Monday, December 10, 2012

12 by 12s

Aba, 12x12, oil/panel (click to enlarge)
For my solo exhibition opening Feb. 9, 2013 at Bau Xi Galleries in Toronto, I have prepared 16 small 12x12 studies of palms.  The title of the show is "Ocean Palms" and it will include a number of larger palm tree paintings in addition to these smaller pieces.

I will organize some of the small studies into clusters of 3 or 4 paintings.  Some of them will be given as gifts to purchasers of larger paintings in the show.

Bao, 12x12, oil/panel

Cubu, 12x12, oil/panel

Djem, 12x12, oil/panel

Ebua, 12x12, oil/panel

Faba, 12x12, oil/panel

Gana, 12x12, oil/panel

Hiolu, 12x12, oil/panel

Imu, 12x12, oil/panel

Jacca, 12x12, oil/panel

Kanna, 12x12, oil/panel

Laru, 12x12, oil/panel

Muzzi, 12x12, oil/panel

Xozhe, 12x12, oil/panel

Yao, 12x12, oil/panel

Zeebee, 12x12, oil/panel

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Warm Winds

These three panels (30"x30" each) are to be exhibited side by side as a trio.  They will be on view at Bau Xi Galleries in Toronto at my exhibition that starts Feb. 2, 2013.  The pieces were painted simultaneously and are meant to work together as a whole unit.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Rojos Hermosos

Rojos Hermosos, 30"x40", oil/panel, (click to enlarge)

The title of this painting is Spanish for "beautiful reds".  The client who commissioned this painting missed a similar themed work at auction.  She contacted Gallerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal who passed on her desire and asked if I could work with the idea again.

Sometimes this kind of thing presents an opportunity to get right what I did not succeed at in the first painting.   I wasn't as happy with the branching structures and the horizon placement the first time.  Now with the commission I have been able to improve those compositional aspects to my satisfaction. 

Monday, October 29, 2012


Antao, 48"x48", oil/mahogany (click to enlarge)
Continuing to work on the palm tree series.  This is a large version.  I'm also doing multiple panels of three 24x24s.  I'll present those in  later blog post.

These paintings depend on a very gestural beginning.  I use a large heavily charged brush to quickly get a sense of the shapes.  I do not use reference photos, but try to remember what I saw while observing them in place.  The initial gestures need to have that same feeling.  These are not theory-based works, so don't try to think too hard about them.  Just enjoy the sensations.

I'm interested in the abstract qualities of these trees as well as their incredible flexibility in any kind of breeze.  This ensures that the same tree can look different at any given moment.

From a social perspective, I'm enjoying the conditioned response northerners have to this kind of tree.  With our cold dark winters, palms symbolize the idea of "escape", "pleasure" and "leisure" .

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Palm series no.1, oil, 12"x12"

Palm series no.3, oil, 12"x12"

Palm series no.2, oil, 12"x12"

Palm series no.4, oil, 12"x12"
I'm preparing a new exhibition for February at the Bau Xi Galleries in Toronto.  Since it will be the dead of winter then, I am going to show at least 18 palm tree paintings.  I'm working on both small and large ones right now.  Here is a sampling.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

McLaren Art Centre

Teresa Cullen & Me in front of our paintings at the MacLaren Art Centre.

Without knowing it, the curator of this group exhibition from the MacLaren Art Centre's permanent collection, placed my partner's (Teresa Cullen) painting next to mine.  I guess there was "something" about the two pieces that made them want to be hung side by side.

September 13, 2012 - November 4, 2012
Jennifer Withrow
MacLaren Art Centre, Janice Laking Gallery and Gallery 3
Select contemporary works from the Permanent Collection

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Quartet Panel 1, oil/panel. 12"x12", (Click to enlarge)
Here is the first of four small panels that will form a wall mounted series.  The idea is to get a sense of the the breeze in the palm fronds.  Each image was done rapidly with the brush inspired by watching the fronds move. Colours are southern and warm with pop contrast to suggest strong light.

Turku, oil/panel, 60"x36"
Teepa, oil/panel, 24"x48"

These paintings will be presented publicly at the Toronto International Art Fair in the Bau-Xi Galleries booth.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Willow Pond

Willow Pond, 40" x 48", oil/panel, (click to enlarge)

Summer is winding down, yet the air today is warm and humid.  These two paintings reflect some of my visual interests as the warm season drifts into cooler times.

