Inspiration from an Image Transfer

At Dusk

"At Dusk", acrylic and image transfer on a 12" x 6" cradle board.

Somewhere beneath the layers of paint is a photograph of my backyard.

And what started as an image transfer became something else.

I wanted to create a soft spring look so I covered the surface with pale greens and yellows. But the image I transferred to the top third of the surface was a copy of a winter shot of my backyard; no snow but lots of bare trees and darkness. So I changed direction, changed color palette and moved the feel of the painting from spring to autumn using lots of Sap Green and Transparent Red Oxide.

The image transfer contained evergreens with a centre focus of birch trees. It was the birch trees that attracted me to the scene and it was the birch trees I wanted to save. But I felt the rest of the image could disappear. I kept some of the birch trees from the image but decided to expand upon what attracted me in the first place. So I covered most of the transferred image with painted texture using a painting knife and I built the birch trees out from the image and into the painting making them the subject. 

Only a small part of the original image shows at the top of the painting, buried under paint and texture inspired by the image.


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Upcoming Classes

All Together Now

If you’re in the area and are interested in taking one of my acrylic painting classes, here’s the list:

  • Sept. 13, Building a Landscape”
  • Sept. 15, Exploring Complementary Colors
  • Sept. 23, 30, Oct. 7 and 14, Basic Acrylics with an emphasis on mixed media
  • Oct. 11, Monoprinting using the Gelli Plate.

All classes are held in Tweed, Ontario. For more information, check this out.

For still more information, contact me.

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Peppermint Pot

Peppermint pot

Last year, I planted peppermint in my garden. This year, peppermint took over my garden. To control it's growth, I removed all but a potfull of the herb. But I put it in a plastic planter…and I thought the plastic planter was kind of ugly. So I bought some wood and started building a wooden planter around the plastic pot.  I had no idea what I was going to create. I just started cutting wood! I knew it had to be bigger than the plastic pot. And I wanted the wooden slats to be about the same size as the wood on our hardwood floors. I also wanted a gap between each wood plank in the hopes that water wouldn't collect inside the wooden pot. The wood had to be pine, not pressure treated, but I settled for spruce once I saw the price of pine!

I think it weighs somewhere around two tons on the scale. There's a wooden frame on the inside then the planks on the outside. I have a very fancy mitre saw…but I can't cut mitres to save to my life. So I just used straight cut wood to build the lip on the planter. Feet are pressure treated fence post finials.

This will be exposed to all weather conditions so I kept the paint job simple. I decided to paint it to match some deck chairs I painted a few years ago. So the background is floor paint from our verandah, the white is Kilz, the yellow and green are acrylic gouache then I spattered everything with the same colors. Once it dried I used an electric sander to remove paint from all the edges and from some of the painted design areas.

I spray painted a rusty metal flower and fastened it to the back of the pot then added my planter of peppermint. We'll see how well the wood and paint combo holds up this summer.If I get one season out of it I'll be happy.

A lot of work for one herb. But it's an important herb to me. It's a major ingredient in the ice cream I'll be making this summer!

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I’m Ready


Finished prepping for my booth at the Warkworth Art in the Park next weekend. It's be a whole booth of 6" x 6" landscape monoprints along with a few 12" x 12" acrylic landscape paintings. It's my first time exhibiting at this show and, as long as the weather cooperates, it should be fun. There are 30 artists, admission is free and best of all, for me, it's close by so I can sleep in my own bed!

Drop by if you have a chance. Warkworth is located just east of Toronto.

Lots of prints
Warkworth poster

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Deciding What To Do With The Skins

Tree line

This painting started with a little texture and whole bunch of random blue acrylic skins. I liked the skins so much that I filled the canvas. That turned the painting ugly.

Tree line 2

So I opened a jar of light molding paste and, with a palette knife, spread the paste over most of the canvas leaving only a couple of inches of the blue skins near the top.

Tree line 3

Then, over a period of several days, I used a dry housepainting brush and some analogous color to fill the top and bottom of the canvas. I held the brush almost flat to the surface and lightly scumbled in color to make the most of the textured patterns created in the molding paste.

I switched to a smaller brush to create some of the highlights on the cliff top edge and the background blues and I darkened some the blue areas to create contrast.

Then, after a final toning of the violet, I was done…five days later but happy with the effort.

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Picking Up and a New Start

A Letter HomeWow, March flew by. My solo show at the Parrott Gallery ran through the month of March and today it’s down and I’m picking up the unsold pieces, some to be displayed elsewhere, others to be stored for future shows. And I’m well underway with a new series of paintings, a little looser, a little different in color palette. Should be a lot of fun.

This painting “A Letter Home”; acrylic; graphite, charcoal; 40″ x 30″ sold at the show opening. The opening was enjoyable – lots of people, much conversation, people I hadn’t seen in years – and a couple of people cried when they looked at my paintings. Amazing how art can appeal on such an emotional level. And, by the way, they were sad tears, but good tears.

Couple of new directions for me in the next months. More later.

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A New Look for an Old Pot

Coffee potI often drop off unused clothes or household items at the local thrift shop; but I rarely wander in deeper than the drop box. The reason – if I’m scaling back my “stuff”, simplifying my living space, then why wander the aisles on the chance I’ll bring home more.

But one day, right there at eye level, was a shelf filled with silverplate. Grimy, black and bleak silverplate. And I saw the potential. I bought a few of the larger pieces, brought them home, put them on a shelf and waited for inspiration.

Inspiration finally came for this piece by way of a magazine cover.  The cover was a collage of neutral yellows and greens with pops of black and some grey. The combination was enough to make me get out my wire brush and start cleaning the grime from the coffee pot so I could give this muted color scheme a try.

Here’s the result. And, if you want to try your hand with the design and colors, here’s a link to a download for free instructions and pattern.

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One by One

Evening ShadowsJust finished this painting for the One by One Show and Sale being held in July.

Mine will be one of potentially hundreds of paintings in all media completed on 12 inch by 12 inch stretched canvas. And all paintings will sell for $100 each. A great opportunity for gift buying or to start an art collection inexpensively.

Sponsored by the Belleville Art Association, the show will be held at the BAA gallery on Front St. in Belleville from July 12 to Aug. 6 with an evening reception on July 21 from 4.30 to 7.30 p.m. Email me for more info at bob at bobpennycook dot com.

This painting started as a wash of acrylic yellow followed by rice paper then another wash of a different yellow value. Then I built up the foreground with blues, greens, violets and oranges using shop towels, pen nibs and carved stamps..

The painting is called “Evening Shadows Make Me Blue” and yes, that’s a line from an old Connie Francis song, and yes, that line kept looping through my mind as I painted the piece.Go figure. And does anybody even remember Connie Francis?

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A New Year

Winter grassesUnusual weather for the start of a new year. Mild, foggy and a bit of rain.

Spent the morning wandering my yard taking photographs. The color still in the yard sings in this type of weather. The cedar, maidenhair grass and the red dappled willows in the background of this photo lift my spirits and will no doubt soon become inspiration for another painting.

I hope your holiday season was grand and I wish you first a healthy new year then all the best for the coming year.

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