Progression of a Painting

I though it might be fun to work through the progression of a painting I finished recently. With the majority of my paintings I use photographs I have taken as a starting point. Generally they are shot with painting specifically in mind. For this particular painting it was a photograph taken on Roe Islet on Pender Island (BC, Canada).

view through the trees photo_3512 aWorking from a photograph makes sense. A busy family with busy children does not mix well with working on location. Generally I shoot a ton of images, edit down the ones I want to paint from, and then I email them to my iPad. Working from the iPad has taken a bit of figuring out, I’ve been doing it for about 6 months. Overall I think it is a better way to work than from a flat photograph on paper. I find I don’t get as hung up on the details and feel I have more license to tweak things. I can also carry around the iPad to think about the next step. I will often shoot the “work in progress” on the iPad so that I can look at it too while plotting the next step. Interestingly my favorite photography images are rarely my favorite images for inspiration for a painting.

blog view through the trees inspiration 2014 4x6 borderWith this painting I decided to do an “inspiration” painting first. It is a small 4″x6″ acrylic on panel. I get bored with the idea of doing sketches, however the idea of a mini painting made sense. A small investment of time and materials gave me a sense of what I liked about the painting and what I would change. It also meant that by using the same materials (acrylic and panel) I knew exactly what I was working with color and technique.

blog view through the trees 2014 11x14The final painting evolved a little further as I worked from both the iPad and the 4×6 painting. The sky and water gained more interesting color combinations, the hills pushed back to create more distance, the leaves lightened up, the tree trunks got swoopier, and there were some nice pops of red. I really like the swoopy trunks and the reds; they will be making a return appearance in another painting for sure.

Even as I write this blog post I am discovering more. It is interesting looking at this progression as it is presented together here in the same format. I am seeing the value in doing the small painting first and how it helps make sense of the information, especially when there is a lot going on as is the case on the right hand side of the view. It is very interesting looking at these three images together.

 

Photography and art by Debra Hunter.
www.thehuntergroup.ca

Also blogging at:
www.debrahunter.wordpress.com
www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com
www.woodleaneighbours.wordpress.com

Woolisaurus – another knitted adventure

Late Sunday night my youngest, most huggy, kissy son came up to me and asked “Mama can you knit me a dinosaur?” I gave my standard “We’ll see.” response and it was left at that. By midnight I was thinking of how sweet he had been and thought why not, how hard can it be (a la “Top Gear”), and so I trekked off to the basement to find some yarn suitable for a dinosaur.

hand knit dinosaur

hand knit dinosaur

Turquoise seemed the right color for a stuffie knitted dinosaur for a preschooler. Not having a pattern I decided to start with the head and see how it went, knitting well past midnight. I figured if it went bad I could just abandon the project and my littlest one would be none the wiser, in fact he would probably have forgotten about his request by morning.

The head went well and I even managed to get a nice curve to it, and of course then I just had to see if the neck would work. By 2 am I had winged it enough to have a recognizable dinosaur head, neck and top of body.

blog woolisaurus_2656In the morning he awoke to see the started project on the kitchen table and the excitement kicked in. This dinosaur was going to be knit….today. Our son ran to get his huge multi-color dinosaur book, plopped himself down next to me, and opened the book of cartoon dinosaurs to be used for reference. After a quick discussion regarding the fact that this dinosaur was never going to be a triceratops (ever), he found a picture of the type of dinosaur his stuffie could be.

Sitting next to me, my son was the foreman. He told me how to knit the tummy, the number of legs the dinosaur needed and how long his tail should be. We did have our creative differences over the tail; I convinced him some trendy yellow stripes would look better than the red and green Christmas colors he wanted. We knit all morning and all afternoon until the dinosaur  was knit, stuffed and assembled. There was NO downtime. Looking a little under dressed we decided he needed a wooly scarf and that was knit this evening while playing (and losing) a game of Ticket to Ride.

We have named our dinosaur Woolisaurus….what else do you name a wooly dinosaur!? He measures 18 inches long and 6.5 inches high, and he has been hugged a lot already.

Being a patternless project, I probably should have written down what I was knitting as I did it, as I have now had more dinosaur requests from our other children. Maybe it is best this dinosaur is one of a kind, maybe that makes him even more special.

( www.thehuntergroup.ca for other knit items…..just not dinosaurs!)

