It’s a crisp, clear day in Western Canada when a float plane makes a bit of a hard landing (a ‘late flare’) into a crystal clear glacial lake deep in the wilderness.
“Late Flare” 24′ X 48″ oil on canvas, Brenda Stonehouse
This painting, a commission for a pilot (who also happens to be my favourite..and only… brother-in-law), was a challenge due to it’s size and the subject matter since it’s quite different from what I usually paint. I’m very pleased with the result and most importantly the pilot is as well!
I started the process with a number of photos that he provided of mountains, trees, lakes and a specific airplane. I did a number of sketches and we agreed on the composition. The size of the canvas was chosen to fit the space above the fireplace mantle in his home.
Once the composition was determined then I started the drawing on the canvas. I wanted to make sure I had the detail of the plane right as it is the focal point of the painting.
With the first layer of paint that goes onto the canvas I try to get an idea for colours and concentrate on the darks and lights. I’m not worried about detail at this point.
With the second layer (and third) I add definition to the edges, deepen the contrasts and add intensity to the colours.
And finally, after many months (another late ‘flair’ if you will) the painting is complete and ready for its new home! I hope you enjoy it Rob & Karen!
I can finally show you the commission that I’ve worked on for the past month or so. It was a secret because it was for a gift but now that it’s in the hands of its new owner I can share it with you!
It’s called “The Retreat” and it’s the view from a very special place for this person. I worked from a photograph taken on an overcast day and was asked to brighten it up. This can be challenging since I’m changing things without really knowing what the place looks like. This also makes it nerve wracking….did I get it right?
Luckily, the recipient was thrilled with the painting and sent me this in an email:
“Your painting captures the heart and soul of a place which has been in my life since I was thirteen years old. Your brush speaks out the vibrant beauty of my special place. Thank you so much for doing such a lovely work for me.”
This morning I finished the commission and signed my name to it. I will deliver it either tomorrow or Friday depending on when it’s dry enough to transport.
Tonight I got out all my Christmas baking and made up my goody boxes. I’ve been baking since Halloween and although I thought I would be short it turns out I had more than enough. I did up 15 boxes in total that will be going to family and friends between now and Christmas.
It’s hard to believe that today is the 340th day I’ve painted or drawn. Does time ever fly! I’ve been working steadily on the commission and it will be done in time for Christmas. I have another commission for Christmas – a palette knife painting – that I have to get started on soon.
I am going to have to mix new paint for the commission so since I use the same colours for the little painting of the poppies, I thought I’d use them up on that.
You can see some light coloured splotches in the flowers – that’s because the colours I had been using weren’t covering my pencil marks underneath. I used a bit of naples yellow (the light colour) to cover the pencil marks and then I will go back in with the proper oranges and reds once it’s dry.
I love the way the poppies stand out now that the background is darker!
I can’t show you the commission I’m working on since it’s a gift for someone (we can’t ruin the surprise!) but I can show you the glorious colours I’m using on it.
I mixed new paint and I love how vibrant these colours are. They look just as good on the canvas! I find mixing paint can be very therapeutic….there’s something almost hypnotic about the process.
I mix my paints on a palette and then transfer them to this plastic tray that fits on my easel. When I’m done painting the tray goes into an airtight plastic container that I store in the freezer. This helps to keep them fresh – and they can last a couple of weeks.
After I had my fun with the little painting of the poppies it was time to get back to business. Yesterday I finished the first layer of paint on the commission and today I was back painting the trilliums.
It’s coming along well but there still a lot to do. I worked on the dark brown areas in the bottom left corner mostly but I’ve been bouncing around doing a bit here and there with the second layer. I’d like to spend a good block of time on this one but in the meantime I’ll have to be satisfied with my hour or so a day.
I’ve been working away on the commission I can’t show you (it’s a surprise) and also on the trilliums every so often.
Yesterday I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the deadlines on those pieces so I decided to do something completely different. I know this goes against all logic but every so often I need to do something fun that doesn’t have a deadline.
I have been itching to paint these gorgeous poppies for a while now so yesterday I sketched it out and this morning I did the first layer of paint. I love it! I have kept it really loose and I want to keep that feeling as I add more layers of paint to it.
I’m going to let it dry for a few days before doing the second layer so tomorrow morning I’ll be painting the the commission again.
Today a friend of mine commissioned me to do a painting that she will be giving to a family member for Christmas. It is a stunning fall landscape with beautiful coloured leaves, evergreens and a lake with amazing reflections. We decided on a 12″ x 24″ canvas that will suit it beautifully. I’m so excited to get started on this one!
The timeline is a little tight since she wants it for Christmas but I’ve gotten considerably faster at producing my paintings over this year so I don’t think it will be an issue. I did promise to tell her a couple weeks before if I couldn’t meet the deadline though 🙂