Friday, November 28, 2008

Milestones and Transitions

Transition and painting are not favourable companions for me. I paint the most when: 1. I'm feeling well and energetic and 2. I have an established well worn routine. Both of these have been changed a bit this fall. I had eye surgery that took two months to normalize and during this time we changed our gallery operations from 7 days a week to "Open by Appointment' and stopped custom framing. This is a milestone, since we have operated this gallery for over twenty years. BUT we have not retired! The gallery was wonderful for meeting people from all over the world and both my wife and I love people, BUT it tied us down and often kept me from doing as much PAINTING as I would have liked to.

So, as Bob Dylan put it, "The Times They Are A-changing" and we want to expand our horizons and "roam a bit". I always paint wherever I go and this winter I hope to bring home a lot of scenes from Mexico and Florida. April will find us in the Canadian Shield to paint the breakup of ice on the lakes and rivers and, if the Good Lord is willing and the creeks don't rise, late May and June I'll look for springtime in the high Rockies. North Vancouver Island and home is the world's best place to be in the summer. I'll be back painting my favourite haunts here. So stick with me -I'll keep you posted!

Let me talk a bit about mediums. I'll be traveling by plane to Mexico and Florida and try for portability. My choice for air travel is usually watercolours but as long as you keep your images on paper you can use acrylics or pastel. On site painting with acrylics is somewhat restrictive since they dry so quickly, I've been trying out the Golden Company's new OPEN ACRYLICS that have a drying time up to ten times slower than regular ones. They still dry a lot faster than oils and are a good alternative for travel so you won't have to worry about bringing back wet panels. We tried them out at The Hills workshop and students generally liked them.

When I paint the Shield in Manitoba/Ontario and later The Rockies, we will travel by car and be free to use whatever medium is suitable - probably my nostalgic old oils! The big trick with travel, since I don't have a satellite connection is keeping up with this blog and my website at Meanwhile, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Frolige Weinachten and Joyeaux Noel! The Jolly Holly, by the way, is in front of our gallery door.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Workshop at The Hills Health Ranch

Back home from the B.C. Cariboo at 108 Mile House.

Here are a couple of pics from the Workshop there. Great group: folks from Prince George, Chase and Barriere as well as local 108-ers. The Cariboo (cowboy country) is full of friends and neighbours!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Head's Up!

Back in the swing of things again! It's wonderful to be able to look at the world in an upright position once again. The retinal surgeon gave me a thumbs up report a couple of days ago and made me realize how much I have to be thankful for, especially for all your best wishes and prayers!

Getting prepared for the upcoming workshop at The Hills Health Ranch from October 5th to 8th.

This will be my third Autumn Playshop there and just a whole lot of fun. The huge expanses of this incredible place open the creative pores in you body and the paintings just flow! This year the emphasis will be on Watercolours and Acrylics, either individually or combined and with that combo, you can pull off anything (well, maybe not your clothes!).

Acrylics are a medium that I've returned to lately and tried on a number of surfaces. It can be very watercolour-like on paper and on other surfaces if undercoated with Golden Absorbent Ground. When used on Masonite or Canvas, it can act like oil paint, either impressionistic impastos or very detailed photo-like images. In the painting shown here I've used it on canvas quite thinly but impressionistically. Now, with the addition of Absorbent Ground on regular canvas or the recently marketed Watercolour Canvas, you could do much the same thing on canvas with watercolours!

I know that some of my old students will be back for another run and am really looking forward to seeing them again. Hasta manana at the HillS!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An Aye for an Eye

Eyesight is one of our great gifts. Do visual artists have any greater appreciation of this gift than others? I doubt it. Most people cherish their vision, becoming accutely aware of it when it begins to weaken with age and eyeglasses become part of their life. Doctors discovered a hole in my retina about five years ago, a condition I found I could live with until lately.
On September 11th a retinal surgeon will repair it in about an hour. No big deal, except for the entire following week it is imperative to keep your head down, eyes parallel to the ground, twenty out of twenty-four hours a day. The surgeon replaces the vitreous jelly in the eye with a gas bubble which then must rise to rest against the healing retinal hole. The entire healing process usually takes about eight weeks, but I will have one good eye as the other one heals.
I don't experience too many "firsts" in my life anymore, so this tends to put some variety back in my existence.
I'm trying to think of ways in which I will be able to amuse myself: 1. Looking down, I could become very rich by finding a lot of money. 2. Do a thousand small sketches. 3. Write a novel. 4. Play a dobro. 5. Clean up the garage on my hands and knees. 6. Examine anthills. 7. Search for four-leaf clovers ---- the list is endless, so I can see I will be having a ball!
I need to heal quickly, however, because on the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th of October I will be teaching a Watercolour/Acrylic Workshop at The Hills Health Ranch at 108 Mile in The Cariboo.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 18, 2008


I have done some editing on our blog, so bear with me for this latest update. I am also learning a bit more about blogs, so if you would like to respond, I WILL try to answer you.
August has been our busiest month in the gallery since we opened it nearly twen ty years ago. At first we operated out of a small area that had once been our living /dining room. Twelve years ago we added a large addition to create about 2000 sq. ft. of gallery space and included custom framing as a service. We have had it open for regular hours most of the year and from May 1st to October 15th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days a week. It has been a wonderful experience to meet so many art lovers but there comes a time when changes are in order to create a positive movement in your life. We need to free up some time away from the gallery.
October 15th will be the last day the gallery will be open for regular hours. Henceforth it will be open by appointment only and framing will be permanently discontinued. Our website, however will play a big part in displaying my work and we intend to enhance what is even now an outstanding site.
We intend to keep in touch with our gallery friends with a newsletter. If you would like to be included on our mailing list, please send us your e-mail address.
Who knows, I might even have the time to keep this blog up to date!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008!

It's New Year's Day , 4 degrees Celsius and raining on North Vancouver Island. My last blog was in September and since then I've taught two workshops in October, the first at Hills Helth Ranch at 108 Mile in the Cariboo and the next one at Moorecroft Camp in Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island. For three weeks in November my wife, Ann and I took our first trip to Hawaii on Maui. We both loved it! I took a small set of watercolours with me and I sketched on most days. The included pencil sketch is one of many I did on the beach just minutes from our suite in a private home. Look for some Hawaii paintings on our website this spring.

I have a 93 year old mom who lives a day's drive from here and has suffered ill health during 2007. We,ve spent a lot of time with her and had to forego time from art. Moms are one of a kind and it's payback time.

We are going to make some big changes in Henschel Fine Arts this year. Probably the biggest changes in ten years. Plans are in the making. We'll keep you posted!