Thursday, March 31, 2011

The sun breaking out of the clouds

However, as soon as I finished my second painting in the backyard, the sun came out, and suddenly the sky lighted up. One more quick oil sketch for the day.

Backyard still covered with snow

Turning my easel around, I did one more oil sketch for today. A bleak view of the backyard still deep under the cover of snow.

Standing alone in the back alley

It remained dark and cloudy in the afternoon. Did a quick oil sketch of the view over the hedges where there was the lone tree in the back alley which I painted countless times over the years.

A quick oil sketch of myself

A quick oil sketch of myself standing in front of the mirror in the warm ceiling light.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From the step at the front door

After supper, I came out and sat on the step at the front door, All around me there remained the  snow everywhere you look. It was still dark , cold and cloudy at 6 p.m.

Fenping with the laundry basket

A quick oil sketch of Fengping putting a new lining to the laundry basket.

Soaring over the roofs

Dark and cloudy outside. Standing at the window, I did a quick sketch of the big elm tree soaring over the roof of the house across the street.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A glimpse of sunset at 7:30 P.M.

After the dinner, while still at the table, I looked out of the window , there the whole sky was lighting up with the sunset which lasted just so briefly before it changed abruptly  into the sombre and serene visage  of the night.  Here is my quick oil sketch to mark the fleeting moment.

A glimpse of McKenzie Building From the roof parking lot of Town Center

After dropping my painting at the art gallery for the  fund raising art auction event on April 14th of 2011, I had less than two hours to spare before I had to pick up Fengping at 3 p.m. I decided to paint whatever appear in front of me sitting in the car. Here you may have an idea where I parked on the roof parking lot. It was still cloudy then.

A glimpse of sunrise at 8 a.m.

Stopped by the open space behind Bethel Christian Assembly church, I did this quick oil sketch before the sky was taken over by the gathering clouds.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Comfortable in her chair

Coming  upstairs from the basement, saw Fengping reading, sitting so comfortably in her chair, and did this quick oil sketch to mark the moment.

264 15th Street

On the corner of 15th Street and Lorne Avenue stands this apartment. I walked across the snow covered park to paint this view of this particular apartment not because of its  striking visual appeal but for the  special  personal memory it holds for me and my family. After all ,it is the very first place I stayed when I moved to Brandon from China almost 20 years ago. It is through  its window I got my first glimpse of Brandon on that unforgettable first morning in June. Though I moved so many times during my four years as an international student to different cheap apartments and houses in Brandon, I finally moved back to this apartment upon my graduation in 1995 waiting to be reunited with my wife and daughter whom I had been separated for almost 5 years! It was before the age of  telecommunication and internet  in China, and for five years snail mail  was the only means of communication available between me here in Brandon, and my family back in China. While standing on the edge of the park across the street painting there, somehow, the first few notes of music from the second movement of Saint-Saent's 3rd Violin Concerto kept on coming back to my ears. It is interesting how one piece of music could so much associated with one particular time period of my life ! It was in this apartment way back in 1991 when I first heard Saint-Saent's concerto which just brought tears to my eyes, I remember.

Silhouetted against deep blue sky

On the stretch of  14th street along the Stanley Park , the familia two story house and the big elm tree struck such an  impressive profile  against the blue sky that I pulled up my car , and did this quick oil sketch at 2 p.m.

When I looked out of the window at 9 a. m

Snow started to melt on the driveway, and a lady walking  a big and energetic dog  passing by , the lone ash tree casting its shadow across the snow still piling up so high , and the grove of Virginia creeper still deep buried under the snow at this time of the year. All these and many more seemingly so trivial are inexhaustible source of inspiration to me day after day  filling me with perpetual urge to paint!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Filled with light ---- a glimpse out of the window at 6 p.m

Had almost three hours of sleep! and it was already 6 p.m. Looking out of the window , saw how the backyard was so filled with glaring light that I could hardly keep my eyes open. Nevertheless, I grabbed my pochade box and attempted to capture the moment.

