Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art: Blog https://www.blairpaul.com/blog en-us (C) Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art (Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:26:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:26:00 GMT https://www.blairpaul.com/img/s/v-12/u603341430-o1071740496-50.jpg Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art: Blog https://www.blairpaul.com/blog 75 120 Edward Burtynsky https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/3/edward-burtynsky

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/3/edward-burtynsky Wed, 20 Mar 2019 14:58:18 GMT
Tom Forrestall https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/3/tom-forrestall

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/3/tom-forrestall Wed, 20 Mar 2019 14:56:14 GMT
Adam Sherriff Scott https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/3/adam-sherriff-scott

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/3/adam-sherriff-scott Wed, 20 Mar 2019 14:52:56 GMT
Lilias Torrance Newton https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/3/lilias-torrance-newton

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/3/lilias-torrance-newton Wed, 20 Mar 2019 14:49:53 GMT
Jaco Ishulutaq https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/jaco-ishulutaq

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/jaco-ishulutaq Sat, 26 Jan 2019 17:36:02 GMT
Eleesapee Ishulutaq https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/eleesapee-ishulutaq

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/eleesapee-ishulutaq Sat, 26 Jan 2019 17:33:19 GMT
Canadian artist Joe Fafard https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/canadian-artist-joe-fafard

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/canadian-artist-joe-fafard Sat, 26 Jan 2019 17:31:19 GMT
Alex Colville https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/alex-colville

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/alex-colville Sat, 26 Jan 2019 17:29:41 GMT
Carl Beam - was the 1st. Canadian Aboriginal artist (Ojibwe) to have his work purchased by ... https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/carl-beam---was-the-1st-canadian-aboriginal-artist-ojibwe-to-have-his-work-purchased-by

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/carl-beam---was-the-1st-canadian-aboriginal-artist-ojibwe-to-have-his-work-purchased-by Sat, 26 Jan 2019 17:25:12 GMT
Horatio Walker - was born in Yorkshire, England, 1856 https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/horatio-walker-was-born-in-yorkshire-england-1856

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2019/1/horatio-walker-was-born-in-yorkshire-england-1856 Sat, 26 Jan 2019 17:04:49 GMT
Painting the Winter Landscape: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2016/1/painting-the-winter-landscape For any painter, whether they happen to live in the northern climes or not, painting the winter landscape is an exciting challenge. Especially in countries which have four distinct seasons, like Canada, the thrill of a vast winter landscape can be breath taking.

Winter Road   -SoldWinter Road - 24"x 36" acrylic on canvas

When the land is bare as in spring, summer, and autumn, all of Nature's wonders are visible.
Each of the various creations has their own characteristics regarding colour, texture and form. As spring becomes summer, you can see that the greens of trees grasses and shrubs has changed, and continues to do so as summer becomes autumn.

Everything in Nature is constantly changing, and artists are aware of this, no matter how subtle they may be.

The greatest change of all comes when a thick, fluffy coating of snow covers all the familiar forms we have seen earlier in the year. All of a sudden, the landscape has become this vast “sculpture”. For me, this is a very appealing feature of painting the winter scene.

When I started painting watercolour many years ago, one of the most interesting challenges was painting a winter landscape. If you are to work in the traditional “transparent method” you don't add white to the paper to create light areas. You must plan ahead and reserve the white of the paper for your lightest values. This is only one reason why the watercolour medium is such a beautiful, but difficult one. You must introduce thin tints of colour to suggest shadow and colouration to the subject, especially if it is snow. You then add darker washes over top until the shadows are sufficiently dark. It is all very delicate.

Flying By   -SoldFlying By - 15" x 22" watercolour on paper

As with clouds, snow is highly reflective, so in a wooded, winter landscape you must be looking for the colours reflected from trees, sky, the sun, and rocks, or just intuitively introduce them for effect. Nothing is more boring in a winter landscape for me than bland, white snow, with the occasional blue shadow.

 

If the artist is really looking and tuning in to what they see, then there is far more colour present than that.

When a strong, bright, sun hits snow, especially in the spring time, you can really sense a yellow, warm quality to the snow...or when the sun is setting or rising you will also see this.
Snow is a mirror for whatever is around it. You will also notice that shadows on the snow are not always the same darkness...sometime they are a light blue-grey, other times a dark blue-violet or a dozen variations in between.

Most paintings are a carefully thought out balance of warm and cool colours, including winter landscapes. Tree tops in the sunlight are a beautiful reddish brown, or warm grey tones. Frozen grasses are yellow, or a burnt sienna colour. Cedar trees are sometimes a warm olive green, while spruce and pine trees can appear almost as black sometimes...but they aren't.
Take away the sunlight, and everything flattens...the colours are largely gone.

Winter Stream   -SoldWinter Stream - 22" x 30" acrylic on canvas

This then is the artist's responsibility to absorb the information in front of them, and present it in an interesting, satisfying way. The artist is the “filter or conduit” to getting Nature onto the canvas or paper, whatever the medium may be.

 

 

 

Winter at the Mill - SoldWinter at the Mill -22" x 30" watercolour on paper

Some of my personal favourite painters of winter landscapes are Lawren Harris, Suzor Cote, Maurice Cullen, and Walter J. Phillips. Take some time to look at their amazing work, you won't be disappointed!

 

 

 

 

 

The famous French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas said, “Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.”

A short cut to getting better painting results is to study with an experienced teacher, who can answer your questions and demonstrate first hand the techniques used. This is one reason why I truly enjoy teaching, and have many students returning to work with me.

My next “Painting the Winter Landscape Workshop” will be at The Mill of Kintail Gatehouse, Mississippi Mills, Ontario, Jan. 16th. from 9-5pm. Please, see the “Workshops” section of www.blairpaul.com for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Painting The Winter Landscape https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2016/1/painting-the-winter-landscape Sat, 09 Jan 2016 15:51:48 GMT
The French Riviera https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/10/the-french-riviera It was 1992, and I was about to make my first trip across the rolling Atlantic and stay on the French Riviera for a couple of weeks. A Canadian friend of mine rented a beautiful place in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, and invited me to experience it too. This was pretty exciting to say the least, seeing as how I'd never left the western hemisphere before, and always dreamed of getting to Europe some day....but the Riviera...wow!

I flew to Frankfurt, changed planes and arrived in Nice around noon. It was a smooth flight and as uneventful as flying can be. As the Lufthansa jet descended to make its landing I could see the turquoise of the Mediterranean and the red tile roofs getting closer. You get such a surge of adrenalin when you arrive somewhere new...absolutely thrilling!

My friend met me at the aeroport and we got on a bus back to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. I was tired from the flight but stared out the window at the amazing sites before me. Buildings of all shapes and sizes rose from sea level all the way up the cliffs to great heights..clinging on to the rocks like some strange species of lichen.

 

 

The houses and other structures were beautifully painted in shades of terra cotta, beige, yellow, blue, violet, and green. Wooden shutters adorned most of the windows, which was pretty practical considering the fact that it can get very hot here next to the sea. Brightly coloured flowers of many varieties adorned the rocky gardens, while palm trees, cedars and pines rose beautiful and green towards the azure sky. What a paradise this was!

The Mediterranean has long had a mythological status...a place of natural beauty for artists, poets, writers, and anyone who cared to be engulfed by its charms. Our western culture certainly has its roots in the Mediterranean, and only switched focus to cities such as Antwerp, London and Amsterdam.


 

After a brief rest at the apartment which faced the sea, we went to the Promenade des Anglais which is a marvelous paved path, along the shores of Nice. It was established by the British in the mid. 18th. Century when so many came here to enjoy the wonderful warmth and sunshine. Today it's referred to as La Prom and is the place to see, and be seen...just sitting in the sunshine, enjoying lunch and a drink...whatever pleases you. Luxury hotels north of La Prom such as the world famous Negresco cater to the wealthy, but other small hotels are quite affordable.

Later in the afternoon we went to the local beach, and sat under tall palm trees watching hundreds of tourists doing their stuff. The gleaming white sands of the Cote d'Azure beaches are covered with sun worshipers, and women bathers may go topless if they choose to. It's good to be part of a more liberal scene for a change, where people are not reined in so much. We are still so terribly Victorian in Canada...time to move forward.
 


Saint Jean Cap Ferrat has long been a play ground for the internationally rich and famous. As we left the beach and took the walkway around the Cap we came to the house of acclaimed British actor David Niven...a beautiful , pine shaded mansion, with a semi-circular boat dock curling out into the turquoise water.
I could just imagine some of the fabulous parties that must have taken place here in the golden age of Hollywood.
If walls could only talk. Tina Turner, Elton John, The Beatles and Bono all have had homes here, and some still do.

 

 

Toward Monaco was a large marina where luxury boats and yachts of all sizes rocked gently at the quay side. The pale, blue-grey cliffs rose steeply from the Mediterranean waters, and towered like some gigantic theatre back drop. This was definitely a place unlike any other I had ever seen before, and I could easily see what had attracted artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Chagal, Renoir, and Jean Cocteau to live here. I loved the light, the colours, textures, smells and just the feel of it all.
 


The environment an artist lives and works in is so important to being happy and productive. When you find yourself living in a place of such natural beauty and steeped in history, how could you be unhappy?

 

 

I would move there to live in a minute, and stay for ever if I could!
Time to take a rest and do more exploring tomorrow.

 

 

 

Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

 

 

 

 

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) The French Riviera https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/10/the-french-riviera Sat, 10 Oct 2015 03:13:38 GMT
Culture Projects: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/10/culture-projects  

In 2012, Julia Yakobi, an artist friend of mine, and owner of “Canadian Art Concepts Corporation” proposed that three Canadian artists, including me, exhibit their work in Moscow.

