Waterfall

For the first time in a long time I have painted a landscape. And yes you read that correctly, PAINTED, not collaged. That makes two oil paintings in a row! No, this is the start of a major change of artistic direction. I had a couple of overdue commissions to execute and figured I had better get them done.

This painting is pretty big: 36 X 24, oil on linen. ‘Waterfall’ was inspired by a photo my daughter took in Mount Royal Park in Montreal a couple of years ago.

Waterfall 36 X 24 oil on linen © 2015 Alyson Champ
Mount Royal Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed New York’s Central Park. As you can imagine, Mount Royal is a gem! It is a green oasis atop the summit of a small mountain, right smack in the heart of North America’s most beautiful city…. Not that I’m biased or anything.
View of Montreal from Mount Royal
© 2012 Anna Kiraly
Okay, well maybe just a little.

Oil Painting

Since switching over to collage full time eight years ago, it’s like a mini vacation for my brain whenever I get a commission to do an oil painting.

I recently had the pleasure of immortalizing a Canadian stallion (yes, Canadian IS a breed of horse) who belongs to a friend of mine. He is a beauty and a true gentleman, so the job was a pleasure.

First I gridded up a drawing from a photo that my friend and I selected as our best portrait reference option.

To avoid unnecessary labour, the drawing was transferred to the panel via tracing paper and then drawn over with thinned oil paint to preserve the lines.

Then comes the  blocking in the major colour and value areas. The finishing of a painting is – for me at least- a process of gradual refinement.

I always marvel at artists who can work on isolated areas of a painting at a time. I need to bring the whole picture along simultaneously so I can see how all the parts relate to each other. I was taught to do this, and as I work, I can still hear one of my old painting instructors shouting to the class, “Start everything at the same time; finish everything at the same time.” I guess that advice stuck!
Here is a detail of the portrait near completion, and the finished product below.

Avery, 14×18 oil on panel

Order from Disorder?

Right now my studio looks like this:

I’m really happy to be getting walls at last, but not so happy with the chaos and dust. I can’t even get at my collage supplies at the moment. Fortunately, I could lay my hands on my old portable easel which I dragged into the house so I could start something at least resembling work.
Today I started an oil painting, something I haven’t done in a while. I have a total of FOUR commissioned oil paintings to execute in the next little while, and I feel very out of practice since I haven’t held a brush for that purpose in over a year. I thought I needed a  warm up instead of diving right into the commissioned work, something to take the pressure off a little.

I spotted the photo of a pretty pony filly on a friend’s Facebook page a while ago and asked if I could use the picture as a reference. I made the drawing a couple of weeks ago.

This morning I transferred the drawing to a small, square panel.
First, I like to figure out where the main dark areas will be. 

Then I do a general “blocking in” of basic colours in the dark to mid value range. I always marvel at painters who can finsh a painting in sections.  I was taught to bring all the parts of a painting along at the same rate.
I can still hear one of my old painting teachers bellowing, “START EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME; FINISH EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME!” Or maybe it’s just because I am using his old portable Jullian easel and it’s HAUNTED!

Having hit the point where I am simply moving paint around, this is as far as I could get today. I will try to get her finished tomorrow.

New Year, New Work

Yes, I know I’m a little late with the whole New Year thing, but I swear I haven’t been idle. Actually, the opposite is true; I have been rather busy of late. Strangely enough what has kept me so occupied hasn’t been collage, but rather a lot of painting. Good thing I never dropped the “fine oil paintings” from the banner of this blog! As there is no longer an oil painting section on my recently revised website, this blog and Facebook are the only places you will see this work. So much for swearing off painting.

Les voici, here they are:

The first is a portrait of my friend Eric’s beautiful daughter, Rafaëla, who was a model for my art classes last fall. I enjoyed the process of portrait painting so much – something I haven’t done in a very long time- that I had her come back to the studio and sit for me so that I could finish the job. The finished painting turned out very well, although it is now painfully obvious to me that I need new glasses.



Portrait of Rafaela – 17.5X13.5 oil on board © 2011 Alyson Champ (sold)


Most recently I completed a couple of small landscapes. The first one is an oil sketch on a little 6″x 4″ panel. If you think you might like to own it, just drop me a line. It is priced to sell at $95 CAD, and I will ship for free within Canada.


Bush Trail – 6×4 oil on panel, ©2012 Alyson Champ






Also recently completed is “First Snow( shown above, 10″x 12″ oil on canvas, © 2012 Alyson Champ).

This landscape is signed, varnished and ready to go. Yours for $415 CAD.

Autumn Bouquet
– 18″x 14″ oil with acrylic underpainting on canvas, ©2012 Alyson Champ ($490 CAD)

Yes, “Autumn Bouquet” IS the same still life from the last post where it was called “Autumn Still Life with Plums”. I’d like to say that I renamed it for some sensible reason, but the truth is I had forgotten what I called it. “Autumn Bouquet” is signed, varnished and available to hang on the wall of your sunny kitchen. Just drop me a line here.

And now it’s back to the glue again.

The Lay of the Land




View of Naarden by Jacob Van Ruisdael (Image source Wikimedia commons)

Although I have been focused on making collages just lately, I am not immune to the lure of the landscape. Landscape painting has always been my first love, and every now and then I see a place, frame it in my mind, and think to myself, “Wow, that would make a nice painting!”, and hope that I’ll get around to actually painting it. This time I decided to make the effort to do just that.

Every morning and every evening when I am either taking out or bringing home our sheep, I walk up the rise behind our farm to our back pasture. There is a view of the village of St. Chrysostome from the top of the hill which I find especially appealing. It puts me in mind of some of the landscape paintings of the seventeenth century Dutch masters. The image is dominated by the sky as the horizon line is set low and the spires of the village church are seen in the distance. The overall effect is one of great space and is a reminder that humanity’s place in the world is really rather small. Well, at least that’s how I see it.

The spires of St. Jean-Chrysostome from my back pasture (photo © the artist)

It felt strange to sit down in front of the easel again. I haven’t touched my oil paints for many months. Nevertheless, I am finding the process familiar but also invigoratingly new. Here is the tonal drawing on canvas for my new landscape:

I don’t always go to such lengths to establish the general areas of a painting but, as I haven’t painted in so long, I dread screwing things up. I decided to be extra careful rather than risk wasting a perfectly good (and expensive) linen canvas.

So much of the painting is taken up by the sky that the sky really requires a great deal of attention. People often look at the sky and see blue, white and a little grey. Careful observation will show that the sky is so much more than that. The photo below shows my efforts in colour mixing for the clouds and sky. Note the ochres, browns and pinks on the paper towel.
This is where I finished today. The painting is blocked in from the darkest areas to midtones and the general colour scheme is established. You can’t see the church towers because I haven’t put them in yet- there is so much to do before I get down to that level detail. I’ll be back at it again tomorrow!