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Recent Work

I've recently started painting again through taking of courses. These have been for my own amusement. I will post them as I finish each one. I will also add a little commentary as I go along. The big surprise for me is that I am beginning to enjoy the process once more. 

Many of you will recognize this painting. It is copied from a 1648 portrait of Juan de Pareja by Diego Velazquez. I finished it in Oct/Nov 2022 using the classical method of first applying a burnt umber monochrome underpainting in oils and then glazing with multi-layers of finished oil colours and opaque whites on this 16"x 24" canvas. The course I was taking was to paint in the style of the Old Masters. I was pleased with the end result.

Of course, I have not signed it and attached to the back of the canvas is note stating that it is a copy.

This is from a second course by the same instructor, Robin Mitchell, at the

Oakville art Society. 


Robin set us a task of working from a photo of an old oak tree at sunset he took

in the local area.

basically hate painting landscapes, but after his in-class demo I decided to take up the challenge. I was intrigued by his alla prima approach, and the way he painted the negative spaces between the branches of the tree. I was pleased with the vagueness of the brush, but bored with overall subject. To give the painting a little lift I added a red fox making its way across in the shadows.


A 24"x 30" work initially using a glazing technique and later finished with straight oil painting. It is a modified copy of a painting by Charles W. Hawthorne. I was rather put off by the clouds used by the original artist and played around with them extensively until I finally settled on whispy high level cirrus clouds.

I call this Blue Heron. It is a small, 8"x8", painting based on a stock photo taken from the internet. It was a class exercise set by Robin Mitchell in painting water. The original photo did not have the heron. As with any landscape I'm inclined to add a central focus, or an animate object into the locale in order for it to tell some sort of story.

The blue rock scree is true to the photo, but looks a bit odd.

I found painting the small detail challenging me outside of my usual comfort zone, but enjoyable. 


My wife loves having orchids around the house. This particular specimen caught my eye. It belongs to the Phaenopsis family. That's my title for this 12"x12" gallery canvas. Phaenopsis. I'm not entirely happy with it as the paint has been applied a bit too thinly. The point of view and the composition work well for me.

I met Judy in a class at a local Art Society where I have been a member over 40 years. She has strong features, shows leadership and epitomizes the best of contemporary womanhood to me. I worked from one of a series of photos she provided me with and gave it a trace of a smile. Her natural hair is a little less orderly than I have depicted, but she accepted it as an appearance she would like to be remember by. 

My son and daughter-in-law are both sailors. They no longer have a boat, but sail when they can as crew and follow the sailing world closely on the internet.


On a visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London, England one specific portrait stood out for them – an oil on canvas portrait of William Dampier (1651-1715) by Thomas Murray painted circa 1697-1698.


William Dampier was a British pirate, explorer, privateer, navigator, and naturalist who became the first Englishman to explore parts of what is today Australia, and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. His naturalist explorations are said to have influenced Darwin in his development of his proposition on evolution. Dampier's life and times are chronicled in a book A Pirate of Exquisite Mind by Diana and Michael Preston published by Viking Canada.


After seeing my Velazquez painting, they asked if I could make a copy of the Murray painting of Dampier. You see my efforts attached on a 30inch by 24inch canvas, developed from the rather poor reproductions I could find on the internet. I took the portrait one step further by adding his left-hand hovering over the Globe. See if you can find a sly reference I included to his three-time circumnavigation. 

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