 

 


The title of the exhibition was “Northern Nature Compilations: Contemporary Canadian Art in Moscow”.
We were extremely pleased when “The Central House of Artist”granted us the use of their world famous European exhibition space and show centre  for our exhibition.

It was only through Julia's connections and the uniqueness of our project that this came about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






 

If you go to www.russianmuseums.info/M1866 you will see what a grand space it is, and how it figures so prominently in the Moscow art scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We felt very honoured as this was the first time that Canadian artists had ever been offered an exhibition at this prestigious venue. The exhibition date was set for June 2013.

Now the hard work of fund raising began, as this was not going to be an inexpensive project.
There are so many details to consider eg. shipping the work to and from Moscow, insurance, accommodations for four people for one month, museum expenses, publicity in Canada and Russia etc.

The list went on and on.

We all contributed ideas and energy to the fund raising strategy, and set about to raise the money required for this important, international, cultural event. Julia spent endless hours on developing proposals, and marketing strategies...also flying to Moscow once or twice for extended periods of time to work with the Russian people she knew who supported our project.

Julia contacted various Canadian Government departments asking for help, or suggestions on who to approach. She followed up every lead given, but sadly to say, not one dollar of Canadian money was offered to help us to promote or carry out our exhibition.

The only suggestion that was given was that each of us should apply for a Canada Council of the Arts Grant and maybe that would fund our project.

We all knew that it would not.

Anyone who has applied for government grants of any kind knows that the competition for such funding is extremely stiff. The likelihood of even one of us receiving a grant was not great, so this suggestion gave us little encouragement.

We felt very disappointed that our own government could not see the importance of our exhibition, and give us a helping hand of some sort...but none was offered.

Appeals for financial support to other institutions and private individuals fell on deaf ears as well, and as a group we simply did not have the means to carry out our once in a life time project. It was terribly disappointing...a bitter pill to swallow you might say, but what else could we do?


Much more financial support needs to be in place for Canadian artists to develop and succeed at home and also at the international level.
We must pressure our politicians to do this, otherwise how can our culture develop and remain vibrant?

It is common knowledge that athletes receive funding for training from the government as well as from corporations and private donors, so why can't artists have the same advantage I wonder?

 The Arts just don't get their fair share of media coverage either. Compare the number of pages devoted to Arts and Entertainment with the Sports pages in any Canadian newspaper and you will see what I mean.

I brought this point up once with the editor of a large Canadian newspaper and was told ,“Well I guess that people just aren't that interested in art.” I could not believe what I had just heard, and this from a supposedly intelligent, well educated person.

I think that lack of financial support goes back to a general lack of knowledge and understanding of the importance of Arts and Culture in society. Our education system must always support the Arts, and not cut programs when budgets shrink.
The classical Greek model of education was correct to include academic, athletic and artistic components. They recognized that these three areas were vital in order to create well rounded citizens, and we must do the same today in the modern world.

We have such a long way to go to catch up to other countries much smaller than Canada who staunchly support their artists....Denmark and Vietnam for example.

Our Federal and Provincial governments must do more, and a few grants isn't nearly enough. If you don't speak loudly, nothing will change...and that would be a disaster for Canada's creative sector.

The sad thing is that everybody loses!
Believe me, Arts & Culture is not high on our government's list of priorities,
BUT IT SHOULD BE!

Think about this when elections are on the horizon and vote for “Canadian Culture.” Do you want to see the CBC disappear?
This may happen if you don't speak up now, so be vocal!

 

 

 

 

 

 





Speak up for artists and the Arts, otherwise nothing will change, and believe me, we have many wonderful artists in this country. Many of our top artists have been lost to the United States as well as European countries.

They left Canada because “They Had To"!

...there was no work or support for them here. Why should artists have to starve in their homeland?

Cultural events enlighten everyone, and build bridges of good will between nations.
Is this not of great importance today when we see so many conflicts in the world?

 

 

Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

 

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/10/culture-projects Tue, 06 Oct 2015 03:58:46 GMT
Art and Culture: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/9/art-and-culture “Have you really ever considered the role that artists of all sorts play in our modern society?”

I dare say that most people have not.

When I start to teach a painting class I will often pose this question to my students to see what they think.

I usually get the obvious answers like … artists make paintings, sculptures, drawings, but there is much ,much more to be said.

Would we know anything of the life of early Man if artists had not recorded  the images of animals that they hunted and rituals they carried out? Take a look some time at the amazing drawings created in the caves of Altamira and Lascaux.

Who were these primitive, yet so sophisticated artists? We will never know, but we can still marvel at the works they left behind. Their art has enlightened us all these many centuries later, and immortalized the artists.

Bison, Cave of AltamiraA cave in Spain famous for its Upper Paleolithic cave paintings

Since the invention of paper by the Chinese around 220 BC, people have drawn on it and written on it. We should be very glad that they did, otherwise much history would be lost.

Remember that until around the mid 19th. Century photography did not exist. If it were not for early artists who recorded the ordinary, and extraordinary facets of life through writing and drawing, we would know nothing about the lives of our ancestors.

A piece of art can tell you what the people looked like, what they wore, where they lived, what they ate and drank, what they did for fun, what they believed in and treasured etc.

Early Canadian Homestead, 1859Cornelius Krieghoff.

I like to remind my students that other creative artists who make our lives so pleasant are architects , and three of my favourites are Frank Ghery, Douglas Cardinal, and Moshe Safdie.

If you google the names of these men you will see some of the amazing structures they have designed. I look at their work as large scale sculpture; not simply buildings.

Guggenheim Museum, BilbaoFrank Ghery

 

The Museum of Civilization, GatineauDouglas Cardinal

The National Gallery of Canada, OttawaMoshe Safdie

Then we also must consider the industrial designers who design all of the domestic products that we rush out to by.

A toaster, a car, a new gown, a TV, a duvet...whatever it is, the hand and mind of a creative artist were involved.

Graphic designers create colourful, effective advertising that we all see every day in the form of billboards, book and magazine covers, corporate logos, greeting cards...you name it.

They are very talented at communicating ideas through images and text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Of course photographers show us amazing slices of life that most of us would miss.

Their images can take us to far away places that few will ever visit, or record the events and faces of people who make a difference in our world.

Traditional Sing Sing Ceremony, Kairiru Island, Papua New Guinea.Sing Sing Ceremony, Papua New GuineaC. MacFarlane

Destination- Sing Sing at Kairiru IslandDestination- Sing Sing at Kairiru Island, Papua New GuineaC. MacFarlane


Interior designers create pleasing environments that we all enjoy, whether its a grand public space, a comfortable family home, or a school room where education takes place.

Some creative, intelligent person must decide on the best colour scheme, the most effective lighting, and of course how to maximize the comfort level of those using the space.

Is there anyone who does not enjoy reading a poem or a thrilling mystery, listening to music, regardless of the genre, or watching a graceful ballet on stage?

When you watch a really good movie, just think of all the artists it took to create it...actors, directors, make up artists, wardrobe designers, sound specialists, editors, special effects people etc. all contributed their artistic expertise to what you are enjoying.

Christopher PlummerChristopher PlummerTORONTO OUT December 15, 2010-Actor Christopher Plummer does a few scenes from Barrymore as part of a photo call at the Elgin Theatre. TORONTO STAR/TANNIS TOOHEY

Go to The National Gallery of Canada, the commercial art galleries, studio vernissages, and see what artists are saying through their work.

Meet and talk to the artists when ever you can, as they are wonderful people! When you travel to other countries, do the same thing.

It's the best way to connect to the people and their culture.

Alex Colville, To Prince Edward Island, 1965, acrylic emulsion on Masonite, 61.9 × 92.5 cm. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada (no. 14954). Purchased 1966.To Prince Edward Island, Alex ColvilleAlex Colville, To Prince Edward Island, 1965, acrylic emulsion on Masonite, 61.9 × 92.5 cm. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada (no. 14954). Purchased 1966.

 


Do you know about ACTRA, the Ontario Society of Artists, the Royal Canadian Academy, CARFAC and other arts associations?

If not, take a moment to check them out. They all support, represent and promote Canadian culture. You can too, so have a voice!

Artists must be seen as an absolutely vital part of society; not some fringe group who do these wonderful things as a hobby.

Without public support the Arts, and artists always suffer, so please go to exhibitions, buy art work, listen to good music, read the latest best sellers, visit the theatre, make sure that art programs flourish in all of our schools, and support those who give our world colour and soul.

Did you know that Canada's Culture Sector economic footprint in 2007 was $84.6 billion?
If you wish to know more about the value of Canadian culture go to the following websites.

*The Conference Board of Canada,”Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada's Creative Economy.”

www.theglobeandmail.com  “Canada's creative industries can lead the economic charge...”

Art nourishes and sustains our civilization - without it what would we have...who would we be?

 

Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) . ACTRA Alex Colville CARFAC Cave" Christopher Plummer Cornelius Krieghoff Culture`` Douglas Cardinal Frank Ghery Moshe Saphdie Ontario Society of Artists Royal Canadian Academy Star Wars ``Altamira ``Art and https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/9/art-and-culture Sat, 19 Sep 2015 11:30:00 GMT
September Workshop: Mill of Kintail https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/9/september-workshop-mill-of-kintail The third and final summer workshop went extremely well...as the two previous ones had.
Despite the fact that it is September, the weather continued to feel more like mid-July than early Fall. It didn't cause us any problem though, as the air conditioned Gatehouse studio was lovely and cool...perfect for working.

