Saturday, June 14, 2008

Abstract Art with Ben Darrah

WIP or just process? (32" X 45)

Monday evenings are taken up with a trek to our local community college to join in Ben Darrah's abstract art class. We are using acrylics, loose canvas and found materials. Ben's approach to working on unprimed and unstretched canvas is new to me and quite a revelation. Likely oil paints would not be quite so forgiving and flexible but travelling to class with your painting rolled or folded up is a boon. The raw canvas soaks up the washes and has a tendency to shrink a lot so I have now learned to prewash or account for shrinkage if I'm going for a specific size. As the canvas is not stretched, one can crop and stretch it later to best fit the compostion.

The piece above is an example of the loose canvas and the class in which we painted to music. I was listening to Buddha Bar, my favourite all purpose dining, painting, working music. As we are focusing on process rather than product, ie playing and exploring, I am free to take this further or flip it over and reuse the canvas for something else...
Maybe it should go like this? -

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Kingston Mills, Kingston Ontario

Yes 2 months between posts is far too long. My excuses are numerous, not the least of which is I'm outside now that the weather is wonderful. I think I may be a foul weather blogger but I'll try to post more often and not wait for a rainy day.
I don't paint plein air much and when I do my work usually reflects the atmosphere of a place rather than a representation of the scene. A few weeks ago S and I spent the day painting at Kingston Mills, a favourite spot for both of us. Last week we headed across the river and across the border to Cape Vincent New York. My friend D is manging the hostel at Tibbets Point and we sat under the sun sketching the lighthouse, the waves and the lilacs.

Tibbets Point, New York

Yesterday my backyard was our studio and the yellow irises prompted me to to start on a fanciful abstraction of petals, leaves and shade. Looks more Hawaiian than Canadian but the weather was sultry: hot and humid.
work in progress, June 08