recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Thursday, September 25, 2014

-the milkweed project

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.
~Author Unknown -

For the Monarchs-the milkweed project

For 14 autumns I have cast Milkweed seeds into empty fields like stardust and over the years,
like magic, more and more plants are appearing. 

I begin by plucking their pods, and then gently pull them open to reveal silken white fluff anchored by flat brown heads. Each time I do this, I marvel at their perfect design; made for the wind to throw them to life.

 I would like to invite the community to help get our Monarch butterflies back by having a similar experience.'''''

Would you like to help the Monarchs by planting Milkweed in your garden? I will be handing out locally harvested milkweed seed pods this Saturday between 1:30-4 PM at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery.

You will be given a whole seed pod, which contains hundreds of seeds! 
These are free-however, you must write your name on the seed pod. You keep the seeds-I keep the signed pods! I will then present  each signed seed  pod in a community tree.

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September ‘en plein air’

I will be teaching this special outdoor painting session on Saturday-why not join us? Purple asters, yellow fields, red trees….

Thank you to the Grimsby Public Art Gallery for arranging this workshop.

September ‘en plein air’
presented by the Grimsby Public Art Gallery

The sun-gold colours of September are here -let’s get outside and paint them!
In this special workshop, you will work 'en plein air' in beautiful golden fields with vineyard views.

After a demo, talk and question period, there will be lots of time to immerse yourself in making art.
Learn about simplifying your pallet, working fast in the changing light, mark making/ brushwork and paint handling, as well as colour and value relationships. You will be responsible for your own supplies (oil or acrylic paint) and a list is provided upon registration. Some outdoor easels are available.

This afternoon workshop is enjoyable for those with minimal art-making experience as well as more seasoned artists. In inclement weather, painting will progress in the studio with fresh fall cuttings as inspiration.

Saturday,  September 20
1:30 - 4:30

1 Session
$40 members/$50 non-members
(905) 945-3246

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fall plein air painting workshops- classes

Plein Air Painting
for the outdoor enthusiast

held on the Niagara Escarpment, a Unesco world biosphere reserve

 October, thinking of you, oil on canvas, 18x18in, sold, copyright Jan Yates

Paint the warm sienna's and saturated purples and yellows of Fall fields, orchards and vineyards in this painters' paradise. For those preferring structures, there are barns, fences and wonderful fallen down sheds for inspiration.

Painting outdoors improves your skills when working back in the studio. It is a great exercise to enhance observation and make sound choices when it comes to composition.
Learn about packing light, preparing surfaces, simplifying your pallet, mark making, brushwork, paint handling, colour / value relationships and how to work quickly in changing light and temperature. Painting tools as well as mediums will be addressed. You will be responsible for your own supplies and a list is provided upon registration.  Some outdoor easels are available.

Ongoing Tuesdays and /or every other  Saturday throughout September and early October. 
info/registration here

Friday, August 29, 2014

an August day

So here's an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:  
The ear too fondly listens
For summer's parting sighs,  
And then the heart replies.  
-AE Housman

at the end an August day, absent voices accompany me

 remains of the day
 oil on canvas, plein air, 20x24in
copyright Jan Yates 2014


Monday, August 25, 2014

ever lasting

Laura and her two brothers grew up on a peach farm and last month she approached me about a commission. Her parents ‘sadly had to recently sell the farm because it is too much work now for my Dad. They have lived there for over 40 years and will be moving after this last harvest.'

  ‘My Dad has said numerous times how he will miss the view of the peach trees, escarpment and sky from their back porch.’

As some may know, Niagara farmland is close to my heart, as is the story of the family farm, so I welcomed the idea of making this painting. 

It was to be presented as a surprise for their parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary. 

It was held this past Sunday. I waited with baited breath, then, an email: ‘They Love It!’ 

oil on panel
24x48in, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

peerie plein air painting


I just checked the Kickstarter campaign and see more of you have backed me-THANK YOU!

It seems the peerie (meaning 'small,' in the Shetland dialect) plein air paintings are popular -now there are only 2 of those rewards left.

This painting was made during a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland.  Although a different land will evoke a different response, I think it represents my 'approach' when painting on location.

It might give you  idea of the type of paintings that I will make during this residency in Shetland, Scotland.

If you would like to back me  and own one of the paintings, just follow the link below, and please feel free to share.  I really do appreciate your support!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wild in Shetland

an artist residency in a far away land

I have officially launched a campaign to make art in a wildly remote place steeped in nature, culture and story.

If you'd like to own some of my work and help make a dream come true, please consider this Kickstarter campaign.