The leaves were slowly losing their summer time vigorous green and becoming more yellow-green in colour. The flowers around the Gatehouse were still blooming, but some are past. The apple tree in the front yard was bare, but that's the seasons of Nature for you. Despite what season it is, there is always something beautiful to see on the Mill of Kintail grounds.

In the morning we went outside to sketch whatever interested us, and then went back to the coolness of the studio to begin work on paintings. It was just too sticky outside to feel really comfortable. The coffee pot was constantly brewing in the kitchen, and classical music wafted gently from the little sound system I had taken along. This is a place to forget the outside world and just relax.

On Sunday afternoon we went to the Mill of Kintail Museum and Dr. Robert Tait McKenzie's wonderful studio. It's a studio that I wish was mine, and I can see why the McKenzie's loved to come here each summer to relax...gardening, swimming and sculpting were always activities that the doctor and his wife Ethel loved to do. It must have been difficult to leave here each Fall and return to Philadelphia to live and work.

Dr. McKenzie produced work that was masterful, strong and evocative. To stand in his studio and look at the plasters and bronzes he created is so inspiring. He was an artist who was world class, as well as being a physician of international fame. The Mill of Kintail was his retreat, and so close to the homestead on which he was raised. He was destined to leave the farm and achieve great things in so many fields.

To say he was a great Canadian is understating his abilities. You must visit his studio and see his incredible work for yourself some time.

An afternoon stroll by the river was a pleasure as always, and many pictures were taken.

I have strolled along the banks of the Indian River more times than I could count, and yet I always see something new...a slightly different light, the rough bark of a leaning birch tree, or some new colourful plants sprouting from rocks in the middle of the stream.

All you have to do is forget about the outside world and focus on the one in front of your eyes to see fabulous things.
That's what artists always do...look, question, marvel, and describe by some means what they see.
They are a super sensitive bunch those artists...not much escapes their inquisitive minds and all seeing eyes.

  The workshop opened with an introduction to special guest speaker and photographer Chris MacFarlane.

Chris presented a well received, hour long presentation on Photographic Compositional Techniques.
A lively discussion ensued with the consensus being that all of the techniques presented are shared in the compositional aspects of painting.

 

On Sunday afternoon Chris set up his special "cross polarization lighting" system and shot each of the paintings produced by the group.

Everyone was amazed at how their work looked so much more vibrant when lit properly. They all worked hard, and now have a good photo of their work to prove it.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the weekend experience, and some will be returning for the one day workshops on Oct. 10th., and Nov. 14th. I always think it's a positive sign when people return for more workshops...Chris and I must be doing it right!

There will also be a two day “Painting the Winter Landscape”  workshop at The Gatehouse Studio on Dec. 19 and 20th.

Why not give yourself an early Christmas gift of a workshop, and join us for learning, fun and friendship!

Register at Blair Paul <ttbpaul4@hotmail.com>

I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

 

 

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/9/september-workshop-mill-of-kintail Sat, 12 Sep 2015 23:27:00 GMT
My First Day in Brittany: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/9/my-first-day-in-brittany I had gone to bed the previous night with a blanket on, which was really necessary due to the cool night air that comes from the Atlantic Ocean. It was so great to sleep in a quiet, cool room, with the window open, and stars twinkling all above the Breton coast. I think that this was the first really good night of sleep I had since leaving Canada.

 

I woke up around 7am with the sun shining on the sea, and gulls flying across the sky on their daily search for food. Ahhh...it was so still and peaceful...was I in heaven? I got dressed, grabbed my camera and headed out side to explore. Everyone else in the house seemed to still be asleep so I was as quiet as I could be... not wanting to awaken the baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was totally thrilled with everything that I saw...like a kid in a candy store!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking along the small dirt road passed the house, I came to a narrow, grassy path which led down the hill towards the beach. Perfect, I thought, this is where I wanted to go.

Across a low stone wall adorned with pink roses I could see a white house gleaming in the sunshine. What a beautiful home! Maybe I'll have a place like that some day, and wouldn't that be a wonderful place for an artist to live?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun was just getting up in the sky, so the shadows were long and the light was soft. There was a heavy dew on the grass which made every blade of grass a shimmering jewel.

The tide had gone out so the beach was fully exposed for quite a distance out from shore.

Sea birds of many kinds soared above, swam on the calm water, and walked on the sand...all searching for their morning food.

A small boat made its way from where it had been anchored over night near an island a few hundred yards off shore.

 

 

This tiny island of rock was occupied by a magnificent house...like a little castle, and other small sail boats were tied up near by.

It must have been the private domain of someone who was quite wealthy, and this was their own magic little kingdom!

There were actually a lot of trees along the coast line...pines and other species I wasn't familiar with. Little roof tops, and wisps of smoke could be seen here and there, but there was no noise at all other than the voices of the busy sea birds.
This scene was such a dramatic contrast to the hustle and bustle of Paris. It was hard to believe that just yesterday I had been part of that world, and now I was in this paradise.
I decided then and there, that this was for me. How could I ever live here I wondered?
Well, you have to dream don't you?



I sat on a large ,grey, drift wood log that had come here from who knows where.
I just breathed in the cool salty air, and enjoyed the sights and sounds that flooded my brain.

I quickly snapped off a couple of rolls of film, which was no problem. Everything was so rich in colour, and texture that it made me want to paint. When I travel I am so keen to see everything that I am the “artist/tourist”; not taking time to sit and paint at the time, but will do it later.

 

My watch said 9 o”clock so I made my way back to the house, as I thought that the rest of the family might be up and breakfast would be starting. When I went inside I said good morning to everyone in the kitchen, and sat down to fresh coffee, toast and confiture.

It was so great to see people I knew and be able to speak English.

 

Did you see some interesting things to photograph and paint?” asked Benedict. “That's an understatement”, I said,”There's so much to see out there, it's hard to know where to start. You are so lucky to have a house here!” “We all feel the same way”, said Benedict, ”It really is a piece of Heaven I think”.

You are absolutely right,” I said.

 

 

Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) My First Day in Brittany https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/9/my-first-day-in-brittany Sat, 05 Sep 2015 11:30:00 GMT
A Day on the Boat: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/8/a-day-on-the-boat Brittany was such a fascinating place, and I must tell you about a day spent on the boat.

Once again I will just write what I wrote in my diary on July 30, 1994.

 

I slept in until 9:30...it was so cool and quiet here in Brittany...an unbelievable change from the hot bee hive that was Paris. I think about my Dad, and wonder how he felt when he was here in Brittany in June 1944 following D-Day. It would have been a terrifying place with the war going on all around him, but look at it now. You would never guess that a war had been fought here...such beautiful scenery, and peace. This is what all of those brave veterans were fighting for and what they gained through their struggle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following a light breakfast with Benedict and the boys, we made our way down to the beach where the little sail boat was tied up. Today we were off to the Isle de Brehat which is a couple of kilometres or so from here. The sky was clear and blue with only light winds, so a perfect day for this outing. Benedict has done this trip many times so nothing to worry about. We raised the sails and with the wind, tide and current in our favour we struck off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


With the tide being out, the rocks were exposed and in the early morning light they had a wonderful golden glow to them. Gulls circled above us hoping that we had food to share I guess, and on the distant rocky islands were perched large numbers of gannets, and cormorants. The salty air filled my lungs and out here on the boat you had a great sense of freedom! What must it have been like for my Irish ancestors crossing the Atlantic bound for a Canada that was new and strange to them? I can't imagine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


After sailing along the coast for an hour or more we saw Brehat and got as close to shore as we could before dropping anchor. We all boarded the dinghy and made the short paddle to shore where we met Benedict's cousin and his wife for a visit and tour of the island. After exchanging friendly greetings we started off on our walk down a narrow gravel road.

The island only has about 400 residents and there are no vehicles allowed here other than farm tractors or bicycles,” said Jean, “so it's very quiet and clean...how we like it.” As we walked past the farm houses, I could see cows and sheep grazing peacefully on the lush grass, and chickens scurrying about the barn yards. A tractor came down the lane and the driver gave us a friendly wave.
 

This place had a real magic to it...hard to describe, and I took many photos of the old stone houses, flowers, and rugged landscape. It would be a wonderful place to live, I thought to myself...such a sense of freedom and solitude in which to make art.
 

 

After a considerable walk we reached the lovely old home of Jean and his wife. We sat in the yard in the shade of a large pine tree and enjoyed cold drinks and snacks. After relaxing for a while we were given a lift by tractor back to where we had left the boat. It was time to go back to the mainland

 

The wind had dropped so we started the motor and headed off for home. It had been an amazing day site seeing by boat and on foot. Tomorrow we were going to the town of Paimpol, and more great things to see!

 

 

 

Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) A Day on the Boat Blair T. Paul https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/8/a-day-on-the-boat Sat, 29 Aug 2015 04:25:20 GMT
Mill of Kintail Painting Workshop, August 2015 https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/8/mill-of-kintail-painting-workshop-august-2015


The second workshop was sold out!

It was such a pleasure to work with eight talented enthusiastic painters for two days!

 




The weather was very humid, but with an air conditioned studio, we painted in comfort! On Saturday morning, when it was cool and pleasant outside we went sketching and taking pictures of subjects that we wanted to paint. The colours were still lush, but we all know that Fall is just around the corner.

Along the banks of the Indian River, dappled light ,gentle breezes, and the babbling of water over rocks made drawing and taking pictures a great pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The surroundings have great variety and lend themselves well to drawing and painting.

 










 

Around 2pm we took a break from painting and enjoyed Tea on the Lawn at the Mill of Kintail Museum.
It felt like a step back in time to Victorian days, as we drank tea from china cups, and ate a variety of delicious home made breads.

