Tag Archives: painting

Treadmill, Sutures, and IKEA (41/365)

Oh, my – what a day! Started out very early without any breakfast (you’ll see why in a minute), some writing, then a trip to Calgary where I had a cardio stress test. No panic, but over the past few months I’ve been getting a little light-headed when I exert myself. Unfortunately, that usually happens either when I’m biking or tackling a harder climb (or, on a long hike in to a crag somewhere with a pack full of climbing stuff strapped to my back). I doubt it’s anything too serious, but we are getting it all checked out to make sure my ticker isn’t likely to explode  when I’m hanging from a cliff somewhere.

 

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Study for “The Wardrobe” by Walter Sickert, 1922 (you’ll see where I’m going with this in a minute…)

 

 

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The Wardrobe, by Walkter Sickert, 1924

 

The cardio thing was long and drawn out – first an IV (for the dye – hence no food after midnight last night), then hooking me up to a zillion leads to give an accurate idea of what my heart was doing when I was loaded onto a treadmill and told ‘keep going.’ Fearing I might come flying off, I gripped the safety bar until my knuckles turned white. As you can imagine, my heart rate was soon way up there and the kind woman who was charged with making sure I didn’t keel over before we were done took my blood pressure every 60 seconds and kept asking, “Are you dizzy yet?”

After all that, I was put into some sort of scanner and the dye injected into my vein, and they took 6 minutes worth of pictures of my thudding heart. There followed a CAT scan and after that, a 3.5 hour break during which time I was STILL NOT ALLOWED TO EAT!!

I was, however, allowed to go to IKEA. Which we did, right after I swung by the endodontist who tortured me so thoroughly last week. They yanked out my stitches and sent me on my way.

This virtual mosaic is titled, “Postmodern Study for The Wardrobe.”

At IKEA, we procured a couple of big wardrobe things in an attempt to deal with TOO MUCH STUFF in our bedroom/office space back in Canmore. Then it was back to the cardio torture place for another scan after which I was released and told to go have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

After a stop in Cochrane for groceries, we eventually got home and immediately began to assemble the basic frames of the wardrobes.

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As far as we got with the wardrobe project before our teenager demanded we turn down our music and stop with all the banging already… 

Tomorrow, I have to write in the morning, but after that we’ll get onto the finesse items like shelves and drawers, at which point we can tidy up!! Which will be lovely. More photos to follow… Meanwhile, though, here are a couple of paintings of bedrooms…

 

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Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles, 1888

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Bedroom in Aintmillerstrasse, by Wassily Kandinsky, 1909

Perhaps, once the wardrobes are finished and installed I’ll have a go at drawing our newly decluttered bedroom…

 

 

Monsoon June (31/365)

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After a few glorious days of sun and heat, it’s cooled right down again here as we head into Monsoon June. Rain, dipping temperatures, and really cool skies (check out those clouds!) are typical of this time of year. After a few weeks of this unpredictable weather, we head into forest fire season.

Last summer the fires were awful… thick smoke day after day and everyone on edge wondering if the flames were going to sweep through and engulf inhabited areas. Fort McMurray. Kelowna. The memories are still fresh.

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Forest Fire, by Mark Tobey, 1956

This year’s fire season is still in the future. For now, I’m going to enjoy the beauty of clouds…

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Puffy clouds over the Baths, BVI

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Clouds over Canmore

Clouds over Ha Ling

Clouds over Ha Ling

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Reflected Clouds – Policeman’s Creek, Canmore

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Caribbean Clouds

Spanish Clouds over the Camino

Spanish Clouds over the Camino

 

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More Spanish Clouds (Dawn)

 

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More Clouds over Ha Ling

Apparently, I have a thing for clouds… I found dozens and dozens of photos of clouds from pretty much everywhere I’ve been over the past dozen years.

Artists, too, find clouds irresistible.

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Cloud Study, E. Colin Williams (watercolour)

Dad has done his share of cloud-centric paintings.

 

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Sky Above Clouds III by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1963

As have many, many other painters…

 

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Birds in the Clouds by Georges Braque, 1960

 

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Seascape Study with Rain Clouds by John Constable, 1827

 

Which makes me think I need to join this cloudy party and start experimenting with some cloud-themed drawings/paintings/collages… Something. Heaven knows I have plenty of raw material to work with around here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilacs… (26/365)

IMG_4294.JPGScents and memories… so strongly linked at times one could believe therein lies the secret of the time machine. The scent of lilacs evokes memories of my mother, who loved lilac bushes, perhaps because when she was born, a celebratory lilac bush was planted outside her grandmother’s house.

