Bears, Bears, Bears

Grizzly at Atnarko River, Bella Coola, B.C. 6″x 9″ watercolor

I said I was going to post another Barkerville painting the other night, and I had fully intended to, but I walked into my studio to discover my portrait of a little girl in period clothing obscured by pearlescent blue paint! My two year old, Rhiannon, had decided she really liked that little girl and wanted to add her own personal touch! It couldn’t be salvaged, so I painted over it and will start again sometime…But in the meantime, I whipped off this little feller last night in a few hours. I’ve been wanting to do something different for a while. I think I just needed a breather from the same old subject matter and the same old medium, so instead of portraits in oils, I did wildlife in watercolor. I don’t use watercolor very often, and don’t really know the medium that well. I don’t have a clue about technique, anyways, so I’m pretty happy about how he turned out. I think I’ll make him into an art card for tourists.

Grizzlies in Bella Coola are kind of a big deal right now. They’re done sleeping for the winter, and are out in full force. There are a lot of them around, as there is a limit to hunting, and we basically live right on their doorstep. We have about one attack a year, and this years’ was just a few weeks ago, May 3, I think. It made the Vancouver paper. A B.C. hydro guy was out working, and a grizzly decided to use him as a play toy. It took off part of his scalp, and chewed on his arm, but he managed to get away and drive to safety, despite his serious injuries. He’s okay now, and happy to be alive.

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The Candy Man — Mason & Daly, Barkerville, B.C.

The Candy Man — Mason & Daly, Barkerville, B.C.
18″ x 24″ oil on canvas

I did it, I think. I overcame my struggle with this one all by myself. Thank you, viewers, but not a single one of you here, or on Flickr, had any words of wisdom, so I was forced to use my own brain, however dysfunctional it may be at the moment.
Can you believe I am still nursing a 2+ year old, and she wakes up at least 5 times a night? No, I don’t expect too much sympathy, yes, it’s my own fault! But it does explain some of my psychoses these past months, LOL! I also have been too exhausted to paint much, so this one took a long time. For every two and a half hour painting session, I got about two of those jars painted. (The only time I get to paint is after the kids go to bed, and that’s how long I last before I fall from exhaustion.)

Anyways, I think I’ve explained Barkerville before, it’s one of British Columbia’s most interesting historical sites. It is an old mining town, which has been lovingly restored, and has period actors that carry out the actual services of the town. You can eat at restaurants with menus from the 1800’s, but old-fashioned fudge (YUUUUMM!!!) and candy from the Mason & Daly, fresh baked goods, you name it…there’s even a China Town. It’s a definite must-see for anyone traveling in B.C. It’s about 1 hour northeast of Quesnel, in Central B.C.
This is my friend, Rick Galbraith, an historical writer and singer in the town who is my partner on a publication about Barkerville to be released hopefully in 2009. He does a wonderful job of doling out fudge and cheer to the many visitors of the store. You can check out the Barkerville site at http://www.barkerville.bc.ca/.

Well, I hope to start on another Barkerville painting tonight, so that’s all until next time.

Music Festival Poster AND New painting–HELP!


I know I said I’d post the poster the next day, but I thought I’d better get it okayed from the festival committee first, and it did. They love it, so now you get to see it. It doesn’t have all of the text on it yet, but the design part is finished.

I’m also posting this painting that I’ve been working on for a few weeks. I really need some help, so please, please comment! I hate the background color. I did thumbnails, and it worked on a small scale, but this big, it just looks so…yellow…YUK! It isn’t finished, obviously, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on painting the candy jugs before I decided on the new background color…but, I can’t figure out what color would work. I have no artists to consult in this teeny tiny town of mine, so I’m depending on you fellow artists to help get me unstuck! So do you think it should be darker or lighter? There is fairly strong light coming from a window on the right hand side…The front part of the painting won’t be yellow, it has little glass inserts with coffee beans and candy behind them. I want the light effect to be pretty dramatic, but right now, all of the values are too similair.
Any suggestions, anybody?

Commissions!!

I’m back…I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since my last post. Talk about inconsistent posting! I’m going to have to change the name of my blog soon if I don’t get back on track somehow. I’m very sorry to anybody who actually follows this thing. It seems that it has taken much longer for me to adjust to being back in Bella Coola than I thought it would. Right now I feel like my life isn’t my own! I’m taxi cab, housekeeper, maid, servant, gardener, wife, toddler entertainer extraordinaire. I can’t remember the last time I had a day to myself, or a minute for that matter, unless I’m sleeping, which doesn’t seem to be happening very much lately either. I can’t remember how I had the energy to pull off a painting a day before I went to Hawaii, either.

Well, enough excuses for now (although valid!) I have been doing art though! I am well into one of my Barkerville pieces, although I’m keeping this one secret until I’m done, and I’ve been totally absorbed in a commissioned piece for the last month. I think I’ve re-started four times now.
RULE NUMBER ONE–When it comes to commissions always, always, always, did I say always? make sure you know exactly what the customer wants! Don’t let them say, (like I did), “oh, just go with it, we trust your judgment”. As nice as this feels initially, and as good for the ego as it may be, DON’T DO IT! Always get an exact idea of what the customer wants. Do sketches, a gazillion of them if you have to, until you get it right. Show the customer all of them, and let them pick.
I have been hired to do the poster for the 10th annual Discovery Coast Music Festival, here in Bella Coola. We get some really great acts for such a small town so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area.

Anyways, they told me to “run with it” and I’ve been running for a month now, trying to get it right, not following my own good advice. I spent a week on the original idea, which was then rejected because it had a Viking in it, which may apparently be taken the wrong way from the native population here?? I didn’t know I was making a political statement, just a pretty poster, nonetheless, it hit the scrap pile…then I started throwing a few more ideas around.

The one in the picture above is my second attempt, which I think is pretty darn cool considering I’m not a graphic artist at all, but it wasn’t “colorful” enough…another two days down the drain. There was another one in there too that hit the recycle bin, and now the one that I’m working on presently, which should be done by tomorrow. So…if I can get it together enough by then to do another post, I’ll show the finished artwork.