Sunset Over Mackenzie Ponds – Red Deer, AB, Canada

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A walk before dinner treated us to a sky with an amazing sunset. We had chosen to walk the paths at Mackenzie Ponds thinking that perhaps it wouldn’t be too icy.

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Luckily the paths had been gritted at some point, plus they were a little mushy due to melting temperatures, so walking was quite pleasant.

20150126-183758.jpg Remarkably for such a beautiful evening, other than our family there was only one other person out on the trails.

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It is great to get out for walks in the winter, especially in nice temperatures. It is a stark contrast to last January where -20, -30 and -40C temperatures were the norm. Glancing at the forecast, we have a few more days of lovely weather to enjoy and then winter returns. The beautiful weather has been a nice break and certainly makes winter seem shorter.

( This is an iPhone and remote post done to test if WordPress is still working on remote device as the updates have made many functions, especially stats completely not operational . Please leave a note if something in the post is not displaying as it should so that I do not continue to post remote posts that don’t work properly……an iPhone 6 isn’t in the budget .)

Bull Fighting

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detail of piece, bull skull measures 6 inches across

Working on this piece has been so rough it has felt like bull fighting. What a trial.

I think I may have shared a snippet of this piece before so I thought I would do a “work in progress” post as incentive to get the piece finished. Originally I started this work back in October or November, it fit a theme for a submission so I jumped in with both feet. I quickly discovered an ambitious idea, even on a small scale, takes a lot longer than a few weeks to complete so I abandoned any thought of submitting the piece.

I wanted to put together a fibre piece that had a lot of different elements. So far this piece has been naturally dyed, eco printed, had a lino-cut made of the bull skull and then printed on the fabric, it has been stitched with various hand dyed threads including some very thick lopi. Beading is still to come.

Composition was a challenge from the beginning, probably because I didn’t plot everything out and just went for it……..and then changed my mind from a small 5″x7″ piece to a 9.5″x14 inch piece part way through when I realized I wasn’t going to submit it. Thankfully the lopi helped tie the composition together.

The lino-cut didn’t reproduce exactly how I had planned either with the final look being thin and grayish. I’m not sure if the natural dye I used was maybe weaker than my last batch, or it was a case of printing a lino cut on the naturally dyed eco-printed fabric, but things didn’t go to plan. Perhaps a mix of too many variables to really be able to pinpoint the lino-cut issues. Rather than dwell on the issues stitching seemed to be the answer. I will try a print on plain fabric once this project is done and then I can see if there is a dye problem and then fix it if needed.

The other challenge has been the actually stitching, the fabric (2 layers) is almost impossible to get a needle through. I have never encountered this before. So far I have tried many different needle and thread combinations but the result has been the same, the only way I can stitch is pulling the needle through one stitch at a time with pliers. It has taken forever. Strange thing is I have used these fabrics before , they are just different cottons, and one layer at a time they are fine, but going through two layers is impossible without pliers (and you have to pull really hard too!). Really odd.

So what is left to do? I need to finish up the “grassland” stitching and stitch around the eco-printed leaves (these items aren’t included in the detailed section in the picture shown). After that a little bit of beading just to add in one more element and introduce a new texture and some new colors. The last decision will be how to frame or hang the piece (never easy to figure out).

There is still a very long way to go.

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For those who are interested, I have a new photo project blog going, a photo essay of our neighbourhoood. It is a “mostly pictures and not much text” blog that evolved out of another blog that was started almost a year ago. I think it will be interesting to explore our neighbourhood through a lens. The blog can be found HERE if you are interested.

Of course I still write at the blogs  Island Home and  Debra Hunter as well. Each blog has a different focus and they are pretty fun to write.

www.thehuntergroup.ca

 

Too too pink?

blog tutu1My youngest daughter has been wanting “a pouffy skirt like a ballerina” for quite a while. She doesn’t want it as a dress up costume, she wants it as a normal piece of clothing, a skirt to wear to school. Today was another catch up day of “to dos” (2 hours fixing my husband’s coat, the boys needed haircuts, etc.) so I figured I might as well spend the evening making the skirt. I was guessing a bit at her vision, but knowing that her plans as a future career is to become a “princess” (she is mentally making lists of countries that have royalty…seriously!), I knew understated was probably not what she was thinking.

blog tutu2So here we have the vision in pink. A quick iPhone picture in bad lighting, but it gives a sense of the amount of fluff and pinkness. We woke her up to show her the finished item and she loves it. She also picked out a pink top and pink tights to wear with it tomorrow. That is going to be a whole lot of pink! It should be quite the sight seeing her play dodge ball in gym class, and I’m not sure how she is going to wear her snow pants with the skirt. It is definitely a “go big or go home” clothing item. One thing is for sure, no one will be wearing the same outfit in school tomorrow.

