Grizzly Bear in the River

                                 Grizzly  8″x10″ graphite on bristol  $150.00

Soon to be framed, and on display for sale at the Bella Coola Valley Inn Gallery. Framed Price, $200.00.

The Bella Coola Valley, where I live is one of the last wild places on earth. The population is tiny…we have about 1800 people in a stretch of about 60 km, the valley is narrow, lined with glacier fed creeks, and streams filled with salmon, so it is also one of the prime locations for spotting grizzly bears in the wild. While most people on the planet can only hope to see these amazing creatures in the zoo, I have to shuttle my kids inside while they plunder the fruit on my fruit trees and lumber nonchalantly through our yard. People come from all over the world to get a chance to see one. In fact, today I have the great fortune to go on a river drift with my boss, Fraser Koreluk, who owns Coast Mountain Lodge and Kynoch adventures here in Bella Coola. They offer deluxe accommodation, and outdoor adventures, such as eco-tours and Bear viewing tours. I hope we see bears today, so I can get some more reference photos to paint from.

Framing Options
unframed $150.00 framed $200.00

Grizzly Bear Sow and Cubs painting demo

I only decided to make this a demo at this stage…sorry, I didn’t get an earlier pic! But this is only about 40 minutes in. The canvas is only 9″x 12″. I didn’t draw or grid this one at all.  I just eyeballed the main shapes and distances with reference marks, filling in the darkest darks and a vague outline with a rough underpainting of burnt umber thinned with 1/2 mineral spirits and 1/2 walnut oil. I like walnut oil because it doesn’t stink like linseed, and from what I’ve read, it’s more stable and non-yellowing. I did a thin coat of burnt umber mixed with a touch of payne’s grey for the mother’s undercoat, which shows through most of her light overcoat. The cubs have a bit of ultramarine blue mixed with that, as they appeared to be greyer, with less red in their coats. The overcoat on the mom is mostly yellow ochre with a bit of burnt umber and white, with touches of burnt sienna for the redder markings.  The black for her eyes and nose is burnt umber and ultramarine blue, which makes a great black. Much less flat than tube black, which I don’t like to use at all, other than for getting some interesting greys.  I’ve started to wash in the background with a half medium half paint mix of burnt umber, paynes grey, and white, with a bit of terre verte.                                                                                                                

This second stage is at about two hours. I’ve refined Mom’s fur a bit, adding some darker shadows, and I’ve finished off the cub on the ground and started on the cub on her back. The cubs have a different texture and color of fur, so I’m mixing a bit more blue to the burnt umber, yellow ochre and white mix, to get a greyer color. They’re also fuzzy, so I’m using a dabbing technique to capture the look of their fluff. I’ve refined the background as well, trying to get the look of the tide flat’s wet muddy, sand. 

   Patience 9″ x 12″ oil on canvas  $250.00

And Voila! Finished, in about 3 and a half hours. This one will be for sale at the Bella Coola Valley Inn Gallery, as soon as the paint is dry…probably Friday. Thank you so much to Roy Tennant at for the reference. Cheers!

Postcards from Europe – Venice Window

                                                  Venice Window 4″x6″ watercolor postcard

Another from my Postcards from Europe series. I shot the reference photo for this from a gondola in one of the canals. It was so cool! I know, totally touristy, but hey, I was a tourist!
The buildings there are amazing. It baffles the mind to try to imagine how they built that city. Much of it is in disrepair, especially in the side canals. The stucco is falling off, showing the brick beneath, and revealing layers of paint and colors. Even in partial ruin, these buildings are beautiful.  And everyone has flower boxes:)

Stonehenge postcard

 Stonehenge Sunrise 4″x6″ postcard watercolor, pen and ink
I was so excited to see Stonehenge, finally. I’ve always felt drawn to all things pre-historic and ancient, and Stonehenge was no exception. I stayed in Bath, England, a beautiful city about an hour or so drive away. Bath is gorgeous and old in itself. It was founded by the Romans and was called Aque Sulis. The original Roman Baths are still there and are a popular tourist attraction. The buildings are all white stone, many of them 18th century. 
Anyways, back to the point…I made sure I booked a tour on a small bus, (Mad Max’s tours, with a great, funny and charming guide) there were only eight of us, and the bus left really early. We ended up being the first group to arrive at Stonehenge, before the swarms of people that were usually there. I raced off the bus, pushed my way to the front of my fellow travellers, and managed to snap a few pictures with absolutely no people in them! Yay! Unfortunately, they have built a freeway right next to this amazing monument, and it’s not possible to feel how it might have been to experience this in peace and quiet without a million swarming people, but it still holds some energy. At least I was in awe.

The Guardian

The Guardian 20″x24″ acrylic on canvas

This painting is somewhat of a companion piece to an older painting of mine, called “The Sentinel”. I’d envisioned it after seeing an eagle on a piling at the wharf, and I liked the vertical, powerful, format. It certainly seemed to give the eagle some authority. The village where I live is predominantly native, and it seemed fitting to insert a totem pole, and the mist is a common feature of our coastal rainforest.
I hope you like it!

Team Work- Draft Horses

Teamwork” 9″x12″ oil on canvas SOLD

This is a painting I whipped off in about a day, a week or so ago for the ArtWalk in Williams Lake. It had only been hanging for two days when they called to let me know that it had sold. Yay!! Gotta love that!:)
But, I have to admit…I’m still having a creative crisis. This selling thing is wonderful, and it’s great to have shows and get some recognition…but somehow it all seems like a bit of a sellout.
I don’t know…I’m painting, I should be happy. But nearly every painting is wrenched out of the abyss of self-doubt. (Except this little gem above! Why can’t I feel like that about painting every day?) I’m not painting what I want, but if I paint what I want it won’t sell, and I want it to sell, because if it doesn’t, then I have to get a “real” job, and if I get a “real” job, then I won’t have time to paint, and then I won’t be happy either, and the wheel goes round and round…I suppose it’s the age old dilemma of the artist. Do I paint for the people or do I paint for myself?