* even if my work doesn't appeal to you, perhaps you have a friend that might feel differently? 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Earth laughs in flowers

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

With hollyhocks was kept ablaze;
In all my recollections they
In friendly columns nod and sway;
And when to-day their blooms I see,
Always the mother smiles at me;
The mind's bright chambers, life unlocks
Each summer with the hollyhocks.

Flowers don't worry about how they're going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful. ~Jim Carrey

August, the summer day
 oil on canvas, plein air
 30x30in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

got nuthin

nope, nothing to show you in regards to finished paintings.

that's not to say i haven't been busy with art related ventures.

one of them is a top secret comission with a looming deadline....

thought I'd share how I prepare
gesso surface, than acrylic under painting
 then oil
below  is the top third of a 24x48in work in progress. 
a long way to go..
I always chuckle when people mention how 'easy' painting must be-if they only knew what it takes to make it 'easy'-never mind the thought process and planning before even entering the studio!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

plein air painting, short and brief

Got all the way out to the hay field 

only to realize the unimaginable
forgot my white

went to ride my bike to fetch it

bungee cord stuck in the spokes
 hiked back to get white and knife

 started painting

  everyone and their dogs thought I needed conversion

 dog knocked over easel

 The intention was to bring this out and resume on a 'calmer' evening, but now I quite like it as is..

July, remains of the day
cold wax & oil
 plein air, 16x20in
 copyright Jan Yates, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

the summer day

I was supposed to be doing yard work this morning, deadheading, trimming etc.

Then the wind brought me yet another Robin’s nest-and I just couldn’t help myself.

New additions to my ‘summer day’ series:


Friday, July 18, 2014

a pretty good day so far

When I think of the horror and heartache that is currently happening in other parts of the world, I wonder how survivors cope-or at least get through. The human spirit is strong and tenacious, but  I am a coward-I don’t think I could get through if I couldn’t create.

Thank fate or god or both that I live where I do- and try never to take it for granted.

 July, a pretty good day so far
oil in canvas, plein air
24x36in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

a dangerous world

Taking flight
be all right

I can’t help but worry. I’ve watched them gather materials, build the cradle, nurture and fiercely protect their babies. Only to be sent out to a cruel world.

On yesterday’s walk my heart broke yet again-the fields were being plowed. The fields where my Red-wings and Bobolinks build their families.

I am hoping the fledglings were strong enough to take flight.

 July, a summer day
encaustic mixed media on panel
8 1/2x11in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

why I like plein air painting

Sky is full

 Blinding when the sun falls

Squint and only see patterns

a circle of brilliant pulsating light-shapes

Illuminating field

Now, the portal

 July, remains of the day
 oil on canvas, plein air 12x24in
copyright Jan Yates 2014 

The summer evenings here in Niagara have been comfortably cool. Below, students enjoying the late golden light.


If you are interested in coming out for some plein air sessions, just let me know. The lovely thing about painting up here is you can work pretty well undisturbed by passers by-well, if you don't count the odd dog or two...

Monday, July 7, 2014

taking flight

taking flight
is not a given
all though not always right
all is not lost

Thirty-odd nests have made their way to me over the years. They are not ‘stolen’ as I know birds like to return year after year to the same spot and use the existing structure and build on it-the less work for them the better!
No, they are nests that have been blown down by the fierce winds or abandoned, like the cardinals’ nest in this image.

 a summer day
 8x10in, oil & cold wax on canvas 
words/image copyright Jan Yates 2014

The cardinals were nesting in a vine structure on the porch and one day the mother did not come back.

The heartbreak was in the Father. For weeks and weeks he would call for her, over and over through out the day, his frantic whistles painfully pleading for her return.

So I thought it fitting to make this on the porch. I’ve highlighted the nest, on the lower left, in the image below.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

taking flight

I watched you
Taking Flight
hoping for
a full circle
and a
safe landing

A Summer Day
cold wax & oil on canvas, 8x16in
copyright Jan Yates 2014 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

For Every Bird a Nest

For every bird a nest
Wherefore in timid quest
Some little Wren goes seeking round
Wherefore when boughs are free
Households in every tree
Pilgrim be found?
Perhaps a home too high
Ah Aristocracy!
The little Wren desires
Perhaps of twig so fine
Of twine e’en superfine,
Her pride aspires
The Lark is not ashamed
To build upon the ground
Her modest house
Yet who of all the throng
Dancing around the sun
Does so rejoice?

Emily Dickinson

June, a summer day
 encaustic on panel, 12x30in
copyright Jan Yates 2014 

This is the painting in progress. It's lovely to receive & incorporate  'gifts' into art-kind of like exchanging seeds or plants for your garden-share, nurture, grow...thanks Olga for the feathers!
My July teaching schedule has just been updated, so if you would like to grow your own work of art, please visit