 

Inside the Gatehouse studio was a scene of people painting in peace, and enjoying the cool, quiet surroundings.

Everyone worked at their own pace and felt very relaxed.
 



The special presentation by photographer Chris MacFarlane was very well received, and people were eager to take notes and ask questions.

Chris also had several of his exquisite, fine art prints on display to further inspire the participants. (click to enlarge)
 

Frozen and open water, reflecting winter sunset.Fire & IceThe afterglow of the sunset illuminates the remaining open water on this bitter cold day of winter. Almonte, Ontario, Canada Exploring, Bay of Fundy, New BrunswickEarly morning sun breaks over the tentacles of exploring tree roots. Moon Rocks, Bay of Fundy, New BrunswickClick to enlarge

 

Chris also demonstrated the correct way to photograph paintings by using cross polarization techniques. Note the rich colours on the right photograph.

 

Without Polarization With Polarization
Without Polarization With Polarization


Participants were asked what their feelings were about the weekend, and comments were extremely positive.

    “A relaxing weekend...and I learned so much!"

     "You are an excellent teacher Blair...well done!"

     "I would recommend your workshop to anyone...it was great!"

     "I'm really looking forward to coming back for the September workshop."                         

 

Registration for the Sept. workshop is very good, only 2 seats left, so anyone who is interested
in participating should contact me soon.
Class size is limited to 8 people.

 

Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Blair T. Paul Chris MacFarlane Mill of Kintail https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/8/mill-of-kintail-painting-workshop-august-2015 Sun, 23 Aug 2015 02:57:00 GMT
A Visit to Brittany: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/8/a-visit-to-brittany Once again, I am looking in my Paris diary and see that on this day I called my friend Benedict. She came from France to Canada many years ago to live and work, and now she and her mother own two houses on the coast of Brittany. Before I left Ottawa she said to come out for a visit if I got tired of Paris. So today, sitting in a sweltering hot apartment, I decided to do just that. Time to escape this heat and humidity!

 

July 28/94:

 

Called Benedict this morning in Brittany and she said it was OK to come out today if I wanted to. I called the Gare Montparnasse and reserved a seat on the TGV to St. Brieuc tonight at 6:10. I went to Place des Voges to eat lunch and get out of the heat...well, at least sit in the shade of some lovely old trees, and watch the goings on. Being on the grounds of that beautiful, historic park was always a treat!

 

At 4pm I caught the #96 bus at Place de Ville for the the train station...arriving around 4:30.

After a short time, I bought my ticket, and studied the schedule posted on the board. It said that this was the route from Paris to Brest with short stops in Rennes and St. Brieuc. I entered the ultramodern, air conditioned TGV car at 6:10, slumped back into the super comfy seat and briefly closed my eyes. This felt so good...no humidity...ahhhh!

 

"TGV-Duplex Paris" by Sese Ingolstadt. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TGV-Duplex_Paris.jpg#/media/File:TGV-Duplex_Paris.jpg

The streamlined train pulled out of Gare Montparnasse slowly, and rolled through the quieter suburbs of Paris, heading towards the Atlantic coast. In a short time we had accelerated to about 200 km per hour and were speeding through the picturesque French country side. It was such a relief to feel cool, and to see open fields where cattle and sheep were peacefully grazing. What a different world this was compared to the hustle and bustle of steamy Paris.

 

I slept for a brief time, and honestly think it was the first time I “really slept” since leaving Canada on July 16th. The train seemed to glide on air rather than to be rolling on tracks...the ride was so smooth and quiet...like flying! It was fantastic, and it seemed like no time at all that we were arriving in Rennes. After a brief stop, we were once again zipping along on our way to St. Brieuc, and we arrived at 9:20...a little bit late, but I didn't mind.

 

I got off the train and there were Benedict and her two little nephews to meet me. It was so cool and pleasant...what a change of climate! I put my bag into the back of the blue Citroen and away we went towards the Brittany coast. We talked as we drove, and passed through several small villages before turning down a narrow dirt road with a sign at the end saying “Pors Gwen”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


After going by some charming stone cottages with gorgeous flowers all around, we went up a narrow, tree draped, lane way to the main house, and then to the guest house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benedict said that they had built both houses in the old Bretton style to be in keeping with the other architecture near by. “They are magnificent houses,” I said, “you must love it here.” “We do,”

said Benedict,”and we always come here as much as we can....a place to all be together.”

We parked the car and went inside where I met her lovely mother, sister Claire, and her three small children who were very cute. “Bring your bag, and I'll show you your room,” said Benedict, “You must be tired, and we can talk more tomorrow.” I followed her to a wonderful bedroom that had a large, open window facing out towards the sea. It was getting dark, but I could still see the small islands that dotted the bay, and little flickers of light from the houses scattered here and there. Sail boats sat at anchor near the islands, and sea gulls dotted the pink, evening sky. It was indeed a beautiful sight...a coastal paradise!

 

I put out the light, slipped between the cool, cotton ,sheets on my bed, thought about all the wonderful things I would see in the morning, and was sound asleep in no time.

 

 

 

Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/8/a-visit-to-brittany Sat, 15 Aug 2015 11:30:00 GMT
Off to the Louvre and Beyond: July 26, 1994 https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/8/off-to-the-louvre-and-beyond-july-26-1994 I usually keep a diary when I travel, so this morning I was glancing through my Paris diary to see what I did on this day 21 years ago.

I have decided to write it down for you just as I did then for myself...no edits.

5:15 PM :Just returned from a long walk that started this morning at 11:30. I walked to Hotel de Ville and then crossed to the Ile de la Cite to walk along the Seine.

It was so smothering hot even at that time that I sought out any shade that was to be had along the sidewalk.

In places there were lovely trees hanging over head which helped a lot. I was planning to go to the Muse D'Orsay, but when I got to the Port Royal opposite to the Louvre, I was getting tired of walking, so thought that I would go there another day.

Today it was going to be the Louvre...or the “High Art Cathedral” as I think of it.

I crossed the bridge and swung into the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel...a large open area leading to the Louvre.

I took many photos along the way, and then I saw a sign saying “Louvre entrance”.

A spectacular glass pyramid marked the spot, and I descended maybe twenty steps, went through a set of glass doors and found myself in a huge , underground complex of shops, restaurants etc.

I was so hot by the time I got there that I knew I just had to sit down and cool off.

I was incredibly thirsty so made my way over to the restaurant area and had the largest Coke I could get along with a good looking pastry.

I went over and sat down in the lovely air conditioned lobby area for half an hour or more.

This was such a welcome relief from the sauna-like conditions that existed above ground! Having finished my Coke and pastry, I felt quite rejuvenated, so made my way back to where I had seen the Louvre entrance sign.

Much to my disappointment, there were workers doing something there, and the Louvre was closed. Oh man...all that long, hot walk and no art to see! Well, it means coming another day I guess....what else to do?

 

Back up the stairs I went, into the heat and humidity, but at least a few clouds blotted out the sun and a bit of breeze was blowing from the west.

I crossed over to the Jardin des Tuileries and spent the next hour and a half or so exploring it and taking many pictures....

at least two rolls of film. The Jardin is quite immense...many acres of beautiful trees, flowers, sculptures and benches to sit on.

What an oasis!

Far off in the hazy distance is the Eiffel Tower. I won't get there today, but some day I will...have to see the icon of France close up.

At the extreme west end of the Jardin des Tuileries is the Place de Concord with its towering Obelisque, fantastic fountains gushing water, and cars and pedestrians carrying out some bizarre choreography.
Cars honked their horns, swerved and dodged each other as they raced around the traffic circle, and did their best to leave cyclists and pedestrians alive and well.
It was crazy! Apparently this is where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431 at the age of 19 for supposed crimes against the English. What a tragic end!
Just before leaving Canada, I had watched a Hollywood movie about Joan starring Grace Kelly.

Looking westward from there you could see the Arc de Triomphe and the famous, glitzy, Champs Elysees...the glamorous high fashion, restaurant , and art gallery strip of Paris.

I eventually made my way back to #2 Rue Pecquay...tired, hot and glad to be home.

What a day it was! No tour of the Louvre, but I'd seen many other spectacular Paris landmarks.
There was still more exploring to be done....but that could wait until another day.”

 

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

 

 

 

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/8/off-to-the-louvre-and-beyond-july-26-1994 Sat, 08 Aug 2015 11:30:00 GMT
Exploring More of Paris: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/7/exploring-more-of-paris I have written about Paris before in several blogs, and there is still so much more to say.

When a city is over 2000 years old, there is a great deal to look at and think about.

The area that is now Paris was originally settled by a Celtic tribe called the Parisii around 250 BC.

In 52 BC Julius Caesar captured the settlement and renamed it Lutetia (mid-water dwelling).
Eventually the settlement was re-named Paris, expanded to the right and left banks of the Seine River, and became a Christian city.

Canada is only 148 years old as a country...a mere baby compared to European history.

As a Canadian from a small village, I had only read about Paris in dusty history books, or seen the Eiffel Tower on television...that was about it. Because of the illustrious art achievements in France, and particularly in Paris, making it the “art centre of the world”, I had a great desire to go there and see it for myself.
Thanks to the generosity of my friend Joe Plaskett, I was allowed this opportunity.

Visitors to other countries are generally attracted to the familiar icons that have attracted so many in the past. I was staying in the very heart of Paris, just two short blocks north of the Seine in the Marais district in the 3rd. & 4th. Arrondissement. This would have been one of the first areas built upon by the Romans so long ago.

