Welcome to the Fredericks Art Blog

Welcome to my world of art. Painting is my joy of life.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Moonlit Fantasy

There are times when the mood is on you and this was one of those times.  I had been looking at an intriguing play of light in the mountains and thought that it would be fun to work it into a painting.
Its pretty much traditional to begin a painting with a values sketch - to work it all out with pencil and paper before making a commitment with paint. But get this.

I playfully painted the sky and thought, it would be good to put some trees in the moonlight, and the rest went from there - one whimsical brush stroke after the other, with the muse leading the way.

 Its basically a pretty straightforward work; sky, hills trees, water and some mist. But, its not what you paint - but how you paint.  The subject is subordinate to how you arrange your subject matter and how you work your values into it. This creates atmosphere.

I knew I had a winner, when I left it sitting on my kitchen table.  Everyone who saw it, "ooh'd and aaah'd.

It was fun to play with the diffusion of moonlight, and spread it into the painting.  I intentionally laid in a faint band of mist on the left side, to catch the moonlight and carry it forward into the middle zone of the work.  In the end, I tossed in a few touches of light on the grass and on the foreground trees and a few little touches of light, here and there to give the impression of sparkle. (can you find them at the bottom). I balanced these off with touches of starlight at the top. Ahh the joys of being a painter!

For those with an analytical spirit, this work measures in at 46cm x 60cm (16"x24").
And finally - it hasn't found a wall to hang on at this time of writing.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sketching in the Woods

This work is often called a 'painter's sketch'. I did it below Burnt Dam this afternoon.  It's a small 8x10 painting, and I cracked it off in little more then an hour.

Plein air painting has a certain rushing quality about it. There's not a lot of time available for thoughtful consideration and planning.  You look, spread  your paints onto your palette, then click and shoot.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Peaceful Reflections and the Big Rectangle

Peaceful Reflections

I was deep into an art talk the other day, when a friend and I discussed how this work has elements of the traditional Renaissance style with the subject arranged within a rectangular form.  Take a careful look at this work.  Do you see the big rectangle in the water?  Check out the upper corner of the rectangle - where the focal point is.  Here is the uncanny thing.  I didn't plan it.  It happened without forethought.

Stroke for stroke this work took me longer to paint then any other painting of this size that I have ever done.  If I could peel off the successive layers I might be able to pull back a dozen different paintings. But, as my father used to say, long ago..."If a job is worth doing, its worth doing right."

Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2011

Autumn on the Bay

This little work has been cooking on the back burner for a couple of months. It began with me sketching above burnt dam, and it ended when the leaves were turning colour. I was searching for that late season colouring, when the trees for the most part were wearing their yellow/green foliage. I intentionally gave the foreground tree its red tones so it would dominate the scene.  There is also a lot of blurring in its leaves to suggest that the branches are shaking in the wind.

size: 8x10
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I wonder if this unknown man is looking at the blue ribbon painting above him. I would like to think so, but who really knows?

The paintings you see were part of the Norwood Fair's art display.  I had been tempted to enter a painting or two in the show, for the last 3 years, but I held back.  The truth is - there lurks beneath the surface of this mild mannered painter, a fiercely competitive being. I knew that if I entered my works before my time, I wouldn't stand a chance.   But, for some reason - this seemed like the right time.

The show went well for me. I picked up 8 ribbons from the 12 pictures I submitted, and  the three, ribboned works you see above, are my paintings.

I now see myself at the cusp in my local development. Its time for me to notch it up. Those who know me, know that I have studied under several artists and have dedicated myself to thousands of hours of painting.  Malcolm Gladwell, in his book the Outliers, says that it takes 10,000 hours for someone to develop advanced skills.    I have painted for 6 years - 5 of which were exclusively in watercolours. And, I have put in thousands of dedicated hours.  Some of my works are excellent, some are ordinary and some should never see the light of day.  I have pushed my developing skills to my limits and have just recently joined two large regional  art societies.

This may well be my last showing in the Norwood Fair.  I am ready for new challenges.  I believe  that it is patently unfair for an skilled painter to intentionally show a dozen works in competition with less accomplished, and most likely beginning painters.  Its unfair because it removes from beginning artists, the opportunity of experiencing the joy of possibly winning in a local competition. That is just not right.

But, let me add this. It was sure fun while it lasted.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Island of the Old Women

This unusual watercolour has taught me a valuable lesson about painting.  I have always had a feel for this work.  It is one of those "odd works".  I wanted to somehow capture the loneliness and desolation and coldness of the far north in the winter.  So, as I began painting it, I began to imagine what it would be like for the Cedar Trees to give the general impression that they were somehow human - almost like three old women caught by the grip of winter.

