Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Where did November go???

On November 15th we took 7 new paintings to Gallery 223 in Nanaimo (on 223 Commercial Street). They are an excellent gallery but do not want to show  anything behind glass; so you won't see any of my watercolours there.The owner, George Leschuk actually owns the building, which is unique among art galleries, has a generous sized area for originals and another area for prints and framing. On the second floor he rents out space to resident artists.
Some of the paintings we left with George are shown below. I added to my autumn on Mt. Cain series by concentrating on the bright foliage around the ski area.

 We hope to be going to ourdaughter Kathy's in Mexico for Christmas (Dec.11 to January 10) so hope to have a few Mexican scenes from there. Merry Christmas!! (or should I say Feliz Navidad?)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I LOVE North Vancouver Island, our home for the last 36 years. Usually I can't find enough adjectives to describe its beauty, but this time of year I often wander afield to find fall colours because there are so few deciduous trees that show off in autumn. My favourite spots have been in the interior in the high plateaus of the Cariboo and the Chilcotin or to the old haunts of my youth in Eastern Manitoba and Northern Ontario.

Lately I re-discovered local colour that had eluded me, since in the fall  during the last few years, I was making these excursions inland and over the prairies. I was looking at some photos I had taken several years ago of my grandchildren on Mt. Cain in autumn and the background colour knocked my socks off. Since it was early September, too early for colour, I used these old photos as references to create a 16x20 acrylic that enbled me to use my"hot" colours. I waited for the beginning of October and watched the weather for the first opportunity to trundle up the Mt. Cain rocky road. It happened! The weather and the colour co-operated and I got my first sketch and a number of photographs. Blueberry bushes are everywhere on Mt. Cain so an endless variety of reds pervaded, but there were lots of yellows, golds, magentas, purples, and autumn greens as well. At this moment, we are into a few rainy days but as soon as it clears a bit, I'm going back! This sketch I did will tell you why.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Summer???

Just a few more days before the Autumn Solstice. Leaves are already beginning to make their descent while many of our summer birds are just memories. Tomorrow is officially our last day to have an open door gallery. Taking down the OPEN sign will give us a new sense of freedom: to wander, to unlock the gate to new pathways.

Our summer in the gallery literally flew by. Alicia Young, our resident sculptress produced a number of great pieces and I painted nearly every day, some days en plein air. Basically, the summer was unseasonably cool but for one week we broke all heat records. I was painting fireweed pictures in a clear-cut on a 34 degree Celsius day! Just recently I spent a delightful day in one of my old haunts out at Rupert Arm, an offshoot of Quatsino Sound. Below is the sketch with which I began. The original will be on my website. Also below is one of Alicia’s pieces she did in our gallery. Adios until next time!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer 2010

Summer at The Henschel Gallery will be short but furious- from August 1st to September 7th, open 9 to 5 every day. Our added attraction is the exceptionally talented Victoria sculptress, Alicia Young who will be with us the entire time. Shown here is the rack card that will make its appearance this week at most North Island outlets, B & B's, hotels,etc.

After this period the gallery will be closed and I will be working with and through other galleries.

Just to set things straight with the numbers of people who think I am retiring, I hope this move frees me up to paint more on site. ARTISTS DO NOT RETIRE!!!! Prior to building the large addition to the gallery in 1996, I was always with at least four galleries and travelled a great deal more. I will return to this life style this fall.

This website and blog will continue but will direct you to galleries that handle the work shown on this site.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


For those who follow my blog from my website, you know I'm still around but how come no blog? The answer is NO TIME to blog! Since my last blog my wife, Ann and I have been totally involved in moving my 95 year old Mom from Surrey to Port McNeill. She had been living in her own, same, apartment for 28 years and enjoying it, but the emergencies to the hospital were becoming more frequent. In April she was there for a month. We transferred her to the Port McNeill Hospital on May 13th and then spent the better part of 3 weeks clearing out and shutting down her apartment - many, many trips since January. The trips are over now but we must get her settled in a senior care home. Where, what and how are still to come.
My blog is called ART TALK so enough of unloading my personal life on you. My painting has been at a standstill but will resume in the VERY NEAR future (like tomorrow). We are expecting our first bus tour to our gallery here in Nimpkish Heights tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. precisely and after that the painting will begin! A pleasant return, but not an easy one, to an activity that sustains my enjoyment of life . Something like a freight train, the beginning is super slow until you get on a roll once more.
Bear with me. As the train gets rolling the blogs will roll too!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Pinnacles of Synchronicity

This story is not about Northern Vancouver Island but is an amazing account of how small our world really is and how we are all tied together.

In the year 2000 we visited friends in a suburb of Fremantle in Western Australia. Gillian Peebles is an outstanding artist who was the official artist for the Americas Cup when that huge sailing competition was held in Fremantle for two years in succession. Her husband, Ron, helpful at every turn, was the epitome of supportive partners in the game called art. She and I had painted together briefly on North Island when they toured here the previous year and so the invitation to visit them was extended every month or so.

Ron had seven weeks of holiday time saved up and so they created some very ambitious plans for all of us to travel over most of Western Australia, a huge area almost half of Australia in size. Gillian took us to all her relatives and the places of her youth in the outback. We painted nearly every day in the most exotic places imaginable for a North Islander! One of these was a remarkable desert region preserved as a National Park, several hours north of Perth.

