Monday, December 17, 2012

Community Art Wall, Quote by Kim Blair

My Art Quote on  
Community Art Wall
 the new 
Health and Wellness Center
in Lehigh Valley, Allentown PA, USA

A couple of months ago I received an interesting email from Dave Skerpon, vice president of retail strategies and brand management for Capital Blue Cross, the Harrisburg based health insurance provider in the USA.  He contacted me to request my permission to use an art quote credited to me that he found on the web, he said it would be used on the community art wall of their new
 Health and Wellness Center in Lehigh, PA, that would be opening in December 2012.

On the wall below my quote, (as you can see in the photos above) the Center will display community art.  The Health and Wellness Center will be offering a variety of educational classes and community programs to inspire people to take a multidimensional approach to their health and fitness.

*There is a slight reflection on the quote making it a bit difficult to read in the photo(s), so I have included it below:

"The pursuit of art on a regular basis may be the key to healing our minds and bodies."

Friday, November 30, 2012

Black and Red oil painting, Kim Blair

 Beginning Stages of Bolero Red
Bolero Red
18x24, oil on canvas

A Red and Black painting can feel very dramatic, and when placed in a room with red and black furniture accented with a gorgeous area rug, it often creates the link that ties everything together.

Bolero Red now hangs in a living room in Ontario, above a black leather chair, next to a red sofa... adding a touch of drama.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another Look, Iris Oil Painting, Kim Blair

Blue Wings
6x12 oil on canvas

A number of subscribers have been telling me they are missing my daily paintings and are wondering when I am going to be posting some more work.  Well, I have not been idle... believe me!  Right now I am taking a drawing course at the University which requires an amazing amount of homework.   I am not complaining because the class is so interesting... the truth is I absolutely love doing the homework, but it does take up all my studio time.

Drawing is so important for an artist and it really helps to improve your hand/eye coordination, which translates into other areas of creativity... like painting.

The drawing class will be over in mid December, and then I will back at the easel... with brush in hand.

I could see this little blue iris painting tucked in someone's Holiday stocking...

For more holiday gift ideas  click on the following link to my gallery page.

6x12 oil on canvas

Monday, October 29, 2012

Garlic Image on Business Card, Kim Blair

'Blue Garlic' painting used as background image

It's always a thrill when someone takes the time to contact me about my art, whether it's a question, comment, or request to purchase a piece, I always enjoy the interaction.  So when Brian Sharp, a garlic farmer from White Salmon, Washington emailed in early October to inquire if he could arrange to use my ' Blue Garlic ' image on his business card I was tickled.  As you can see, whomever designed his business card did an excellent job!

So close and yet so far....

My husband and I did a wonderful driving trip this past July... down through southern Alberta and into the States, which took us along the Columbia River to the Hood River area, where we stayed one night... just across the bridge from where Brian lives and farms in Washington.   

It is a beautiful area along the Columbia River, and I am so happy to think that my Blue Garlic image will be circulating via Brian's business card.  He has promised to send me some images of his specialty garlic so that I can utilize his photos in some future garlic paintings.  Thanks Brian.

So if you are ever in his region of Washington, make sure to stop by his farm in Bingen, Washington or at his table at the White Salmon Farmers' Market to purchase some of his heirloom tomatoes, garlic and herbs... and please say hi for me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Golden Light, By Kim Blair

We live in an older neighbourhood in Edmonton, called the 'Highlands' where almost every street is lined with a spectacular colonnade of mature elm trees that are pruned and manicured by the city, which only makes sense when you consider they are heritage trees.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Highlands neighbourhood, and many of these trees must be close to that age... give or take a few years.

I thought I would share a couple of photos I snapped of the brilliant yellow elm leaves glowing in the afternoon light, set against a clear blue sky.  The golden canopy they create over the street puts a whole new meaning to the term "Golden Arches!"

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Red Barn, by Kim Blair

Red Barn
12x12 acrylic on hard board

It is a gorgeous Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada... at least in Edmonton it is!  The autumn is my favorite time of the year with Thanksgiving being my absolutely most favorite holiday to celebrate.

