Thursday, June 30, 2011

Music in the Parks----- Suzuki violin students performing in Rideau Park of Brandon

With the water tower looming large in the background, and against setting sun, a group of Suzuki violin students are giving performance in Rideau Park with their beautiful music resonating with every person in the audience in the beautiful park setting  late on Thursday afternoon. One piece of music Swanee River by Stephen Foster stirred up deeply trenched memory of mine. Over 30 years ago, when Mainland China was just about to step out of the shadow of the Mao's decades of brutal rein, suddenly we were able to hear something not just revolutionary, interestingly it was Stephen Foster's songs and Charlie Chaplin's silent movies that got to be introduced to Chinese audience first! I still remember how Stephen Foster's songs came to the air like a breath of fresh air! His songs such as Beautiful Dreamer , I dream of Jenny with light Brown Hair, My old Kentucky Home, and Swanee River, etc are forever linked with the most memorable part of my life. Now after so many decades,  hearing  it flowing out of violins of these young performers , I suddenly felt being taken back to those few dreamy years of my life. I did this quick oil sketch on location as if trying to  pay a personal tribute to a special memory of mine.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Misty Street giving performing at Princess Park of Brandon

As part of music by fountain on Wednesday event, the Misty Street band 's performance at Princess Park on Wednesday was very well received by audience as it could be testified by Carol, a home member of the Brandon Community Options who started her cheerful and spontaneous dance to the beat of the music. An oil sketch on location to remember the unforgettable moment.

Brandon University

Standing on the corner of 18th Street and Lorne Ave painting this view early in the morning somehow brought back my earliest memory of Brandon . Can not believe it  that it is  20 years ago almost to the day  that I started my first ever summer course at Brandon University. I remember how I was both nervous and excited , and how I was still trying to step out of the shadows of sadness of leaving your own  family , a part of yourself far behind in China, not knowing when you could see them again, and when your heart could feel whole again. That was before the digital communication age came, communication across ocean  depended on snail mail. Now 20 years have passed , the landscape in front remains the same , and  the memory behind only grows fonder with the passage of two decades of my life.  A young lady passing by was gracious enough to offer me the best complement about my painting that I have ever received. So thankful to her for it was her comment that really made my day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer roses from Ping's flowerbed

Battling against vicious mosquitoes in our backyard, and in the receding sunlight, I did a quick oil sketch of the three species of roses blooming in the flowerbed.

In the full sunshine of early morning

A quick oil sketch from our patio early in the morning before heading off to work.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A canopy of summer green

A quick oil sketch in late afternoon of the canopy of foliage of trees over Dan's garage on the other side of the hedges.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Unveiling of Chinese Head Tax Monument in Brandon

At the end of 19th Century and at the  dawn of last century,  groups of brave Chinese men bid farewell to their war  torn and poverty ridden home land to seek a new life and a new adventure in North America. However the road to " Golden Mountain" was riddled with hardship and personal suffering as well as a deep trenched prejudice and racial discrimination against Chinese as a whole in  both United States and Canada. Canadian Chinese Immigration Acts such as Head Tax and Exclusion were precisely embodiment of such racial discrimination then. In order to pay a symbolic tribute to those early Chinese immigrants, Mr. Kenny Choy initiated this project of setting up a monument at Brandon Municipal Cemetery to pay tribute to those early trail blazers whose hardship and enduring spirits totally changed the course of their offspring 's lives. It is  a moving ceremony at the cemetery today. Under the
prairie sky at the quiet corner of the cemetery facing east is the monument  shaped like ancient Chinese coin with early Chinese immigrants lives depicted on it as a relief , With a young Chinese girl playing a Chinese harp , and with Kenny and Sergio and the other gentleman bowed down  offering burning incense to their forefathers, the ceremony officially started. How fitting it is to choose 26 of June as the day to unveil the monument as the local Chinese community always come on this date to this cemetery to commemorate  their loved ones some of whom were actual victims of the head tax acts. I set up my easel and did this oil painting on spot to mark this special occasion.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

UFCW Family Picnic Day

Back to the Kin Park at noon where the big tent was set up and crowd of people with families gathered in the park having picnic and lots of games and fun. Found out the whole event was organized by the union of UFCW , Maple Leaf employees belong to this union as well as employees from Canadian Super Store, and the Brandon Community Options. Maple Leaf Food in Brandon is mostly responsible for such a dramatic demographic change in Brandon in the past 10 years: a significant part of its employees are recruited from as far as China , and many South American countries, and Ukraine. When those employees eventually reunited with their families here in Brandon after they settled down and got their immigration status, Brandon suddenly saw a huge surge of immigration population. Now it is almost a daily experiences that you can hear Chinese , and Spanish being spoken around you while you are shopping in such places as Super Store and Walmart. Set up my easel , and did a plein air oil painting to mark the event. As soon as I finished this painting, dark clouds started to gather and loom large over the sky,soon there was a crack of thunder and lightening followed by deluge of downpour, a typical prairie summer day I suppose.

Our house on Balmoral Bay facing the early morning sun

So delicious to be able to paint early in the morning when the front of our house was steeped in early morning sunshine.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Brandon Kin Park with Ash and Aspen trees

Towards evening after supper I drove by the Kind Park on Aberdeen and the First Street. The  sparkling light on the bark of aspens in the distance caught my eyes. I pulled over and set up my easel. While painting there, I met a family from Wawanesa having a picnic in  the park. Had a very nice chat over the painting with Earl who is very knowledgeable in painting and also very interested in painting. Always a treat to be able to have such nice conversation with people who are so knowledgeable and who share the same interest, which just makes the painting experiences so enjoyable and so memorable as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Standing in the warm wash of last light

A quick oil sketch of the lone ash tree standing in the receding sunlight of late afternoon in our front yard

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A glimpse of our house against late afternoon sunshine

a quick oil sketch in late afternoon of our house on Balmoral Bay framed by lush green foliage of summer with our car parked on the driveway.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A pot of pink petunia

A quick oil sketch of a pot of pink petunia hanging from our patio

Iris blooming at the corner of our house

Wet and humid today. Painted a quick oil sketch of the blooming irises amid annoying  mosquitoes

Sunday, June 19, 2011

From our backyard looking into the summer sky

It was humid and towards afternoon it looked like  a storm was inevitable. A quick oil sketch from the backyard in the afternoon when the lush green of the trees silhouetted against the bright summer sky.

A window view on the summer morning

Hard to not to paint a view like this on  such a beautiful sunny morning despite sleepiness from working overnight.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Quiet back alley with summer green foliage

Went behind the hedges realizing how lush green the foliage of the trees is in the full morning sunlight! A quick oil sketch of the shed and the lone tree behind the hedges on Balmoral Bay

Fengping's flowerbed in full morning sunshine

Looking out of the window in the morning , I did a quick pochade of her flowerbed in full sunlight.

Friday, June 17, 2011

another view of Ping's flower bed

With more flowers starting to bloom, Fengping's flowerbed takes on a new look with each passing day. Here is one more oil sketch done amid vicious mosquitoes attack.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trying out her new recipe

A quick oil sketch of Fengping trying out her new recipe she had received from the Canad Inns chef's cooking demonstration at the summer fair. Standing by the window, she struck quite a nice silhouette against the summer green colour out of the window

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer green

The intense green foliage greeted me as I looked out of the dining room window in the afternoon. Picked up  a palette knife and did this quick oil sketch with it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Alpine Express

The Alpine Express German music  band comes onto stage to perform early in the afternoon. It is a quite a challenging task for me as there are quite a few people in the group. However, as soon as they start, their beautiful performance makes  my painting process move along so smoothly and somehow I can feel their music in my brush.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The moment of blues

After four paintings done on the spot and in front of an audience I really felt exhausted and did not feel like painting any more. However,sitting down and listening to Brandon's Jake Leg band playing on the stage, I was deeply touched by their soulful blues music , I rushed again to my easel and did this quick oil sketch as their music swirled and flowed around me.

The three Irish Beauties

The few young ladies from Hutton Academy of Irish Dance give such a spirited performance of Irish dancing that their rhythmic dancing steps echoed with the cheers and applause from the big audience. It also made my brush dance on the canvas as well. Hope I did capture the joy and beauty of the moment.

Flirting their way around ?

The three ladies from Sensation International group danced their way around an old gentleman in chair tempting him in a flirting way with a great sense of humour.

Metis Square Dancing moment

Winnipeg Metis Infinity Steppers band came to perform a square dance. I set my easel ready and did  this oil sketch in a few  minutes as long as the dancing lasted. Hope I captured something light footed merriment in their steps.

Practicing jumping fences

It is quite a beautiful sight to watch as young  men and women on horse back started their rounds of practic against the intense blue summer sky at noon on Keystone grounds.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Two Island Vibe Dancers

A quick oil sketch of the two Island Vibe Dancers coming to perform at UTC Pavilion at the Keystone Centre for Manitoba Summer Fair yesterday evening

When the crescent moon was rising over the summer sky

A quick oil sketch of Brandon Summer Fair scene at the Keystone grounds from the doorway of UTC Pavilion yesterday afternoon

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fiddling on the stage at Manitoba Summer Fair

I did an oil sketch of Jason Lepine fiddling on the stage at Olde Tyme Dance Party this evening in UTC Pavilion for the summer fair. Jason is a well know Portage based master fiddliest.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Another music moment at the Summer Fair

An oil sketch of the Larry and the Classic band whose music echoed with the joyful mood of the summer fair moment.

A cooking demonstration at Manitoba Summer Fair

An oil sketch of Canad Inns Chef JD Braid 's demonstration at UTC Pavilion yesterday evening on the occasion of Manitoba Summer Fair. I have a selection of over 80 paintings on display at UTC Pavilion on Keystone grounds on the same occasion.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

looking out of our window in the evening

It rained heavily outside making it impossible to paint outdoor. An oil sketch of a window view towards evening

Monday, June 6, 2011

In the last light of the day

an quick oil sketch glancing over the fence of hedges in the last light from our patio.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A view on Ron and Salley's backyard

Ron and Salley's home is just a few minutes away from the city limit. On Sunday at noon I drove over and did an oil sketch of their backyard with the blossoming tree ablaze with vibrant color in the sun.
However, while painting there I was constantly swamped   by mosquito and tiny flying bugs which eventually found their way to my canvas and got stuck there! Ron and Salley just became the proud grand parents a few days ago of a beautiful baby girl! I painted this painting to mark this special occasion in their lives.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our house back lit in late afternoon sunshine

A quick oil sketch of where we live on Balmoral Bay early in the evening. It is  June 4th again. It is hard to ignore this memorable date. What happened 22 years ago in China on this particular date will never be erased from our collective memory. I personally feel indebted to what happened 22 years ago. Without that event, there would not have been a new sense of home which we enjoy as a family here in Canada. Pray for those who lost their loved ones on that sleepless night.

Garage sale at Colin Corneau's place on 12th Street

Colin Corneau, the most well-known Brandon Sun photographer threw a garage sale party at his place today on 12th street. I went to join him there and did this oil painting on location there. What a delightful painting experience. Colin is a very talented photographer. Here is his website

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our patio in the late afternoon sunshine

With the full sun on our patio in the afternoon, I did a quick oil sketch in our backyard. It was so nice to see the sunny sky.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Silhouetted against a bright sunny sky

Sitting on our patio and looking at the western sky, sunny and bright, I did a quick oil sketch. However  a few minutes later the sky again turned so dark that rain started to pour down again with lightening across the evening sky! What a day!

Blossoming across the street

I would never have anticipated we would have a sunny ending for today judging by what we have gone through , a storm of pounding rain and hails with crashing lightening against such a  dark sky right  in the middle of  morning. A quick oil sketch after supper when the full sunlight is on the walls of the houses and the blooming tree across the street.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In the last light

A quick oil sketch looking west from our patio in the last receding light of the day. Got my first mosquitoe bite for this year while painting this view.

A distant view of Brandon from North Hill

Drove to Coral Centre to do some shoping after supper, and, then I drove up the 18th Street North to find myself a quiet spot on a parking lot overlooking Brandon with swallen Assisiniboine River glimering in the distace.