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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Skies and Sunsets Continued - July 6 2014 to May 24th 2015

Still getting gorgeous skies and sunsets off our north facing balcony, most of the year! Parts of the season, the sun sets too far south west for us to get a great sunset, but most of the time, we are lucky :-)

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Beginning an Acrylic Portrait on Primed Hard Board

Having completed the large figure drawing in April, that I was working on for a year and a half or so.

Venturing back into painting after about a 4 year hiatus, I have chosen to paint a portrait of my daughter. The inspiration came from a dinner at a Mexican restaurant that myself, the kids, my Dad and my husband went to. The atmosphere was really neat, the deep red and the light from the window on my daughter, all of it I loved.

My surface is Jack Richeson Premium Gessoed Hardboard, 12x16 in and 1/8" thick. Having given away all my acrylics to my sister, who paints very well in the abstract style, I had the rather expensive task of replacing them all. Fortunately, I don't work with a huge array of colours in my palette. Most times, I tend to use about 7 colours max, in a painting, some out of those really only for mixing.

I mixed up  warm undertone, which hints of green in it, for the toned surface, using raw sienna, a neutral mixing grey and a tiny bit of cobalt blue. Next step will be to work up the drawing onto the surface. I prefer working on a toned surface, having begun on white in my earlier painting years in my 20s, I moved into working on a toned surface some time into my 30s. I find that one has to do a lot less work building up the form on a id toned surface. The tone I mix I tend to loosely decide upon depending on my subject and the colours in it. Most often, I tend to work on a warm mid to light neutralized sienna colour. It works great for giving skin that glowing peaches and cream look, and for working with cool neutral tones with, which abound in flesh.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

East Point Park Bird Sanctuary

My husband recently mentioned an area is Scarborough, near the Scarborough Pickering border, that was being redeveloped and maintained as a bird sanctuary, I guess similar to Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto, but without the decades clean fill having built the place.

We decided to visit this area early Saturday morning and discovered that it is a very lovely area alive with so many bird sounds, bird sightings, wonderful views over the bluffs, gorgeous walkways and pathways, many of which are very natural in appearance. There are marsh areas as well, where we heard spring peepers shrilling.

Deer tracks showed up in the mud in spots on the paths and we did end up spotting 3, 2 young ones and a mom deer, but they were hiding safely behind a fenced in protected section, though it opened further down towards a low lyingly creek where they did end up sprinting off towards. They stared at as for quite a while before taking off.

After speaking with an older Scottish gentleman on one of the paths, who mentioned he had seen a Spotted Towhee near the entrance to the park, not far from the parking lot, we got lucky and had our first sighting of one, pretty much where he said he had seen it with binoculars. Another first sighting this year for us :-) Though it was not very close and behind many branches, still, we got to see one!

The park turned up sightings of many different birds; yellow finches, yellow rumped warblers, we saw a pair of brown thrashers but not close and behind a little fenced area near the rec centre, another first sighting for us! There were literally tons of white crowned sparrows, white throated sparrows, we saw 2 pairs of chipping sparrows, yellow warblers, tons of red winged black birds of course, robins, and a small hawk or merlin (not sure which), tons of swallows, both tree and bank swallows, a northern flicker, song sparrows, and chickadees. There was quite a vocal mockingbird that followed us for quite a ways. On the water, we saw mergansers and cormorants as well as heard the long tail ducks in the distance.

Originally, we had hoped the blossoms would be out already, but we realized no, it is a bit early, but, we headed over to Rouge Park as planned anyway. That venture I'll post as a new entry in a couple of days :-)