Fall tones are my colors (any of you still have your 'fashion-color- palette- swatches' from years ago?) as many of you know I will always choose orange tones if given a choice in selecting something... but red is a close second.  Red and orange are hot vibrant colors that stand out in a painting, and life.

Have you ever wondered why barns were (and still are) often painted red?  Perhaps the color was chosen because it allowed the barn to stand out on the horizon and therefore be seen from a distance?  If anyone has other ideas, or the answer I would love to hear from you.

This Red Barn was painted using a credit card and acrylic paint, and would need to be framed to be hung.

12x12 acrylic on hard board

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Highland Sun

Today was such a gorgeous day here in Edmonton, a warm balmy 23 degrees Celsius... outstanding weather for a late September day in the north!
Most of the elm tree foliage is now a brilliant golden yellow, which made me think of sunflower petals... so I was inspired to post this Sunflower painting.

* (click on the image to see the rich texture created by thicker brush work and my trusty palette knife) 


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Yellow Curves
10x10 oil on canvas

It's sunflower season and almost every time I am out for a walk in our neighbourhood enjoying our gorgeous fall weather I happen upon a sunflower or two, or more... glowing (and growing) in the warm afternoon sun.

They like to hang out together along back alley fences chatting amongst themselves as they rustle in the breeze turning their faces towards the sun... teasing the birds.  A profusion of rich yellow petals clustered around a mound of chocolate brown seeds is a signal that the 'snack bar is open' for our local feathered friends.

Did you know that a solar power plant in Spain utilized the natural design pattern/arrangement of the seeds in a sunflower head as a template for setting up mirror reflectors in order to reflect sunlight back to a central collector?  

I read about it in the Corporate Knights magazine.  The article on 'Biomimicry' is fascinating!

10x10 oil on canvas

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

St. George's Flag I, by Kim Blair

St. George's Flag I
12x6 oil on canvas

The only subject I like to do as a commission is a flag... not sure why.

After purchasing a small version of the requested flag, I bring it home, hold it up in the wind in our backyard, and snap numerous (often as many as 50) photos of it flapping in the breeze.

Sometimes I am fortunate enough to happen upon a particular flag flying on a pole somewhere in the city... of course I take full advantage of these larger models when the opportunity arises.
After selecting the shot that offers the most character and energy of the flag, I paint my version of the image on a 12x6 stretched canvas.  This particular canvas format allows me to create a unique perspective... accentuating the ripples and folds of the fabric rather than just a straight-on image.

Did you know that St. George's Cross combined with St. Andrew's Cross created the national flag of the United Kingdom... The Union Flag, a.k.a. The Union Jack?

This oil painting of St. George's Flag will be hung next to a 'Union Jack' I painted previously. 

12x6 oil on canvas

Friday, September 7, 2012

Landscape/Mountain Oil Painting, Angel Glacier I, by Kim Blair

Angel Glacier I
9x12 oil on canvas

We drove the narrow switch-back, 'shoulder-less' road up to Mount Edith Cavell in the Canadian Rockies on a day trip from our cabin in Jasper, and survived!  I was white-knuckling the passenger's seat and dashboard as we slowly made our way up the mountain road to the parking lot, trying not to gasp as I looked out the window at the shear drop off on 'my' side of the car.  Once parked I  practically kissed the ground trying not to think about the drive down the mountain later on in the day...

Angel Glacier clings to the side of Mount Edith Cavell.   This is my third or fourth time hiking in this area, and each time I see this glacier I am awe struck at its magnificent size.  Yes, it is getting smaller... melting a bit faster than new ice can form, but this fact does not take away from the rugged beauty of the area.  I zoomed in on the glacier and painted this study from one of those close-up shots.  The melt water cascading down the face of the mountain collects at the base forming a blue/green lake shimmering with reflections of the mountain side, punctuated with bobbing mini ice flows.

We are so fortunate to have such spectacular natural vistas in Alberta!