Walking south from where I stayed brought me quickly to the Hotel de Ville...the magnificent City Hall of Paris, first constructed in1357.
Several extensive renovations occurred over the centuries until we have what we see today...a stunning building designed in the French Renaissance style.
There is a large, open, public space in front of the City Hall where people meet to talk, play and eat lunch under the many trees which have been planted there.

The Seine is nearby, and it's a delight to watch the traffic cross both the Pont Neuf and Pont Notre Dame.

Many boats, large and small pass underneath almost nonstop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the north end of the Pont Notre Dame sits the Notre-Dame Cathedral, undoubtedly one of the best known churches in the world.

Construction began in 1163 and continued for 182 years!

That's incredible when you think of the speed at which we slap up buildings in the western world.

Of course if ours last 100 years we think they are old.

 

 

 

 

I often walked down to the Notre-Dame Cathedral in the early evening after having dinner, partly for exercise, but mostly just to admire the Cathedral and see other people relaxing around it.
 

It was built in the French Gothic style, has many beautiful sculptures, especially around the western facade, and is 96m tall.
The stained glass work is amazing as well.

Behind the main body of the cathedral you can see the huge flying buttresses used in its construction.

 

Apparently this was the first time this idea had been tried out...and it worked very well.

As the sun slowly set over Paris, I would wander back to 2 Rue Pecquay, ready to enjoy a glass of wine, Chopin, and great memories of what I had seen.

What will tomorrow bring?

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

 

 

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/7/exploring-more-of-paris Sat, 01 Aug 2015 11:30:00 GMT
Teachers and Education https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/7/teachers-and-education  

I often think about influential teachers I have had at different times of my life.

Often, the value of a good teacher is not appreciated until years later, which is really unfortunate.

 

As a  boy, I attended a one room school house in rural Lanark County, Ontario - where one teacher managed all of the grades from one through to eight. There were six year old and 13 year old students sharing the same class room.

Today this would seem odd... unmanageable I suppose, but not then.
Our teacher Mrs. Barr, who had started teaching at the young age of eighteen, had everything well under control.
We were all treated with kindness and respect. Going to school was a pleasure, and we all learned in an enriched environment.

 

 

 

Mrs. Barr said to me, “I think you will be a scientist one day, because you are always asking so many questions about everything”. 
I am an artist; not a scientist, but I still question almost everything.

 

In high school I had several excellent teachers, but one I think of fondly is Mr. Tom Graham.

Not only was he my gym and health teacher, but he was also my guidance counselor.

It was he who said, “I think you have a lot of artistic talent and you should consider going to the Ontario College of Art in Toronto.”

If he hadn't appreciated my talents, and made that suggestion, I don't know where I might have ended up.

 


I put together a portfolio of my work, submitted it to OCA, and lo and behold, I was accepted...surprise, surprise....


I will say that I was pretty nervous about going to The Ontario College of Art...all of those teenage insecurities were at play. Am I talented enough to go there? Can I handle the work I'll have to do? Where will I live? I was going there with only my raw talent, and no art training at all.

As it turned out, I really enjoyed being at art school in the wild days of the early 1970's.
I made many new friends, studied things I had never heard of, and got to know some amazing artists/ teachers.

The four years I spent in Toronto were as much an education in Life as Art. “Experience” is also a very good teacher.

One of my favourite teachers at OCA was Aba Bayefsky, who had been a war artist during WWII.
When he left the army he went to OCA to study, and continued to teach watercolour there for many years to come.
He gave good direction to students, was always patient, pleasant, and offered constructive criticism that really helped me.

A collection of Aba's work is in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Canada.

Another great teacher was Eric Friefeld who taught me drawing and was also an excellent watercolourist.

He had a gentle, kind manner and a good sense of humour.
Like Aba, Eric also offered wonderful advice on how to improve your work.

I always looked forward to my drawing and watercolour classes, in which I excelled.
When I was in my fourth year there, I was nominated for a watercolour scholarship.



June Drutz who taught me costume drawing, and Franklin Arbuckle were also outstanding people and teachers.
 

It is with great fondness that I think of my time in OCA classes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1984, after graduating from the education program at Queen's University, I officially became a teacher.

I take the responsibilities this title carries very seriously.

  • The keys to being a good, or even great teacher are to have a warm personality, know your subject, and understand the needs and concerns of your students.

  • Don't take for granted that they know things, and always ask if they understand what you are trying to teach them.

I have been a practicing artist for forty-one years now, and a teacher for thirty-one years.They have been wonderful years, and I still enjoy painting and teaching as much as ever!

When students tell me,"I see the world differently because of your class,"I am very pleased!

I like to think that what I have learned, and can pass on to others will somehow make their lives happier, and the world a better place.

 

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Teachers and Education https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/7/teachers-and-education Tue, 28 Jul 2015 02:02:26 GMT
Mill of Kintail Painting Workshop, July 2015 https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/7/july-workshop


The workshop was a wonderful success!

The weather was glorious, and we were able to work indoors and out.

Sketching in the shade of a huge maple or oak tree, and listening to birds singing overhead can't be overrated!
 

 

Along the banks of the Indian River, dappled light ,gentle breezes, and the babbling of water over rocks made drawing and painting a great pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 


The natural surroundings have great variety and lend themselves well to drawing and painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Inside the Gatehouse studio was a scene of people painting in peace, and enjoying the quiet of the surroundings.

 



Everyone worked at their own pace and felt very relaxed.
 

The special presentation by photographer Chris MacFarlane was very well received, and people were eager to take notes and ask questions.

Chris also had several of his exquisite, fine art prints on display to further inspire the participants. (click to enlarge)
 

Frozen and open water, reflecting winter sunset.Fire & IceThe afterglow of the sunset illuminates the remaining open water on this bitter cold day of winter. Almonte, Ontario, Canada Exploring, Bay of Fundy, New BrunswickEarly morning sun breaks over the tentacles of exploring tree roots. Moon Rocks, Bay of Fundy, New BrunswickClick to enlarge

 

Chris also demonstrated the correct way to photograph paintings by using cross polarization techniques. Note the rich colours on the right photograph.

 

Without Polarization With Polarization
Without Polarization With Polarization

 

Participants were asked what their feelings were about the weekend, and comments were extremely positive.

 

 

 

 

“One of the most fun and relaxing weekends I've had in a long time.”

“I learned a lot and really enjoyed the painting and photography tips.”

“ I enjoyed it so much I intend to sign up for the Aug. or Sept. one too.”

“Everyone was so nice to be with...sorry it had to come to an end.”
 

Registration for the Aug. and Sept. workshops is very good, so anyone who is interested

in participating should contact me soon. Class size is limited to 8 people.

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Blair T. Paul Chris MacFarlane Mill of Kintail https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/7/july-workshop Sun, 19 Jul 2015 03:26:00 GMT
“Paris Days...Much to See and Do” https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/7/-paris-days-much-to-see-and-do    I would often be up and sitting at the breakfast table by 6 am. Paris only seemed to start to quiet down around 2 am ,and then began to resume it's daily rhythm by 7am.
This seemed to be the routine, regardless of what day it was.

 

Following a cup of coffee, and some baguette with apricot confiture, my days usually started early...partly because I was looking forward to seeing new things, and the extreme heat and humidity didn't let me sleep too well.


Quite often, I would write in my diary anything I thought was interesting.
Sometimes I made sketches of things in the room, or just sat admiring Joe's work that was pinned to the walls.

Joe had a good classical music collection, so I would always be playing albums to soothe my soul and break the silence.

Chopin and Mozart are two of my favourites...especially Chopin though. His music has a soulful edge to it that always touches me.

Music transports you to distant places and times...as all art does if it is successful. |

As Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of every day life.”


One of my very pleasant discoveries was the Eglise Saint Eustache on rue Montorgueil, near the entrance to the ancient market area called Les Halles.

It was only about a fifteen minute walk from Joe's house to the church, and it was worth the walk.

I came upon it quite by accident when I was out for a stroll. The little folding map of Paris I always carried with me showed many of the important sites that you could see, so it was very valuable to have.


The Eglise Saint Eustache is a magnificent church built between 1532 and 1562. In front, facing south toward the Sein is a beautiful man made water feature.
People sit here and admire the church, the sculptures, talk and enjoy more quiet surroundings. This was the church that Mozart chose for the funeral of his mother.
There is nothing like trees and water to make you feel relaxed...most other people would agree I think.

The prominent sculpture was a very large head carved from stone, and lying on its side.
Of course it was a tourist attraction.
While I was taking a picture of it, a petite, elderly French woman approached me and asked if I would take a picture of her in front of it...which I did.
Then she insisted on taking one of me beside the big head, which was very kind of her.

|It's these chance encounters with other people that make traveling such a rich experience.

It was extremely hot and humid once again...about 32 degrees celsius, the air was white and very little breeze stirred the trees.

Even the birds were quiet.

I entered the church and it was so beautifully cool and quiet.



The ceiling was constructed of very high vaults, and at the far end of the church was the altar and a large statue of the Virgin Mary.
Tall candles flickered in the low light of the church and a woman knelt, praying quietly.


I sat peacefully on a well worn wooden bench at the back of the church just trying to take in all that my surroundings had to offer.
The relaxed and calm feeling I had was very welcome, and I stayed there for almost an hour.
Then I decided I should move on and have something to eat on my way home.
As it turned out, I returned to this peaceful sanctuary many times.

It was truly an oasis in the middle of a very sizzling Paris.

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Paris Days...Much to See and Do https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/7/-paris-days-much-to-see-and-do Sun, 05 Jul 2015 12:09:20 GMT
Artists are Collectors https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/5/artists-are-collectors   I have always been a collector of things.

