About Brian Rice:
Brian was born on May 25,1958 and his roots are in the small outport of Pilleys Island, Newfoundland, Canada. At the age of nineteen he moved to central Canada in the Sarnia, Ontario area, where he now works in the Petrochemical industry.
His interest in art began in high school, when an art teacher encouraged him. In 1979 he began to paint realistic images of Newfoundland and northern wildlife, using an acrylic medium. He has many admirers of his work and most of the paintings have been sold; many were commissions. In 1998 he did a painting of an old united church (circa 1945) for his hometown heritage society. Prints were made and sold as a fund raiser.
In 1997 he entered an art contest in Sarnia. This contest was held to select a winner to commemorate the new blue water bridge. The painting got an honourable mention and it was reproduced as a limited edition print.
Brian has no formal training in art. He is self taught and learns most from a careful observation of the order and design of the natural world . He believes that “nature is the artwork of a creator/master artist who displays a wisdom and a genius that we have only begun to understand”. His focus is to create art that will cause the soul to search for a deeper meaning in an increasingly chaotic world.
He started striving for a photo realism style in the 1990’s and achieved it to some degree, but, he found the style did not evoke much emotion and set out on a journey to find a style that was realistic but, with a much looser impressionistic approach.
Eighteen of his paintings were on display at his hometown Petrolia Library during the Summer of 2004.
The Painting “The Newfoundland Cabin” appeared in “Guest Gallery “which is a page in the downhomer magazine; www.Downhome.com is the biggest magazine on the Canadian eastcoast with 26,000 subscribers. This magazine also has a gallery and gift shop in St. John’s, Newfoundland which now carries prints of the painting “seasons of life”
Acrylic Painting Demonstration: “At The Dock”
I got the idea for this painting while on vacation in Newfoundland. The quiet and serenity of this area was what I wanted to capture in the painting. I liked this reference image below as a photo. But, I wanted to do something else in a painting . I thought I would push the islands apart so that the boat would point out the bay towards the opening in the distance. It just seemed right for a better composition.
On my 24″ x 36″ panel I drew out the plan:
I lined the head of the boat up so that it would point directly at that dot in the background. I guessed that this would become the secondary focus in the painting, after the boat, if I had enough elements pushing the eye outward towards to that area.
The hint of the dock would provide a link from the boat to land and serve as a directional line toward the boat.
I blocked in the main colors:
I wanted to keep the overcast sky. It seemed to suit the painting.
I wanted to show the ocean bottom near the dock . Calm, shallow water would serve as a great enterance to the painting and add to the over all appeal of the view . I had never attempted this transparent water look before. I started by putting in the main colors of the bottom .Then I painted rough forms that looked like rocks .
I used Thalo blue , Ultramarine blue, Paynes grey, a tad of Napthol red, and White mostly in the water and sky in the distance. I have a glaze or two of burnt sienna and yellow ochre in there too. In the foreground there are those colors plus burnt sienna, raw sienna, yellow ochre . There may be a little burnt umber in the mix too.
My next move was to paint in the distant hills and island. . It took a lot of glazes and a few attempts to get the water and sky the way I wanted it. I wanted that opening in the distance to be in the direction that the head of the boat would be pointing towards. The pushing apart of the islands and moving the distant opening to line up with the boat seemed to also open up the view for the eye to go out the bay to the farthest inlet. This helped give the painting a feeling of space. The feel of wide open space is a wonderful sense you get in Newfoundland. It is a land that is 98 % unpopulated.
I worked on the glazing some more and defined the rocks better. I used glazes of thalo blue , then glazes of burnt sienna, then a glaze of yellow ochre. I repeated this several times with very little paint pigment in the glazes. I kept the area where the boat would be, open, mostly to keep in mind its placement area.
Excuse the blurred photo but the next photo just shows where I sketched a fairly accurate outline of the boat. You have to be very careful at this point. If the drawing is not right on, you could ruin many hours of work . If a line is off by an eighth of an inch it will be noticeable .
When I was sure the outline was right I blocked in the boat base colors. I wasn’t overly concerned where the green and red was inside the outline as long as I didn’t mess up the outer lines. The green is a mixture of Chromium oxide green and thalo blue. The red is Cad med toned down a bit with thalo blue.
I now worked on the rocks at the bottom more . I added a lot more little rocks and added a few more glazes over that.
At this point I knew the boat didn’t look like it was sitting right in the water . It could have been an optical illusion because the red and green inside the boat were not where they should be yet. I re-measured my outline and realized it was the bottom line at the back of the boat that was throwing it off. It may sound like I was being too particular. But, to someone who is accustomed to boats and how they sit in the water these things are very noticeable. It was something that was fixable . I also did some more redefining of the rocks at the bottom.
I worked on that boat again. The colors look a little raw at this stage and the boat interior needed more work. I re-worked that shadow; its more of a shadow then a reflection .The sky is overcast so I have to get that fine balance in the details , definition without strong shadows. Easier said then done . Most of the time its easier to have strong light and shadows. I thought I was finished with the water under the boat. The only areas that needed work outside the boat was the island on the left and the indication of a dock on the right side.
Next, I put a little more detail into the boat. I changed the rear look of the boat three times . I decided in the end that I was going to make this a simple row boat and not include that 4.5 hp gasoline driven outboard motor. The painting would appeal to me more without that noise making machine. It just don’t fit into my ideal world. The other advantage in not including a gas engine was the fact that one could think of its time period as being anywhere from 1940’s to today. If I didn’t use the bright red and green it could have been dated from 1900 – today. These little wooden boats had the same basic style for a century.
These photos aren’t the best quality because they were taken with just the light in the room without a flash. When the painting was done I got a better photo using daylight.
I then worked on the island on the left. Its showing low tide and the kelp is visible at the low water level. This kelp in Newfoundland is a distinct orange /ochre/ greenish color depending on the lighting of the day.
There as been a shift in my painting technique over the past year or so. I discovered the power of glazing and the excellent properties of Goldens acrylic glazing liquid.
I do paint the odd painting with the more opaque method.
But,this one will have been done with more layers of glaze then I have ever used before. I have about 20-25 layers in the water. At first I use to try and put glazes on with just glazing liquid and had some difficulty with application . But now I dip my brush in water more and dilute the glaze liquid . This seems to work much better and I don’t get a thick sticky layer that is hard to apply.
The secret to successful glazing seems to be in the application of very thin coats,with very little paint pigment in it , and then letting each coat dry before applying another. It is amazing how layer after layer of thin color can produce what opaque paint could never do.
I am starting to use glazes more and more as I continue learning about painting.
The finished painting
Detail of finished painting.
I hope you enjoyed the demo. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Your comments would be greatly appreciated because feedback lets me know if these demos actually help others in their painting.