Photographing a painting

Posted in: Photographing Artwork | 5

Wearing all the hats, as an artist, can be a challenge, but there are benefits. One of them is, I have learned to work around my limitations when documenting my paintings. My main concern is colour; representing colour as accurately as possible.

In a pinch, if I colour-correct in photoshop, I can photograph my work in bad lighting and still come out with a relatively decent document. It would be nice to just take excellent photos right out of the box, and save a lot of time and hassle.

I take the original painting home to my desktop computer and compare my digital image to the real thing as I colour-correct.

This is an example of a photograph that I took and worked with:

Photographed in mixed lighting –some daylight and some daylight overhead fluorescents — without a flash, underexposed, and needing to be cropped and sized, this was a typically good candidate to work with. It was selected out of a batch of shots that were taken on a variety of colour and white-balance settings.

This process works relatively well, if I have all the time on earth, and have the original painting beside me when I’m colour-correcting. However, in this case, in order to meet a deadline, this painting flew out the door without my completing the corrections.

In this scenario, I was relying on my memory of the painting to adjust the colour. The liability, my worry, was that the photograph could end up looking better than the original painting. Obviously, it is not a good thing if an art buyer finds that the painting is not as exciting in real life as it was when they saw it online.

If the photograph looks better than the painting, the benefit, for me, is that I have done research that will make me a better painter. And I realize that this is a great way to work on paintings. I have also learned that photo documenting my work needs to be taken more seriously. Although I have learned a great deal, it is a task that I am looking forward to paying someone else to do.

As an aside, it was said of Jack Shadbolt that if you gave him back a painting to be repaired, when he was done with it, you were returned an entirely different painting.

This painting was juried and accepted into the North Vancouver Art Rental at Cityscape Community Artspace. It will be shown in the Art Rental Show in January 2018, along with one more of my landscapes. It was shown previously at the Parker Art Salon 2017, but I have repainted it since.

landscape painting of clouds over water

“Cloud Mirror” oil on canvasĀ  9″x12″

Watercolour #4 The Ruckle house kitchen

Posted in: Watercolour | 7

This watercolour is the one that I find most interesting so far.
I am enjoying the dark brown flatness of that cut-out shape.
I like the design element of it, and the way it acts as a transition between two images, as well as
the contrast it provides.

I am interested in the way the glass that I was looking through created fragments of the outdoor scene
onto the images of the dark interior.

The structure of the chair and window, and the space that they occupy, anchor the rest of the image.
The rectangle of the window in all the watercolours so far has been my starting point.

It seems to me that there are many possibilities in these images for stories.

This is a tiny painting, only 5 x 7 inches. I feel cramped by the size restriction that I set for myself.
Maybe I’ll change that. Not sure yet.

Visiting The Ruckle Farmhouse

Posted in: Inspiration | 4
Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island


We camped for a week on Salt Spring Island where I was inspired by peering into the windows of the old Ruckle farmhouse.
Because it’s all locked up, the interior can only be seen through the windows, and my camera recorded the reflections on the old glass panels. On some of the photos the light bounced off the dust spots on the glass and created an interesting raindrop effect.

I’m looking forward to making some artwork based on these images — 179 photos in all.

Journal Sketch

Posted in: Sketches | 3

I was looking at a photo of a bird skeleton in a book, “a North American species that lived some 60 million years ago”. This bird was seven feet tall, flightless, and a carnivore, with a head the size of a donkey. Yikes!
I started wondering what it might look like with it’s skin on. Also was wondering what it used that beak for. Definitely breaking things open. Yikes again!
My drawing is on the fanciful side, but I had fun imagining things.
My version isn’t very ferocious-looking. Mine lives in tall grass and eats hard-shelled reptiles. I also gave it a beard which acts as a bib to keep it’s dinner from ruining it’s pretty green neck.

The reference book is called “The Life and Lore of the Bird: In Nature, Art, Myth, and Literature” by Edward A. Armstrong

Small Art Exhibition

Posted in: Parker Art Salon 2017 | 2

This little, 8×6 inch, oil on birch panel is titled “Looking Back”.
I spent a good part of today scanning the original painting,
color-correcting in Photoshop, wiring, framing, and delivering it.
It will be on display in the Parker Art Salon, Small Art Fundraiser Exhibition, priced at $200.–.
This year 50% of sales will be donated to Anxiety Disorders Association of BC (Anxiety BC).


The changing journal cover

Posted in: animated gifs., Visual Journal | 2

I found a white feather on the street the other day, in the middle of the sidewalk, while coming home with groceries.
It felt synchronistic, because I saw the hint of a white feather in the paint of a painting I was working on in the studio, and I wanted to paint it in, using a real feather for reference.
So this morning I added a drawing to my journal cover. The cover is getting all smudgy and used.
The colour in this gif is more accurate to the real cover, except that the dark green spiky-things look black.
I’m really enjoying making the gifs as much as the drawings.
The challenge of the drawings is to be unhesitating about following the next step, without worrying about how it’s all going to come out, and to work on it as long as there are signals to add something else, without concern for adding too much. It’s kind of like using something up.

Visual Journal

Posted in: Visual Journal | 5

Red ballpoint pen and black sharpie, on the cover of my latest journal.
I buy the lined Moleskin paperbacks. I like the ones with the coloured covers (pale pink, purple and yellow).

I like to explore variations on mandalas, and just let them unfold without planning.

The covers get added to, whenever I feel the urge to relax with it.