I hung this work in my home and it seems to me that 90% of the viewers have an immediate reaction to it.  Most people don't like it.

But the strength of their reactions intriqued me, and I wondered what there was about this work that created such a strong emotional reaction.  And if it did, was it not reaching inside the viewers at a deeper, subconscious, level.

After some deliberation, I chose this work for the open watercolour class of the local country fair.

When I submitted it for judging, I was surprised at the quality of overall works.  But, once it as entered, I left it to do its job.

True to form, The Island of the Old Women came through with the same reactive force as it had on my wall at home.  Only this time, it caught the attention of the judges and it took a first place ribbon.

Strange how it goes.

I will display each of my prize winning pictures in subsequent postings.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Autumn Glory

I began this work a year ago and it has its genesis from a location a few kilometers north of here.
It was a joy to capture the glorious colour of autumn in such a setting. The painting is one of my big works, 31"x 39". It is rich with colour and it has a good depth to it.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The North End of the Lake

Mamma and I took a final boat ride to mark the end of summer. If the truth be known, it was only our second ride up the lake this year.  We took our cameras along and brought a photo of this site back with us.  And, it goes without saying that that proved to be the genesis for this painting.

It was fun watching this painting evolve. I faced an option when I painted this work - either a big sky or big water. Well, since skies are more interesting because of all the shapes, designs and colours you can work into them,  I opted for the big sky.

Take a close look at the colours in the sky. Can you see the intereplay between the colours of the lakeshore panorma and the sky?  Its not unsual for painters to play back and forth between the earth and the sky.  There's even some green in the sky surrounding the trees.  This isn't as unusual as it may seem, for colours aren't as defined as people would like to believe.  For instance, colours are a wavelength. And, while the wavelength may eminate from the source in a relatively direct path to the eye it isn't as tightly defined as we would like to think.  Most artists play back and forth with colour and scatter it around their works.  

You will note when you observe this work that the central back area of the painting has reflective white in the water of the lake and there are greens from the trees in the right in the water darker blues to the left. This draws our sight towards the distant horizon.

But there's more. Notice the big circular design I have used to give us tunnel vision into the distance.
Lots of fun!

This work is now hangs in a private collection.

16"x20" stretched canvas
location: Belmont Lake, Ontario.,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Companions in Karina's Garden

I was at odds with myself. I am so accustomed to painting landscapes that my week in Karina's house in Oshawa left me without subject matter. When this happened, I got restless and prowled.

As I stood in Karina's garden, I had an inspirational moment which led to this work.

I was treading on new waters. I'm not at home painting still life. But, as I settled into the job, I discovered the joy of a new challenge.

This painting taught me much about bouncing light. There is an ongoing trade off of values to make it work. Then, when I was almost finished, I had a eureka moment - a flash of creative inspiration.
A quick splash of orange on the rock and among the foliage, gave the painting a delightful lift in colour.

Its a 9"x 12" work and it will find a home one day in someone's kitchen.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Change of Seasons

The season of change is upon us and the glory of autumn draws near.  Autumn saves the best colours in her palette for the month of October. This work began its life along Devils 4 Mile Road north of the village of Havelock.  I have repainted it a couple of times and it gets a little better each time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In the Heat of Summer

This work (16"x20") began above the dam in Marmora, Ontario. I took a lot of poetic license in painting it. But, the reality is, I saw a painting in the scene which was more interesting then the scene itself.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 5, 2011

Duke's Plantation, Barbados

artist: Fredericks
year: 2007

I painted this work a few years ago in Barbados. The setting is one of Barbado's most frequently photographed and visited locations. While it is a scenic location it also as a rather tragic story behind it. I was told that in the 19th century, the lady of the plantation, was riding in her buggy above the gap and her horse spooked and plunged over the edge and she died as a result of the fall.

Who would have thought that such tragedy could lie behind such a beautiful place.

The picture is part of the personal art collection of the owner of the estate.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Serenity Bay

click on picture to enlarge

This dreamlike picture is about as far away from the blasted pines of the Group of Seven as you could possibly get. The scene soothes a troubled spirit. No driving wind and tormented waves in this work.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dam on the Skootamata

click on picture to enlarge.

This little work (11x14) in size has a rather pastoral feel to it. It features the dam on the Skootamata River near Actinolite, Ontario. The picture looks a little darker online, but overall it has a lively display of colours and reflections in the water.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Its a small world isn't it?

