Challenge on Hold Till Oct 19, 2015
After much contemplation, I have decided to put my painting challenge on hold till October 19. My dad recently had a pretty major surgery and I have been helping out with his recovery. For my own self-care, I have decided to take the next month off from the challenge. I am still committed to completing the remaining 12 painting and will share these with you Oct 19 till 30th.
I would greatly appreciate everyone sending out well-wishes for my dad's recovery from surgery. Thanks,
Arglye Farms Across the Field
Today's painting features my family farm, Argyle Farms, located just outside of St. Marys.
Interesting fact: my dad has lived here his entire life!
I have many memories growing up here! Here are my top 5:
1. I was engaged young. Reg was my favourite dog growing up; at age 5 I went through a phase where I wanted to marry him!
2. On Christmas morning, we were not allowed to open gifts until the barn chores were complete. To fend off snoopy children, my parents actually had to lock the door to the living room that housed the tree and gifts.
3. I was in the 4H calf club for a few years around grades 6-8. While I was very good at socializing and snuggling with my calf, I did not shine when it came to the actual training.
4. My favourite doll growing up was a Cabbage Patch Kid named Pauline. I once gave her (and myself) a very chic hair cut in which I cut our bangs down to the scalp. I thought it was very fashionable... but my mom and hairdresser Cheryl disagreed.
5. Some of my newest memories from the farm include those with my niece and nephews - Lachlan, Aelwen, and Ronan. Three strong little MacKays!
View of the Thames River from the Grand Trunk Trail, St. Marys.
Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
~Winnie the Pooh
Foggy Field, View from Sarnia Bridge, St. Marys.
Today's painting features a scenic view from atop the Sarnia Bridge. I particularly enjoyed the foggy background, which reminded me of the following quote I like:
"Sometimes we need the fog to remind ourselves that all of life is not black and white."
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
For anyone who looked at the trivia question yesterday - What did it cost to build the St. Marys Opera House? Answer: $22,000
The St. Marys Opera House
Today’s painting features a heritage building, the St. Marys Opera House.
To be honest, prior to writing this blog post, I knew very little about the history of the building. My most vivid memory is from my own childhood, when I would buy candy and magazines from M&M Variety Store (I particularly loved Cat Fancy).
Having the chance to dig back in the history, here is what I learned:
Back in the 1870’s, the St. Mary’s chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (an altruistic & social fraternity) needed a new meeting place; and it was this need that resulted in the construction of the St. Mary’s Opera House, built in 1879-80. The final building was stunning, made of limestone in a Gothic Revival style.
After it’s construction, this was the “place to be” and supported a thriving social scene in St. Marys. The second floor housed a concert hall that put on a various performances including Shakespearean plays, musical comedies, political rallies, etc. The first floor was dedicated to stores while the third floor held a meeting room for the Odd Fellows.
Despite it’s initial success, by 1904, the Opera House faced financial problems. Ultimately is was sold first to Church and Watt ltd (a harness making company), and later to G. Carter and Son (a milling company). It remained a flour mill until 1973. It underwent restoration in 1987, and today the first floor is dedicated to stores/shops and the upper floors to apartments.
TRIVIA: How much did it cost to build the Opera House?
Comment below with your answer!
** answer will be included with tomorrows blog post.
Downtown Reflections, St. Marys
Today's painting depicts a lovely view of St. Marys across the Thames River. The old opera house and Victoria bridge can be seen here.
The reflections in this painting got me thinking about how the process of creating art results in self-reflection. This self-reflection is particularly magnified during a 30-day challenge.
Here are 3 things I have noticed about myself during this challenge
Compliments to the Grand Trunk Trail
Today's painting depicts the Grand Trunk Trail in early morning. This section of trail spans the Sarnia Bridge, a historic bridge dating back to 1858. Originally the bridge was part of a train line headed west towards Sarnia, Ontario. While no longer an active railway - the bridge was part of a revitalization to create St. Mary's beautiful Grand Trunk Trail.
I approached this painting with the goal of simplicity. Starting with a black gessoed canvas, I only used 3 pigments for this painting... cadmium orange, ultramarine blue, and titanium white. Hope you like it.
VICTORIA BRIDGE RELFLECTIONS
Paintings are not like children... you can like some more than others. And I have to say - I really like this one. I'm very happy with the colours and the composition. Today's painting depicts another view of the Victoria Bridge in downtown St. Marys (also featured on day 1 of the challenge).
For this painting I used Golden OPEN acrylics, which are a slower drying acrylic paint. My painting from "day 7" was the first time I used the OPEN acrylics.. and I think I'm in love. I can more easily work in an alla prima (wet into wet) approach... which I am finding gives a more fresh, loose look. I have been using a very limited palette (didn't want to buy too many tubes in case I didn't like the paints). I am currently using titanium white, naphthol red, ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, and hansa yellow.
