Monthly Archives: August 2011


One of a group of trucks that we came across a couple of years ago on the way to Drumheller.  I now need to start working out backgrounds or situations to put these trucks in.  It’s like creating a narrative.

Dynamic Figure Drawing

The preparation for this new class has been a real voyage of discovery. It was a couple of months of just coming to understand the proportion and structure of the human body from all view points.  Now that I’ve done that it’s becoming possible to concentrate on the expression and shading and it’s now becoming more fun.  I’m finding this whole process of learning to draw these figures very informative.  Three months ago I couldn’t draw these figures consistently and now I can.  This reinforces a lesson that I’ve heard put forward by a couple of  writers lately that all it takes to master things is effort, not talent.  If we are willing to put forth the effort we can master almost anything.

Truck Series

This is the second image from my new truck series.  It’s the same truck as the in the last post but I redrew it to correct some proportion issues.  I also did the painting on watercolour paper.  I’m happy with it and I think it’s ready to go.

One small point about this drawing that I’m very happy with is that I drew the front tires angled toward the viewer.  In the photo they were angled the other way.  It’s a much more inviting composition done that way.  It’s similar to the way that watches are usually photographed with the hands at 10 and 2.

I also want to mention that for both these drawings I first drew a box that touched the outside edges, on each side,  of the truck.  I need the security of being able to accurately work out the proportion and using boxes really helps me.

Truck Series

As I mentioned last post I have been doing quick sketches for my truck series. This is one of the first I’ve done so far.   Drawing trucks is mostly a matter of  getting the shape of each part and then putting it in the right place.   You can see the box I framed the truck with so that I could more easily judge proportion.  It took about 20 minutes to do the drawing.  As I look at it I think it’s very good even though I think the truck is a little too narrow. What I enjoyed the most in doing it was just that, the quick and fairly accurate judging of perspective and shape.  When that part is done it is much easier to just enjoy putting down the paint.  I also notice how much easier it gets with each truck I attempt.  This one which is actually the second I’ve attempted is much better than the first.

After that I just applied some colour which is pretty close to the colour of the actual truck.

Now on to the next one . . .

Truck Series

For some reason I’ve just now finally understood my wife’s constant suggestion, “Work in a series.  Do 10 paintings on one theme.”  So I’ve decided to work on a series of paintings of trucks.  I’ve done a couple of truck pictures in the past and they were very enjoyable to do and  very well received so I’ve scoured all my old photos to find any of trucks particularly old trucks.  Drawing trucks is pretty involved because of the need to have good perspective but after that it’s not particularly hard and I like the challenge of trying to give the truck  a personality. I’ve started practicing drawing trucks and related things every day.  In fact my studio time is now exactly 50-50 between Dynamic Figures and trucks.  One of the truck accessories that I enjoy painting is truck tires.   The thick tread is a very attractive graphic element and there is a very organic quality to their shape.

This particular tire study is the first from the series.  What I enjoyed about doing this painting was the fast brush work in all the areas behind and infront of the tires.  Also, it’s a small point but I really like the shadow cast by the tires.  It again was a very fast stroke with the brush held underhand and parallel to the paper.

Dynamic Figure Drawing

I’m really excited about my new class in figure drawing which is now called Dynamic Figure Drawing.   It starts Tues, Sept 13 at the Calgary School of Art.  This is a brand new class for me so I’ve had to do a lot of work to get it ready.  So for the last few months I’ve been drawing many, many examples like those shown above.  But what a journey it has been.  I’ve loved all the practice.  It’s an interesting blend of teaching the eye to see what they shapes of the body really look like from all sorts of angles and demonstrating  them using  correct proportion.  As far as life lessons, once again I’ve discovered that if you just put in the time you’ll achieve the results.  I’m just at the point where I am starting to enjoy drawing the figures  rather than having to ‘work’ at it.

These are some figures I discovered in some WWE  and soccer magazines.  For me there is a real sense of confidence as I start to do more drawings that look pretty accurate and fewer that look wonky.

If you’re interested in this class feel free to contact me.

Art In The Garden Plein Air (Almost)

Last weekend we had a very successful Art In The Garden show in the garden  of Rosemary Bennett. I had planned to do a plein air demo.  On Saturday I tried out some sketch ideas with my little thumbnails.  I eventually settled on the one shown here.  The centre of interest was the black cat hiding behind a statue.  Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that I had it all sketched out I didn’t get time to do it so I did it as soon as I got home.  I wasn’t sure if it worked  until I removed the tape and saw it with a clean white border.  Now it has been elevated to the  maybe category.  In looking at it now I think the cat should be much larger – make the painting about what it’s about! Also the bit of path in the foreground has gone from a dark value to a light one.  Probably it would have been better as a dark value.  It does have a nice ‘what the heck is it’ feel to it though.  It would also have been interesting to do it plein air.

From The Porch


From The Porch 1

From The Porch 2

I really enjoy sitting in our screened in porch.  The first day I was at the cabin I was really taken by the light yellow green of the leaves where they caught the sun.  As I first looked at the scene I felt that I was seeing a light greenish tinge to the whole scene so I began this painting by covering the entire sheet of paper with a very light yellowish green wash.  I let this dry and then did the painting.  So what appears to be the white highlights along the trunk are actually a light yellow green wash.


I took a boat ride across our little bay to the old beaver lodge and right beside it were a few very pretty waterlilies.  I tried to do a plein air sketch for each but the water was just moving to fast (as was the boat).  So I had to go back and get my camera and I did these paintings from the computer screen.  They have a very evocative power I find.

Audrey & Margie


For me these simple little watercolours completely catch a bit of the personality of Audrey and Margie.

These paintings were done in my drawing sketch book so the paper has significantly buckled.  It will be interesting to see how the full paintings I do from these sketches turn out.  I wouldn’t be surprised to find that though they may be technically superior they don’t capture the person any better than these quickies do.