recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Although the current weather begs to differ, murmurations I am seeing on daily walks tell a more optimistic story of what is to come. 

The three images in this new encaustic work feature young starlings that were perched in the trees outside my window. 

 I am enthralled with the dialogue that birds have with one another-whether with gesture and flight or verbal. These two seemed to be showing off and chattered and scolded incessantly-perhaps they were courting.

I am still salvaging and painting on surfaces from my surroundings rather than purchasing anything new. 

Although I have been working on top of failed paintings, this image was rendered on a panel I had made for a show some time ago but never used. I have to admit it felt strange to be working on a ‘clean slate ’!

The dimensions (12x48in) make it difficult to photograph so I have included sections with the full image at the end of this post. 

I incorporated powdered aluminum as well as a wee bit of gold leaf, which doesn’t show in the digital image, but the light moves through the work nicely with these reflective touches.

Emphasized also is the linear movement, and I enjoyed making the feathery charcoal smudges

Murmur, encaustic etc on panel, 12x48in, 2013, available

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

March/April Workshops

I've just sent a newsletter to students and collectors so thought that I should post it here as well.
 New dates  for classes in encaustic painting, cold wax painting and paint play are now updated for March and April.

Just contact me if you require more information about any of the available dates listed below or to register. For full course descriptions please visit my website here.
Registration can be made conveniently and securely online via paypal.

2013 Encaustic Workshop Dates

Saturday, March 16, 10-4
Tuesday, March 12, 10-4
          Sunday April 7th, 1:30- 4:30
         location: Grimsby Public Art Gallery

Saturday April, 13,  10-1
Saturday April, 20,  10-1

2013 Cold Wax Workshop Dates

Sunday, March 17 , 2013,
Wednesday, March 20, 2013,10-2

Saturday April, 6, 2013, 10-1

unless otherwise indicated, workshops are held at my studio in Niagara, ON, Canada


This stimulating series will open up new ideas and fresh ways of seeing. If you are new to art making this is an opportunity to engage in a nurturing, encouraging and FUN environment. For practising artists, this series invites you to expand on new ideas and individual goals, and to push beyond your comfort level.
We will work from direct observation as well as learn how to use reference materials so your paintings look fresh and vital-not copied. Choose your preferred subject matter i.e. landscape, abstract or still life.

March 26, April 2 and April 9
Grimsby Public Art Gallery
18 Carnegie Lane, Grimsby, Ontario, L3M 1Y1

To register:
Brigitte Huard, Education & Media Coordinator



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

if the heart’s not in it

For such a short month, February seems to be the longest. As I thaw from another treacherous hike braving icy terrain and skin-splitting arctic wind, I must admit that winter is taking its toll on my well being-and being well!

Right now l am longing for Spring; for what is to come-anticipation is that much sweeter because of February’s monochrome.

Today I want colour, and although I see artists painting colourful spring and summer landscapes from photo references, I can’t work that way. I am affected by seasons and cycles when it comes to painting the land and if I don’t feel a symbiotic connection with the current environment, the work becomes an illustration. If the heart’s not in it than why do it?

Featured here is a very early encaustic image. It triggered a series titled ‘Liberty Garden’ and it is one of my favourite works. It warms me up.

 Liberty Garden, encaustic, seeds & packet on found panel, 6x14in, 2005

Thursday, February 14, 2013

a sense of place

As I write, wolves and coyotes are being persecuted in the US and Canada. There are coyote killing contests and bounties; they are hunted down and torn apart by hounds; they are being trapped to trim winter coats.

As an advocate I do my best, but then I feel helpless and just can’t stomach the awareness, so I turn to making art.

 The artwork below represents winter where I live on the Niagara escarpment. There are coyotes up here, and although I rarely see them, I hear them at night and it is a privilege. 

 Beautiful Vagabond (winter), encaustic on found panel, 6x16in, 2013, available

While working on this, I was thinking about urbanization and whether we will ever live harmoniously. As well as a sense of place and connection, I hope the imagery conveys a wee bit of optimism…

Monday, February 11, 2013

upcoming plein air workshops

Plein Air Painting
for the outdoor enthusiast

Winter/Spring, 2013
held on the Niagara Escarpment, a Unesco world biosphere reserve

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 what to wear, packing light, preparing surfaces,  simplifying your pallet, and working fast in the changing light and temperature. Painting tools as well as mediums, including cold wax for oil, and polymer for acrylic, will be addressed. You will be responsible for your own supplies and a list is provided upon registration.  Some outdoor easels are available. 

For over two decades, in the tradition of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven, Yates’ focus has been to paint directly from the land. She will share techniques including  pre-mixing predominant seasonal pallets, building composition and economy of brushwork.
Ongoing Tuesdays throughout the winter: 10am -12:30pm 
$85 for a series of 4 sessions. 
 $25 for 1 session
 register  here

Saturday, February 9, 2013

something waits beneath

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show. 
Andrew Wyeth 

It felt great to be outside working again. There was no wind and consistent warm sun. Well worth the climb through snow banks

February, oil on canvas, 9x12in, 2012, available

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

encaustic workshop

In today's encaustic workshop, participants were interested in learning how to work in a somewhat representational style. Below are two works that started as oil and cold wax under-paintings, and then were built up with layers of molten wax and pigment.

 winter 5, encaustic on panel 14x20in, 2013

In this  advanced class, participants also explored shellac burn techniques as well as warmed drawing, monotype and mixed media.

 winter 6, encaustic etc on panel, 9x12in, 2013

As usual, I was so engaged with my students that I forgot to take pictures in-situ. I emailed them and they promise to pass on their finished paintings so I can share them as they made some really exciting work. 

I will be posting dates for March and April encaustic studio workshops soon. For info please visit my website or contact me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

a landscape as it was before

There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.
Robert Lynd (1879 - 1949), The Blue Lion and Other Essays

For those who follow my posts, you have probably noticed the recent succession of encaustic works. 

 That is partly because I have been conducting  encaustic workshops here at the studio, and the class participants always inspire me. Most of the works shown in the past few months, started as demos

 However I think it will be the last you will be seeing of my starling friend for awhile. 

The image featured was created on another piece of wood weathered from the seasons here on the Niagara escarpment.
 I enjoy sealing the worn wood with beeswax, letting the molten liquid pool into the porous crevices to protect it forever. 

 And I just couldn't resist the uneven asymmetrical quirkiness of this panel

beautiful vagabond, encaustic etc on found panel, 7x50in, 2013

Saturday, February 2, 2013

beautiful vagabonds

The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life. . . . The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds -- how many human aspirations are realized in their free, holiday-lives -- and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!  
John Burroughs (1837 - 1921), Birds and Poets, 1887

 Starlings in Winter, encaustic etc on panels, 12x10in, 2013, available