View From the Train

©2019, Emma Pittson, “View From the Train”. Photoshop.

When it comes to selecting a seat on the train between Montreal and Toronto, you have two choices: you can either face Southwards and catch a view of Lake Ontario (for at least part of the trip), or you can face North and watch endless farmland and villages roll by. I’m so glad I chose the land side because who would want to miss out on a sunset like this?

First Painting of 2021

©2021, Emma Pittson, “Laurentian Lake”. Acrylic on canvas, 8″ x 10″ x 0.5″.

I have made some New Year’s resolutions – although not many because, let’s face it, 2020 was an abysmal year, and I think that, on a certain level, it’s enough just to keep going every day. So with that in mind, and with the bar at a very low and comfortable level, I have vowed to devote 15 minutes a day to making art! And it can be anything: digital art, painting on canvas, serious studies, doodles, original work, fanart, commissions, prepping a painting surface, or gathering inspirational images for a future piece. As long as I’ve done something, I can check that day off my calendar. The goal is to have an unbroken line of check marks for the entire month. And so far, so good!

Thanks to the pandemic, I have been permanently ensconced in my dining room since March while my husband has taken over the office/studio. I really hesitated to break out the paints because the only space left in the house for artmaking was, well, right back in the dining room, and I felt that I was already spending enough of my waking hours there – not to mention the slow and insidious breaking down of the boundary between work and home that is a feature of Life these days. Mentally, how would I make the separation? If I’m sitting down at my easel, would I feel guilty and be unable to work if I heard that tell-tale “ping” from the computer letting me know that a Teams message has just arrived? If I crack open the water-soluble oils, will the smell of linseed oil (which I’m not a fan of) linger long after I’d done a final clean-up and make it harder for me to concentrate on my job the next day?

Thankfully, none of this has turned out to be a problem! Windows can be opened to clear out the smell of the linseed oil, and computer speakers can be turned off to ensure a peaceful studio (it helps that my co-workers also want to reclaim their lives outside of work, so the threat of urgent e-mails at 9pm isn’t really a thing after all). If anything, I find myself turning away from the computer every now and then throughout the day and looking longingly at my easel! (If any of my co-workers are reading this, you now know why I occasionally turn my head screen right and gaze wistfully into the middle-distance…)

Here are some progress pics…

Values
Colour Blocking

Progress!

Lac Charlebois at Sunset

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©2019, Emma Pittson, “Lac Charlebois at Sunset”. Photoshop.

View from the balcony of my step-mother’s cottage in the Laurentians.

If I were to do this piece again, I would make sure to paint the foreground trees with a sharper brush.  I know in theory that foreground elements should be clearly defined, and background elements should be out of focus, but I don’t always remember to follow through with that!

La Malbaie, Take 2

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©2019, Emma Pittson, “Les Hautes Gorges de la Riviere Malbaie”. Photoshop.

Wow, I struggled with this one.  I never felt like I could get the colours right, or the sense of a multitude of branches.  I love trees, I love the idea of painting trees, but when it gets right down to it, people who paint trees have the patience of a SAINT, and that’s just not me.  Perhaps I should relax my own rules for this project and allow myself to use special Photoshop brushes in order to more easily simulate branches (and vegetation in general), rather than force myself to treat my digital work as if it were real paints…