When I was a kid it was rocks, fossils, nature cards, hockey cards, coins, stamps....none had any great monetary value, but all had some sort of personal value to me.

 

Now I collect things like beautiful antique pieces of glass and ceramic ware, small silver items, and again nothing very expensive, but somehow they catch my eye and make me want to have them around to look at.

    Everyone collects their personal treasures and surrounds themselves with them throughout life...we all do, I guess it's a human instinct or desire.

Even animals like pack rats and crows delight in filling their nests with shiny objects that have absolutely no functional purpose.

 

Maybe even these creatures just like the glitter and shine of certain objects.
Scientists have not come up with any explanation for this sort of behaviour in animals.

   For artists I can see the attraction to collecting beautiful things, and often these objects become inspiration for their work.
It's very convenient to have a varied collection of interesting things to use as props in paintings, and of course artists have done this for a long time.

   When I was staying at Joe Plaskett's house at 2 Rue Pequay, Paris, it was delightful to see all of the wonderful treasures that he had purchased at flea markets and other places over the years.

His house was tall and narrow, consisting of four floors in all, and each as rich in artifacts as any museum.

One of his favourite things to collect was antique mirrors, which appeared in many of his paintings and pastels.
There were also countless small figurines, vases, candle sticks, and very tiny objects perhaps made of ivory.

His tastes were broad and wonderful to behold.

Wherever the light was good there were also different species of plants in pots, as well as dried flowers in ceramic vases.

Ivy climbed and hung as close to the windows at it could negotiate, while very tiny cactus seemed to flourish in small clay pots on shelves.

A beautiful antique glass chandelier hung in the dining room above the table and bathed the room in warm, relaxing light in the evenings.

A fireplace with a white marble mantle dominated the east side of the dining room and a large, multi-panelled pastel work covered the wall just to the left of it.

Needless to say, it was a very inspiring room to sit in and think about what work one might undertake, or which museum would be visited the following day.

As I said earlier, this was my day to day museum, and always intriguing to look at. Every day I'm sure I discovered something new admire.

      Joe told me that in the 1950's, matinee idol Cary Grant would visit the house whenever he was shooting a movie in Paris.

It seems that Joe's friend who co-owned the house was an excellent portrait painter, and Mr. Grant would come to have a small portrait painted of his leading lady as a gift from him.

In return one of the things he would exchange with the artist were beautiful, life sized marble eggs.
I noticed some of these amid all of the other curiosities, but had no idea of their significance until Joe told me.

     It's twenty years ago now that I visited Paris for the first time, and the memories and photos I collected then are invaluable to me.
Each picture I took brings back wonderful memories and magically makes it seem that it all happened just yesterday.

These things help to create rich thoughts of people, place and things gone by.

This is our life, and we all have stories to tell...stories that identify us as who we are.


Every drawing or painting I create does exactly the same thing. They are the fruit of my experiences to be left behind for others to enjoy.

I'm happy about that.

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Artists Collectors are https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/5/artists-are-collectors Sat, 23 May 2015 04:00:00 GMT
Paris -where do I start? https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/paris--where-do-i-start   I had enjoyed my outing to Montmartre with Cleo, but now I had to figure out things on my own.
I locked the door at 2 Rue Pecquay and struck off up the street towards Rue Rambuteau. Almost immediately I saw an overhead sign saying Canada Travel...interesting...I must go in and check it out.

Once in the door, I was met at the counter by a beautiful woman who said “Bonjour monsieur”. “Oh,bonjour”, I said, “my French is very poor, do you speak English?” “Yes”, she said with a smile, “where are you visiting from?” “I am from Ottawa”, I said,”my first time in Paris.” “I am from Montreal”, she said, “and I just started working here two months ago.
My name is Lynda”. “A pleasure to meet you, my name is Blair”, I said. “Would you like a little map of Paris to take with you?” she asked. “That would be great”, I said, and she handed me one from under the counter. “Come in any time if you need help,” she said with a smile, “always nice to help a fellow Canadian.” “Thank you very much, I will”, I said,”...see you later then.”

  Once outside I looked at the map and tried to figure where I was in the scheme of things.


I recognized about where I was, and could see that if I continued east down Rambuteau.
 

I would come to a pretty large park called Place des Vosges.
It was a very warm, humid day in Paris again, and being out doors in the fresh air seemed like a good idea.

Most houses have no air conditioning, including Joe's, so it was starting to get stuffy by the time I had finished breakfast.
I hadn't slept all that well either, as being in a strange place sometimes does to you.

I had a bag with my sketch book, pencils, and water bottle, as well as my old reliable camera over my shoulder. Time to strike off.
 

I walked east along Rue Rambuteau admiring the architecture and marveled at the insane traffic.

Cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, bicycles and pedestrians all rushed about, struggling to get to their destinations.

Vehicles were parked at weird angles in any space they could find.

I can't imagine having to face this congestion every day to get to work, but somehow it all worked , like some well choreographed dance.

   In about ten minutes I entered one of my favourite shops...the patisserie, and gazed hungrily at all of the beautiful creations upon their shelves.
 

They had everything...breads of all kinds, pastries that were glazed, plain, covered with fruit, and anything else you could think of.
 

I bought two pain aux raisin because they  looked especially great, put them into my bag and headed to the park.

  Just down the street to the right I could see tall trees towering above the concrete and traffic.

Ahhh...Place des Vosges park...an oasis in the mayhem! It was built in 1612 by King Henry IV as a tranquil show place in the heart of Paris.
 


It measures about 140m x 140m and is surrounded by beautiful red brick buildings constructed in the same design.

The acclaimed writer Victor Hugo had lived near by. What a wonderful space!
A large monument honouring King Louis XIII stood in the south east corner and a grand fountain spouted water in the center of the park.

Small benches were placed on all sides of the park and many people sat under the trees enjoying the shade and peaceful surroundings.
 

Small children ran about and splashed their hands in the fountain. I saw an empty bench and sat down... now this was the place I needed to find!

  I sat almost all day, just enjoying the feeling this place gave me.

I made a quick sketch of the fountain and took photos of people just sitting around enjoying the park as I was doing.

People need some form of Nature in their lives no matter where they live. Parks are not a luxury; they are a necessity...relief for the tired mind.

I knew that this would not be my only visit to the park. If the heat continued I expected to be here almost every day....and I was.

 

 

 

 

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography

 
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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Paris.-where do I start? https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/paris--where-do-i-start Sat, 28 Mar 2015 13:20:00 GMT
Strolling around Montmartre: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/strolling-around-montmartre Strolling around Montmartre:

It was the evening of July 17th, and I felt like I hadn't slept in days. Jet lag does that to you. 

I found a nice little place to stay called The Hotel des Arts, checked in, and left my heavy suitcases in my room. Cleo asked if I cared to go for a walk and I said sure.

We took the subway up to Montmartre, and climbed the steep stairs to the street level. It was bustling with early evening activity.
The cafes were all full of patrons dining and drinking, neon lights flashed and cars and scooters rushed by.

It was anything but quiet. “We'll turn up this little street”, said Cleo and have something to eat at a quieter cafe...if you are hungry”.

“I'm starving “, I said as we strolled along, dodging people as we walked.

“You know that we are 130 metres above Paris right now”, said Cleo, “It's the 18th arrondissement in what they call the Right Bank District”. “I've heard of the Left Bank District”, I said. “That's south of the Sein”, said Cleo. 

“At one time we would almost be out in the country side now...farm land all around here. There would have been fewer buildings, and pretty shabby ones at that. 

Of course it attracted artists because rents were cheap...and so was the wine. It had a wild reputation back at the turn of the century.

We found the little quaint cafe that Cleo liked and sat down. Soon a waiter appeared with a white towel draped over his shoulder, just like in the movies.

“And what will you be ordering tonight?” he asked in English. “I'll have a Perrier”, said Cleo, “and I'll have a Stella, please,” I said.

“Merci”, said the waiter as he disappeared into the tiny bar. “Well, what do you think of Paris so far?” asked Cleo.

“I've never been to a city like this in my life”, I said “it's so busy and colourful”. “Pretty good for 2000 years old, huh?” said Cleo.

“Really? I didn't know it was that old. “Oh yes, it's been here a very long time”, said Cleo. “I have lived here for quite a while.

After completing my Fine Art degree at Harvard, I got married, it didn't work, I got tired of the States and came back here to live...that's my story! You must be exhausted, right? After we eat you'll probably want to get back to the hotel and crash.”

“Oh yeh”, I said, “That beer will probably put me to sleep but I'll have it anyway.”

I woke up and glanced at the clock on the night stand...7am. Where had the night gone? I was so tired when I had checked into the hotel that I couldn't sleep.
After watching TV for a while I eventually dozed off...no choice. Considering that this hotel was in the busy down town, it was nice and quiet.
The bedroom was small, but clean and comfortable, and not pricey.
I had a quick shower, went down to the hotel dining room and enjoyed a good breakfast.
Then I called Cleo to see when we would meet to wander around some more.
“Will 11 o'clock work for you?” she asked. “Sure, that will be fine”, I said, “I'll take the bus up to Montmartre and we'll meet where we got off the subway last night...OK?” “Yes, that's fine”, she said, “see you around 11”.

Cleo had worked as a Paris tour guide at one time so knew where all of the interesting places to see were located.

First stop was the Basilique du Sacre Coeur...an amazingly beautiful, white, domed church that rises high above the tiled apartment roof tops.

Inside it was cool and tranquil with much ornate decoration.

Then it was off to see the famous Moulin Rouge Burlesque house...the big red windmill is easy to see.

I didn't care to go in so just had a look from the street.