More Knitting Finished

Winter weather definitely has it’s good points, one of them being time spent inside to finish knitting projects that have taken far too long to complete. Just before Christmas I finished this infinity scarf. I originally started it just to get an idea of how much yarn (4.6 oz.) it would take to make one so that I could dye the right amount to knit the “proper” scarf. Let’s just say knitting the sample scarf seemed to take a very long time.

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Infinity scarf hand knit out of lopi (on location at Castle Mountain, Banff, AB, Canada).

It is very cozy. This is shown wrapped twice, but I quickly discovered that on a -40C day it wraps around three times to really keep the chill out.

blog knit infinity scarf lopi_0306Gray tones are perfect for a piece that I am keeping, however I think the scarf would have been a lot more fun to knit if it had involved bright colors.

blog fingerless mitts_9315The other night I also finished a pair of fingerless mitts that have been in progress for months. This pair consists of wool dyed in marigold and madder.

blog fingerless mitts_9323I was so pleased to finish the mitts. Half way through I decided they were “mine” as I love the patterning. I had tucked them away in the knitting basket for a few months as they weren’t that portable to knit. I knit both mitts at the same time so that they match (plus it is boring to finish one and have to start all over!), so it was quite challenging to carry around eight balls of yarn to work on one set of mitts. I pulled the half finished mitts out last Saturday and took them to the knitting program at our library, and between the time at the library and an evening at home, the mitts were done. Rumor has it I need to make another more masculine set as my oldest son now wants a pair.

Knitting by Debra Hunter
Studio H
Red Deer, AB and Pender Island, BC (Canada)

www.thehuntergroup.ca

 

Wedding Photography Packages – Red Deer, Alberta

I am re-blogging my wedding information from http://www.debrahunter.wordpress.com to make it easier for wedding couples to find the information at this time of year which is so busy with wedding inquiries.

Debra Hunter - Canadian photography, art and handmade

As January is the month for wedding photography inquiries, I thought I would share the packages and pricing for wedding photography on the blog to make the information readily available.

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The Concept

The wedding is one of the bride’s and groom’s most important days of their life. We believe the photography should reflect the couple’s relationship. We believe that their wedding day photography should be carried out in an enjoyable, stress free environment and be carried out in a time efficient manner. For these reasons we have chosen to focus on a wedding coverage that is for the bride and groom only.

Our goal is to provide beautiful photography for the wedding couple. We can tailor the style of photography to be anything from classical portraiture to a journalistic look, but at the end of the day the couple will have a lovely selection of fine art wedding photographs. Our goal is…

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Libraries Are More Than Books

blog booksThis weekend we discovered libraries are more than just books. Earlier in the week when I was at the Red Deer Public Library main branch I noticed a poster for “Kids Knit (and grown-ups too!)”, I casually mentioned it to my 10 year old daughter and she was really keen on going. It seemed like a great thing to try, after all to a knitter a one hour time slot for knitting, on a cold afternoon, in a quiet spot, sounds pretty awesome.

blog library knittingWell in fact it WAS pretty awesome. Two long tables of grandmas, moms and kids; a great turnout for a blustery day. Knitters from novice to experienced. I enjoyed the knitting part while my daughter really enjoyed the socializing part. She is really skilled at making new friends and having a chat.

blog knitting fingerless mittsI finally had a chance to work on a pair of fingerless mitts that I am actually going to keep for myself. They are dyed in marigold and madder with lots of stranded knitting. After the library knitting session all that is left are the thumbs and weaving in ends.

The library program runs twice a month, so there are 5 more sessions left, and it is drop-in. It is definitely worth checking out. My daughter is already talking about “next time”……evidently we are also stopping for a snack and a coffee next time we go……..a girl’s afternoon out!