Morning Falls, St. marys
It's early morning... the water is flowing over the falls. The sun is coming up, and the sky is softly lit with orange. There is contrasting hints of orange and blue in the water. These were the elements that inspired me to paint today's painting.
Want to see how I painted this?
Next Stop... St. Marys.
The ViaRail train is pulling into the St. Marys train station! I captured this view from the bridge on Queen Street - above the train station. This train was en route to Toronto.
For my local followers, I'm curious ... what is your favourite thing about St. Marys?
Comment below to let me know!
TOP OF THE MORNING, ST. MARYS
Today's painting depicts a St. Marys icon... the town hall!
This historic building, built in 1891, is very recognizable, and a true St. Marys landmark. Designed by architect George Gunlock, it was built from local limestone with red sandstone accents. Check out Canada's Historic Places website for more information on the history of this building.
I HAVE A FAVOUR TO ASK...
JRT ABOUT TOWN
Today's painting is dedicated to a very special friend, Woody. The painting captures him taking a stroll down the Grand Trunk Trail in St. Marys.
Woody wasn't just a Jack Russell Terrier... he was a member of the family (he belonged to my sister Amy and my parents).
Sadly he passed away a little over a week ago. While he will be greatly missed, he leaves behind many special memories. Here are my 5 top memories of Woody:
CHECK OUT HOW I PAINTED "JRT ABOUT TOWN" IN THIS VIDEO TRIBUTE:
Here are a few of my favourite photos of Woody.
MY FIRST ART STORE, ST. MARYS
My painting today features MacPherson Arts & Crafts store. Located in a historic limestone building - this is where I bought my first painting supplies back in elementary and high school.
Early Morning at the St. Mary's Train Station
I know this train station well. Back in my university days, I often took the ViaRail train back and forth between St. Marys and Guelph. And let me tell you -- I LOVE taking the train.... I find it very relaxing. I prefer a quiet trip where I can put my earphones in, turn on a good audiobook or podcast, and sit back and relax.
My favourite thing in this piece is the morning light... and I have to admit, I was pretty happy with how the final painting captured this light.
See you tomorrow!
DOWNTOWN MORNING, ST. MARYS
It's 5:00am on a late August morning. My alarm is going off. I pull myself out of bed, walk the dog, then get in my car and head to St. Mary's to catch the sunrise. And it turns out to be totally worth worth it! The sunrise was wonderful.
Wonder how I painted this? Check out my time-lapse video:
Till next time,
A VIEW OF DOWNTOWN ST. MARYS
Art plays an important role throughout history - and for St. Marys, this is no exception.
Did you know the earliest reference to the name "St. Marys" is found on a watercolour painting by artist (and surgeon) George R. Dartnell... dating back to 1842 (from the book "Historic St. Marys" by Larry Pfaff).
Dartnell's watercolour painting is the first known view of St. Marys. According to Pfaff, the painting entitled "new settlement of St. Marys at the falls on the Thames 21 Oct 1842", "showed the piers of the first bridge across the Thames, the original Ingersoll grist mill, the first log house, and the virgin forest extending right to the bands of the river".
LITTE FALLS PANORAMA, ST. MARYS
I bet anyone from St. Marys folks will recognize this view!
The painting features Little Falls with the Sarnia bridge in the background. This painting was inspired by a photo that my mom took for me (her and my dad were very helpful in taking reference photos for the challenge. Hats off you mom and dad).
Out of curiosity .. how did you find out about my 30-day painting challenge. Leave me a comment to let me know!
QUARRY RUINS, ST. MARYS
Today's painting features one of the quarries in St. Marys (not the swimming one). Despite my best efforts, I am not sure to the origin of the ruins seen here. Chatting with my parents, our best guess was it had something to do with the cement plant.
To my St. Marys followers... do you know where this is?
Do you know what these ruins used to be?
If so, comment below and let me know.
From those of you not from St. Marys and area... you may be wondering...
Where in the world is St. Marys. I have included this little map for your.
Till tomorrow... Kathy
Victoria Bridge in Summer, St. Marys
Well... it's finally here. Day 1 of my 30-day challenge. This month will be all things St. Mary's... there will be paintings, a few facts, and a bit of history.
Welcome. Thanks for joining me on this journey!
Today's painting features the historic Victoria Bridge... a stone, 4-arched bridge across the Thames River. I painted this from a reference photo I took this summer. I've always love the beautiful flower baskets that decorate the bridge in the summer.
This painting will be unique for the challenge... This one was painted in watercolour. Likely all the remaining paintings will be done in acrylics! Stay tuned.
One more thing... while I will be offering almost all the paintings this month for purchase, todays painting is not for sale. Rather, it will raffled off to email subscribers!
Find out why I had to pursue a career as a dietitian to figure out I wanted to be an artist: