recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shetland -almost there

a campaign to make art in a wildly remote place steeped in nature, culture and story

It is with great enthusiasm to say that, pending a little extra funding, I will be travelling from Canada to live and make art in Shetland, Scotland for a month! 

Along with support from the Ontario Arts Council and generous people like you, I've almost reached the funding goal for travel, research and accommodation.

However, as the Canadian dollar continues to plummet with no end in sight, help is needed for the last leg of this once in a lifetime art making venture.

If you are interested in supporting me or would like to learn more about the project, please click here

also for one lucky person: a large original studio painting especially for you. Choose from my smaller plein air works made during this residency. Once back in Canada, I will create a much larger version with oil on canvas

For those investing, you will have a lifelong memory of your help in making this possible by owning a work of art created during the residency!

I am thankful for contributions in any amount however if you are unable to help, perhaps you know someone that might. I'd be very grateful if you'd share this campaign. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Looking at Landscape

Upcoming workshop this Saturday:

January, aluminum pigment & charcoal on canvas, plein air, 11x14in,  copyright Jan Yates 2015, available

Looking at Landscape
drawing (charcoal, pastel) and\or painting (acrylic, oil)

This series of classes will delve into the art of seeing and responding to the land. Guidance will be given in the form of technique (composition, brushwork, paint handling, colour and value) as well as address how to bring an individual voice and personal style to your work. Participants are encouraged to bring their own reference material; either photographs or a still life set up from natural elements.

Dates / Location

Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015
From 1:30pm - 4:30pm
$50 members/$60 non-members
Grimsby Public Art Gallery
18 Carnegie Lane, Grimsby, Ontario, L3M 1Y1


Sunday, January 25, 2015

a sense of place in time

No paintings to share-currently in transition mode-a necessary evil.

In the meantime, I've been working on the 'land mark' series and thought I'd post my findings as well as formal statement about the inspiration.

(FB post) the late afternoon light was beautiful and my coat pocket had been holding this duck wing far too long.... I was amazed at the structure of the wing (before I dismantled it)-perfectly engineered for flight, and warmth I suppose as there were tiny downy bits close to the break. these white feathers are from the under-wing.

 formal statement: land mark

A connecting aspect of my practice has been informed by altars and alter-ability in the land. After spending time at an international residency in 2011, I have become more and more interested in the human connection with a sense of place and how we are all compelled to alter the land in some way, shape or form, even in remote, sparsely populated regions of the world.

I am driven to leave my own land marks in these places and find myself making portals from discarded vineyard wire, arranging red sumac in  spirals on blue snow shadows and lining up rows of  milkweed pods into migration patterns.

Remnants found in fallow fields such as vine, carcass, nests, litter and wild flowers are altered to become symbolic human connections to a specific sense of place in time. They are left as temporary markers for others to encounter (or not) before being reclaimed by the natural world.

I am intrigued by the processes happening in nature over time and it’s unpredictability that affects the work. The uncertainty of working with the weather, the connection between land and light, uprooting and unearthing hidden things and hidden life are all elements that motivate my practice.

Building three dimensional work using only materials available from my immediate surroundings is something that continues to take shape.

see more works from this project

please do not use any of these images without permission from the artist
all rights reserved- copyright Jan Yates 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

fits and starts

falling snow swept
and swayed,
at fading games of
connect the dots
beyond the window frame
taking turns dashing in
and darting out
decoding winter’s
secret march
in summersaults
of fits and starts

aluminum pigment & charcoal on panel

Sunday, December 28, 2014

'my witness is the empty sky'

Although not much snow, there have been lots of high winds here in Niagara. One thing about the wind is it sure makes some interesting sky (at least to me).

I like the monochrome in winter and the challenge to push greys. The subdued nuances of tones and textures in the land cast by the sky- greys intrigue me to no end. 

Winter is a quiet place in time.

 oil/cold wax on canvas
 20x24in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

breath of winter

Although currently working on studio paintings indoors, at the end of each session I try to make a plein air sketch -luckily I can just step outside. This direct observation work helps me immensely when addressing middle tones/values/edges in the larger studio works.

 *and I just really love the subtle breath of winter light

 December, remains of the day, oil / cold wax on canvas, 16x20in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

and on a field note:


Friday, December 12, 2014

the force of gale

In staying tuned to all things Shetland, news feeds have been showing gale force winds wreaking magnificent havoc along the coastline. In watching web-cams and videos, I was compelled to respond...

Gale force 8
 oil / cold wax on canvas, 16x20in
copyright Jan Yates 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

love what it loves

This time of year I tend to be reflective, melancholy-longing for those not near...