This bush caught my attention this afternoon when I was scurrying back to rehearsals after a quick break where I enjoyed this…

IMG_4290.JPG…a cuppa decaf latte love…

 

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Not surprisingly, lilacs (and the colour, lilac) have featured in the work of many artists over the years… Here’s Sill Life with Lilacs by Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky

 

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Lilacs in a Window by Mary Cassatt, 1880

 

 

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The Glass of Lilac by Georges Braque, 1946

You know what I’m going to say… all these images of lilacs in vessels makes me want to a) go find a lilac bush and, in the dark of night, snip a few sprigs and b) do a still life painting featuring lilacs!

 

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Lilacs by Henri Fantin-Latour, 1872

Hmmm…. if only there were a way to impregnate the images with scent…

 

 

 

 

 

From On High… An Idea (25/365)

So I was pretty high up on a climb on Kid Goat (Blue Bubble) when it occurred to me it’s really hard to capture a real sense of how it feels to be up that high above the valley floor in a photograph.

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A vista like this sort of conveys scale (those are tall trees down there, and they don’t look very big). But what is harder to capture is the sense of vertigo when you are actually directly above stuff, like when you are at a hanging belay on the side of a cliff…

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So, I took a bunch of reference photos and what I think I’ll try to do is a drawing or painting that exaggerates certain elements of the composition to try to better reflect the feeling of being up there…

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Here’s a view of the climb from below, from the approach trail.

Dad has been very helpful, sending me examples of work by people like Sonja Delaunay and Andre Derain, who both used exaggerated colour and perspective to get their point across.

 

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Baker’s Hotel by Andre Derain, 1904

 

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Three Women Dressed Simultaneously by Sonia Delaunay

And then I found this one, also by Sonia…

 

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Color Rhythm by Sonia Delaunay, 1967

Which was a bit odd, because I’d been playing with colour blocks in my notebook just moments before I found her work after following a link sent by Dad…

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My blocks are a lot less solid than hers (pastels on textured paper rather than oil paints in Delaunay’s…). And my palette is totally different, of course… but on that front I was inspired by Josef Albers, about whom you will hear more in the days to come as Dad and I have had several Albers conversations and, weirdly enough, he is also featured in a current issue of an art magazine (which I stumbled across online and have now lost again… I’ll retrace my steps and try to post a link when I get back to Albers properly…)

It has been another busy day and I need to go find some grub, have a shower, and take another look at the scenes we’ll be rehearsing tomorrow for the Canmore Summer Theatre Festival’s production of Romeo and Juliet. My creative cup runneth over!!

 

 

 

 

 

R is for Red (AtoZChallenge2018)

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Kiki de Montparnasse in a Red Jumper and a Blue Scarf, by Moise Kisling, 1925

It’s one of the first colours we learn to identify as children. Our eye is drawn to the red smear in a visual composition. It’s the symbol of blood and of love, anger and the universal color of stop signs around the world. Associated with the Red Cross, the red sun on the Japanese flag (it’s actually the most popular colour used in flags with 77% of all flags including it somewhere…), red is also the least common hair colour in the human population (only 1-2% of the world’s population can lay claim to red hair).

 

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Moise Kisling obviously liked both Kiki and the colour red… (this portrait is called Kiki de Montparnasse in a Red Dress)

 

Red is one of the primary colours – the others being yellow and blue. In theory, if one mixes two primary colours you get secondary colours (green, orange and purple) and then, if you mix primary and secondary colours you wind up with tertiary colours. If you know what you are doing and have a bit of black and white you should be able to mix any colour you can imagine.

 

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As a kid, I was totally intrigued by the magical paint-mixing that went on while Dad was working. Even now when I visit his studio this process seems like a strange kind of alchemy, capturing light and form, shape and shadow by smearing colour on a flat surface… 

 

 

 

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By contrast, Piet Mondrian seems to have gone to great lengths to keep his colours clean and separate. This is Composition C (No. III) With Red Yellow and Blue, 1935

 

Also keeping it simple (colour-wise) is Roy Lichtenstein and this pop art portrait.

 

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Head – red and yellow (1962)

 

 

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This pensive child caught the eye of Mary Cassatt. Little Girl in a Red Beret dates from 1898. 

 

Would you call the child’s smock pink? Salmon? When you think about it, there are many, many words describing ‘red.’ Ruby. Carmine. Fire engine. Crimson. Rusty. And, plenty more… What’s your favourite shade of red? In case you are wondering, today’s artwork effort on my part was completely the wrong palette (greens and blues) so I won’t post here and spoil the word of the day…

 

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I went for a long walk this evening and took a ton of photographs. Scrolling through them there was a shocking dearth of red anywhere to be found. Except, in this photo which I snapped of a hula hoop hanging from a tree at the side of the trail. Who knows why a hoop should dangle just there… is it possible to drop your hula hoop and not notice? I thought the diminutive splashes of red were a lovely contrast to the more muted palette of the mountains before spring has fully sprung… 

See you tomorrow…

 

World Art Day – and Week Two Recap (#AtoZChallenge2018)

According to my source (thanks, Dad!) today is World Art Day! Given that Dad was the first artist I met (and certainly the one I’ve known for the longest), here’s a black and white photo of an early painting from Australia.