“Would you like to see Picasso and Van Gogh's studios?” asked Cleo.

“Oh I definitely would “ I said, and we headed off down a narrow side street.

 

 

 

 

When I saw them it was like seeing shrines...and I could imagine those two incredible artists coming out the doors of their studios...maybe to have a glass of wine, or eat a baguette with other artist friends.

I can only imagine what Montmartre would have been like in those days...ah to dream!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Strolling around Montmartre https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/strolling-around-montmartre Sat, 21 Mar 2015 21:45:00 GMT
Arriving at 2 Rue Pecquay: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/arriving-at-2-rue-pecquay When I arrived at the home of Joe Plaskett at 2 Rue Pecquay, Paris, I was feeling pretty tired and a bit bewildered.
It seemed like a long time since I had gotten on the plane in Ottawa.
As I stepped from the taxi and took my bags , I could feel rain falling on my face...just a gentle rain, but it was very hot and humid too. I stood there on the sidewalk looking around me to see where Joe's house was. “Are you Blair?”, I heard a woman's voice say.
Was I hearing things? I felt like Dr. Livingston being met in the jungles of Africa....”Dr. Livingston I presume”. I glanced around and saw a woman looking at me and holding a newspaper over her head to keep the rain off.

Yes I am”, I said, “and who are you?” “My name is Cleo and I'm a friend of Joe's. He asked me to meet you here because the guy who was supposed to let you in has gone off for the weekend and won't be back until Sunday evening”. “Oh”, I said “that changes things a bit then for sure”. “Don't worry, we can go for a coffee, and then get you a nice, inexpensive hotel to stay in until Sunday evening. Does that sound OK?” she said. “Sure, that'll be fine...let's go”, I said.

We walked just up to the corner of Rue Pecquay and Rue Rambuteau to a quiet little cafe and went inside. My bags were heavy to carry and pull so I was glad to set them down. “Will this be OK?” asked Cleo. “Sure, this is great”, I said, “and thanks so much for meeting me, otherwise I would have been very confused.” “You are welcome”, said Cleo “Joe called me to make sure I was here as he was worried what you might think when you found his door locked.” “Well I would have been surprised, that's for sure”, I said as we settled into our chairs and ordered two coffees.

So you are from Ottawa”, said Cleo. “That's right”, I said, “and you have lived in Paris for a long time have you?” “I was actually born here, but then my parents moved to New York when I was very young and that's where I grew up. I went to school there, got married to a difficult art dealer, didn't like it, and escaped back to Paris about 20 years ago”. “I wondered”, I said, “because your English is perfect”. “I have an old friend living in Montreal”, she said,”Do you know the city very well?” “No, not really,” I said, I just take work to a gallery there and that's about all I know of the city...but it is a beautiful place”.

The coffee came and we continued to chat and sip the delicious dark brew. “This will wake me up”, I said, “It's been a very long day since I left Canada!” “You must be exhausted”, she said with a smile. “I really and truly am”, I said, “But a good night's sleep will fix that”. “There are lots of good, clean little hotels around here so we will have no trouble finding you a place to stay”, Cleo said. “Where do you live?” I asked. “I have a little third floor walk up apartment in Montmartre...nothing fancy but it's all I can afford, and I have everything I need there”. “Sounds fine”, I said, “who needs fancy anyway?”

Montmartre is an artistic district in Paris, isn't it?” I said. “Oh yes,” said Cleo, “Artists like Dali, Picasso, Van Gogh, Modigliani and numerous others had studios there. It was a wild place at the turn of the century; not a touristy area like it is now.

The famous Moulin Rouge is there and is still entertaining people just as it did long ago. I like to live there because it's high up, looks over Paris, and the air is better. In the summer it's cooler than down here in the Marais district where Joe lives. You noticed how humid it is I guess.” “Yes, I sure did...just like Ottawa in July...I'm surprised,” I said.

Most Parisiens leave Paris in the summer for holidays in Brittany or Normandy...it's so much cooler there. They are lucky,” said Cleo, “But I love it here too! After you get rested, I'll meet you in Montmartre and show you around if you'd like”. “I would like that very much!”, I said as we finished our coffees.

Tomorrow is another day in the adventure, and I was looking forward to it!

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Joe Plaskett https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/arriving-at-2-rue-pecquay Sat, 14 Mar 2015 17:00:00 GMT
Anything can happen: https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/anything-can-happen    I've found that many of the plans I have made in life didn't materialize...at least not the way I had originally envisioned them. What I find to be amazing though is that many of the wonderful experiences I have had, just came out of the blue...fell into my lap.

  I would like to talk about one such occasion now. Since the mid 1970's after I left art school I was a big fan of the work of Joseph Plaskett...attending as many of his exhibitions as I could.

  Mr. Plaskett was a remarkable Canadian artist with a working career which spanned more than seven decades. He was born in British Columbia in 1918 and passed away at his home in England in 2014.

He was taught by such artists as A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris. In 1946 he received the Emily Carr Scholarship and went to California to paint and study.

   After returning to Canada he taught for a short time, but found that this was not an agreeable career for him. In 1951 he decided to leave Canada for Paris and that was to become his home for about fifty years. He and a friend purchased a historic property in the Marais district of Paris and that became both studio and home.

In 1994 I learned that Mr. Plaskett was having one of his Canadian exhibitions at a prominent gallery in Montreal. I had read much about Paris and dared to dream that some day I might actually go there and see what a wonderful place it really was. I thought about all of the great artists who had lived and worked there including Picasso and Van Gogh to name but two. It had been the “Art Capital” of the world for many years, and was called the “City of Light”. I thought I would like to talk with Mr. Plaskett some time to ask him what it was like living in Paris and could he give me any advice if I were to go there.

    Something compelled me to pick up my telephone and call the Montreal gallery. The gallery owner  answered the phone and I asked, “Could I speak with Mr. Plaskett if he is in, please?” “Is he expecting your call?” asked the owner. “No”, I said, but if he might talk to me for a minute I would be very pleased.”  “I will ask”, said the owner. “Hello”, came a voice on the phone. “Mr. Plaskett?” I said. “Yes, it is”, said the voice “and who am I speaking with?” “I'm Blair Paul...a Canadian artist living near Ottawa”, I answered nervously. I am a very big fan of your work and wanted to ask you a few questions about Paris...maybe staying there for a while to work. Will you be exhibiting in Ottawa after Montreal?” I asked. “No, not this time, but if you would like to come to Montreal tomorrow and meet for lunch I would be pleased to talk with you. Can you bring along some examples of your work?”

I'm sure that my mouth fell open in disbelief, as I said “Yes, that would be fantastic...around noon then at the gallery?” “That will be just fine”, he said, “I'll look forward to seeing you”.

   The next morning I caught the bus to Montreal, made it to the gallery by noon and went through the front door. “Good afternoon”, said a man at the front desk...the owner I supposed. “I'm here to meet Mr. Plaskett”, I said. “Oh, right, I'll tell him you are here”. In a moment or two Mr. Plaskett came through, shook hands and said “Let's go for a bite to eat if you wish”.

   We went to a restaurant close by, discussed Paris, and all it could offer a young artist like me. I showed him slides of my work I had brought along, and he looked at them very thoughtfully. “Your work is very good, and you should go there”, he said. “I would love to some time, but I don't know where I would stay”. “I go to England every summer so you could stay at my house in Paris”, he said. That would be great, but I couldn't afford it”, I said. “It's yours to use...no charge”, he said with a smile.

     In July, I was on the plane heading for Paris...just like that. One day I was sitting at home       dreaming of Paris, and in a month I was there. Amazing!

     I truly believe in synchronicity.

     Leave yourself open to possibility, and “anything can happen!”

 

     “Thanks Joe”.

 

 

 

To order Joe Plaskett's book contact http://ronsdalepress.com/authors/joseph-plaskett/

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and produced by: C. MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Anything can happen Joseph Plaskett - Blair T. Paul https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/anything-can-happen Sat, 07 Mar 2015 06:00:00 GMT
"Found Art" can equal great beauty." https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/found-art-can-equal-great-beauty Previously I mentioned the joy I feel when meandering down back streets, alleyways and less traveled paths with my camera in hand.

This could be right in my own neighbourhood, or in a foreign setting. It really gets my heart racing when I stumble upon something that to most people is “nothing” or worse...”garbage”.

It's as much a gut feeling as an artistic sense that brings me to an abrupt halt in front of something I think has aesthetic merit.

As I said before”Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and I think that no truer words could be said when “found art” presents itself.

 

I have heard that humans seem to generally walk about looking straight ahead or down; not up.
I guess since the disappearance of gigantic, airborne, dinosaurs the lack of a threat from above has made us tend not to look up as much.

Well, I just look everywhere when I go for walks, so I guess that makes me a bit strange. In doing so, I see wonderful subjects in all directions.

What makes a good subject? For me it's many things. It could be as simple as an interesting texture, or it could be colour appearing where it's unexpected.

 

 

The juxtaposition of colour, texture, form, and contrast set my imagination to work I'm afraid.Light is the magical ingredient that makes everything else work

These are the same considerations I give to painting a subject.
As with drawing or painting, the composition is all important when taking pictures...even casual ones as I am talking about now.

First you spot something that your brain identifies as potentially
exciting or unusual. Then you look through the camera's viewfinder and give it a look.

Now this is really exciting because when you do this you are framing the subject and removing it from it's surroundings.

You zoom in, move to the right or left a tiny bit, and all of a sudden this “thing” takes on a far greater importance and a life all it's own as an artistic creation.

When I take photos of these pieces of “found art” I have little or no intention of recreating them as paintings.