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

November, remains of the day
 oil & cold wax on canvas, 18x18in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

lights in the sky

many years ago child-spirits appeared in my encaustic work. i recently came across one 'in progress' while cleaning out the studio- embellished her with some new found hawk feathers and for some reason I want to call her a 'mirrie dancer', although if you read the description it's a wee bit gruesome:

'In Scotland, the northern lights were known as "the mirrie dancers" or na fir-chlis. There are many old sayings about them, including the Scottish Gaelic proverb "When the mirrie dancers play, they are like to slay." The playfulness of the mirrie dancers was supposed to end occasionally in quite a serious fight, and next morning when children saw patches of red lichen on the stones, they say among themselves that "the mirrie dancers bled each other last night". The appearance of these lights in the sky was considered a sign of the approach of unsettled weather.'  

 to be featured this Saturday @ the pop up show:

Monday, December 1, 2014

encaustic painting workshop

more shameless flogging.....

Art Therapy To Help You De-Stress This Holiday Season: Opening tomorrow for Encaustic painting:

Ancient and intriguing, this method of painting originated in Greece, where it was used for the earliest easel and mural painting. A heady combination of colour, melting wax and heat, encaustic mixes dry and oil pigments in hot beeswax. Encaustic painting is safe and non-toxic.

images (sold) copyright to Jan Yates

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Upcoming cold wax and oil workshop


Exploring the Surface: Painting with Cold Wax

Whether brushing, drawing, scratching, scraping, rubbing, pressing, pushing, pulling or employing knife techniques, this ancient medium fosters versatility. Its translucent qualities allow light to penetrate into the paint surface, emphasizing rich and vibrant colour, depth and tone. 

November, oil/cold wax on canvas, 18x36in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

Texture, movement and fluidity can easily be achieved via working with cold wax , oil paint and drawing materials and I will share techniques and tools used with this tactile painting medium. Recommended for artists with some painting experience.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Studio Course

Looking at Landscape


Drawing (charcoal, pastel) and\or Painting (acrylic, oil)

This series of classes will delve into the art of seeing and responding to the land. Guidance will be given in the form of technique (composition, brushwork, paint handling, colour and value) as well as address how to bring an individual voice and personal style to your work. Participants are encouraged to bring their own reference material; either photographs or a still life set up from natural elements.

A materials list will be provided

Monday, November 3, 2014

making the time

I am in awe of those blogging artists that make the time and effort to edit and upload images, as well as write entries, on an ongoing (some daily) basis.  At the day's end I find myself to be spent-sometimes in a good way from art-making-sometimes not so good because of business or personal issues.

Even more of a reason to applaud those that, no matter what else is going on in their lives, take and make the time to write and share on a regular basis. I may be too tired (lazy?) to comment, but I do enjoy reading your posts-Rhonda Carpender and Celeste Bergen, a special hat's off to you.

In the meantime, here are some 'peerie' leaf-keepers..encaustic, copper, maple and elm leaves.

  peerie leaf keeper 1
encaustic mixed media & copper wire on panel 
4x7in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

peerie leaf keeper 2
 encaustic mixed media & copper wire on panel
 4x7in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

 You can make your own 'keepers' with anything you fancy-recipes, photos, found objects, glass, beads, etc. I have just updated my website with new workshop dates:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

the mean season

Everyone I know says Fall is their favourite time of the year. Personally I have a love-hate relationship; her dazzling beauty steals my heart yet, inevitably, her guise steals my light.

oil on canvas, 48x60in
copyright Jan Yates, 2014


Thursday, October 9, 2014


The leaves were falling on all sides like the last illusions of youth under the tears of irremediable grief. A brood of chattering birds were chasing each other through the shrubberies, and playing games among the branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys. Every landscape is, as it were, a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail.

- Henri Frederic Amiel

oil on canvas, plein air, 16x20in
 copyright Jan Yates, 2013

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


milkweed, grape leaves, feathers, wild asters, copyright Jan Yates, 2014

milkweed,  copyright Jan Yates, 2014 

milkweed, wild asters, robin's nest, copyright Jan Yates, 2014 

On September 27, 2014, as part of the Grimsby Arts Walk, I invited the community to join me in getting our Monarch butterflies back. Passersby were asked if they would like to help the Monarchs by saving and planting Milkweed in their garden. I provided a limited number of locally harvested milkweed seed pods.

Participants were fascinated to see the seeds in their natural state, encased by protective pods. Upon opening them, they  removed the seeds and were asked to write their name, or a message, on the remaining seed pod. I kept the pod. They kept the seeds.


Milkweed seed pods are extremely durable and weather tolerant, so I presented each signed pod in a tree at the entrance of the Grimsby Public Art Gallery and Library. The project continues to grow.

 Start a project in your region

If you or your organization would  like to see this project take flight in your area, please contact me as I love spreading the word-and seeds, for our Monarchs!   

This project can not be used without written permission from Jan Yates, 2014

Milkweed seeds for sale

If you are interested in purchasing Milkweed seeds to plant in your garden to attract our Monarchs, I have some available and ship throughout Canada, US and parts of Europe. Seeds are $6.per pod, with each pod containing 50+ seeds. Shipping is extra outside of Canada. To order, please click here.