recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

the longest day

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, when the Sun is at its highest point in the northern hemisphere.

The June Solstice was hugely significant in ancient societies, a time when the Sun’s magnetic power was at its most intense.  It represented fertility, and marked an important time for the harvests of the coming year to be blessed.

This power has carried through in places of worship and burial sites, from ancient standing stones to pyramids and tombs. These structures were designed to align with the sacred time of the year, when the sun was at its most powerful. While spending time in Ireland I was fortunate to visit sites that the Neolithic pagan cultures built and the experience was profound.

Years of living on agricultural land has heightened my awareness of the sun’s power, and this is my annual way of marking it, to somehow hold sacred.  

 June 21, Remains of the Day
oil / cold wax on canvas, plein air, 16x20in 
copyright Jan Yates 2014, available

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

 Images copyright Jan Yates,  2014, sold

Tuesday, June 17, 2014



It was a turbulent unsettling day.
This morning my gear-laden plein air class headed out-the looming mighty thunder followed so we hiked all the way back and worked under the gazebo and porch. 

This painting was made as the wind threw rain and was knocking everything around-the blue thing is a purse-I like putting plants in purses-

 June, oil /cold wax on canvas, 18x24in, copyright Jan Yates 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

as I long to be

Now that I’m free to be myself, who am I?
Cant’ fly, can’t run, and see how slowly I walk.
Well, I think, I can read books.
               ‘What’s that you’re doing?’
the green-headed fly shouts as it buzzes past.
I close the book.
Well, I can write down words, like these, softly.
'What's that you're doing?' whispers the wind, pausing
in a heap just outside the window.
Give me a little time, I say back to its staring, silver face.
It doesn’t happen all of a sudden, you know.
'Doesn't it?' says the wind, and breaks open, releasing
distillation of blue iris.
And my heart panics not to be, as I long to be,
the empty, waiting, pure, speechless receptacle.
—Mary Oliver
 "Blue Iris," from What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems (Da Capo Press, 2002)

June,  oil/ cold wax on canvas, plein air, 12x18in
copyright Jan Yates,  2014, available

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tree stories

Through the seasons this locust tree, framed by a lightning- struck fence, has been a constant source of awe. 

As well as being a social hub for birds, and their families- having been raised in her protective mass of  gnarled limbs- the bees also take nectar from her heady blooms. The honey is divine.

 June, the Locust tree, oil on canvas, plein air,  16x20in,  copyright Jan Yates 2014

~ William Carlos Williams

Thursday, June 5, 2014

little June

"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June."
-  L. M. Montgomery

The long June days keep me outside working on things growing which I hope to post soon.

However, as I was putting my paints away just as the light was leaving, I looked out the door..

Little June, oil /cold wax on canvas, 8x10in,
copyright Jan Yates 2014, available

Monday, June 2, 2014

Upcoming Plein Air workshops

Plein Air season is in full throttle here in Niagara, and I have just updated teaching sessions. Info below, or on my website.

 Please don't hesitate to let me know if you are interested in participating, and of course I'm happy to provide any further info upon request.

Plein Air Painting
for the outdoor enthusiast

held on the Niagara Escarpment, a Unesco world biosphere reserve

Paint a midst colourful orchards, vineyards, fields and beautiful skies in this painters' paradise. For those preferring to paint structures, there are barns, fences and wonderful fallen down sheds for inspiration. You will work uninterrupted by passersby and all levels are welcome.