Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pen and Ink drawing, Apron Detail II, By Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Apron Detail II
5x4 pen and ink on acid free paper

Of course the apron I drew at Fort Edmonton (see yesterday's posting) had another end tied to the clothesline... twirling and swirling in the wind.  The thick cotton cloth became a twisted little fabric sculpture, with a touch of whimsy.  It made me think of being a child... watching my mother hang the laundry on the line.  She would connect all the tea towels, sheets and pillow cases by overlapping the fabric so that only one wooden pin was required to hold two ends together on the line.  During the winter the laundry would freeze on the line, and Mom would carry 'cardboard' sheets into the basement to thaw on a make shift line, dripping onto the concrete floor.
I am sure she sometimes felt like she was a pioneer... one clothespin away from tying aprons in knots on a line... just like I found at Fort Edmonton.

5x4 pen and ink on acid free paper.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pen and Ink drawing, Apron Detail I, By Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Apron Detail I
5x4 pen and ink

Meanwhile back at the Fort... (Fort Edmonton that is) I was scouting out different things to sketch and found a clothesline with an apron tied to it flapping in the breeze, perfect!  Or at least it seemed like a good idea at the time... but just try to draw an apron billowing in the wind.  The folds become a nightmare, but I loved sketching the detail of the fabric tied onto the line, with one cord twisted into a little spiral shape, while the other one looped into a knot.
Heavy old cotton fabric sewn into an apron, drying on the line... these were days before clothes pins!

5x4 pen and ink detail section of larger drawing on acid free paper

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pen and Ink drawing,Tree Study, By Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Tree Scape Study
Pen and Ink on acid free paper, 8x9

I am involved in a 'Plein Air' sketching class for two Saturdays.  This past Saturday we went to John Janzen Nature Centre plus Fort Edmonton Park to sketch.  I love the sights, sounds and smells of historic Fort Edmonton, it is always a treat to see the volunteers dressed in period costume, re-enacting daily life at one of the first fur trading forts. 

Next week we are off to Elk Island Park where the buffalo roam free... yikes!  I have been there cross- country skiing in the winter, and we have come across a few buffalo standing near the trail... you let them decide who goes first on the trail!  Even as you drive into or out of the park a herd of them may be meandering along the road ahead of your car... again no contest about who gets to cross where... they 'always' get first choice!
I will take my camera along to snap some good  close up photos of their massive shaggy fur covered  bodies for future paintings, and drawings.   Even though we plan on sketching rocks and trees along the lakeshore we may come across a few wild animals who may stand still long enough for a quick sketch...

Needless to say it will be an adventure!

Pen and Ink, 8x9 on acid free paper.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Parrot Tulips Pen and Ink with Watercolor Wash, Peach Parrots II, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Peach Parrots II
10x8 pen and ink with watercolor wash

Droopy tulips make for an interesting painting.  I like them straight and tall too, but after a few days, as the stems grow a bit, they usually start to droop over the vase,  so you need to recut them every couple of days if you want to keep them looking perky!  Tulips are the only flower that continue to grow after cutting... which make them a bit of an anomaly in the floral world.

This 'flock' of parrot tulips are was purchased by the same collector who also owns the previous posting of parrot tulips, they both look great in her beautiful home!

10x8 pen and ink with watercolor wash on archival paper.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Parrot Tulips Pen and Ink with Watercolor wash, Peach Parrots I, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Peach Parrots I
8x10 pen and ink with watercolor wash 

Parrot Tulips are often a 'hot commodity' in garden centers, and flower shops around Edmonton, they seems to be snapped up as soon as they arrive!  Crinkled and creased petals are what give them their unique look, which is enhanced by variegated colors within the bloom... creating a charming display. 
Who could resist?

8x10 pen and ink with watercolor wash on archival paper.   

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Still life of Citrus Fruit, Foiled Tangelo II, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Foiled Tangelo II
10x10 oil on canvas

Tin foil is a mainstay in my studio. I love the reflections created by objects placed upon it.  These Tangelo sections were a pleasure to paint, (and not only because orange is one of my favorite colors)... it was the way the icy blue tones shimmered next to the citrus sections.  Warm and cold all at once,  sort of like the sensations you experience when you eat a cold ice cream cone on a hot summer day.  Now that's living!