9x12 oil on canvas (needs some time for the thicker paint to dry)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Landscape/Tree painting, Pine Sweep, by Kim Blair

Pine Sweep
12x9 oil on canvas

Pine Sweep works well with my post from August 16, 2012.  The reference photos are both from our recent trip and have a similar feel... with dusty blue 'sky holes' creating uniques patterns amongst the branches and needles.  The trunk of this pine tree had patches of vibrant rusty orange that shimmered next to long strips of silver bark, accented with a sweep or two of new-growth chartreuse needles... a rather luminous vision.

12x9 oil on canvas (needs some drying time)

Monday, August 27, 2012

SOLD, by Kim Blair

 Jewel Tones

A Collector dropped by for a visit last week... she said she had her eye on these two paintings for a while now and wanted to see them in person.  She thought they would look good in her sister's entrance way, and left with them tucked under her arm.

She sent a note the other day to say they look good in their new home, and her sister is very pleased.

Isn't it nice to have a thoughtful sister?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lake Louise Study, by Kim Blair

Lake Louise Study
9x12 oil on canvas

Lake Louise is one of those gorgeous mountain lakes that almost takes your breathe away when you view it for the first time, and the second time, and the third time... 

It certainly was intimidating to pick up my brush and try my hand at painting a study from one of my reference photos, but it was important for me to push myself through the fear of trying to capture this million dollar view that has become such an icon of Rocky Mountains in Alberta.  I am going to create a few more versions of this particular view and see how far I can push the colors, brush work and mark making... perhaps even an abstraction will appear.

9x12 oil on canvas (needs some drying time)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Impressionist Tree/Landscape, Pine Orange, by Kim Blair

Pine Orange
12x9 oil on canvas

It's funny how our mind works.  Our left brain tells us a subject matter must look a certain way, while our creative right brain sits back, quietly waiting for the left brain to exhaust itself with all the ridiculous arguments it believes to be true.
Once exhausted the left brain surrenders, allowing a magical creative flow to take over the neural pathways between the brain, eye and hand... 
Some of my favorite landscape paintings were created by the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists and The Group of Seven, therefore I am not surprised that this recent painting is showing influences from my intensive, on-going research.

Pine Orange is from a reference photo taken on our recent holiday.   The rusty orange tones in the forest landscape caught my eye... the pine beetle trail of devastation zig-zagging its way through the lodgepole pines in Western Canada and into the States.  The unfortunate death of such a vast number of trees has given rise to some new industry here in Canada (and the States).

By looking at the pine beetle  problem from a different angle, creative solutions and uses for the blue/grey figured wood have developed. Numerous furniture companies and builders are reclaiming the wood and putting its unusual beauty to good use, thereby finding a silver lining in the cloud that hangs over many of our forests.  While at the same time creating 'green' (or is that blue/grey) building products which ironically can be considered environmentally friendly.
Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

12x9 oil on canvas *(needs some time to dry)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Landscapes coming soon...

Brookings, Oregon Coast

Time to get off my butt and change into my painting clothes!

Just finished downloading all the reference photos I snapped during our drive to the Oregon Coast and into the Redwood Forests in California... not to mention the inspiring mountain shots from our own Canadian Rockies on the route home to Edmonton.

Did I mention it is time to do some landscape paintings?

Of course you will see some artistic license used... don't we all like to embellish the truth now and then... at least when we have a paint brush in our hand?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Harcourt Members Show and Sale, Two Florals, (not the Moose), by Kim Blair,

Me at opening night of the
  Harcourt Members Show and Sale
standing beside

No the moose painting isn't mine... but I thought the positioning of my two floral paintings below him (her?) was fun.  What do moose and other tall four legged animals (plus numerous small four legged animals) love to eat?  If you garden even a tiny bit you will know the answer to this one...

If you are interested in seeing an eclectic selection of art then make sure you check out this show, 'Symbiosis' at Harcourt House, 3rd Floor, 10215 - 112 Street, Edmonton.