Weeping willows are such beautiful trees!  They express a contemplative melancholy mood.  Since I usually see them near water, I decided to paint this one at the edge of a pond.  I like the way the fronds easily sway in even a gentle breeze.  The challenge of capturing movement in trees has led me to return to a series I did a few years back - wind in the palm trees.  I've just started 4 small studies on the subject and will report back here when they are done.

Gendel Bay, oil/panel, 20" x 60"
Living in Ontario I am surrounded by lakes and bays.  I continue to present this subject in a recent horizontal piece.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Appassionata, 48x48 inches, oil/panel, (click to enlarge)

Tura, 60x40 inches, oil/panel
When it's not too hot in the studio I've been working on these two new pieces.  The summer is a bit of a lazy time and so the paintings progress slowly, in stages.  Luckily, working in layers of glazing allows this.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mid Summer

Clear Blue Light of Day, oil, 30"x60"

Cloud Mountain Lake, 40"x40", oil

Crystal Lake, 20"x30", oil

Prairie Moon, 48"x60", oil

These are some of the paintings I have been working on this very hot and dry summer. I am in a process of refining some ideas and techniques that have interested me for a while.  The more intense colours are an emotional response and contrast to work I did 6 or 7 years back with similar subjects but painted almost mono chromatically.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Alameda, oil/panel, 48"x36", (click to enlarge)

I spend 2 weeks in May traveling in Spain and was struck by the beauty of the landscape.  The colours felt higher key and so much brighter.  It was really hot too!

We spent 9 days in Andalusia; in particular, we stayed on the outskirts of Antequera looking out over a plane at distant hills.  Every morning at breakfast I gazed out and considered how I might use my daily experiences in new paintings.  I have a lot of ideas to explore but this is my first response.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Where the gladiators emerged at the arena in Italica, Spain.

I have spent time in Andalucia, Spain this month visiting some pretty beautiful sites and landscapes.  Having a car has allowed me to drive into the country side and to stop for things that look interesting.  No doubt I will be influenced by what I saw.  New paintings will come from the trip.

I love the olive trees that are everywhere.  I've attached a photo of a particularly shapely tree.  The cypress trees, which I've painted before still inspire me too!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Maia Bay, 24x48", oil/panel, click to enlarge

Maia Maia, 24x36, oil/panel

Little Round Island, 30x40", oil/panel
Recent work in my studio.  The name Maia features in memory of "little Maia".

On Friday I'm leaving for Spain for 2 weeks with my partner Teresa Cullen.  We'll be visiting museums and sites in Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and Andalusia.  It's time for a break after a lot of hard work.  Something about the state of mind I get into when traveling stimulates my creativity.

Monday, April 9, 2012

In Praise of Dreams

In Praise of Dreams, oil/panel, 30"x60", (click to enlarge)

Spring time brings on the blossoms.  Each year I study the way this short visual blast of colour renders me speechless with its beauty. This painting is a first response for 2012.

I'm attempting a different approach by the use of a dark backdrop.  The light against dark emphasizes the aspects of blossoms I so admire.  By using Mars Black over red the refraction of light against the background creates an unusual spacial sense of indeterminable depth.

I'm pleased with the effect.  The finish on this painting places the work in opposition my light filled backgrounds.

Monday, March 12, 2012


The Bountiful, oil/panel, 20" x 60", (click to enlarge)
This new painting is a variation on Albero di Massima from April 2010.  The difference is the handling of the sky color layers, they include a new combo to create a hint of green in the sky.  [New (March 29th) This painting has just been sold to a Toronto collector.]

The painting below is in progress.  I've uploaded it to show how I approach painting.  This is the monochromatic layer.  It is, in essence, a drawing in wet medium.  All the compositional and tonal parts of the painting are worked out. 

The next layers are glazing that add colour and atmosphere. 

The final version is shown completed on the bottom of this page.  I've glazed in the colours and titled the small work "Zho".  It will be on exhibit next month at the Dallas Art Fair.

In Progress, oil/panel, 16" x 20"

Zho, oil/panel, 16" x 20"

Monday, March 5, 2012


Shellbanks, oil/panel, 20" x 60" (click to enlarge)

I'm working through some ideas relating to islands and water.  The light I want to portray is low and ranking across the mound of trees on the island.  I think this adds something to the composition and creates a bit of mystery.

Water is a recurring theme in my dreams at night.  Trees often represent shelter.  So these island paintings bring the two threads together.

Shadow Isle, oil/panel, 24" x 24"