The Pinnacles National Park, an area of shifting sand quite near the Indian Ocean, is unique in that pinnacles of brilliant sandstone stand upright throughout the entire locale. The persistent wind from the ocean, not only weathers the pillars, but moves the sand around to expose new ones, changing the scenery almost daily. Did we paint? You better believe it! Gillian had the foresight to bring a lawn-chair and umbrella but I did my sketches in watercolour by kneeling in the sand and working in my shadow, the painting shaded from the brilliant sun. The sketch shown here was one of these productions.

End of story? Hardly. The painting, being a rough sketch was never framed when we got home, but we thought it would be worthwhile to place it in a mat and shrink-wrap it for inclusion in one of the bins in our gallery; where it stayed until last summer. Then the most synchronistic thing took place. A young lady from B.C. came in to browse the gallery and went, almost directly, to one of the picture bins, removed the sketch of The Pinnacles and brought it to the take-out counter.

I had to know why she had chosen it after so many years in the gallery. She told me, reluctantly with tears in her eyes, that she and her husband had been on a vacation to Western Australia and, while they were walking in The Pinnacles National Park, he had a stroke and passed away.

How do you ever explain how she had found this painting? She could not, so I’ll leave it up to you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Canadian Shield

Re: Our website at http://www.henschel.ca/, on the Home Page under "What's New" you will find "Canadian Shield". For many visitors, to whom this term is new, let me explain. The Canadian Shield is a massive area about 3000 km. in length and varying in a width I wouldn't want to guess at. It lies in a south east to north west direction, beginning in northeastern USA and ending at the Arctic Ocean in Yukon and Northwest Territories. With a rock base of mostly granite, the last ice age carved all sorts of shapes into the surface which later filled and became lakes. The rock base is really the remains of the most ancient mountains on earth. Incredibly hard, one can still see the striations on the surface of rock outcroppings that the Ice Age produced.
The reason that this section is on our website is simple: I was born and raised at the western edge of The Shield, in Manitoba. Although we moved to B.C. in 1974, we still make regular forays into our old stamping grounds, especially in Autumn when the whole area turns gold! So this is why, if you look at the Canadian Shield section on our website, you will find a lot of Autumn paintings. It is so delightful to sit and paint by one of the lakes in Whiteshell Provincial Park and paint the brilliant yellows and reds while listening to the Canada Geese honking and flying in huge V formations overhead. This is one of the biggest flyways for North-South movement in North America. Enjoy the paintings in this section of our website. There will be more!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Paintings, Paintings, Paintings!

During the early Sixties, already an avid painter for several years in Eastern Manitoba, my good friend and fellow artist, Robert Kost, told me about an experience that had taken place at his home and studio. He had a call from a lady in Brandon, about 300 miles away, saying that they had heard that there was an artist in that area and would he mind if they came to him and his work. As it turned out, four ladies arrived a few days later, sketch books and cameras in hand, and talked for several hours with him while he showed them what he was doing. A happy event for all!

During those days artists were so few and far between that a 300 mile drive to see one was not considered strange. Artists were usually trained in college art schools and mostly worked for firms that employed Commercial artists. GRIP in Toronto was such a firm and became central to the forming of The Group of Seven. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_of_Seven_(artists)Self-taught artists were a rarity and usually not very good at what they did because Instructional art books were hard to get.

In today's world, I could easily find two or three hundred instructional art books , not to mention almost as many videos and television series showing you exactly"how to do it". Coupled with this plethora of "art stuff" is a new age of retired folks who are often well-pensioned with plenty of leisure time on their hands. Not surprisingly, the number of artists has mushroomed. The quality of the art is sometimes questionable, but they are having fun and some of them are pretty darn good!

"So what's he getting at?" is likely your question. The vast numbers of artists today mean several things to artists like myself who have been practicing their craft for half a century. First of all, I've taught a lot of them and claim responsibility for something that some older artists believe is a problem in competition. Secondly, Art is not a competitive game because as the numbers of artists grow, so does the population. Thirdly, because there are many more people involved in art, the interest in it increases. You would be surprised how many folks can identify the old masters and are very discriminating as to the quality of paintings in galleries. This surge in growth of artists, professional or amateur, has led to a new Rennaissance. In 1960 some folks drove 300 miles to see an artist at work. Today they wouldn't cross the street for that experience and if they did, the art had better be good.It's an exciting challenge to be part of it!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Once again I must apologize for not having posted anything on this blog since November and won't burden you with a number of excuses like "the dog ate my laptop"! I do keep a diary fairly consistently and my biggest excuse for being so tardy with my blog sits on every January 1st page of each year's diary: "This year I will get organized"! So--if at first you don't succeed write it into next year's diary!

Since the name of this blog is "ARTALK", I must tell you every artist struggles with distractions. In the days of Van Gogh life was much simpler and one could get on with paintings without having to check your Blackberry and your laptop, not to mention the latest Canuck game. Probably I should change the new year's message to myself to: FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS.

I have a special request to readers of my blog: There is a small section at the bottom of the blog for COMMENTS. Please use it for questions as well about my work or your work and for any subjects that you would like to talk about, problems that you have encountered if you are a painter, etc. It would help me deal with what direction I want to take with this blog.
Meanwhile, enjoy each day to the fullest in 2010!