The Show/Sale is on until July 21, 2012... 

Let me know if you see the moose... or if he has eaten my geranium!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cutlery, Oil Painting, Two of a Kind, by Kim Blair

Silver on Silver, Two of a Kind
8x10 oil on canvas

Two of a kind is a fitting post to revisit... it symbolizes the wonderful creative atmosphere in our home since January.  Sure, it has been going on longer, but the truly magical effects have been more obvious to both my husband and I for the past 6 months.  Most evenings we are cocooned in our cozy home... Ferdinand playing his guitar in the living room, while I am upstairs in the studio working on my art.

Both of us enjoying our individual creative processes... together. 

When we take our coffee (or wine) breaks we sit and share our inspirations... and our struggles.  

The wine really helps with the struggles...

$150.00, 8x10 oil on canvas, ready to hang

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Framed Pen and Ink, Birch IV, by Kim Blair

Birch IV (framed)
pen & ink

You might remember the post from April 11, mentioning that Birch IV sold and was on its way to Vancouver, Canada... well, it arrived and the collector had it framed.
He mentioned that the frame is a dark brown/black tone which enhances the subtle variations in the ink.
It is quite a thrill for me to see it matted and framed... hanging in his living room!

Thanks Rob for sending me the photo so that I could share it on my blog.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mango on a French Plate, by Kim Blair

Mango on a French Plate
8x10 oil on canvas

We went to a House Concert in our neighbourhood last night and I had the pleasant surprise of bumping into the art patron who purchased this painting.  After only a few questions we discovered the link to the hostess... me via a friend and her via her daughter, which explained how each of us heard about the house party/concert.  I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and the chance meeting to catch up with Deb.

It seems to be true that we are all connected by 'six degrees of separation'.

The fun is asking the right questions to discover the connections... which makes attending a house party an interesting experience!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Poppy Painting, Orange Flames, by Kim Blair

Orange Flames
10x10 oil on canvas

Yes, I have been playing with a more muted palette lately... but my heart still sings when I look at vibrant hot colours!  This orange poppy painting hangs in our kitchen and its happy little face reminds me that gardening season is fast approaching, which means more opportunities to paint lots of crinkled, silky petaled poppies.

10x10 oil on canvas

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sun-dried Series, Late Harvest, by Kim Blair

Sun-dried Series, Late Harvest, 10x30 oil on canvas

I was inspired by these dried sunflowers to explore a more muted palette.

They first made me aware of their beauty one cold afternoon last fall.   Walking briskly past the fence that divided them from the back alley I noted their silver and bronze bodies swaying in the cool autumn breeze, so I stopped to admire the subtle hues that blended so perfectly with the blueish gray fence next to them.
Since I was not far from home I sprinted back to my studio to grab my camera... and snapped a number of photos before the rain started.

A few days later I walked the same alley watching for the tall crisp giants and was sadden to discover them lying next to the garbage can... roughly bundled up, waiting to be taken away.
I carefully picked up as many as I could carry and carted them off to our backyard for more photos.

Sun-dried sunflowers with twisted brittle sage green leaves and gnarled gothic looking seed heads... waiting to be painted.  Waiting to be taken home...

$400.00 (+ 25.00 S/H anywhere in North America)
10x30 inches on gallery profile canvas (edges painted black, ready to hang)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Birch IV, Pen and Ink, by Kim Blair

Birch IV
11x24 pen & ink

This pen and ink painting is sold and will be shipped off to beautiful Vancouver, BC today.  Lucky painting... she is off to see green grass and spring flowers on the west coast of Canada!

Another 11x24 pen and ink painting called Birch III, is available for purchase... click here to see her.

If you are interested in purchasing 'Birch III' email me and I will send you a paypal invoice.

(*there is a 1/2" white border around the painting to allow room for framing

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sectional, Snow Abstraction Photograph, by Kim Blair

Snowy Morning
 April 5, 2012

All of our snow was gone... until this morning!  I love the abstract look of the snow nestled in the branches of our backyard apple tree.  