Florie Evoy and Madonna Romback with Fredericks in centre

One of the joys of an artshow is meeting delightful people, family friends and having surprising things happen. Two of the women in this picture were unbeknownst to me, my son in law's foster aunts. And he lives in BC. They live in Newfoundland. And the meeting with them was unexpected and unplanned and even more then that...I didn't even know them. Florrie dropped by my booth and made a kind comment about my works and one thing led to another and, and the results can be seen above.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times?

click on picture to enlarge.

As I walked along the bank of the Skootamata River, I saw what appeared to be a fishing weir, made by ancient peoples. I could imagine the men, with their spears catching trapped fish. There was a big rock along the side of the river and it was easy to envision people standing on the rocks watching the event unfolding.

The presence of those peoples was so immediate to me, that I decided on the spot to paint the scene.
This work is one of my favourites. I took the scene and gave it a mystical colouring and I highlighted the rocks with salmon pinks and light blue hues.

Its a small painting - 11x14 in size and one of my favourites.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Path in the Forest

click on picture to enlarge

This is one of a set of four paintings which I did at the Ontario Plein Air Society's workshop at Bridgewater Resort. I was excited by the slope, direction and charm of the trees. It was a hot afternoon so I tried to capture both the heat of mid afternoon and the cool tones of the forest and rocks.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Plein Air Society's Bridgewater Resort Workshop, on Skootamata River

click on picture to enlarge

I had the pleasure of attending the Ontario Plein Air Society's July Workshop at the Bridgewater Resort on the Skootamata River, adjacent to the village of Actinolite, near Tweed, Ontario.

It was my first art workshop and I have to confess that I was over the top with enthusiasm about attending it.

Because I live a half an hour's drive from the Resort, I elected to be a 'day time' outcamper.

The food was splendid, the companionship great, the setting excellent and the instructor Edward Abela was first rate. Taking all in all, I couldn't have asked for more.

Keith greeted us and set the participants at ease by announcing that it was a non competitive workshop in which our only concern was our own development. Those words took a weight off my shoulders for I had been privately wondering how I would stack up against the other painters. My biggest fear was that I would be the worst painter in the group.

It didn't take long for the group to settle into the pattern of the workshop. Our aim was to produce at least one work a day.

The workshop marked a coming of age for me as a painter. No matter how good (or bad for that matter) my painting may appear, the truth is, most of my acrylics were more 'head works' then from the heart. No wonder, for when I watched Edward Abela paint, it dawned on me that my self taught style needed some tweaking.

When Edward asked the group what we wanted to learn from the weekend, I said......"To take an amorphous mass of green trees and separate them into distinct areas which I could paint. And, I wanted to make advances in colour work. Well, the good news is I felt that I had achieved both goals.

From the minute the easels were set up on the first morning I tore into my works with a passion.
I focused on breaking the "small stroke syndrome", and developing a longer more relaxed and comfortable brush application.

The good news is I feel that I achieved both goals by the time the workshop ended.

Size: 16x20

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meadows in the Sky

click on picture to enlarge

I painted Meadows in the Sky, after a visit to National Park, with the same name, near Revelstoke BC. I did it plein air, as a watercolour, then reworked it and more recently I resurrected it as an acrlylics painting.

While each painting has its own personality, I prefer this work to the others.
I went through Lynda's pictures and found exactly the right photo to use.

The background mountain range and lake hangs like a grand theatre curtain behind the foreground. The foreground has a rough beauty inspired by the profusion of mountain meadow flowers.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Careful Now!

click on picture to enlarge

When I was a little boy my uncle took me to a sugar bush. I talked to the farmer who was doing down the sap. Being a curious kid I had lots of questions. I remember asking him if the sap was pure and clean. He laughingly told me that it was, even though black squirrels sometimes drown in the pails.

Hello? Black squirrels drown in sap buckets? How can that be? Well, they edge their way down the trunk and lean forward for a drink and find themselves balanced on the fine edge of disaster.

I asked the farmer if he throws the squirrel and the sap away.

"Hell no. I throw the squirrel away, but the sap adds flavour to the mix." And with that he gave me a big wink and a laugh.

I decided that this would make a good story painting.

I had fun with this work, particularly gettng the textures right on the trees and getting the right bounce of light off the spring snow.

The picture is 61cm x 46cm. (24"x 18")

The picture has now found its way from my studio into a private collection.  Sometimes it hurts to say goodbye.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spring in the Chasm

The above picture evolved from a trip I took two years ago up the mountain creek behind our home in the Rockies.