They are what they are in photo form. In the past I have actually enlarged a few of
these images and had them printed on canvas.

When you change the scale of something
dramatically you draw more attention to it, and even a small object becomes something monumental.

I would love to enlarge a 4x6 inch photo to 4x6 feet and see the impact it would have.

One thing you can be sure of is, you couldn't walk past and not notice it. It would lure you up to it like a magnet!

The next time you go for a walk with your camera, look all around and you will be amazed at the wonderful subjects you encounter, regardless of where you are.

Let your artistic brain enjoy itself and be stimulated by all that you see.

Sometimes the most wondrous things are right under your nose...if you take time to look.

It's always exciting I think!
 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and produced by: C. MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Blair T. Paul Found Art https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/3/found-art-can-equal-great-beauty Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:39:38 GMT
“Beauty”...what is that exactly? https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/2/-beauty-what-is-that-exactly Grass & GlassGrass & Glass I would say that this is a question long pondered throughout the centuries that humans have populated the Earth.

After much debate and philosophizing, I doubt that we have a clear cut answer even yet.

Maybe the wise saying ,
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, is all we need to remember.

Many of the subjects I choose to photograph or paint would not be considered “Beautiful” by all viewers, but isn't that the great thing about art?

Artists don't have to agree with the masses or even each other. The making of art is a very selfish endeavour, and so it should be if one wishes to be true to one's self.

How many artists have had to defend their work over the centuries?
Most of them I should think, especially those who dared to go against the current trend.


For example the French Impressionist painters were protesting against the academies and the strict regulations they placed upon artists.
Artists such as Monet, Manet, Cezanne and Degas chose subject matter not considered to be appropriate by the academicians, and art critics of the day.

Did they knuckle under?

No, they did exactly the opposite.
They set up their own exhibitions instead, and said “Hey, if you want to see something new and fresh, come and look at what we are doing?”
That's what the public did and the critics ate crow!

 

In Canada we saw a similar shift by The Group of Seven artists and their associates.

Before the Group of Seven formed, most artists worked independently in a very European style...one which was considered to be “acceptable” by the art authorities.

Why did they feel they had the duty or right to dictate to the public what “good art “ was?

The short story is that despite the scathing reviews by many Canadian art critics, the Group of Seven followed their own path, held their own exhibitions and eventually won over the public. To this day, they are the most beloved, remembered and collected artists in Canadian art history.

Funny how things work out isn't it?


“To thine own self be true”, is a good saying to live by...especially if you are an artist.

Be brave!

Experiment, go off in any direction you see fit without approval from anyone.

“Sales” are not the mark of success;
it's being an independent thinker and doer who leaves their unique mark behind when they are gone.

That's what is important. Don't let anyone dictate to you what you should create.

If they try it just say politely, “It's been interesting talking you.

See you around.”

 

Subjects jump out and grab my attention; it's not me actually seeking out something new.

I just put myself out there and get “ambushed” by great stuff to look at.

Sounds simple doesn't it?

Well, it is actually.
 

Keep your mind open and let yourself be struck by the “beauty” you see, no matter where it's found.

 

 

 

If you have looked over the galleries on my website you will see that I have explored quite a lot over the years.

It was all fun!

I never consider any series of work to be finished, and at any time it could resume and go beyond where I left off.

I always say
“I don't paint anything I don't like”, and that is the truth.

We're only dancing on this earth for a short time, so enjoy it and do it YOUR way.

It works for me!

 

 

 

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
edited and produced by: C. MacFarlane Photography

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Beauty...what is that exactly? https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/2/-beauty-what-is-that-exactly Sat, 21 Feb 2015 05:01:00 GMT
Vallauris: The Magic of a Place https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/2/vallauris-the-magic-of-a-place In my last story I introduced you to this beautiful city above the shores of the Mediterranean, and I spoke of my marvelous studio where I worked daily.

When I arrived there I had little knowledge of it , other than that it was famous for ceramic production and that Picasso had lived there.

This was exciting, but what was I going to paint? After all, that is what I had come here for. I decided to just let the place tell me what I should paint.

Sometimes you need to do that, and not try to control the situation too much.

The first morning after arriving I wandered the streets near the residence, just getting a look at things and gaining a better sense of where I was.

I was living at the edge of a square near a port to the city. It had been completely walled at one time for defensive purposes.

Pirates roamed the Mediterranean and raided any settlements which might yield booty.

In those days it was much safer to live on high ground inland from the coast. Cannes was a perilous place to live at that time.

As usual, I had my trusty little Kodak digital camera with me, but prior to this I had shot film.

I am always a tourist when I go somewhere new for the first time, and I like that.

I want to casually see and enjoy the surroundings without the pressure of thinking that I must paint something.

This thinking time is valuable, and so are the photos that you take. It's all part of the creative process gearing up.

 

“One step at a time”, I say to myself, “and then you will know what you are meant to do here.”

I have loved taking pictures ever since I was a boy. The idea that you could freeze time and hold a moment in your hand was magical...and still is!

I take photos as if I were composing paintings through the viewfinder.

In such a historic and beautiful place as Vallauris, there is almost limitless subject matter to shoot. Everywhere I turned I would see more that excited my eye and imagination.

Wooden shutters, peeling paint on weather worn doors, cracked plaster, grafitti, shadows on architecture, people, grotesquely pruned trees, giant cactus, flowers...It was quite overwhelming, but I loved it!

On my first day, before I had canvas to paint on, I ripped up magazines and posters to create collages.

I wrote in my diary what I was thinking about, and couldn't wait to start painting.

I decided that I would focus on the landscape that was in and around Vallauris, and the giant cactus plants were especially intriguing.

Yes, I would record what I saw right here, and not invent. To overlook all of these splendid subjects would have been foolish. It was all new to me so I'd give it a go.

Following an excursion to Cannes to buy canvas, I started planning the shapes and sizes of paintings I could create to make best use of the material I had bought.
 

I would not stretch the canvas here, but wait until I returned home as this would make carrying the work much easier.

A bit of planning is always necessary and it does pay off in the end.


In all I shot about 1500 images in the time I was in Vallauris, and I worked from some of them to produce paintings.

Photography is a very practical aid for painters, and continues to remind and inspire you about the places you have been long after you have returned.

If I work from photos I have given the time to take, then it triggers all of my senses once again.

I see the colours, smell the smells, feel the wind, and hear the sounds.

Every photo I take has some special meaning for me.

You just can't take too many!

 

 


© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and produced by: http://cmacfarlane.ca

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Beauty...what is that exactly? https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/2/vallauris-the-magic-of-a-place Sat, 14 Feb 2015 05:01:00 GMT
Artist Residency in Vallauris, France https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/2/Artist-Residency-Vallauris-France A few years ago I had the pleasure of being artist-in-residence in the beautiful little city of Vallauris, France.

I had applied for a space in 2005, and to my delight was granted studio and residency in April and May of 2006.

Where is Vallauris you may ask?

It is located in the Alpes-Maritime Dept. in the Province-Alpes-Cote d'Azure...just a bit north of Cannes.
Vallauris is known for the quality of clay that is found near by, and one of it's most famous residents was none other than Pablo Picasso who began his clay work there between 1947-55. He worked out of the esteemed Madoura Workshop which, with exclusive consent, reproduced Picasso's designs from 1947-1971.


I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful studio space at 127 Avenue Pablo Picasso in the old pottery district. To make a long story short, my first studio space through the artist residence was less than desirable having only a tiny window and being rather cave like in structure. I just could not work in such a place, so through some new artist connections in Vallauris, I was lucky enough to get the studio of a Norwegian artist to work in at no charge.


Artists are generally speaking such a generous lot...and I was very lucky!

Each morning I had a pleasant walk south from the artist residence to my studio, and I usually began my day with a visit to a patisserie on the corner of Avenue Georges Clemenceau and Avenue Pablo Picasso. The wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries wafted out onto the street beckoning all inside. I was hooked! Two or three pastries...usually pain au raisin or pain au chocolate would accompany me back to the studio each day. It was always such a treat to eat these goodies with a coffee while taking a break from painting.

My easel was in front of a large window facing south towards Cannes. There was a high hill between us blocking the sea view, but my view was none the less intriguing.
As I looked eastward from my window, I could actually see Picasso's old studio about 100 metres away.
Now, how inspiring is that?



I often wondered what it might have been like had I been right here in 1947.
Could I have met Picasso? Would we have sat under the trees smoking and drinking wine, pondering artistic choices? Could I have helped him in some way? What would his influence have done to me?
Ah, to dream....and I did, almost every day. How could I not?

The large studio was cool and quiet inside. My friend's drawings and paintings, and my own were hung all about, and I felt as though I were in heaven. How could I be so lucky to be in a place like this? Could I ever have imagined it? No.



When I tired of painting around noon, I would take my baguette, and pastry outside to sit on an old bench in front of the studio.

Broken bits of pottery were everywhere, as well as a family of cats and kittens. They were very wild, and only approached me because they smelled my cheese and baguette. They could only be coaxed to come so close, and then they would be afraid and disappear into the long grass.

Sometimes the adult cats would climb up on the roof in front of my window and walk about, trying to solve the puzzle of who I was I guess. They were always welcome company.

Over the course of two months I completed about eighteen paintings of various sizes in that wonderful studio, and even now, the memory of it warms my heart.

It is a place I will never forget!

 

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and produced by: http://cmacfarlane.ca

 

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(Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art) Blair T. Paul - Artist Residency, Vallauris, France - Studio https://www.blairpaul.com/blog/2015/2/Artist-Residency-Vallauris-France Tue, 03 Feb 2015 01:26:29 GMT