Yesterday I visited my friend (and collector) who purchased this piece.  She has it hanging in her kitchen and I wanted to share it with you... one more time. 

10x10 oil on canvas 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tulip Painting, Spring Fire, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Spring Fire
10x8 oil on canvas

The weather here in Edmonton is gorgeous!  Above seasonal temperatures with lots of sun, perfect for the long weekend that is fast approaching.  The tulips are starting to bloom in our neighborhood so I think that I had better take full advantage of the weather and get out tomorrow morning for a photo session in some of the local gardens... maybe even venture out to a garden centre or two... before the weekend crowds.

I admit that I love hot colors, and these red tulips with their thick yellow edges made my heart sing... so I had to paint them.   They are definitely hot, just like the weather!

10x8 oil on canvas

Monday, May 16, 2011

Still Life of Lapis Lazuli, Semi Precious, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Semi Precious
9x12 oil on canvas

Lapis Lazuli has a long history in the world of art.  An expensive natural mineral, this blue stone was ground into a fine powder, washed repeatedly to remove impurities and then mixed with a drying oil to create oil paint.  Vermeer used it extensively.   Unlike many of his contemporaries who used the much cheaper azurite, he liked to paint with this more expensive blue, and his patrons liked the prestige of knowing their purchases contained the 'real thing'.

In the 1800's a synthetic blue pigment replaced this expensive mineral in the creation of  ultramarine blue paint.   Whenever I squeeze some ultramarine blue onto my palette I think of Vermeer, and realize how lucky I am to be able to use it whenever I want.
Lapis lazuli was, and still is, a popular choice in jewelry design.  The necklace above, which I painted laying on orange and ochre stripped silk fabric was from a previous post, but I wanted to let you see it again.

9x12 oil on canvas

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Floral Still Life Painting of a Lily, by Canadian Artists Kim Blair and Lauren Peck

Inner Beauty IX: Pure Elegance
10x10 oil on canvas

Lauren Peck's lovely version of my painting
12x12 acrylic on canvas

Lauren contacted me back in April of this year, asking me for some bio information because she was using me and my art work for a special project for her high school art class.  I must say I was very flattered to think that this young woman chose to recreate one of my paintings.  When she asked for my bio info I directed her to my website so that she would have a bit of fun info to share with her class.  In return I asked Lauren if I could share some of her info on my site, and she agreed.
Lauren Peck is a Grade 11 student at Glace Bay High School, in Glace Bay Nova Scotia.  She loves to  paint, and from the look of this excellent acrylic version she painted of 'Pure Elegance', I think she is well on her way to creating a career in the arts... if she so chooses.

I would also like to send a special thank you to the art instructor at Glace Bay High School for suggesting this project; what a creative and innovative approach to teaching art!

My version is sold, and I assume Lauren is keeping hers... I wouldn't be surprised to hear that her mother has already claimed her beautiful painting for their home... "Lauren's Lovely Lily."

Happy Painting Lauren.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Floral Painting of Calla Lilies, Calla Pink, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Calla Pink
10x10 oil on canvas

Sorry for this same painting coming out to everyone again... but is seems that the blogger site was down for maintenance yesterday, and they wiped out everyone's Wednesday posting, so I am forced to post it again, (otherwise it will not show up on my blog), which mean it you get to see it in your in box again...

*Tomorrow I am posting a painting from a young artist in Nova Scotia who copied one of my paintings as an art assignment in her high school art class... you will get to see her version and my original.

While snooping around a local green house last week I came upon a lovely display of  calla lily plants.  They were all snuggled together on various tiers of a wooden display bench, looking like a choir group about to break out into song.  This collection of blooms stood tall and proud, illuminated by the sunlight filtering through the transparent roof.  How could I possibly resist anything so pretty...

$150.00 (+ 15.00 S&H anywhere in North America)

10x10 oil on canvas

Monday, May 9, 2011

Still Life an Artichoke, A is for Artichoke, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

A is for Artichoke
9x12 oil on canvas

This painting is from a previous posting, but I thought it needed to be seen again.   An artichoke is an interesting vegetable.  Whether you enjoy one cooked, then eaten leaf by leaf with butter, or made into a dip and enjoyed with other veggies, you can't beat its rich, delicious texture.  A real party pleaser, with a touch of elegance.
I liked the way this artichoke is propped against a strong red fabric backdrop with its head resting on the stripes... showing it is comfortable in any setting... elegant or everyday, kind of like Denby China!