 

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The Rocks by E. Colin Williams – not sure of the date – 1967ish?

 

This is an old area of Sydney – here’s a link to the Wikipedia page about The Rocks, now a touristy destination while still preserving some of the flavour of this historic district.

All these many years later, Dad is still going strong, still painting, still exploring new subjects, materials and techniques. Yes, he’s my father so I’m a bit biased, but I find him inspiring and love getting texts each day with updates from the studio. I never know what to expect and it’s so cool to be able to see paintings as they progress from the roughest of sketches to finished works.

 

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Self Portrait, 2015 E. Colin Williams Unfortunately, this photo isn’t really sharp, but it’s kind of fun to see the artist posing with the artist…

 

Hmm… I’ve been enjoying the daily blogging challenge this month – maybe I’ll continue for another month and just blog daily about Dad’s projects. He’s got lots on the go at the moment – then you could all see the cool stuff I get to see arriving on my phone each day…

I will chew on that between now and the end of April … Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in an ECW Art-themed month of blog posts starting in May.

Meanwhile, here are links to this past week’s blog posts:

Day 9 – H is for Home

Day 10 – I is for Ice

Day 11- J is for Jumping Jehosephat (and a BUNCH of other fun J words)

Day 12 – K is for Kisses, Klimt and Kerouac

Day 13 – L is for Landscape, Leonardo, Liu, Lowery, Lichtenstein and Lots more…

Day 14 – M is for Mary, Mountain (but not Montmartre)

See you tomorrow when we return to our regularly scheduled alphabet… Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

L is for Landscape, Leonardo, Liu, Lowry, Lichtenstein and Lots more…

 

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Mountain and River by E. Colin Williams. Yes, I’m lucky enough to live inside a landscape that looks a lot like this painting done by my father. 

Growing up I looked at a lot of landscapes – not just the ones we lived in and drove through but also the ones my father painted and my mother photographed. In a way, I got to see everything at least twice – once as a fleeting impression as I moved through the landscape and again, later after it had been filtered and transformed on its way to becoming a painting or a photograph.

Maybe because of that I love seeing how artists interpret the world we live in, how they try to capture the essence of a place on a two-dimensional surface.

 

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Leonardo (da Vinci) is not the first artist that jumps to my mind when I think of landscape painters. This painting is called Bird’s Eye View of Sea Coast and was painted in 1515. I find it fascinating because it feels quite abstract and clean in its execution, features the strangest composition, and shows the world from a perspective Leonardo could not have experienced firsthand. It’s a strange blend of cartography, art, and imagination. 

 

 

Lautrec painted lots of outdoorsy scenes, but generally they include people, horses, or both… This is very different to my father’s paintings which rarely included humans, birds or animals. Until recently, that is, when Dad has been exploring subjects he spent little time with earlier in his career (a topic I’ll explore in more depth in a later post).

 

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Fishing Boat by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1880

 

In the literary arts department, Jack London had a gift for capturing the landscape on the page. The Call of the Wild certainly evokes the brutality of the Yukon and the impact the landscape has on its inhabitants.

 

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Jack London was not the only one inspired by images of the frozen north. The Russian painter Nicholas Roerich often turned to the mountains in winter for inspiration. This is Snowy Lift (1924), by Nicholas Roerich

 

 

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Here’s Roy Lichtenstein’s take on the northern landscape. Arctic Landscape, 1964

 

 

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L. S. Lowry’s dull as mud colours were typical of his early landscapes, this one from 1910. Though it’s titled Clifton Junction, Morning this hardly screams ‘morning light’ to me. 

 

 

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Compare Lowry’s somber morning with this exuberant sunburst by van Gogh. Enclosed Field with Rising Sun, 1889. 

 

And, finally, here’s a landscape by Georgia O’Keeffe… It may be abstract, but I can still see the landscape in the colours and natural forms.

 

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From the Lake, 1924 by Georgia O’Keeffe

 

Today I was priviledged to watch the amazing photographer Amy Liu at work. She was taking some photos of Ally Lacentra, super-talented young actor (and my step-daughter who, as luck would have it, has an abundance of Ls in her name).

 

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Amy and Ally at work – I felt bad for them as it was brisk outside today! Poor Ally had to try and look relaxed even when the chilly spring breeze blew down from the mountains! 

 

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One of the many gorgeous shots Amy Liu captured during the shoot today. Lovely!

 

 

And on that note, off I go to get back to work on the current work in progress. Let me know in the comments below if you have a favourite landscape painter…

Catch you later!