Flights of Fancy

"Stained Glass Pear & Bowl", 2019, 5.5"x8" watercolour

Stained Glass Pear & Bowl” is a 5.5″ x 8″ watercolour on 140 lb rough watercolour paper. This piece came from laying down an uncontrolled multi-coloured background wash. After waiting a day to see what came to mind, I saw stained glass and took it from there. The pear and the bowl emerged as structured shapes that might suit stained glass lines. I created just a few stained glass sections before deciding the piece could stand more smaller sections rather than a few large sections. It’s framed under glass in a brushed silver metal frame with a double blue-grey mat.

"Fruit Display", 2019, 5.5"x8" gouache on watercolour paper

Fruit Display” is a 5.5″ x 8″ gouache painting on 140 lb rough watercolour paper. I was interested to see how this opaque watercolour works. I took inspiration from my success with a still life “Fruit Study” and decided this subject could be a good one to compare acrylics with gouache. I enjoyed working with gouache and already have a few ideas in mind for a few more pieces. It’s definitely a medium I will work with from time to time. This piece is framed under glass in a brushed silver metal frame with a double blue-grey mat.

"Boots", 2019, 8"x10" scratchboard

Boots” is an 8″ x 10″ scratchboard piece. I started it at a September 2018 workshop with Lori Dunn and finished it five months later. The design is from a photo Lori supplied for use in class. Scratchboard begins with a piece of masonite coated with kaolin clay that’s been covered with layers of ink. As Lori explained the process and its techniques, I became more and more fascinated by it all. The results can be stunning. Unlike painting, I know scratchboard is not something I can spend hours doing in one sitting. Even though it can just as easily take me to another zone, my eyes tell me within an hour it’s time to give it a rest. Scratchboard is definitely a technique I will continue to practise.

"Moon Dancer", 2019, 18"x24" acrylics on canvas

Moon Dancer was inspired by my love of dance and Art Deco style. It’s poster-style and is one of several Art Deco posters I have designed. One other already completed is Art Deco Vases. The others await my time. Moon Dancer is currently on display in the lobby of the Academy Theatre in Lindsay, Ontario.

"Aloft", 2016, 6"x36" acrylics on canvas, SOLD

When I came across a 6″x36″ canvas, the idea of hot air balloons came to mind immediately. I wanted to create something fun and eye-catching. For a while this piece was displayed at the Kirkfield library branch where it brought a smile to many library patrons. Eventually it ended up on display at an art show & sale at Ross Memorial Hospital to help raise funds for the hospital’s Mental Health Department, where it sold.

"Spoof on Monet", 2017, 11"x19" acrylics on birch panel (private collection)

Windy Do-Girl

Shown above is one of my brother Bruce Graham’s whimsical creations on a piece of Nova Scotia driftwood he found at the Centreville shore on Digby Neck. His piece inspired me to paint Spoof on Monet (which was sold through a silent auction) from Monet’s ‘Woman with a Parasol‘. In the early 1970s, Bruce created two characters he called ‘Do-Boy’ (pronounced dough-boy) and its companion ‘Do-Girl’. I wanted to take his driftwood piece to another level. Remaining true to his original work, I used a dried maple leaf for her umbrella. Bruce was always more interested in function than appearance. Thus the metal tab from a pop can he installed as hanging hardware on the back of his driftwood. I opted for traditional hanging hardware. Original work shown above by Bruce Douglas Graham (1950-2006) Visit Bruce’s Gallery on my site.

"Art Deco Vases", 2017, 16"x16 "acrylics on canvas (silent auction item August 24, 2019 in Bolsover ON)

Art Deco Vases was originally intended as an experiment but turned into a project. It’s a poster-style painting with edges finished and no frame. This piece was a lot of finicky work – something I was trying to avoid. Oh well, that’s the way it goes. Three of the vases have touches of gold leaf applied. I signed this piece along the right outer edge to retain the poster look. On the front right near the horizontal line, I simply signed “Joy” for a more delicate integration into the piece, as opposed to my usual art work signature C. Joy McCallister. This piece is scheduled to be sold through a silent auction August 24, 2019 at St. Presbyterian Andrew’s Church in Bolsover, Ontario.

"It's Cold Out There", 2017, 11"x14" acrylics on canvas

The sun came out during a cold snap following a heavy snowfall. I decided to try an experiment with a palette knife. I wanted to capture the heaviness of the snow, the starkness of the bright shadows, and the frost on a shed window. Painting the frost was an unexpected challenge. After several attempts with different brushes and techniques, the frost finally came to life. In the end, it was a rake brush that worked best. Twisting and turning it with thinned paint, I let the brush strokes develop the frost. This was a strong learning piece.

Screen Paintings - but why paint a screen?

From what I understand, painting door screens began in Baltimore, Maryland. Shop owners and residents whose doors opened right onto a city street needed to leave their doors open for a breeze on hot days. This affected their privacy. Shop owners first came up with the idea to paint on their screens to advertise their wares. People outside and looking in could see the design on the screen but could not see inside. People inside could still see out and of course did not see the painted side. Painting on a screen demands a light touch. Any clogs in the mesh holes must be cleared immediately. In 2002 I painted two old screens (left and right) to experiment before painting the screen door at our cottage (below). I used acrylics mixed with a little outdoor paint. It worked. The painting has endured the weather for 17 years without any signs of fading. I donated the two old screens to someone planning to give a screen painting workshop.