$150.00, 9x12 oil on canvas

Friday, May 6, 2011

Gallery Page, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Elegant and Geranium Orange
both paintings are 24x8
*just two of the works of art available on my new 'gallery page'.

A number of you have emailed me asking for this feature, and I finally sat down yesterday and did it!

I have a new feature on my blog, a 'GALLERY PAGE' of all available paintings for sale on my blog and website.  You may click on the link above or go to my blog where you will see the 'Gallery Page' link listed in the top right corner.
Convenient, one stop viewing of every piece of my art work that I currently have for sale!

Thank you to everyone who suggested this feature, it is wonderful to have your feedback.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Still Life of Chess, Two Knights, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Two Knights
10x10 oil on canvas
Do you play chess?  My first attempt was a few years ago, and perhaps it is time to play some more.  A friend gave us a wonderful wooden chess set about 4 years ago, after I lamented about not asking my father if I could have his set.
It seems (from my research) that chess has been around since about the 2nd century B.C.E. and originated in China, then travelled to India and on to Persia.   Some say it was invented by a woman between four or five thousand years ago in India...

The Moors brought it to Spain in the 8th century and Chess spread to Europe.  Chess supposedly represents the universe according to ancient Indian mysticism, with the four sides being the four elements of fire, water, earth and air.  The rules have not changed too much over the years, although the the chess pieces are often known by different names in different countries.  The European contribution to chess came around 1000 A.C.E. when they introduced the checkered board to assist the eye.  

It is a game of skill, and there is no luck involved (I can vouch for that!).  The first international chess tournament was held in London in 1851, and was won by a German professor of mathematics.  Chess is the national sport of Russia and is played more than football, which must account for their superiority in the game. "Practice makes Perfect."

10x10 oil on canvas

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Still Life, Inspired by Morandi, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Still Life, oil 10x10
My attempt of a copy of a Morandi Still Life
 Still Life by Morandi, 1951

This painting was not easy to do.  Although I enjoyed trying to copy a Morandi painting it was more difficult than I expected.  I can see numerous differences in the two pieces, but the exercise was worth the effort.  I will keep my painting as a reminder that it is good to try and copy a famous artist now and then in order to see if you can 'feel' your way into their work.

One thing I will do, is find some objects that speak to me and set up my own 'Morandi Style' still life to paint.  The muted color palette was fun to use, and quite different from my usual vibrant color choice.  An interesting discovery I made while painting this piece was that even when we try to copy another artist, it will never be an 'exact' copy because our anatomy is different, which accounts for the way our fingers and hands work, which in turn helps to identify our signature brush work, drawing, etc.  
'That little flick of the wrist makes all the difference...'

10x10 oil on canvas

Monday, May 2, 2011

Graphite drawing, Copy of Morandi Still Life, By Canadian Artist Kim Blair

My graphite copy of Morandi Still Life
Morandi Still Life 1951

I am taking a drawing class at the University and we are studying Giorgio Morandi, (1890-1964).  So I thought I would try copying some of his work.  I can see that my graphite sketch is out a bit here and there...  if I was trying to create an exact copy... but I am happy with 'close'.  And besides, our instructor has banned all erasers in the class... what he really said was "using erasers in my class to 'correct' any drawing mistakes is a no no."

Morandi's work has a bit of a rough, yet elegant feel, and he restricted his subjects almost exclusively to still life work, with the exception of a few landscapes.  His favorite colors were gentle and delicate tones and his contemplative still life setups were usually a few plain bottles, cups, bowls and jars, which he always arranged anew.  He would physically paint all the clear bottles gray, cream or white solid tones for his setups, rather than use any clear glass with reflective qualities, as he seemed to want all the objects to be more 'solid', with no reflections.   Certain shapes appealed to him and he kept painting many of the same objects over and over... dust and all.

I think tomorrow I am going to try either copying one of his still life paintings for fun, or if I can find some nice shapes around the house, I will set up my own 'Morandi inspired' still life, (without dust).

I must admit that I can certainly understand why he liked to reuse these shapes... drawing them put me into a 'zen zone'.  There was a feeling of becoming one with these elegance, simple shapes and muted colors.

approximately 6x8, graphite on paper.