Long casting shadows over the snow at noon

The sight of casting shadows over the snow always excites me. In the glare of noon hour sunshine, the casting shadows of the trees snaking their ways over the snow is the subject of my 4th pochade sketch for today. It was noon , and I felt a little sleepy now.

looking up from basement window

Never thought of painting the same view from the basement window before until this morning when I incidentally caught sight of the familiar view of the groves of trees and hedges lighting up in the morning sunlight. Painting this view while listening to CBC radio 2 when Saint Saens ' Violin Concerto No.3 was on the air! was quite an emotional experience ! There are a few pieces of classical music that always move me to tears, this Saint Saen piece is one of them. Beethoven's 5th piano Concerto , Dvorák Cello Concerto, Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1, and of course Bach's Cello suite No.1 Just name these few.

A view from the door at 9 a.m.

Another quick oil sketch from the door when I saw the morning sunlight is pouring over the trees projecting their shadows across the snow.

The moment when sunrises in the east

Early in the morning after breakfast, instead of going back to bed after an overnight shift, I just could not tear myself away from the window when I saw the sky began to light up. A quick oil sketch of the window view at 8 a.m.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In the glare of sunshine

With snow still well above my knees, I managed to keep myself balanced to paint a quick oil sketch of this view which I had painted countless times over the years. It was 4 p.m and the glare of sunlight was right in my eyes. After half an hour of painting I felt dizzy and had to take a break.

Has spring sprung?

After a quick lunch at home, I stepped out again with my pochade box , and walked to the junction of Balmoral Bay and 8th Street, and painted this quick oil sketch of what I think is a sign of spring.

The most impressive house on Victoria Ave of Brandon

Another quick oil sketch for the day. I pulled over on 16th Street and Victoria Avenue on my way back, and decided to do one more pochade from inside of my car while listing to CBC radio 2 featuring This is my music. 

A view on Brandon University campus

Had to drop Fengping at the group home where she picked up an overtime shift for today. I made a detour at BU campus on my way home at 10 a. m. It was freezing cold when I got out of my car and started this quick oil sketch there. This particular view brings back the fond  memory of my first day almost 20 years ago when I started my campus life as an international student , and I remember how excited and how nervous I felt as I found my way to the lecture hall called Theater A  for my first ever university course of introduction to sociology taught by Dr. Monu at BU. That was back in July of 1991.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shadows of the hedges

One more quick oil sketch of the hedges with its shadows over the snow in the bright sunlight of late afternoon.

from the cozy space of our backyard

Though it is still covered with snow at this time of the year, the backyard is the most comforting and cozy retreat for me. I feel most relaxed when I could find a moment to paint here. While I was painting this view, to my delight, I heard the honk of a flock of geese flying over the sky. Sure spring has sprung despite of the snow  . Somehow, I clearly remember in the 60s when I was growing up in China's remote Altay which shares almost identical climate with  prairie Canada, I so enjoyed literally watching the change of the season right in front of my eyes when the ice on the frozen river right behind my house started to break up producing that delightful and exciting cracking noise heralding the coming of spring. I remember I would sit on a small chair against the wall watching totally mesmerized by the sight. I must have been 6 year old then. Sadly the beautiful view that is  deeply rooted in my memory has been long gone together with the person who was so much part of my life then.

A view of our house on Balmoral Bay

It is rare to see the front yard still covered with deep snow at this time of the year. However, I just enjoy the sight of the rhythmic  pattern created by the casting shadows of the trees over the snow.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

one more view from our front yard

One more quick oil sketch after supper before the shadow covers the whole front yard.

A glimpse of the front yard covered with snow

A quick oil sketch painted sitting on the step of the front door at 4 p.m when the bright sunshine lit the bank of snow. Hope it gives you a sense of how deep the snow has accumulated over the winter and how it remains piling up so high at this time of the year!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A glimpse of Downtown Brandon at 6 p.m.

It was much colder than I thought while I was painting this view of Downtown Brandon from the Parking place of Towncenter at 6 p.m. However, the light was just so enticing that I just could not resist. Half an hour into the painting I found my hands too numb with cold to hold the brush steady. Had to stop before I went further with the painting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When the light was switched on at the door

It is Sarah's birthday today, and we know she is too busy with her school  work to mark it in Edmonton. Can not believe 22 years have gone by since that unforgettable day in Changzhou of Eastern China! It is dark outside at 7 p.m. and the light is switched on at the door. There is still so much of snow at this time of the year piling up at the door! No matter where she is , I am sure a sens of home will be always with her with our love.