Outrunning the Storm

Yesterday we made the journey from the west coast of Canada back to Alberta. We had been watching weather forecasts for a few days trying to make the right (and safe) choice as to when to make the journey. Throughout the last few days of last week the forecast of what was to come was looking more and more serious.  Reports were looking more serious by the day and we made the final decision that we had to leave the coast Saturday morning if we had any chance of beating the storm.

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Ferry at Mayne Island taken with an iPhone through ice on the window.

 

We caught the morning ferry from Pender Island to the mainland, docked and were on our way east by noon.

Driving the Coquihalla Highway.

Driving the Coquihalla Highway.

Luckily the roads were busy through the Lower Mainland but in pretty good shape. Even the Coquihalla wasn’t the worst we have ever driven. Visibility was okay and there wasn’t any deep snow on the road like we have faced on other occasions.

As we drove through the afternoon and evening we kept checking our phone for road conditions and weather information. The trip is a little over 1100 KM in distance through multiple mountain passes. The last thing we want is to be stuck due to a road closure, weather or avalanche control.

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Environment Canada weather alert map. Red is “warnings” while yellow is “watches”.

 

Below are the weather reports.

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All indications were that the worst weather was coming through the next day. If we buckled down and switched drivers back and forth, one driving, one resting, we should be home before the worst of the weather took hold.

Driving the Rogers Pass.

Driving the Rogers Pass.

We drove the Rogers Pass which was almost empty of traffic except for a few semis.

An almost full moon at the summit of the Rogers Pass.

An almost full moon at the summit of the Rogers Pass.

 

We enjoyed an almost full moon at the summit of the Rogers Pass and then carried down to the town of Golden, BC. In Golden we had a bit of a shock, as we hit the city limits we narrowly missed hitting a deer by maybe 1 or two inches. It is pretty strange to see a deer bounce out from the bush and land right in front of your moving vehicle. I don’t know how we avoided it, and it was one big deer bounding out across the road, but I am sure happy we didn’t hit the deer. Obviously there are no pictures of the deer………..grabbing a camera wasn’t the first thing that came to mind!

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Driving the Kicking Horse Pass.

We swapped drivers in Golden and my husband drove the Kicking Horse Pass. It isn’t my favorite. Hairpin turns. Steep drops. Semis that aren’t fussy what side of the road they take. Ice. I was quite happy to “not” be the driver. Somehow we made it through all the mountain passes with reasonable, but icy, winter driving conditions. We felt we had made the right decision to not only leave the coast when we did, but push through the passes.

blog weather 8 timsTim Horton’s in Airdrie was a welcome sight, but it became “awesome” when my husband emerged from the shop with breakfast sandwiches. 4:30 am breakfast sandwiches!!!!!!! Does it get any better?!

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We’ve discovered that when long haul driving that there is a certain point, sometime between 1:00 am and 5:00 am when you start to fixate on a food that you really want. One trip it was a 2:00 am poutine, while in the middle of the mountains…….not happening. Another trip it was bacon. No kidding we spent at least 2 hours discussing how there should be a contraption that went over the engine so that you could cook bacon while driving. We really wanted bacon (can you tell). The breakfast sandwich delivered bacon, what a treat.

blog weather 6A little over an hour later and we were home. We had gone from +6C to -37C (with windchill) in less than 24 hours and out run the storm that was forecast.

blog weather 5We continued to watch the road reports and weather updates today and it wasn’t looking very nice.

blog weather 4Accidents, road closures for avalanche control, poor visibility and one report of a 6 car pile up on social media. We were sure the hard drive through was worth it to be home safe before the storm. If we weren’t sure from reading the reports, the webcam images proved it, the first storm of 2015 was about to hit British Columbia. It was much better to be safe at home rather than on a dangerous highway.

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Creating in Crochet

Sharing one of the handmade items from this past week.

Debra Hunter - Canadian photography, art and handmade

The last week has been spent creating a few new handmade items for the home. Having a handcrafted item that is also functional is a way to add a little luxury into everyday life.

Here is a sneak peek of one of the new items. This “Soap Wrap” is made of un-dyed USA grown cotton and is hand crocheted. It is a great companion for artisanal handmade soaps, and a nice way to add an artistic touch to your bathroom.

I’ll be sharing more “Soap Wraps” here in the near future.
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