada. From east to west and north to south, we saw it all. I didn't realize then just what an honor it was to see so much of Canada. Now, I realize. As I approach my 48th year I spend many days dreaming about those wonderful trips we took.
On this day I choose to honor my Father for those wonderful trips and I dedicate "Jasper" to him.
Thanks Dad, your impression on us is everlasting, we reflect you for all of our lives and in all that we do.
While I am often referred to as the Pine Tree Painter, it could also be said that I am as much a birch tree painter. I love Birch. They are the cheerful ones you see when walking through the forest. They are the ones with the sense of humor and happiness that remind you that God is a truly creative being. Bark that is white against all the green and brown. Stands out and beckons us to continue further into the woods. Assures us that it is a comfortable place to be. They, the Birch, will keep us company.
This artist loves the Birch Trees and here they are again. I hope you like them as well.
On the edge, rough waters, plenty of adversity, still, the Clinger holds on, never let's go.
Need I say more?
Do you ever wonder how they do it? I mean do you ever wonder how those twisty pines seem to hang on like that for dear life? There is no soil to protect the roots. There are constant smashing waves and blowing winds that batter and bend them from side to side, day and night, yet there they stand. When the sun comes out they sparkle in the light and reveal the wonderful layers of green and yellow hidden in the needles.
A powerful statement on life, thinks this artist. Those who can hold on through thick and thin. Through high water or blowing winds of life are the ones who truly shine and sparkle when things are good.
Georgian Wind is about just that. Strength and beauty in times of storm.
This comment is about "20th Side Road near Orangeville, Ontario".
This also was a painting that just wasn't going to work. When I originally painted it I was plenty inspired but it's colours were totally uninspiring. I hated the original. I sat that thing up against the wall waiting for it to hit me. The waiting turned into weeks and then months. This past week while I was considering making new canvases I really began to entertain the thought of ripping this one off the stretcher and stretching a new canvas on it never to see the old one again. Yes, that's the truth and it came so close to being shredded.
Then we decided to visit my brother's farm house near Orangeville, Ontario. Standing there on his back lawn looking out over the dramatic rolling hills, it hit me. Unfolding like a carpet that the salesman just found in the back of the warehouse. "You probably won't like this one but have a look anyway".
There I was looking south from the house, out over the green and golden hills. I couldn't wait to get home to my studio and paint it into the old painting I was about to discard permanently. I just knew in my soul what I had to do to it. I knew the colours and the texture. I felt the strokes of the brush even before I set it up.
I give to you "20th Side Road, near Orangeville" and I dedicate the saving of it to my Brother Dan and his wonderful wife Kate. Thanks for having us over. You never know what will come from letting an artist onto your property, huh?
You know, I have been asked many times what is it that makes my paintings what they are. It is this and only this;
It's not about the twisty Pine, or the flowing water. It is not about the forest or the birch trees. What it is, it is about the feeling you get when you see the tree, the water, the birch. It is standing there. Stopping everything that you know. Stopping and feeling. Feeling the place, the space, the loneliness, the solemness, the resoluteness, and then the power. The power of that thing to moves your feelings, your emotions. When it says to you the participant in it's environment:
"Stop! Stop whatever you are doing and just stand there. You are not here to give something. You are not here to add something. You are not here to give permission or grant authority. You, my visitor friend are here to be enveloped. To be captured. You are here to have your soul exposed and I, the tree, the water, the birch will certainly ensure that you feel. Once you just stop and allow me to do so."
That is where this artist is when I stand in the midst of such awesome power as the twisty pine, the raging waters, or the sparkling birch.
I am trying ever so helplessly to invite you the viewer to become a participant in the spiritual experience I am having.
It is 12:58 am, Tuesday morning, March 16th 2010. I have just waged and won a battle that lasted two long nights. This battle I will call "Along the Bow".
I began this painting with a clear image in my mind based on my memories of having been to the Bow River in Alberta Canada. I would pencil it in, mix my paint pallet and just whip this simple one off. No problem. Maybe a few hours and it would be a done deal.
Along the Bow had ideas of it's own.
Last night I stood back and just couldn't feel right about it. Something wasn't sitting right. Trees looked wrong, mountain looked wrong, river looked wrong, etc, etc, etc. I layered a new effect onto it, but it was getting worse. This is one painting that tempted me to forget all my experience and give up on it for good. Most paintings can be re-visited again and again until it turns out right but this one was going to be ripped up and thrown out.
Tonight I had my mind set on painting a new painting, but there it sat, lying in wait. It's magnetic pull was too much for this over tired weak hearted artist to resist.
"OK!" I said. "What do you want from me? I gave up on you, remember?"
There it sat, quietly but loudly demanding that I return to it, just one more time.
I lifted it up to my drawing table. I began to mix my paint again. I began to apply brush stroke after brush stroke. It eluded me again. I stood up, ready to walk away completely defeated by this canvas of utter frustration.
One more touch, that's all.
And then it happened. The dabs, the cool colours, the sound of the breeze blowing through the naked birch as the mighty Bow River flowed past.
Finally. Finally it came to life.
"Along the Bow".
Purely Canadian Paintings. A kind patron once asked me this question: “What is your style and how do you describe your work? I said that the paintings I do are characteristically Canadian. My paintings offer the patron a wide variety to choose from. I do not restrict myself into a certain topic or feature in long running themes. It is true that I have many pine tree type paintings and I guess that is as close as I come to long running themes, but across the board I offer many subjects in that which I paint. This is one very Canadian aspect of what I call my style. Canada is made up of the most diverse peoples in the world. As well, this land encourages people to express themselves in individual ways, therefore Canada is seen by the world as a nation of many colours and cultures in a wonderful way. While offering my patrons a variety of paintings my common denominator is the simple and peaceful personality of each painting. Even those with drama in the subject still offer a sense of peace and hope in time of trouble (ie: North Wind Place). This too is very Canadian. We as a nation and a people are seen by the world as peace keepers. We are seen as polite and courteous. So this is how I describe my work and style to anyone who asks, Purely Canadian.
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.