Sunset over a small church on Richmond Avenue and 6th Street

Drove to the parking lot on Richmond Avenue at 6 p.m when the sun finally broke out of the clouds and was shining brightly before it fell below the horizon. Noticed how brightly the church roof was lit by the sunlight, and stopped my car and did this quick oil sketch. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

a glimpse into the wooded area where a lone street light glares in the dark

It started to snow late in the evening. Stepped outside and painted this quick oil sketch when snow started to fall heavily.

No sign of spring on the first day of spring

Pile of snow remain there on the first day of spring and it was forcasted that another snow storm was expected in the Westerman area.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A glimpse of Brandon University from Lorne Avenue

20 years ago in the summer of 1991 when I woke up from my first night in Brandon , I stepped outside from an apartment on the corner of 15th and Lorne Avenue, I caught my first sight of Brandon University from this location. Can not believe that 20 years have passed since then! A quick oil sketch from this location when it was dark and cloudy  on Saturday afternoon.

A Quiet cornor in the backyard

It was going to rain or snow at any moment.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Looking across the bay late in the afternoon

The shadow from the houses started to encroach upon the snow still piling up high at the time of the year.

Another window view at noon

It was sunny and bright at the moment when the snow started to melt in the sunshine on the driveway revealing a bit to green grass under the pile of snow.

in the bright sunshine

A look out of  the bedroom window at noon.  The bright sunshine belied how cold it actually was! The young girl from our neighborhood started to take her routine walk around the bay. Met her parents a few weeks before while I was painting outdoor, and they said she was going to University this year!

A glimpse out of the window on Friday morning

A Manitoba Hydro service worker came to change our old gas meter at 11. a.m today. Painted this quick oil sketch to mark the moment.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

From the back alley on a sunny but cold afternoon

It was sunny but rather cold. Standing at the back alley, I tried to hold brush steady against the cold air.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It was cloudy but quite warm in the afternoon. Holding my pochade box, and painting from our patio ,  I could feel the drizzle of tiny drops of rain on my face.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Driveway with melting snow

Really happy to see snow start to melt on the driveway! However, winter will not retreat without a flight at the end of March. I enjoy the drama played out visually at this particular time of the year, nevertheless.

Stretching outagainst warm afternoon sky

It is always exciting for me just to be able to step outside to paint without being worried about the elements. I Such a beautiful warm sunny afternoon! I did this quick oil sketch standing on the path that connects Balmoral Bay to McLeod Drive. There used to be more trees flanking the path. Now over the years they have been thinned out by the owners , and , the view is not as attractive to me as it used to be. .

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back to the Rideau Park looking for a visual "Pi"

Drove to Rideau Park after supper. With the daylight saving time, I gain an extra hour of painting opportunity at the end of the day. The water tower glowed in the evening sunlight , I  got out of my car and did a quick oil sketch there. It was Pi day today, and unfortunately my rough crooked sketch of the tower will never produce a near matching  ratio of its  circumference to its diameter, certainly not a pie for the eye!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

glow in the evening

Stayed in bed right to the evening. Felt a little better before supper. Sitting at the table, caught a glimpse of the western sky lit up by the last glow. It looked so ethereally beautiful. Grabbed my pochade box and did this quick oil sketch in 10 minutes before it gave way to complete darkness.

In the glare of sun

My head hurt badly with migraine headache after lunch , and had to lie down in bed as soon as possible. However, managed to do this quick oil pochade of  a view out of the window. The strong intense sunlight around noon made me feel worse , and had to stop right now. Felt so bad to miss a wonderful warm day for painting outdoor.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In the warm sunshine

It was 4 p.m now , and what a  sunny and bright afternoon , and what a contrast to what we experienced this time yesterday! Hope that winter will soon be over with the switching back of summer day light saving time at midnight today. However, though I dread the long and cold winter, I have to admit how I appreciate the visual spectacle of the winter season. If someday I will find myself in a different part of the world where the seasonal change is not as dramatic as it is here, I definitely will miss the white expanse of sparkling snow in sunshine under the intense blue of a prairie sky.

Neighbor helping heighbor

Mark , our kind neighbor across the street came to help us remove the snow  on the street as well as on our driveway with  his snow sweeping machine at 2 p.m.  We always feel so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors as Mark. Thank you , Mark for always helping us on so many occasions over the past 12 years!