A magical, snowy day here in Edmonton... a perfect painting day. 

*I am working on a new series of paintings... changing my color choices.  Stay tuned for a sneak preview of some larger paintings.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Amaryllis Floral Painting, Amaryllis Red, by Kim Blair

Amaryllis Red
12x12 oil on canvas

This amaryllis painting gives the illusion of being much larger than its actual dimensions of 12 x 12 inches.  Painting is all about illusion.  An artist is often trying to recreate a three dimensional world in two dimensions... and when it works it feels sooooo good.  Sort of like when you swing a golf club and it connects with the ball and you hit a nice clean shot down the fairway... this analogy may give any of you who golf a sense of the feeling of accomplishment and joy an artist feels when the brush connects with the canvas in just the right way.
Later on, at the 19 hole, you get to share your experiences with other artists... (I mean golfers.)

Amaryllis Red is now hanging the front entry hall of a home in Ontario.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Group Art Show and Sale

'Avocado for Matisse'
(one of the pieces I have in the show)

Group Art Show and Sale

with 100% of the sales going to two non-government organizations dedicated to the prevention and protection of children trapped in the horrors of human trafficking in Cambodia.

Paintings on display from March 3 to 31, 2012
20 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta

Opening Reception
Saturday March 10, 2012
2 to 4pm

Human trafficking is a subject that is rarely discussed, and I felt the need to get involved in this art show and sale to show my support for 'Ratanak International' and 'Place of Rescue'... to bring more awareness to this horrific illegal practice and how it affects the children of Cambodia.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pen and Ink drawing, Van Gogh Grey, by Kim Blair

Van Gogh Grey
6x9 pen and ink

Creating pen and ink studies helps to keep my drawing muscles limber while freeing up my thought process.  The process of working with ink is immediate and permanent, which seems the opposite of freeing... but, in a strange way it is liberating to create a variety of marks that magically morph into an image you are trying to interpret.  Just think about the freedom of doodling...
Van Gogh Grey was created using an image I photographed of dried sunflowers... yet this image of sunflower heads that Vincent painted kept popping into my head... what can I say... the man inspires me!

$50.00 (+10.00 S/H anywhere in North America)

6x9 pen and ink on watercolour paper

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gloxinia, by Kim Blair

Another painting shipped off to a good home... what more can a painter ask for?  I know she will be well cared for and loved.

Gloxinias were discovered in Columbia and Venezuela in 1739.

A relative of the African Violet family it prefers similar growing conditions, so when your gloxinia plant stops flowering, just be patient, it will soon be flowering again.  If you have a green thumb with violets, you probably will have good luck with  a gloxinia.  Velvety bell shaped flowers with scalloped edges, and broad fuzzy green foliage add up to the unique characteristics of this luxurious plant.  The blooms are gorgeous... I found myself compelled to touch them... they feel like a swatch of fine velvet fabric.

12x12 oil on canvas.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three Fruits, by Kim Blair

These 3 fruit paintings sold today, and are on their way to hang together in a beautiful kitchen!

Foiled Cherries, Green Lights, and Blood Oranges... all in a row.

Each painting was created by placing the fruit on tin foil to capture the vibrant abstracted color reflections and then I painted them in oils on stretched canvas, all are 10x10 squares and will probably be hung as you see them here.
Hanging paintings of the same size in groupings creates lots of display possibilities, because you have the option of changing the order... or not.

Sort of like re-arranging your furniture for fun, and then wait to see if anyone notices.  In my experience people often think you have purchased something new, when really all you did was switch the location of something.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pen and Ink Drawing, Shades of Grey, Kim Blair

Shades of Grey
6x9 pen and ink on wc paper

Sunflowers have many lives.  From summer buds, to sunny golden edged blooms, to dried seed heads... each stage has its own beauty, and it is the dried seed heads that intrigue me the most.

Sure, I love bright colors, but the nuances of grey in this pen and ink piece speak volumes about the life this flower has led.  Her back and neck are bent from months of working hard to support the weight of her magnificent seed head, and the frail crisp leaves dangling from her stalk offer hints of their past glory.  

