Thursday, June 30, 2011

Canadian Flag Painting, Red and White with Blue, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Red on White with Blue
16x16 oil on canvas

Since July 1 is 'Canada Day', I felt it called for a little patriotism and a painting of our flag.  I have an ongoing series of smaller flags (12x6) of various countries but wanted to paint a larger square format showing our Canadian Flag from a different perspective.  It was fun to paint it flapping in the breeze with strong light and shadow areas, creating a dramatic feel.  Sometimes, I think we Canadians need to show our patriotism by flying our beautiful flag a bit more often in our homes or offices...

And there is no better day to start than July 1.

Happy Canada Day everyone!

$320.00, 16x16 oil on gallery profile canvas (with the edges painted black)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Floral Painting of Poppies, Orange Ice, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Orange Ice
11x14 oil on canvas

These orange poppies are growing underneath the bird bath in our backyard garden.  I painted them larger than life... in reality these blooms are small... but when you have artistic license at your disposal size doesn't matter!

Our birdbath is a very popular spot this summer... a community pool of sorts for the local birds.  We think the chickadees are living 'condo' style in a fir tree in our neighbor's yard, and perhaps the 'pool' and 'buffet' (our bird feeder) next door was the selling feature.

The living room sofa is ring side seating for watching the fun through our garden door!  Sometimes there are one or two robins splashing around with a small chickadee joining in the fun.  Other times there is a line up on the apple tree above, as each bird takes a turn.  Often, we have to go out and refill the bath in the middle of the chaos so that the next birds have some water to splash around in as the previous ones have made quite a mess sloshing about!  It's fun to watch them fly up into the apple tree afterwards, to dry off and preen themselves.  Most of them rub their wet beaks on the branches, either to dry them off, or sharpen them, or both!

One day this spring I even found a bluejay having a bath in a large pail of water we had set out to catch water from a down spout!  He needed the deeper pool in order to submerge his whole body, and didn't seem to mind as I walked by.

Who needs video games when nature can be so entertaining.?

11x14, oil on canvas

Friday, June 24, 2011

Floral Painting of Anthurium, Anthurium Red I, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Anthurium Red I
11x14 oil on canvas

When I was a floral designer a number of years ago, we would order a shipment of 'exotics' from Hawaii.   The box arrived looking very small for the amount of product that was packed inside.  But the growers new just how to wrap and pack their exotic blooms so that they arrived in perfect condition.
Anthurium originated in South America and are members of the Arum family and are cousins to jack-in-the pulpit, calla lilies and  split-leafed philodendron plants.  They were introduced to Hawaii in 1889 by Samuel M. Damon and flourished in the year round warmth and high humidity.  Anthurium enjoy being misted  with water when you have them as cut flowers or as a plant in your home, especially if you live in a dry climate... hello Alberta!

The part of the plant we think of as the flower (like the poinsettia) is really brilliantly colored heart shaped thick, waxy bracts; while the true flower is the whitish, green/yellow spathe in the center of each bract.  Of course its name comes from the Latin word, 'anthos', meaming flower and 'oura', meaning tail.

These sleek exotic blooms make an artful statement in a modern office or home... whether in a vase, planted in a pot, or dare I say... on a wall.

$200.00, 11x14 oil on gallery profile canvas

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Still Life Painting, Leek Soup, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Leek Soup

Guess what we are having for dinner tonight?

I propped these beauties up so that they were leaning on an orange/yellow tea towel that I draped over my tea pot (I know, I know... do I own anything other than orange tea towels?)

Leeks are related to the onion family, but have a sweeter, more sophisticated  flavor than their close relatives.  Looking like a scallion on steroids, leeks have blueish green leaves which grow in an overlapping fan shape, adding to their decorative appearance.  Cultivated since the time of the Ancient Egyptian, leeks were highly prized by the Romans who considered the leek a superior veggie, and the Emperor Nero believed that eating leeks would improve his singing voice.  

I'll let you know if I can sing any better after dinner tonight...


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Computer Enhanced Oil Painting, White Magic Special, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

'White Magic Special'

I was playing around with my Mac, trying out some of the special effects to create a 'new' version of a popular painting.  The original of this painting is black and white oil paint, using this technique it resembles a pen and ink painting with some fuschia enhancements. 

'White Magic with Orange'

Of course I had to try out the pop art setting... need I mention I was attracted to the orange?   Greeting Cards come to mind... or prints, or ? 

I would love to hear your ideas.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Floral Painting of Iris, Vincent Blue, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Vincent Blue
16x20 oil on canvas

I was having lunch with Vincent Van Gogh today.   His spirit filled my kitchen via a book by Gerhard Gruitrooy, called 'Van Gogh an appreciation of his art'.  His incredible work jumped off the pages... the close up detail of the paint application and brush strokes took my breath away... they were so full of energy that I felt my heart beat a little faster while viewing them.  After dining with such an energetic companion I came up stairs to my studio, picked up my brush and let it dance across my canvas.
This 'high key' (lighter tone) painting of blue Iris has an impressionistic feel.   I heard Vincent prompting me to be immediate and sure of each stroke as I applied the paint, telling me to enjoy the process and have fun.  
I listened.

