Dreaming of the north: My finished sunrise painting

New painting finished!  This one is kind of a mix of camping memories from northern Canada and Alaska.  We’ve had so many good camping trips in the north during our marriage; camping in a hailstorm on Denali when I was four months pregnant, fighting off bugs in Peace River, and seeing grizzly bears in Bella Coola.  The sunrises in the north are so beautiful:

Northern Sunrise, 20″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2017 Kathryn Beals

I’ve been trying to work more with yellow lately.  I find it tricky to use, but it looks so good in landscapes when done properly, so it’s something I’ve been learning through trial and error.  Here are a couple detail shots:

I’ll post the progress pictures soon, but for now check it out as a paper print or canvas print in my Etsy store.

New Bowen Island Painting Finished

I have a new painting finished and up in my Etsy print store:

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First Paddle, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2016 Kathryn Beals

This is a painting of my little daughter learning to paddle her own kayak in the ocean off of Bowen Island, in the Gulf islands of British Columbia.  We spent a lot of time there last summer swimming in the warm water.

Here are a few progress pics I took along the way.  The color is a little different since I was painting at night under incandescent light.

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Painting in the sky quickly with my big brush.  I used mostly Ultramarine Blue with a bit of Anthraquinone Blue and of course, Titanium White.

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Then I added the beginning of the trees and ocean, again with the big brush to keep me from getting caught up in details.  The paint was drying quickly and I finished this part in about 10 minutes, taking pictures from my Apple watch:

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Here’s one of the little tricks I learned from my portrait painting days. To save time and avoid perspective drawing errors (something I’ve never been great at) I resized my reference photo in a photo editing program, printed it out and taped it to the canvas with graphite paper underneath. Then I traced the general silhouette onto the (dry) canvas underneath as a reference.

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I taped the photo next to my working area and painted in the kayak and girl:img_8629 img_8640

Here are some detail shots from the finished painting, in proper lighting.  Pretty clouds:Version 3

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For the reflections under the kayak, I just added the colors of the kayak and her lifejacket as I was working.

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I find water reflections tricky in general and this was a good opportunity to practice.  In calm water, the reflections are always sharper than I expect them to be.  I used very stark contrast this time and I like how it came out.

The original painting is not for sale, but you can buy paper prints or canvas prints of this one in my Etsy store, which donates partial proceeds to Leave No Trace.

My Experiment with Wax Painting

As a child and beginner painter, I started out in watercolor, but found my style when I tried acrylic on canvas for the first time.  I’ve tried painting in oil and pastels (and have never been good at drawing) but I always come back to acrylic because I love the way it looks and feels on the canvas.

However, it’s always great to try a new medium.  While visiting my family in Canada this month, I tried creating an image in wax, my mother’s medium of choice, and it was a great experience.  She started me in her chosen method of melting crayon chunks on a canvas with a heat gun, and let me figure it out from there.  I took photos of the process:

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It was great to try a less controlled approach, since I usually struggle against overworking and adding too much detail when I’m painting.  I did miss my brush, but I was able to influence the spread of color by tipping the canvas back and forth as I melted the wax.

I would call this one an abstract, but the general idea was to capture the old growth cedar forests near where I grew up on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.  We just got back from a trip to Vancouver Island, and I’m looking forward to doing some new paintings of these trees in Tofino:

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Snowshoeing in the Coast Mountains, Finished Painting

This is a painting from a winter camping trip I took in Garabaldi Provincial Park in British Columbia.  My husband and I snowshoed up a steep trail and camped in view of the Coast Mountains.

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Alpine Trail, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

This is one of my older paintings, and I was still in a beginner phase where I tried to copy photos too closely without improving the composition.  However, I’m glad I turned up the intensity of the blues to capture the shadows on snow.  This is the original photo that I worked with when I got back:

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This was another one of those trips where, due to bad snow conditions and overly optimistic planning, we arrived long after dark.  We did get to see this amazing sunset over the mountains, and I’m glad we stopped to take photos: Continue reading

Finished Painting: Lupines in Bella Coola

This is a painting I did several years ago after a trip to Bella Coola, north of where I grew up on the coast of British Columbia:

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Bella Coola Lupines, 16″x 20″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

This is one of those paintings that just came together quickly without any planning.  I painted it on my mom’s kitchen table with her paints and brushes and a borrowed canvas, and it took about 45 minutes.  If I were painting it again, I might have planned the composition a little better so that the end of the tallest flower had more contrast against the sky or mountains, but I like the unstructured quality of it and it’s a nice memory.

Here are two photos from the place we visited:

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You can find this painting in my Etsy shop as a digital print or canvas print.  The original painting is not for sale.

Winter Camping: Finished tent painting

This is another one of my winter camping paintings, inspired by a snowshoe trip in the coast mountains of British Columbia with my husband.

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Coast Mountains, 24″x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

We really enjoy winter camping; there are no bugs or bears to worry about, and comparatively few people.  Water is readily available in the form of snow, the ground is soft and the views are amazing.  If you can come prepared for the cold and the early sunsets, it’s great.

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This is me, standing against the peak that I later put in my painting.  Like my duct tape gaiters?

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You can find this painting in my Etsy shop as a digital print or canvas print.  The original painting is for sale through my website.

Finished Starry Night Painting: Beyond

This is one of the new paintings in my night sky series:

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Beyond, 24″x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2014 Kathryn Beals

I like to have a personal symbol in my landscapes to lend an emotional connection to the scene.  This time instead of a tent, I painted a rowboat.  This is a lake in British Columbia that I used to visit with my family.  One night when we were camping, I went out in the rowboat with my brother at midnight and watched the stars.  It actually looked very much like this, and in moments when I need calm, I like to imagine this place.

Continue reading