The Japanese term, 'Wabi Sabi' comes to mind... the beauty in imperfection.
You can find it everywhere you look...

6x9 pen and ink on watercolor paper
$50.00 + (10.00 S/H, anywhere in North America)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Made in Canada, Two Oil Paintings, by Kim Blair

Original art makes a lovely gift... especially when it is 'made in Canada!'
(I am happy to say that both are sold and going to a good home)

Art is often one of the first subjects to but dropped from a school's curriculum when the budget needs trimming, and I am concerned that this shortsighted practice may dull the creative potential and problem solving skills of future generations.  Isn't education about expanding the use of our whole brain... both the left and the right side?
Otherwise we could become 'lopsided' thinkers, which may lead to 'lopsided' decisions...

*I wrote an art manifesto, the link is posted at the top of my blog... it's easy to find since it is labelled 'My Art Manifesto.'

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pen and Ink Drawing of a Sunflower, Gothic Sun, Kim Blair

Gothic Sun
6x9 pen & ink on watercolor paper

Can't you just imagine a bat or two swooping past this sunflower on a moonlight night?  If you click on the image your imagination can run wild with the thoughts of a few spiderwebs dangling from the leaves...  and the spiky jagged points on the petals and edges of the leaves could resemble the ragged hem of a ghoulish frock.

(It was a full moon last night... or was I the only one up at 3:00 in the morning?)

A little bit of Goth anyone?  

$50.00 (+ 10.00 S/H anywhere in North America)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Orange Lilies, Orange Asiatics (Section),Kim Blair

Orange Asiatics (Section)
oil on canvas

I have a fondness for orange... and when I painted this (previously) 24 x18 oil painting of orange asiatic lilies I was especially fond of the way the lilies turned out.  But the rest of the painting haunted me... it never felt right, so I tucked it away in a storage room.  Last Saturday I revisited the painting and took the artistic liberty of 'downsizing' the canvas to the section that really appealed to me... the orange lilies.  Now I will either re-stretch this section onto new stretcher bars, or have it framed, and hang it in our home... they will look so cheery on one of our cream dinning room walls!  Sometimes we can find little treasure tucked away in closets...

It feels good to recycle!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reference Photo with Painting, Orange Ice,Kim Blair

 'Orange Ice', 11x14 oil on canvas
Reference Photo for 'Orange Ice'

While browsing through some poppy photos I came upon the reference photo for 'Orange Ice'.  It was interesting for me to see how much the two looked similar and yet how different they were at the same time.   Which led me to remember... it is our 'interpretation' of what we are looking at that becomes the painting... and what you 'leave out' is just as significant as what you 'leave in'.

*This painting is included in my exhibition at the University of Alberta Hospital.  The exhibition will be on display until February 6... just 9 more days with a percentage of sale proceeds going to 'The Friends of the University Hospital'.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pen and Ink Drawing of an Amaryllis, Amaryllis Allegory, Kim Blair

Amaryllis Allegory
6x9 pen & ink 

When I plant an amaryllis bulb in mid November what I am really doing is planning beauty, hope and magic in a pot of peat moss.   Then I water it every week and watch it intently, waiting for the first sign of a green sprout... a harbinger of sorts.  Once the sprout appears it is as if time quickens... each day the plant grows by an inch or more.
Then one day, you wake up to a bit of color peeking out from the green bud as it begins to mature, and in a few days you will behold the most magnificent bloom balanced on a long tubular stalk.  Like a majestic royal red scepter stuck in a little pot sitting proudly on our coffee table, our amaryllis holds court at all our December gatherings.
Silky red petals folded back into a trumpet shape with fluffy golden pillows of pollen on fleshy stamens popping out from the flower centre... pure magic!  An amaryllis brings life to a cold wintery day... and night.
*(click on the image to see a close up of the mark making use to create this image, or should I say allegory)

$50.00 (+ $10.00 S/H anywhere in North America)