*(Click on the image to have a close-up view)

16x20 oil on canvas

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Floral Painting of a Stargazer Lily, Golden Star, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Golden Star
20x16 oil on canvas

I have been reading a book on Van Gogh which has excerpts of Vincent's letters to his brother Theo, telling him about his adventures/thoughts on changing the color of some of the elements in his paintings.   I was inspired to try something different in the background in this painting of a stargazer lily, and chose golden yellow, after having a look at Vincent's painting called 'Street in Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer.'  The effect with this lily reminds me of gold leaf...  the energy of the brush work makes me smile.
I had fun painting this one, can you tell?

$360.00, 20x16 oil on canvas, (needs some drying time... hot off the easel)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Floral Painting of a Poppy, Bedazzle, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

16x20 oil on canvas

The garden centres have many varieties of poppy plants for sale in almost any color you can imagine.  I love to go there early in the morning to snap a few reference photos.

Strong sunlight filtered through this deep orange/red poppy's silky petals.  The morning light showed all the beautiful folds, wrinkles and lines on her delicate face.  Character lines... beauty marks.

16x20 oil on canvas

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Avocado Painting, Avocado Swirls, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Avocado Swirls
10x10 oil on canvas

This is a repost from a while back, but I just re-read the information and thought it might be fun to post it one more time...

*I promise to have some new paintings very soon... my University courses end next week, (more in September) so I will be free to paint for most of the summer now.

I purchased a set of 3 earth toned tea towels with interesting designs woven into the fabric.  (I know, I know, they have some orange in them too...)  For this painting I arranged mismatched avocado halves on one of the towels, with the seedless half positioned on a slight slant for a little variety.

Tea towels and artist's oil paint have something in common from their past... the flax plant.

Originally, tea towels (from the 1800's) were woven from linen, a natural fiber from the flax plant stems which was a soft, lint free fabric and the best for drying beautiful English bone china tea sets.  Artist's oil paint was originally composted of ground pigment mixed with linseed oil, which is derived from the flax plant.  Raw flax oil undergoes a process to add drying agents to it to create linseed oil which is often used in oil paint to decrease dying time.

Interesting that both linen and linseed were prized for their drying abilities...

The oil paint brand that I use is NOT made with linseed oil, my brand, 'M. Graham & Co.' uses walnut oil, so there is less smell to my oil paints and they come out of the tube in a lovely buttery consistency... just perfect for depicting avocado flesh!

10x10 oil on canvas

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pen and Ink Sketch, Apple Tree, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Apple Tree
12x9, pen and ink on acid free paper

We have this rather tall skinny apple tree in our backyard.  Right from the beginning, when it was really healthy, this skinny tree did not produce more than about 20 apples a season, and most seasons the count has been about 6 or less.   It was saved after a 'fireblight' issue from a nearby crabapple tree, plus pruned a couple of times, but as you can see it is not really shaped like a true apple tree.

Granted, I chose to sketch a bit longer trunk than it really has, and I have left out the complete top growth of leaves... (I was going for the whimsical look), but in reality this tree is a bit of a misfit.  Supposedly a Harcourt Apple tree, suited for small spaces, it never really enjoyed its location in our shady back yard.

After withstanding frost cracks, fireblight, low light levels and amateur pruning, it is amazing that it is still living!  So I tried to draw it's character.  The real story can be read via the interesting imperfections ... scars, cracks and wounds.

*(Click on the photo to see a close up)

12x9 pen and ink on acid free paper

Friday, June 3, 2011

Calla Lily Painting, Calla Pink, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Calla Pink

This little gem is back on the market.  The collector who wanted this one stopped by today and realized that she needed something with red in it, so she left with an arm full of 'red' paintings to try in her home.

Which means this pink calla lily painting is now for sale, so I thought I should post it again over the weekend so that you could all have another look... and option to purchase.

$150.00 (+ 15.00 S&H anywhere in North America)  10x10 oil on canvas

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wimmin in Wax, Encaustic Group Show and Sale, Kim Blair

Elements of Encaustic
Wimmin in Wax

Spruce Grove Art Gallery


Is located at 35 - 5th Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 4, 2011 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Refreshments will be served

*The show is from June 1 to Friday, June 17, 2011 

Our group of eleven enthusiastic encaustic painters are at it again!  We are having another show of our work and you are invited to the reception, (as noted above) the show is on for 18 days, so if you can't make it to the opening reception please drop by another day, before the show ends at 5:00 on Friday June 17.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pen and Ink, Avocado Sketch I, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Avocado Sketch
6x5 pen and ink on acid free paper

Many of you have commented on my avocado paintings.  It seems that the thick buttery oil paint that I like to slather on for the soft green flesh appeals to most people... I too, like the texture it creates.  But, since I am on a sketching phase at the moment, I felt the need to try my hand (and pen) at 'sketching' an avocado.

Maybe the next one will have a 'watercolor' wash... and will be for sale.  Meanwhile, this one stays in my sketch book!

6x5 pen and ink on acid free paper