Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Art Of Critique

I’m noticing more and more one of the side benefits of teaching art and that is the ability to conduct a productive critique of a painting.  When you teach you are put in the position where you need to critique students’ work frequently.  I have been fairly unsure of my ability to critique in the past but I notice that I can evaluate a painting whether some one else’s or my own much better now.

The reason I mention this is because this image was mostly done about 2 years ago when I was in an old trucks phase.  It was an OK painting but definitely not a wow one and I had no idea how to help it.  I recently took it out again and was much more able to see the design weaknesses in it.  Fortunately, with watercolour you have a number of ways to rework or correct paintings and in this one I chose to use gouache.  I worked into the background to create a greater sense of light and radically changed the direction of the grass shapes and shadows in the foreground and in the middle ground.  Now it’s starting to  look like a successful painting –  just needing some cleaning up and some finishing
touches.  I also added the mass of leaves at the top to give more of a sense that the truck is in the woods.  Standing defiantly ready to get out.

watercolour  15″ X 12″

Cameron Pond

This is my take on a little pond that that is just beside the visitor centre at Cameron Lake in Waterton Park.  I really wanted to capture a sense of the light coming through the trees.  The process for doing this painting, though similar to the method used in an earlier post, is a little more experimental than I am used to.  I used masking fluid and I’m still sitting on the fence about using it.  It does allow you to paint in the background without worrying about leaving white shapes.  On the other hand it locks you into your drawing (which is what you base the mask on) and a large part of the joy of painting is to be free to go with what’s happening on the paper.  I think I’d feel happier with out using the mask but finding other ways to leave bits of white here and there.  Any way I’m very pleased with the sense of light in this picture.  I also like the fact that much of the paint was applied without using a brush.  Some pouring and some splattering add an element of spontaneity.

Cameron Pond
watercolour 12″ X 10″

For information on this or any other painting contact me.

Workshop For Bragg Creek Painters


I did a workshop for the wonderful Bragg Creek Painters Saturday, May 28. It was an exciting day pushing watercolour a little bit more experimentally.  The theme of the workshop was an exploration of the style of Stephen Quiller, who wasmy first inspiration in my own career.  I was fortunate enough to take a one week workshop at his studio in Creede, Colorado and tried to pass on some of the many things I learned from him.  I loved interacting with the participants at this workshop.  I always get as much as they do from working through people’s work.  I’m just including a few images of the day.