recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Friday, February 28, 2014

Aurora Borealis

Although I won’t be going until 2015, the Shetland residency has me voraciously researching all things Shetland.

Right now it is Aurora Borealis season, and I have joined a few sites that have been posting absolutely spellbinding images and videos. I doubt I will ever experience seeing the ‘mirrie dancers’ live (I will be there in Spring) but have interpreted my response via paint-

 February, Mirrie Dancers, encaustic on panels, 12x14in, copyright Jan Yates, 2014

I had fanciful thoughts about a romantic origin to the Scottish name for the Northern lights, so was a wee bit taken aback when I read this: 

‘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".

 February, Mirrie Dancers 2, encaustic on panel, 4x7in, copyright Jan Yates, 2014

My favourite interpretation comes from the Inuit:

The Inuit people of Alaska tell the traditional tale of their ancient ancestors who are seen in the rippling movements of the northern lights. They say that the "shadows" within the display are relatives and friends who have gone to the sky and march along or dance to remind the living people of their presence. When the dogs bark and howl at the sounds of the aurora borealis, it's said that the dogs recognize their one-time companions in the colourful display.

Read more info on the northern lights here 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Upcoming encaustic workshops

almanac moons, copyright Jan yates


These sessions are enjoyable for those who have taken an introductory encaustic class and want to further explore this alluring and tactile medium. I will share techniques including image transfer/collage, colour, glazing, relief, and drawing with charcoal, graphite and pastel.

Ruby's pear

Participants will also explore alternative media incorporated with encaustic including sand, plaster, metallic pigment and shellac.

 Firefly Moondance, copyright Jan Yates

*Encaustic painting is natural, safe and non-toxic. 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.

Workshop Location:

Grimsby Public Art Gallery

Held Saturdays: 

February 22, March 1, and March 8, 2014

2pm - 4pm
To register, please contact the Gallery! (905) 945-3246 
or email:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

wishful thinking

  1. To melt, dissolve, or become fluid; to soften;
  2. To become so warm as to melt ice and snow;
  3. To grow gentle or genial.

February, thaw, oil on canvas, plein air, 8x10in
copyright Jan Yates 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

looking back, looking through

I’ve wanted to revisit this for awhile.

While spending time at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland what first struck me was the wild Rhododendron juxtaposed against the endless hues of green. 

A midst the evocative, mysterious and changing light, it is heady. Witnessing it also brought to light a fascination with portals.

 Annamaghkerrig 'bench', oil/cold wax on canvas, 16x20in, 2014, available
copyright Jan Yates

Friday, February 7, 2014

artist residency, Shetland, Scotland

I am thrilled to announce that Wasps studios has awarded me a residency and it is with great enthusiasm to say that I will be living and making art at The Booth in Scalloway, Shetland for a month!

After twice travelling to Scotland (Wester Ross & Skye) I found the experiences to be profound and haunting, imprinting  a deep resonance long after my return to Canada. Unfortunately I was unable to spend time making art on these visits. The idea of returning to Scotland and spending  a sustained amount of time immersed in my arts practice has come to fruition.

I am eager to explore Shetland- a new land and culture so removed from my own!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

milkweed, migration, yesterday and today


So on my walk the air was filled with voices and a flutter- such bird activity-!

I am optimistic that spring is surely on her way.  I made these wee birds.

 February, murmur, milkweed and  goldenrod pods on snow, 8x20in, 2014


So when I couldn’t walk out the door because it wouldn’t open due to the buckets of freshly thrown snow, I emptied my pockets of milkweed and goldenrod and played indoors.

  February, homecoming, encaustic, milkweed, goldenrod pod and copper on found panel 12in round,  2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

direct dialogue

In a previous post I mentioned working on some larger studio works, and I am deliberately not rushing them.

However, after working so many months indoors painting from intuition, recall, trial, error, and some 2d references, I needed to simply lay down something from direct observation. 

Hence a very quick plein air, worked between snow flurries and freezing rain- 

 February, oil / cold wax on canvas, 14x28in, copyright Jan Yates, 2014