Three days ago I took it to the studio of my friend, Ken Williams, who is a great carver of totem and ceremonial Indian poles and a splendid painter. We talked about it, and Ken suddenly said. "I can see this picture with water dripping and falling everwhere." Suddenly the light went on. He gave the work an entirely different focus.

This painting pits the cold of nature at the bottom of a chasm against the warmth of an emerging spring day.

Great icicles hang from the canyon wall and lazy fat snowflakes fall slowly from the sky. The snow at the bottom of the cliff is alive with colour.

The picture is 61cm x 46cm. (24"x 18")

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Along the Columbia Valley

click on picture to enlarge

This work gave me a lot of joy to paint because it was painted as a gift. And, there isn't enough money in the world that can take the place of a gift of love.

I have painted the Columbia Valley before but each time I painted it, I used the mountains as a backdrop. The perspective works in two ways in this work. There is a diminishing left right perspective. And there is also a cross valley perspective where you look with tunnel vision into the valley between the mountains.

I played with this work when I impressionistically created great circles of light. Look carefully and you can see the orbs.

I also used mountain blow downs, slopes and cuttings to lead the eye upward.

No matter which way you look at it, it was fun to paint.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mountain Stream

click on picture to enlarge

This painting came after a visit to Margaret's Falls, near Scotch Creek, BC. I took a lot of photographs and like most artists, they were simply a reference. This work is full of motion. The sky dips like water falling into a bowl, and there are vertical lines painted down through the rocks to suggest the downward flow of water. The river bounces and leaps over rocks as the water hurdles down from the snow capped peaks. And, finally, for good measure I put in a few splashes of foam here and there at the bottom of the work to complete the illusion of watness.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Approaching Storm: Mount Bastion - near Salmon Arm, British Columbia

click on picture to enlarge

Acrylic on panelling
Painted on location near Salmon Arm, BC

I sat along the shore of Lake Shuswap last weekend, working on this painting. It was painted on the back of a piece of panelling and is about 9"x13" in size. Because it was hot and dry I had to work furiously to put the work together before my paint dried. That was a challenge.
Perhaps even worse then that, the panorama began to take on a dramatic shift in appearance.
Storm clouds moved in from the west and this resulted in a constantly changing landscape.

I hurriedly put the picture in the trunk of my car and brought it home where I added a few finishing touches to it.

The approaching storm gives the work a powerful sense of drama.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Columbia Valley at Spillimicheen

click on picture to enlarge

Here's the end result of my afternoon in Spillimicheen. Mamma took a look at the picture and said.."You nailed the spring yellow green's nicely." To make them stand out, I painted the forest background in Prussian and phalo blues with sap greens, and a touch of lemon yellow and titanium white. Since blue is a complimentary colour to yellow it makes the yellows all the more intense. I also painted a darker sky then I usually do. This makes the white snowy mountain peaks more dominant, but most importantly it gives strength to the colours in the work.

Painted for my private collection.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Life is a Song Worth Singing

Posted by Picasa

This work 'under construction' is being painted in Spillimichene, British Columbia. Mamma Bear and I had lunch at a beautiful little restaurant which overlooked the Columbia Valley. I was given permission to sit outside in the shade under the pine trees, looking out over the valley. Mamma spent the afternoon reading, while I painted.

The bonus of the afternoon came when several interested people dropped by to talk to me.
One couple who had lived in Ontario chatted amiably about their life in Ontario, and art in general. The lady asked if I enjoyed plainting plein air. She understood the language or art. Another kind observor spoke of his years in Montreal and living among the art community and knowing many of Montreal's leading artists.

It was a delightful afternoon. I told those who stopped by about 'The Portrait' art blog and when my afternoon ended the owner came out and expressed her pleasure with me painting in front of the restaurant and told me that there would be a place for my works to hang on the restaurant wall to sell.

So, taking all in all - it was a spendid day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Along the North River

click on picture to enlarge

Stretched Canvas
This work was painted along the North River which flows into the lake where I live.
I have painted a larger version of this work, which I will post at a later time.
I sat on location at this site, and sketched and photographed it, and then returned to my studio to put together this work.

The picture is a pretty good representation of what I saw, although I did make an artistic change. Let's say, I improved upon nature.

A clump of trees grew out of the island in the river, but I intentionally darkened the background and changed the trees to birches. This brought the work to life.

I liked the lively flow of water, and the colour I worked into the foam. There is a saying in art that colour makes the whites whiter. It sounds strangely like an advertising slogan from a popular laundry detergent.

This work counts among the best of my waterfall paintings.