Of these six paintings of homes in Dundas Ontario, this one is my favorite. It is very likely the oldest one that I painted, probably being built around 1840. Dundas had high ambitions to be a great major city back when it began in the very early 1800s. By the time this stone house was built, international commerce had passed Dundas by, favoring the exploding city of Hamilton just to the east. Ultimately, Dundas was spared inner city decay, and it remains today a peaceful community of well maintained heritage homes.
20 September 2005
I don't suppose that I am any more outwardly patriotic than the next Canadian, yet I found myself painting several homes with flags. There is a grace to them, I think. Even when they are hanging like a windless sail.
This painting proved to be an experiment in color selection. I used a lot of a pigment called Raw Umber in it, just to see what would happen. I learned that if you use a lot of dark brown paint in a picture, that you will get a picture with a lot of dark brown in it. The process of learning is filled with many great discoveries.........
Foliage is painstaking work. It takes a long time to paint leaves in trees, leaves in bushes, leaves in little plants. Landscape artists don't seem to mind. Was I a landscape artist? I didn't know. Paint what you love, people would say. Well, to paint the house, you paint the foliage. They just seem to go together.
This porch actually belongs to the house in the last entry.
The days were hot and hazy under a late August sun when I took these pictures. In the cool fall days as I painted, the memory of summer lived on. I would be so engrossed in painting the lavish garden in this one, that I would be somewhat suprised when I would look up and see autumn out my window.
I stepped out of the magazine and onto the street, with my camera in hand. It was time to take my own pictures.
I loved old architecture and Ontario abounded in it. Old, that is, by North American standards, very old by BC standards. The quaint cottagey Victorians especially interested me. There certainly were some fabulous features in the grand estates, but the more accessable, down to earth, modest places suited me better. I could imagine my ancestors living there. The plan, then, was to find a neighbourhood of good photogenic homes, and snap them up, so to speak, for reference material. Photography wasn't enough; I had to paint them.
It is an odd thing to do. Stopping in front of a stranger's home and analyzing the best angle; staring, really. Then pointing a camera at someone's private property and clicking. It was awkward. I felt that at any moment a suspicious, irate or even enraged occupant would come flying out after me. I could never do what the paparotzi do. Fears aside, I did it anyway, trying very hard to be discrete. As it happened, no one seemed to notice or care.
Of the pictures I took, six became paintings.