Monday, May 18, 2015


There is paint and then there is paint. Usually my mixing involves tablespoons or less of pigment in various support media. Today the amount of paint involved a couple of gallons. I must say it really does not matter what kind of paint it is; I enjoy mixing colours. This time it was for a property we are trying to sell… Not wishing to spend much money I looked at what was in the crawl space and selected a couple of tins. Both were fairly dark colours, one cool and one warm. I emptied the warm colour and poured in about half of the other making up approximately one gallon then added a gallon of white to finish it off. Two gallons should do for one bedroom and leave some left over too. There are times when my expertise comes in handy. There are times when I wish I did not know so much! In any case, sometime this week we will be painting walls instead of canvas. Life is still good.   

Monday, May 11, 2015

Perfect Weather

I am truly thankful for camera dating. The sixth of May. Living in Alberta, the occurrence of snow in May is not that unusual. Moisture is always appreciated too. We were just hoping for a different form; a nice warm rain would have done. I, however, wanted warm dry weather. I had requested perfect weather for the ninth of May sometime in April. We were celebrating. It had been a long time, about four years, since we had celebrated “Raclette” as a family. “Raclette” used to be a yearly event. The plan was to gather in the neighbourhood of twenty people around the fire pit to share this special, traditional Swiss meal. It is basically wine and cheese with a few embellishments thrown in, such as homemade pâté. Our little abode would be somewhat cramped with that many people inside it. So as I gazed upon the new white blanket I wondered how we were going to manage. For some reason I did not panic and went about the business of preparing lesson plans for the two schools with which I am working. We would see. After all there were a whole six days before the event. As it turned out, the snow actually made it possible for one couple to come, he being a farmer. The fields were too wet. The evening of our get together happened to be sunny, delightfully warm and snowless. Perfect weather indeed! Life is good.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Once I had the canvas repairs in place, the indentations on the front of the painting needed attention. The first step was to remove the varnish. At this point I am fortunate to have a good memory. Having done several murals around the same time as this series I assumed the varnish would be of the MSA UVL sort. This means it is oil based… to remove the varnish one uses mineral spirits or turpentine. Applying some high quality paint thinner on the surface it became evident my assumption had been correct. I have since switched to Polymer based varnish for work destined to hang in interior settings. Carefully removing the softened varnish with some rags I noticed some residue on the edges. Upon closer inspection I wished I had chosen a rag which had not been part of a red sweatshirt. Applying more mineral spirits I removed the telltale red fluff and some more varnish then let it dry overnight. Using a very thin coat of molding paste I reconstructed a similar irregular surface to the painting, filling in the indentation and let it dry overnight too.  Matching the paint is the final chore. This could pose a problem for some. It depends on the style and the degree of finish in the painting. For me it should be a easy fix as grass is varied in colour, tone and texture. A quick re-varnish and all will be done. Life is good.   

Monday, April 27, 2015


With all the moving we have done in the last three years, the loss or damage of some items, I suspect, is inevitable. Our second segment in the saga brought the hole in this canvas. It is from the “Eve” series, the largest of the group measuring 72” x 48”, The Keeper of Wonder. The wind caught it causing it to fall against another object waiting to be loaded into the moving van. At the time all I did was look at it and without much emotion turned my attention to the next item to lift. My easy acceptance at this point could be explained by many similar occurrences during my childhood as we relocated from place to place and country to country. I had become accustomed to letting go of precious objects. In this case the damage is reparable. It has just taken be a few years to get around to doing it! Since I lacked the necessary expertise to do so I went to my favorite art store and asked the very knowledgeable people there how to go about it. I was advised to take some raw canvas, cut it small enough to cover the hole while allowing enough fabric to feather the edge. Being independent I had tried to fix another painting previously without success. I had not taken the time to pull the weave and the warp off the edges of the piece to “feather” it and I had cut it too large thinking the bigger the better… Using regular gel I applied a coat to one of the canvas patches and around the hole then pressed the bandaid into place. I had also noticed a stretch mark close to where the hole appeared and decided to administer another bandaid along that seam as well, for good measure. All in all I am delighted with the results. A little paint and no one will see the damage. They will again be able to appreciate the painting without interruption. Life is good.   

Monday, April 20, 2015


Competition usually means winners and losers. Our society seems to base the measurement of success on this concept of either/or, black/white, win/lose, survival of the fittest so to speak. It is how our politics, our economics and our religions for the most part function much to the detriment of our world on so many levels. There are pockets of cooperation emerging in the scientific and spiritual realms though and this is good news. Another arena of cooperation is found in the artistic world. Generally speaking artists love to share and to help each other along the way. Take the latest “Artist for the Year” competition put on by Pardee Art Trends Gallery. Several of us were voting for each other’s work, pushing the numbers up and encouraging a spirit of camaraderie. We laughed, we cried, we so enjoyed the ride. This is the kind of world in which I choose to live: one in which all people win. What a concept! And, yes, while only a few came out with a monetary prize, the rest of us found joy in what we do and how we live. Life is good.

The results: Pardee took the site down before I could get an idea of who won. I believe I came in about ninth. For more accurate statistics we will have to wait for 20th June when Art in the Park opens.